Ben Roethlisberger’s remarks on Mason Rudolph have put the Steelers signal caller firmly into the news. Given where we are in the off season, its all that anyone in Steelers Nation is talking about.
Steel Curtain Rising has already taken Ben Roethlisberger to task for his implicit attitude behind his statements on Rudolph. If you haven’t read it already, you can do so here. But there’s another bone to pick with Big Ben’s comments, a bone that’s completely objective in it comes from one of the few seemingly uncontroversial things he said:
Nothing against Mason. I think he’s a great football player. I don’t know him personally, but I’m sure he’s a great kid. I just don’t know how backing up or being a third [string] — well, who knows where he’s going to fall on the depth chart — helps us win now. [Emphasis added]
OF all of Roethlisberger’s remarks on Rudolph, his assertion in bold is likeliest to elicit a “Well, he’s got a point there” nod from even his harshest critics. Because on the surface it’s hard to dispute his logic. After all, third string quarterbacks don’t do much, even in practice, right?
Third string quarterbacks rarely earn even footnotes in football history. For most of their history, the Steelers offer no exception. When was the last time you saw a parent-child combo strutting around Heinz Field sporting Rick Strom and Brian St. Pierre jerseys on throwback weekend?
- But in this case, experience trumps logic, and Ben’s own history with the Steelers shows his claim about Steelers 3rd string quarterbacks is wrong.
Think back to the Steelers 2005 season that culminated with victory in Super Bowl XL. That Super Bowl season saw the Steelers start their third string quarterback twice, as Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch started four games that season.
- Its almost certainly as coincidental as it is ironic but Steelers third string quarterbacks have enjoyed their moment in the sun during the Roethlisberger era.
We covered much of this ground on the eve of the 2015 season when justifying Landry Jones roster spot in the face of fans who felt he should have been cast aside in favor of Mike Vick. Let’s spell it out in Black and Gold again:
- In 2005, Charlie Batch and Tommy Maddox both saw starts after holding the QB number 3 designation
- In 2006, third string quarterback Dennis Dixon started against the Ravens
- In 2010, Charlie Batch started games against Tampa Bay and Baltimore as the third stringer
- In 2012, a Byron Leftwich injury again thrust Charlie Batch from 3rd to first as Batch started two games
- In 2015, injuries and ineffectiveness of Mike Vick elevated Landry Jones from 3rd stringer to starter
Just looking at the math, during the Roethlisberger era about every third season has seen a Steelers third string quarterbacks suit up as a starter….
…And two full seasons have elapsed since that last occurred.
Past performance may not predict future results, but it would behoove Ben Roethlisberger to do what he can to get Mason Rudolph ready to play sooner rather than later.