Mike Tomlin of the Steelers is embracing his first season without Ben Roethlisberger: It is frightening but exciting.


Consistency at the quarterback position for the Pittsburgh Steelers has finally fallen victim to the relentless march of time.

Ben Roethlisberger was the Steelers’ unquestioned quarterback for 18 seasons, 12 postseason appearances, and two Super Bowl championships. During that span, Roethlisberger threw for 64,088 yards and 418 touchdowns, and he never played fewer than 12 games in a season, with the exception of his 2019 season, which was derailed by an elbow injury.

The retirement of the future Hall of Famer at the conclusion of the previous season has ushered in a new era of uncertainty at the position. However, Mike Tomlin, who has been the Steelers’ head coach since 2007, is eager to find the silver linings.

“First and foremost, the man’s talent. Tomlin stated on The Pivot podcast that observing someone perform at a high level for an extended period of time distorts one’s perception of what is normal and what isn’t. “The gentleman’s arm talent was so extraordinary for so long. When you see unique things every day, you become accustomed to them. This comfort has been enjoyed by everyone, including myself. I’m looking forward to being uncomfortable.

“We may not have the same calibre of quarterback play or special talent that we’ve had in the past, but we’ve got capable guys. And we have a team.”

The Steelers have made the necessary moves to provide themselves with crucial quarterback options as they enter this uncharted territory. Mitchell Trubisky, a free agent quarterback, joined Mason Rudolph, a fourth-year veteran who started eight games for the Steelers in 2019 while Ben Roethlisberger was injured.

The most eye-catching addition occurred in April, when Kevin Colbert began his final act as general manager by selecting quarterback Kenny Pickett with the No. 20 overall pick.

Pickett could begin a new streak of stability for Pittsburgh, but Tomlin will employ a team-wide strategy to fill the void left by Big Ben.

Tomlin stated, “There will be some new leadership here.” “You can anticipate some of them, such as [Najee Harris].” But make no mistake, we are not passively waiting for any of this to occur. We are conscientiously constructing it.”

During his rookie season, Harris carried the ball 307 times for 1,200 yards and added another 467 yards on 74 receptions, scoring a total of 10 touchdowns. His talent cannot be denied.

Now, Tomlin has identified the next stage in Harris’s development as the addition of leadership to output.

This individual is a bell cow. Tomlin stated, “He’s going to have to be a bell cow for us.” “If this train goes anywhere in 2022, he’ll be a crucial component, and he’s competent. I’m not even speaking from a talent perspective. We are aware. I am referring to his capability in terms of intangible qualities. He inspires the best in his teammates. Carrying the responsibilities of leadership.”

Regardless of who wins the quarterback competition, it appears that Tomlin’s vision for the team’s future success is to combine the established leadership of T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward with that of Harris, the offense’s new foundational leader.

Tomlin’s enthusiasm for the upcoming challenge should reassure Steelers fans who are concerned about the direction of the team. After all, he is familiar with the path to victory. He has never experienced a losing season as an NFL head coach.

“I anticipate the anxiety associated with this uncertainty. To have to stand and deliver, to embody our beliefs. The benchmark is the benchmark. It resembles McDonald’s. You comprehend what a No. 1 is. A No. 1 is a No. 1 no matter where you are in the world, and that is what I want Pittsburgh Steelers football to be. As far as I am concerned, it does not matter who places their hands underneath the centre. However, the cool things being said are both frightening and exciting.