‘I’ve Been So Close:’ Cam Heyward Still Searching For First Championship

Win it all. That’s the goal of all the great football players. Cam Heyward has had a fantastic NFL career, one that could end up in Canton, Ohio someday. He’s made Pro Bowls, All-Pros, gotten paid, and has basically done all you can do. Except for one thing. Win a Super Bowl. That’s still on his football bucket list. In fact, a Super Bowl would be his first championship at any level. Appearing on John Middlekauff’s 3 And Out podcast via The Volume Network, Heyward explained how he fell short in high school and college.

“They had made a rule that you could tie in the state championship because the year before a kicker had missed and  went through a lot of harassment,” he said. “In high school, we went to state championship and tied. And that was the worst one of the worst feelings. Because it’s like, how do I celebrate a tie in the state championship? We still got rings. But man, that did not sit well with me.”

In 2006, Heyward’s Peachtree Ridge squad rallied in the fourth quarter but ultimately tied Roswell, 14-14, one of two state championships that ended in ties that year. Perhaps they would’ve won the game had they not missed a 24-yard field goal in the first half from kicker Drew Butler, who would later go on to be one of Heyward’s teammates in Pittsburgh. So Heyward got a ring, but not the pride of feeling like he had actually won.

Heyward then went to Ohio State and played for some great Buckeye teams there. But they never won a championship, back in the days without the College Football Playoff that gave more teams a shot to win it all.

“We ended up going to the Sugar Bowl. My senior year, we won versus Arkansas but never got to play in a National Championship.”

Heyward’s Ohio State teams won double-digit games every season he was there, including going 12-1 his senior season but a mid-season loss to Wisconsin did them in. They’d finish the year fourth in the AP Top 25 and eventually, due to NCAA rule violations, the school wiped out the entire season from its record books.

Again, Heyward has gotten close to the peak in Pittsburgh, reaching the AFC Title Game in 2016 but never even appearing in a Super Bowl, much less winning one. Now well into his 30s, he doesn’t have a ton of time left to wait.

“I’ve been so close. And it’s one or two plays that change it sometimes, but I feel like there’s gonna come a time where I get over this hump.”

Heyward may have to wait at least another year. For 2022, Pittsburgh is just trying to get back to the postseason and overcome the challenges of a new quarterback and plenty of youth on the offensive side of the football. It’s a Steelers team that hasn’t won a playoff game since that 2016 season (which Heyward wasn’t part of due to injury), going 0-3 in the postseason since and making for the franchise’s longest playoff victory drought since the early days of Chuck Noll’s tenure. For Heyward to win a Super Bowl, Kenny Pickett will need to be the team’s next franchise quarterback and start showing signs of that no later than next season. If that happens, Pittsburgh will return to the thick of competition but in an AFC with some of the best quarterbacks in the league, winning a Super Bowl will be an incredibly difficult task.

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