Pittsburgh Steelers HC Mike Tomlin was a guest on the most recent edition of The Pivot Podcast with Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder, and Fred Taylor, and spoke on various topics regarding the hiring of Brian Flores, the Rooney Rule and the hiring of minority coaches in the NFL, coaching Antonio Brown and the incident with Jacoby Jones along the sideline, and the standard of winning Super Bowls for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
When asked by Ryan Clark what it was like to coach Ben Roethlisberger, Coach Tomlin makes a point to say what Ben did in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform for as long as he did it for is anything but ordinary.
“First of all, the dude’s talent,” Tomlin responded to Clark on The Pivot which also aired live on the show’s YouTube Channel. “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. The dude’s arm talent was so special for so long that when you see special stuff every day, you get used to it.”
Roethlisberger will go down as the most prolific QB in Pittsburgh Steelers history, shattering all of Terry Bradshaw’s team records by completing 5,440-of-8,443 attempts (64.4%) for 64,088 yards and 418 TDs and 211 INTs. Ben also contributed 1,373 rushing yards and 20 TD on the ground during his Steelers career. All told, the future first-ballot Hall of Famer and Steelers Ring of Honor inductee started 247-of-249 games he played, compiling a 165-81-1 regular season record, leading 41 fourth quarter comebacks, and recording 53 game-winning drives. He logged 23 starts in the playoffs, going 13-10 in those games and made it to three Super Bowls, winning two as the starting QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mike Tomlin had a front row seat to Roethlisberger on display in two of those title games, one resulting in an improbable win in the final seconds against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII and the other in a heart-breaking loss to the hands of the Green Bay Packers two years later in Super Bowl XLV.
While Tomlin has enjoyed have Ben as his starting quarterback for nearly his entire tenure as the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach outside of the games Ben missed due to injury and suspension, he continues his response to Clark saying that he is ready for a new chapter to be written when it comes to Steeler football.
“I’ve enjoyed that comfort, we’ve all enjoyed that comfort,” Tomlin continued in his response to Clark about Ben. “I’m excited about being uncomfortable. Yeah, we might not have the type of quarterback play that we have had, we might not have the special talent that we’ve had, but we’ve got capable dudes and we’ve got a team. And so, we’re also not allocating the damn money that we allocated at the position in the past. And so, there’s a redistribution of the money. And so, it better be a redistribution of the playmaking.”
Tomlin has stated before that he is excited about the uncharted waters the Steelers face in 2022 because they won’t have Roethlisberger at the helm for the first time since 2004. While it is true that the team still is feeling its way through the QB situation, having Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph and rookie Kenny Pickett all competing for the starting job, Tomlin and former GM Kevin Colbert have stated that all three guys can start in the NFL and will compete throughout the spring and summer to see who is best suited to be the team’s starting QB come Week 1 of the regular season.
Tomlin’s comments about the money allocated to the QB position also stick out as Pittsburgh is coming off its most active free agency period in decades, acquiring several notable names on the free agent market including James Daniels, Mason Cole, Myles Jack, and Levi Wallace thanks to the extra cap space the team has at its disposal this offseason. No longer having a franchise quarterback contract on the books allows Pittsburgh to be more active at acquiring talent from outside the organization as well as re-signing their own like they just recently did, making S Minkah Fitzpatrick the highest-paid safety in football.
When it comes to addressing the trials and tribulations ahead this upcoming season with Ben no longer in the picture, Tomlin says that the standard hasn’t changed for the Black and Gold.
“You know, I just view the challenges of what lies ahead in that way. First of all, I’m looking forward to the anxiety associated with that uncertainty. With having to stand and deliver. To live out what we believe in, The Standard is the Standard.”