Why Kenny Pickett might never be enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers, Kenny Pickett
Steelers, Kenny Pickett / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Pickett is the future of the Steelers franchise at quarterback. However, entering only his 2nd season, lingering questions have arisen, specifically by ESPN, as to whether he is destined to be the quarterback for the Steelers for the next decade or more. However, there is another lingering question Will Kenny Pickett ever be enough for the Steelers?

In Pickett’s debut game against the Jets, he had his initial problems and threw three interceptions off the bench but seemed impressive despite his mistakes. Nevertheless, he still made rookie mistakes through the bye week. After the bye week, Pickett took off and, in the last half of the season, only lost two games.

While Pickett did have a decent rookie season, it’s still understandable why ESPN still may question his future at quarterback with the Steelers. The Steelers never quite got away from the problem of putting up points in the first half and often had to play catch-up in the 2nd half. Some of that could be blamed on Matt Canada, though. 

Nevertheless, Matt Canada will return this season, thus the question most ask is will Pickett will mature and grow as needed in his 2nd season with Canada at the Helm of the offense. Considering the Steelers team improvements in 2023 have been aimed at rushing, not passing. That question is debatable, but there is another question ESPN overlooked: Will Kenny Pickett ever be enough for the Steelers?

Why Kenny Pickett might never be enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers

When the Steelers drafted Kenny Pickett, he obviously had huge shoes to fill in that the Steelers drafted him to be the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger. Steelers fans had been spoiled up to the date he retired. He had played for 18 seasons and appeared in three Superbowls for the Steelers, winning two and losing one to the Green Bay Packers.

With that, He has the 4th most passing yards in a career, 64,088, 5th most total touchdowns,418; tied for third in game-winning drives, 53 and has the 3rd most 4th quarter comebacks with 41. Until the Steelers drafted Big Ben, all previous Steelers quarterbacks since 1983 had been measured by the success of Terry Bradshaw. It took 21 seasons for the Steelers to find a quarterback to cement his own legacy beyond that of Terry Bradshaw.

The trap Kenny Pickett finds himself in is how he can be the Steelers new franchise quarterback and not stay in the shadow of Ben Roethlisberger. That will not be easy when the guy you’re replacing is arguably one of the top 10 quarterbacks of all time. Can he carve out a legacy for himself and give the fans what they want?

He can, but his path there will not be easy. His saving grace is that he will not need to play 18 seasons as Big Ben did but will need to find some success. If he can continue to improve and remain the Steelers starter for the next decade will help. While he won't necessarily have to surpass Big Ben’s passing records, he must do two more things.

He needs to find consistency in the regular season and lead the Steelers to several seasons with 10-plus victories each season. Also, he will need to have some success in the playoffs. Ultimately any playoff success must culminate with one or two Superbowl victories during his career with the Steelers. Could he do that? We will have to wait and see.

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While Pickett could and may have a great career with the Steelers it will still take several seasons for him to do everything he needs to prevent fans from bringing up the Big Ben comparisons. Especially those elusive championships. Until he can do that, fans will keep reminding him “Well Big Ben won us two titles; when are you going to Kenny?”