I was never one to pick a “team” when it came to things involving choosing sides. Oh, who am I kidding? I do that all the time.
But I’ve never been one to do that when it comes to individual players on the Pittsburgh Steelers. I tend to accept the player that wins the starting job, and then I begin the journey of supporting him through thick and thin.
However, I just can’t do that when it comes to the current three-horse race for the right to become the new starting quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Why? It just feels so cool to be on Team Mason, as in Mason Rudolph, the fifth-year man out of Oklahoma State whose 17-career appearances have been more than enough for his detractors to already determine that he just doesn’t have the talent, charisma, leadership skills and even the good teammate genes necessary to do the job. As for those detractors? They are many, and they are mean. Why, just the other day, I saw someone on social media refer to Rudolph as toe fungus.
How can you not root for a guy like that? It’s like when George Costanza fell in love with Jerry Seinfeld’s girlfriend because she just detested George so much that...he found her irresistible!
Anyway, if we’re going to play this “team” game, that means I have to totally tear down the other two participants: Mitch Trubisky, the veteran quarterback who Pittsburgh inked to a deal in the spring; and Kenny Pickett, the rookie from Pitt who the Steelers selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
First of all, Mitch Trubisky? Does that name even remind one of a quarterback? It sounds like the name of some secondary character in a 1980s John Hughes movie about high school. As for Kenny Pickett? Don’t you mean, Kenny Pickoff? Can’t you see how quickly that name could go sideways?
Now, if I were to write a script about a fictional football team, how could I do any better than Mason Rudolph? That just sounds like a hero to me.
As for accomplishments up to this point, sure, Trubisky had a decent run with the Bears after they drafted him second overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. Trubisky had a 29-21 record as a starter in four seasons in Chicago; he completed 64.1 percent of his passes, totaled 10,652 yards through the air and threw 64 touchdowns to 38 interceptions. That’s not bad, especially for a Bears quarterback. But Trubisky was slated to be the Bears’ starter from the beginning. He knew his role from the get-go.
Also, as decent as Trubisky’s numbers were in Chicago, isn’t decent a little underwhelming for the number two pick in the draft, which Trubisky was in 2017? Yes, Trubisky’s numbers were better than the stats Rudolph put up during his four seasons as Ben Roethlisberger’s understudy—61.5 completion percentage, 2,366 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions—but Rudolph never had a whole offseason where he was given a legitimate chance to compete for the starting job. Rudolph was thrust into the starting role in Week 2 of the 2019 season after Roethlisberger was lost for the year with an elbow injury. Rudolph was again thrust into the role last November in a game against the Lions at Heinz Field mere hours after Roethlisberger was declared “out” with COVID. And as far as being Roethlisberger’s understudy, I’m not so sure studying under Passive-Aggressive Ben and maybe even Big Bully Ben was the best way for Rudolph to learn anything.
As for Pickett’s experience? What’s the point of even including that since, you know, he’s a rookie?
What about toughness?
Trubisky is just so darn nice. If you’re a dude who drives a Dodge Ram pickup truck and likes to aggressively tailgate the person in front of you, you might fancy yourself as a tough guy. Do you want some nice guy, some pushover, some beta male, leading the Steelers?
And don’t even get me started on Pickett’s baby hands. Who could ever take those tiny mittens seriously? He’s like the nameless henchman in Goldmember; he’s got no chance.
Mason Rudolph, on the other hand, was smacked in the head with his own helmet by Myles Garrett in 2019 but kept going after Garrett, kind of like the Terminator or Rocky. This was the same season that Rudolph was concussed by a vicious shot to the head by Earl Thomas and only missed a little time. And how could we forget the fact that Rudolph survived the year-long fetish the fans had for some guy named Duck?
Now, that’s toughness.
I believe I’ve made a strong enough case for Rudolph and why I will be firmly rooting for Team Mason during training camp this summer.
I’d advise you to get on board before it’s too late. Mason Rudolph will be the Steelers starting quarterback in 2022. If you want to root for the other two chumps, don’t say I didn’t warn you.