Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers broadcaster and former member of the team’s offensive line Tunch Ilkin has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, he announced in a video on Thursday.
“I want to fight this thing,” Ilkin said. “I’m not going to lay down and take this lightly.”
Bible Chapel, Family. We have a special update from Senior Pastor, Ron Moore and Pastor of Men’s Ministry, Tunch Ilkin.https://t.co/PXugCTSbzm
— The Bible Chapel (@thebiblechapel) October 8, 2020
Ilkin, 63, was drafted by the Steelers out of Indiana State in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL Draft. A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Ilkin became a fixture at tackle for the Steelers, starting for 10 years at right tackle and playing in two Pro Bowls.
After his retirement, Ilkin immediately took to broadcasting, with his popular “Lunch with Tunch” pregame interview segment. He officially became a part of the Steelers Radio Network broadcast of the team’s games in 1998, joining Bill Hillgrove and Myron Cope for a three-man booth. When Cope retired in 2004, Ilkin and Hillgrove became a two-man pairing.
ALS is a progressive disease of the nervous system that causes lack of muscle control. It’s frequently named for Gehrig, the New York Yankees star whose diagnosis with the disease ended his playing career at age 36 in 1939 and caused his death in 1941.
There is no cure for ALS, and it is not clear what causes the disease. Treatments can help mitigate the symptoms. The average lifespan following diagnosis is two to four years, according to a 2013 study by the National Institute of Health.
Terrell Edmunds Explains New Nickname
Terrell Edmunds informs the media, including Mike Asti and Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, about his new nickname. Call him “Old Fashioned” from now on. He also expresses how feels about the current state of the Steelers, and that’s obviously includes being happy about the team’s record but also understanding the need to improve.
Steelers Week 10 Game vs. Bengals Flexed to 4:25 p.m. National Broadcast
The Steelers game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10 has been flexed into a national television broadcast slot.
The Steelers and Bengals will now kick off at Heinz Field on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 4:25 p.m. The game had originally been scheduled to kick at 1 p.m. It will be broadcast nationally on FOX. All of that weekend’s early games will be broadcast on FOX, as CBS has coverage of The Masters, which was rescheduled from this summer.
The game will be Pittsburgh’s first matchup against 2020 NFL Draft No. 1 pick, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.
The Steelers are also playing a 4:25 p.m., nationally broadcast game in Week 9 against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. That game will be televised by CBS.
That will be the second time this season the Steelers will be placed in a nation-wide television slot. The team opened the season playing on ESPN’s Monday Night Football against the New York Giants.
The Steelers’ Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans was protected by CBS in a 1 p.m. time slot, but was broadcast nearly nationwide, with CBS only showing two other 1 p.m. games.
The Steelers will play on national television at least three more times this season: against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Nov. 26, on Sunday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 13 and at the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, Dec. 21.
What Does Being NFL’s Last Unbeaten Team Portend for Steelers?
The Steelers are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL after beating the formerly unbeaten Tennessee Titans on Sunday while the Seattle Seahawks lost on Sunday night, leaving the Steelers as the only 6-0 team in the nation.
What does that mean for them in the long term? Not as much as you might think.
In the last 20 years, one of the last undefeated teams didn’t even make the playoffs three times: 2002 4-0 San Diego Chargers, 2014 3-0 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2016 5-0 Minnesota Vikings. Ten other times, one of the last undefeated teams (some years, there are more than one), lost in the first or second round of the NFL playoffs.
Just once since 2000 has the last undefeated team won the Super Bowl, in 2006 when the Indianapolis Colts started 9-0 on the way to winning Super Bowl XLI.
In the first three decades of the league’s modern era, that was significantly different. The last undefeated team won six Super Bowls in the 1990s, two in the 1980s and three in the 1970s, including the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who finished a perfect 17-0, the only team in NFL history to do so.
More recently, being the last undefeated team has resulted in a bunch of Super Bowl losses, including the last time the Steelers were the league’s last unbeaten team.
The 2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Eagles, 2007 New England Patriots, 2009 Colts, 2010 Steelers, 2015 Carolina Panthers, 2018 Los Angeles Rams and the 2019 San Francisco 49ers all made it to the championship game after being the last undefeated team before losing in the end.