It’s the week of the quarterback here at cover32 and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been blessed with two all-time-greats at the position in Ben Roethlisberger and Terry Bradshaw.
But who is the team’s all-time best?
Well, let’s compare.
If you’re Roethlisberger, it’s tough to go against Bradshaw’s resume of four Super Bowl wins and a bust in Canton, but hey, Ben’s resume is well on it’s way to being Hall of Fame worthy as well.
But those four Super Bowls—man that’s tough to beat. The only other quarterback to have four Super Bowl wins is San Francisco 49ers great Joe Montana.
That’s some rare and elite company.
But let’s not forget that Roethlisberger has three Super Bowl appearances of his own, winning two of them.
But Bradshaw has two Super Bowl MVPs under his belt whereas Roethlisberger has yet to earn that award.
Super Bowl advantage: Bradshaw (obviously)
So now let’s take a look at statistics. It’s cruelly unfair to put Bradshaw up against Roethlisberger in this category because the NFL has changed so much—with much more emphasis being placed on offense.
But there are some things that we can compare. Let’s start with touchdown-to-interception ratio.
In his 14-year career, Bradshaw threw for 212 touchdowns. But he also threw for 210 interceptions.
So far in Roethlisberger’s 10 seasons he’s thrown for 219 touchdowns and only 122 interceptions.
We don’t really have to run the math here, Roethlisberger is the much more efficient quarterback.
Let’s take a look now at quarterback rating.
I’m willing to give Bradshaw a 10-point handicap in this category to adjust for today’s NFL compared to the NFL that was being played in Bradshaw’s era. And because Roethlisberger’s career isn’t finished and I would have to assume his QB rating when his career is finished would be a bit lower than it is now.
Bradshaw’s career QB rating: 80.9 (with the 10-point handicap).
Roethlisberger’s QB rating (so far): 92.6
But, wait Quinton. Are you sure a 10 point handicap is enough?
Well, let’s take a look at Bradshaw’s contemporaries. Roger Staubach’s career quarterback rating is 83.4 before the 10-point handicap.
Fran Tarkenton’s QB rating is 80.4 before the handicap and Ken Stabler’s is 75.3.
I rest my case.
Statistical advantage: Roethlisberger
Now, the next category is tougher to determine because Roethlisberger’s career isn’t over yet.
But then how could you compare Super Bowls?
Well, the main factor is that Bradshaw has a perfect record and has won four in 14 years.
That gives Roethlisberger four more years to win two more Super Bowls—and he’d still have to win MVP in both of them to catch Bradshaw in that category.
To me that seems like a stretch.
But what about who is the better winner?
For this category we’re going to look at each player’s first 10 years in the league to compare.
In his first 10 years, Bradshaw played in 119 regular-season games winning 83 of them—or 69.7 percent.
In Roethlisberger’s first 10 years, he’s played in 142 games winning 95 of them—or 66.9 percent.
Roethlisberger made the playoffs six times in his first 10 seasons with a record of 10-4 (71.4%).
Bradshaw made the playoffs eight times in his first 10 seasons with a record of 13-4 (76.5%).
Winning advantage: Bradshaw.
Final verdict: Bradshaw
While it was closer than I thought it was going to be, there’s no denying that the Pittsburgh Steelers have been blessed with gifted, winning players at the quarterback position.
It’s just that, for now, Terry Bradshaw is the best quarterback the Pittsburgh Steelers have ever drafted.
Bradshaw main photo credit: http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/