Five years after he retires, Ben Roethlisberger will give the Pittsburgh Steelers two quarterbacks who are first-ballot Hall of Famers. They will be the only franchise other than the Dallas Cowboys to have had multiple quarterbacks win multiple Super Bowls. Yet according to ESPN, they rank only 11th in the NFL during the Super Bowl era at the quarterback position.
“Consider that Roethlisberger and Bradshaw have more career touchdown passes (575) than all other Steelers player combined (527) in the Super Bowl era”, a recent article reads. “There’s a huge gap between those two and the next-best Steelers QB, which you could argue is Kordell Stewart”.
This is, unfortunately, a fair point. Every Steelers fan knows that the quarterback play between Bradshaw and Roethlisberger is pretty dreadful. It sure would have helped if they were smart enough to fit Dan Marino into the middle there. Surely that is not a sore subject.
Tommy Maddox had one decent year. Neil O’Donnell was solid enough, but left after five years. Bubby Brister had his moments, but threw more interceptions than touchdowns in Pittsburgh. Then there was Mark Malone. Cliff Stoudt, Dave Graham, Dick Shiner, Mike Tomczak…no.
That’s why the article argues that teams such as the New York Giants and the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl era overall rank higher at the quarterback position. The Bengals, for example, recently had Andy Dalton, who was preceded by Carson Palmer, with Jon Kitna before him. They had successful tenures with Boomer Esiason and especially Ken Anderson before that.
As for the Giants, of course you know Eli Manning, and Phil Simms as well. They had a brief successful period with Kerry Collins prior to Manning, and Jeff Hostetler helped them win one of their Super Bowls under Bill Parcells. They started the Super Bowl era with Fran Tarkenton.
But for the Steelers to not even place in the top 10 in overall play at the quarterback position, when the bulk of that time spans the careers of two Hall of Fame players, seems a bit questionable. Now, a team like the Cowboys or the Green Bay Packers, the case is easier to make. The San Francisco 49ers as well. Tom Brady alone probably puts the Patriots in that conversation.
Fortunately, stuff like this really doesn’t matter, at all. All we can hope is that the Steelers don’t take as long to stumble upon their next Roethlisberger after their current Roethlisberger hangs it up, because the time in between the last one was a chore to get through.