Through the 88 seasons of Pittsburgh Steelers’ football, the black and gold have been fortunate enough to appear in eight Super Bowls, which is tied for second all-time with the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos, and sits three behind the New England Patriots with 11.
In seven of those eight appearances, the Steelers trotted out Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw for four appearances and future first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for three of them. The two combined to win six Super Bowls and easily sit among the greats of the game at the position.
Knowing that the two combined to play in seven Super Bowls and winning six, it piqued my interest to see NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal take a crack at ranking the Super Bowl QBs throughout NFL history Wednesday morning, adding Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow and Los Angeles’ Matthew Stafford to the list.
Despite winning two Super Bowls and holding down a spot in the top 5 at the position for roughly a decade, Roethlisberger fell outside the top 10 in Rosenthal’s all-time Super Bowl QBs ranking, clocking in at No. 14, behind the likes of Minnesota’s Fran Tarkenton (0-3 in Super Bowls), Steve Young (1-0) and Drew Brees (1-0) — both of whom appeared in two less Super Bowls than he did in his Hall of Fame career.
For what it’s worth, Rosenthal has Roethlisberger inside the “In (or should be in) the Hall of Fame” category for his rankings.
“Roethlisberger was a top-five quarterback for the better part of his career, especially after his second Super Bowl triumph (following the 2008 season),” Rosenthal writes. “I’m not going to ding him for not being Brady in his late 30s.”
As for Bradshaw, the Steelers’ Hall of Fame quarterback comes in at No. 16 in Rosenthal’s rankings, obviously finishing behind Roethlisberger, but also guys like Dallas’s Roger Staubach (2-2 in Super Bowls), Green Bay’s Bart Starr (2-0), Dallas’s Troy Aikman (3-0) and even Denver’s John Elway (2-3).
For a guy with a 4-0 record and tied for the second-most Super Bowl trophies of all-time at the position, he should be much, much higher than No. 16 overall in Rosenthal’s rankings.
“Bradshaw wasn’t great in the seasons preceding his first two Super Bowl triumphs, but he wound up being a league MVP and finishing in the top five in yards per attempt five times,” Rosenthal writes.
It’s certainly worth noting that in the four Super Bowl wins, Bradshaw was a combined 49-for-84 (58.3%) passing for 932 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions, throwing for 300+ yards in back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 1978 and 1979 against the Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams. Bradshaw even added 14 carries for 53 yards in his four appearances.
He should be higher on the Super Bowl QB list, full stop.
For what it’s worth, Neil O’Donnell, who was the starting QB for the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, ranks No. 52 on Rosenthal’s Super Bowl QBs ranking out of 65 total QBs, edging out the likes of Chicago’s Jim McMahon and Washington’s Doug Williams.