By Adam Rank
DALLAS — The race for top quarterback in Steelers history is a two-person race. If it is even that close. But trying to fill those last four spots, that is where you earn your money. Without further ado, here are the top six quarterbacks in Steelers history.
Oh, and if you threw a pair of game-crippling interceptions to cost your team a Super Bowl, you probably won’t make the list. (Although, that criteria will probably not be used if we ever count down greatest Colts quarterbacks.)
6. Bubby Brister
Then newly-minted Steelers coach Bill Cowher decided to go with Neil O’Donnell over Brister. Cowher chose wrong. Bubby doesn’t mop up for anybody.
5. Tommy Maddox
You can say what you will about Touchdown Tommy, but as a former L.A. Xtreme season-ticket holder, Maddox is not given enough credit for being the only person in football history to have a Super Bowl ring and be selected as MVP of the XFL’s Million Dollar Game.
4. Bobby Layne
Sure, he’s going to be remembered for his time with the Lions. But consider that the Steelers did not have a winning season from 1949 until he joined the team in 1958. Layne had a 27-22-2 record in five seasons with the Steelers, which might be more impressive than winning a Super Bowl, at least during those tough times in Pittsburgh.
3. Kordell Stewart
Probably not given the credit for being the quarterback that he was, but as “Slash” he was a man ahead of his time. You have to wonder how good Stewart could have been in the current NFL offenses.
2. Ben Roethlisberger
Esteemed NFL.com analyst Dave Dameshek believes that Roethlisberger tops this list, but a shabby showing in Super Bowl XL is the only thing keeping him from the top spot. But I do echo Hines Ward sentiment that Roethlisberger is among the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. In fact, I might put him at No. 1 among active quarterbacks… but still not the all-time Steelers great.
1. Terry Bradshaw
Bradshaw is the leader in the clubhouse right now, but he’s holding a very slim lead with Roethlisberger tearing up the back nine like a vintage Tiger Woods. The Steelers were a running team, yet Bradshaw still managed to be a two-time Super Bowl MVP. Another solid outing by Roethlisberger on Sunday renews this discussion.