Mike Tomlin’s favourite movie must beryllium Rudy. Has to be. A communicative of nan plucky, hard-working guy, puts successful nan effort, bides his time, and gets his infinitesimal of glory.
Mike Tomlin loves shot justice. He believes successful it, swears by it, moreover if it mightiness beryllium each he has. It’s 1 logic why he’s opinionated by QB Kenny Pickett moreover arsenic his backmost took justified power struggling passim nan season.
If shot justness isn’t conscionable a communicative we show ourselves, past Mason Rudolph deserves a dose of it Saturday against Cincinnati. There’s a communicative of a feline waiting his move and yet getting his moment.
It mightiness beryllium his past one. Pickett is retired this weekend, still rehabbing from ankle surgery, but each signs constituent to him returning successful Week 17 erstwhile nan Steelers caput retired westbound to play nan Seattle Seahawks. Rudolph is shaping up to making his first and only commencement of nan season. It’s surely his first successful awhile, not opening up a crippled since a COVID-compelled 2021 outing and not logging a threat each past season. His past “fair” start, 1 wherever he gets nan reps and nan expertise to prepare, came astatine nan extremity of nan 2020 play erstwhile Pittsburgh pulled their cardinal starters, for illustration QB Ben Roethlisberger, and threw Rudolph a bony for a game.
Post Roethlisberger’s retirement, Rudolph has gone backwards. From existent backup, 2nd connected nan extent chart, to third-stringer successful 2022 and passim 2023. It’s a astonishment he’s moreover here to commencement against nan Bengals, a free supplier until past May erstwhile a acold marketplace brought him backmost to Pittsburgh connected a one-year, minimum deal. I’m judge it wasn’t his first choice. It seems for illustration it was his only one.
Now he’ll commencement a crippled to effort and springiness nan Steelers’ play hope. If Pittsburgh is going to large wind nan castle and make nan playoffs, a gangly and improbable task, they person to triumph out. Beat Cincinnati, hit Seattle, and return down nan Baltimore Ravens successful nan play finale. That ngo starts tomorrow.
And if Rudolph plays well? If he does nan occupation of a seasoned backup quarterback, thing Mitch Trubisky grounded to do? Come successful for a crippled aliases two, clasp nan fort down, support nan squad competitory until nan starter returns. Maybe nan NFL will springiness him a longer look successful free agency adjacent year. Maybe nan Steelers, likely to dump Mitch Trubisky, will clasp Rudolph arsenic a No. 2 quarterback. He’s playing to triumph tomorrow, that’s his focus, but he understands arsenic good arsenic immoderate nan implications beyond Saturday afternoon.
None of this is to opportunity Rudolph will beryllium thing importantly much than what he’s been. He’s a backup. Always will be. It’s not moreover predicting that he will succeed. He could spell retired location and laic an ovum against a Bengals’ defense that isn’t awesome but gets aft nan backmost and takes nan shot away. Working successful his favour is simply a skillset to play smarter than Trubisky and usability wrong nan building of nan Steelers’ offense, dutifully taking what’s location and adhering to nan play call. Still, don’t expect him to go the adjacent Matt Flynn and person a bonkers day.
If there’s a feline who deserves 1 bully NFL infinitesimal though, it’s Rudolph. He was drafted into Pittsburgh and instantly became a header erstwhile nan starting backmost made it clear he disliked nan pick on pinch half a fanbase who – understandably – wanted nan squad to attraction connected players who could thief triumph now, not later. His first action came during a messiness of a 2019 wherever he was booed, replaced, sewage destroyed by Baltimore, assaulted by Cleveland, arsenic Pittsburgh slogged done a miserable, messy year.
Since, nan Steelers person teased him arsenic portion of nan competition. But for illustration Lucy holding nan shot for Charlie Brown, they’ve ever pulled it distant conscionable arsenic Rudolph swung his leg. That’s business, that’s football, those weren’t needfully nan incorrect decisions for nan squad to make. But now they’re counting connected him to triumph nan day, to support nan squad alive, if only for different week.
“The mills of gods grind, yet they grind exceeding small”
If location are Football Gods, if there’s a Football Justice successful Football Heaven, past that aged Greek saying must beryllium true. It must apply. It’s a building of justice, of retribution, of patience. Justice will come. You conscionable person to wait. Rudolph has waited a shot eternity. If Tomlin’s mantra is real, Saturday will beryllium it.