The Steelers have not officially named a starting quarterback for the 2022 season, but they know that it won’t be Ben Roethlisberger and that knowledge alone means head coach Mike Tomlin is approaching this year very differently than he has any other in his tenure.
During an appearance on The Pivot Podcast, Tomlin said that watching a quarterback with Roethlisberger’s talent “messes up your perception of what’s regular and what’s not” at the position and realizes that he enjoyed the comfort that came with that kind of consistency. Mitch Trubkisky, Kenny Pickett, and Mason Rudolph don’t bring the same comfort, but Tomlin said that he is “excited about being uncomfortable” as the team gets ready for the season.
“I just view the challenges of what lies ahead in that way,” Tomlin said, via Behind the Steel Curtain. “First of all, I’m looking forward to the anxiety associated with that uncertainty. To have to stand and deliver, to live out what we believe in — the standard is the standard. It’s like McDonald’s. You know what a No. 1 is. It doesn’t matter what corner of the globe, a No. 1 is a No. 1, and that’s what I want Pittsburgh Steelers football to be. So it doesn’t matter who puts their hands underneath the center, as far as I’m concerned. But, with all that cool stuff being said, it’s scary. But exciting.”
Roethlisberger’s last few seasons put some distance between the heights of his Steelers tenure and it’s final days, but the standard was a high one for nearly two decades and there’s no guarantees that the team will reach even his lower level when they take the field this fall. That’s a new feeling in Pittsburgh and the team’s results will likely determine how long Tomlin finds it an exciting one.