Mitch Trubisky joined the Steelers at 28 years old, already a few years removed from his best season and after sitting on the Buffalo Bills bench for a year. He was looking for a fresh start on a team that was willing to give him a chance while they developed a young quarterback. While not identical, that situation is similar to Charlie Batch joining the Steelers back in 2002. Batch lost his starting job in Detroit and signed with the Steelers, then sat on the bench for a year before seeing the field as the Steelers backup quarterback. Charlie Batch would end up being Ben Roethlisberger’s backup quarterback for the first nine years of his career.
While some fans wanted Charlie Batch to start over Tommy Maddox, and at times over Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch adapted from being a starter to being a backup and was a part of two Super Bowl winning teams, starting and winning two games in the 2005 season. Those two wins were necessary for the Steelers to make the playoffs, and they would end up winning the Super Bowl as the 6th seed. Batch is probably best remembered at this point for his 2012 victory over the Ravens who were on their way to a Super Bowl win.
The point is that when the NFL decided Charlie Batch wasn’t a starting quarterback, he stuck around and still played a very important role in the development of Ben Roethlisberger who has consistently given Batch credit for his influence on Roethlisberger’s development, but also played in and won key games for the Steelers.
One of the things that has been talked about with Mitch Trubisky is his willingness to be that kind of a figure for Kenny Pickett, and with Trubisky signing an extension with the Steelers, it looks like he has embraced the job of being a backup as well. Trubisky already has a history coming off the bench for the Steelers as well, winning two of the three games he played significant time replacing Kenny Pickett. If the Steelers are going to make a playoff push in 2023, and if they are going to grow into a team that wins playoff games and competes for a Super Bowl in the near future, they are going to need Mitch Trubisky to come in and win games. Ben Roethlisberger only had three seasons in his Hall of Fame worthy career where he started every game, Kenny Pickett’s backup will play for the Steelers, and those games will matter.
So while Mitch Trubisky isn’t the guy Steelers fans want starting, and it is tempting to say the Steelers shouldn’t be paying him as much as they are if he isn’t going to start, the Steelers recognize that the backup quarterback is a critical part of the success of a team, especially a team relying on a young starting quarterback. His extension keeps him here in Pittsburgh longer and makes it harder to get out of paying him if they wanted to. The Steelers have found their Charlie Batch for their new young quarterback, and while we don’t know if Trubisky will be a Steeler for as long as Charlie Batch was, for the near future, at least, the backup quarterback job appears to be in good hands.
History tells us that matters.