Ever since the Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the former Oklahoma State star has had to wonder when his time would come.
Considered one of the top quarterback prospects in that deep draft class, Rudolph made a precipitous slide down the draft board before the Steelers called his name early on the third day.
The only problem with that arrangement was the presence of All-Pro quarterback Ben Roethlisberger cemented at the top of the Pittsburgh depth chart. While Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen were all selected before Rudolph in the draft. All of those guys saw a significant amount of playing time in their rookie years. Rudolph wasn’t necessarily thrilled with the thought of that.
“You want to play, you’re pissed (in that moment),” Rudolph said.
When Roethlisberger signed a three-year contract extension this summer, it looked like Rudolph might be relegated to permanent purgatory.
But the NFL has certainly lived up to its nickname — Not For Long — in the 2019 season. Rudolph has gone from third in the pecking order this spring to the full-time starter after Roethlisberger’s season was ended with an elbow injury that will require surgery.
With Roethlisberger out indefinitely, Rudolph’s game will really be tested throughout the remainder of the season.
“I am completely confident in myself, being a leader of a team, and playing games,” Rudolph said. “That’s what it all comes down to. If (Roethlisberger is out), I’m ready to roll.”
Rudolph started the second half of Sunday’s game against Seattle. He threw for 112 yards and two passing touchdowns on 12-of-19 passing and his one interception was caused by wide receiver Donte Moncrief’s dropped pass.
Rudolph talked Monday on what will be different with how he prepares for this Sunday, knowing he will be the main guy.
“Nothing different from me, I’m just going to be the same person I am,” he said. “Continue to prepare … I try to prepare like I am a starter even when I’m not.”
Rudolph knows what the opportunity entails and the expectations that will come along with that.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I’m going to do what I’ve always done and step up to the plate.”
Roethlisberger won’t be taking any more snaps this year. But Rudolph knows that Roethlisberger’s expertise will still play a major role in how the team and Rudolph will be able to grow this season.
“Our relationship definitely seems to have grown this year,” said Rudolph “He’s been great with kind of opening up to myself, and the rest of the guys in the room … I’m going to continue to lean on him and meet with him as much as I can during the week.”
Rudolph will get his first start in the NFL Sunday in San Francisco, on the road against the 2-0 49ers.
“I’m getting to play football and fulfill dream,” he said. “I’ll hopefully be playing this game for a long time and as long as I’m prepared for the opportunity that’s all that matters.”
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.