Mike Tomlin has coached the Pittsburgh Steelers for 15 seasons. As constant as he’s been, so has Ben Roethlisberger, who has been his starting quarterback for the entire ride.
All of that changed on January 27. Roethlisberger announced that he had played his final game in the NFL and was heading into retirement. This leaves a burden for who will take over as the top signal-caller for the Steelers for the foreseeable future.
Tomlin realizes his first season without Roethlisberger won’t be easy, but he’s also looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m looking forward to the anxiety associated with that uncertainty,” said Tomlin. “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 don’t matter where you go, 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, all that cool stuff being said — It’s scary, but exciting.”
The battle for who will assume the throne after Roethlisberger will be between three guys. Right now, it looks like Mitch Trubisky will be the guy, but veteran Mason Rudolph and rookie Kenny Pickett will have a lot to say about that.
Regardless of who wins the job, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll showcase what Roethlisberger did during his career, he was just a different type of talent from what the Steelers have now at quarterback.
Tomlin spoke on what it was like to see Rothlisberger perform at a high level for a long time, and how he’s ready for uncertainty despite the challenges that will come with it.
“First of all, the dude’s talent. When you watch somebody do something at a certain level for so long, it messes up your perception of what’s regular and what’s not” Tomlin said. “The dude’s arm talent was so special for so long. When you see special stuff every day, you get used to it. I’ve enjoyed that comfort, we’ve all enjoyed that comfort. I’m excited about being uncomfortable.
It remains to be seen who will win the starting quarterback spot in with the Steelers. But, what we do know, is that Tomlin will be ready regardless of who’s under center.
Feature image via Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports