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mesaSteeler
07-17-2009, 06:50 AM
Ben Roethlisberger; five years in is he better than Terry Bradshaw?
http://www.examiner.com/x-2703-Pittsburgh-Sports-Examiner~y2009m7d16-Ben-Roethlisberger--five-years-in-is-he-better-than-Terry-Bradshaw
Matt Pawlikowski

Pittsburgh Sports Examiner

An award-winning writer, Matt grew up in Western PA and has covered the Pittsburgh sports scene for over 15 years, including a Steelers beat the past nine years.

Western Pennsylvania has been a mecca for quarterbacks since the 1950's when it comes to the NFL.

George Blanda, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, John Unitas, Jim Kelly and Joe Namath are all in the Hall of Fame.

The Steelers on the other hand have always been known for its running game. Bill Dudley, Franco Harris, Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker.

But now that Ben Roethlisberger has garnered his second Super Bowl ring in just five years, the question is not who is the greatest quarterback to come out of the Western Pa. area, but who is the best Steeler quarterback of All-time.

Is it Big Ben or Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw? At this juncture you have to give those kudos to Bradshaw because he not only is in the HOF, he still is the career passing leader for the Steelers and also has four Lombardi's to his name.

But after Roethlisberger's performance in Super Bowl XLIII the debate has begun.

So just how do you make a comparison of the two at this point? It is simple, by taking a look at what the two did their first five years.

Roethlisberger currently ranks seventh all-time in NFL passer rating (89.4) and yards per attempt (7.86) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 1500 career attempts. Bradshaw's career rating was 70.9, with his highest an 88.o rating in 1978.

As a rookie, Roethlisberger went 130 in the regular season (14-1 including playoffs) as a starting quarterback, helping the Steelers become the first AFC team to have 15 wins. It set a record for rookie NFL quarterback.

Bradshaw on the other hand did not became a starter until one year after he was drafted in 1970. His first campaign, he had just six touchdowns and 24 interceptions.

But in his second year, he threw the pass which is Pittsburgh lore, as it began a new era in Steeler football, a torch that Roethlisberger carries on today.

That pass? The "Immaculate Reception".

In his first five seasons, Roethlisberger has a record of 58-22 as a starter, and has gone 8-2 in the playoffs. He has thrown for 101 touchdowns and 69 interceptions to go along with 14,974 yards.

Bradshaw, who was occasionally benched for his play, had just 42 touchdowns and 81 interceptions along with 7,524 yards. But he was 4-2 in the playoffs.

An interesting thing about Bradshaw was that during his career, he passed for more than 300 yards in a game only seven times,

But three of those performances came in post-season play, two of them in Super Bowls. In four career Super Bowls he passed for 932 yards and nine touchdowns,which were both Super Bowl records at the time of his retirement.

Thus far Big Ben already has seven career 300 yard passing games, but only one has come in the playoffs.

Still, there has been no other quarterback to rack up as many wins (52) as Roethlisberger has had in his first five years. Not poster child Tom Brady (48), not Otto Graham (48), not Dan Marino (48) or even John Elway, who had 46.

Yes, five years into his career Roethlisberger is ahead of Bradshaw statistically speaking. But to say he is better than Bradshaw after five years is unfair.

One need remember this.

When Bradshaw was drafted by the Steelers, they were a horrendous team and in the process of building for the future. He was part of that foundation. The passing game rules were also different, and QB's ratings reflected that.

Roethlisberger on the other hand came into a situation where the team had a number of core players and the talent to win.

It's way too early to say he if he is better than Bradshaw, but one can definitely say he is to the Steelers now, what Bradshaw was to them in the 1970's.

Dino 6 Rings
07-17-2009, 07:27 AM
Still can't believe it took us what? 30 Years to draft a QB in the First Round again. Seriously.

BlastFurnace
07-17-2009, 07:34 AM
I think Mark Malone was a First Rounder in 1980.

I'm willing to say that Ben's first 5 years were better than Terry's first 5 years. As far as the best Steelers QB of all time, not yet.

mesaSteeler
07-17-2009, 07:37 AM
I think Mark Malone was a First Rounder in 1980.

I'm willing to say that Ben's first 5 years were better than Terry's first 5 years. As far as the best Steelers QB of all time, not yet.

I agree since I seem remember Steeler fans cheering at a home game when Bradshaw got injured. Big Ben has had it a lot easier than Terry did.

mmalone
07-17-2009, 08:07 AM
I think Mark Malone was a First Rounder in 1980.

I'm willing to say that Ben's first 5 years were better than Terry's first 5 years. As far as the best Steelers QB of all time, not yet.

If Ben gets the back-to-back this year... plays a great season. he will be #1 in the steelers books... he is a play maker...

RoethlisBURGHer
07-17-2009, 08:23 AM
While I am a huge Ben fan...Bradshaw is still the man.

Ben won't be the man to some people unless he wins five Super Bowls.

For some, it will just take getting to the top of the other statistical categories.

For me, I have learned to separate the two. They played in two different eras of football, much less two different eras of Steelers football.

Bradshaw will forever be #1. The first QB to win four Super Bowls. The first QB in Steelers history to win a playoff game.

But soon, Bradshaw will be 1a in my book with Big Ben 1b. But until that day, it's Bradshaw #1 and Ben #2.

fansince'76
07-17-2009, 08:38 AM
Still can't believe it took us what? 30 Years to draft a QB in the First Round again. Seriously.

After taking Malone in the first in '80, I can understand why the FO was gun shy about it.

tucker6
07-17-2009, 09:29 AM
After taking Malone in the first in '80, I can understand why the FO was gun shy about it.

Considering how few 1st rd QB's ever pan out to be franchise QB's, we're lucky to have drafted two of them. The NFL network did the top ten QB's drafted 1st in the 1st rd the other day, and the list was getting kinda rancid towards #10. Eli was on that list if that means anything to you.

BlastFurnace
07-17-2009, 10:09 AM
If Ben gets the back-to-back this year... plays a great season. he will be #1 in the steelers books... he is a play maker...

Not in my book. Until Ben get's ring #5, no Steeler QB will surpass Bradshaw.

Keep in mind, Bradshaw called all his own plays, played in a more difficult era for a QB, and was every bit of a winner as Ben.

mmalone
07-17-2009, 11:26 AM
Not in my book. Until Ben get's ring #5, no Steeler QB will surpass Bradshaw.

Keep in mind, Bradshaw called all his own plays, played in a more difficult era for a QB, and was every bit of a winner as Ben.

i know i have been watching steel football since 1968 .. it has been an awesome road to watch... Bradshaw did have swann, stallworth, webster, franco and blier, plus a good OL.

One thing for sure, he didnt have the rules of today to protect him.

its a tough call. but i really feel ben is in control of this offense over everything else, he has to be.

where bradshaw had a great cast of support....

i can feel bens hits each year.... and he still comes back.

its a toss up... bradshaw was tough as nails too.

its great to be a steeler fan. hopefully ben gets 2 more rings.

WeegiesWarriors
07-17-2009, 12:08 PM
Keep in mind, Bradshaw called all his own plays, played in a more difficult era for a QB, and was every bit of a winner as Ben.

That right there does it for me... basically Bradshaw was an offensive coordinator during the game. Granted... there might have only been 5-10 plays he chose from, but he gets credit for being a QB who called his own plays. Plus in Bradshaw's first 7-8 years DBs could mug WRs. Bradshaw's numbers started ballooning once the initial PI rules were changed.

But did that article state Bradshaw had 6 TDs and 24 INTs his first season as a starter????? OUCH! In today's NFL he wouldn't have seen year 3. Bradshaw could have turned Ryan Leaf on everybody. It's amazing how things work out for individuals.

Psyychoward86
07-17-2009, 12:19 PM
He's in contention. But we have to see Ben play more in the playoffs and deeper into his career to decide. A lot of people think Bradshaw was overrated because he had horrendous regular season stats. But the thing to notice is that in all 4 of his superbowl wins, Terry never posted a QB rating under 101.9. Nobody likes a choker, and choking is something Bradshaw didnt do.

triphahn
07-17-2009, 12:42 PM
He's in contention. But we have to see Ben play more in the playoffs and deeper into his career to decide. A lot of people think Bradshaw was overrated because he had horrendous regular season stats. But the thing to notice is that in all 4 of his superbowl wins, Terry never posted a QB rating under 101.9. Nobody likes a choker, and choking is something Bradshaw didnt do.

Kind of the same for Ben. Remember mid point of last season some were talking about giving Leftwich the start. Our offense stunk and Tomlin called Ben in. Course the superbowl win makes us forget about that. Play their best games when it counts.

CanadianSteel
07-17-2009, 12:44 PM
Bradshaw was money in the big games, and Ben is haeding along the same path.
I wont put Ben above # 12 at this point but its going to be one hell of a ride with #7 the next few years...

OneForTheToe
07-17-2009, 12:52 PM
But which one is a better country singer (or actor)
.:noidea:

stillers4me
07-17-2009, 04:46 PM
But which one is a better country singer (or actor)
.:noidea:

I'd rather see Ben in the nekkid room than Terry.................:wink02:

JackHammer
07-17-2009, 06:25 PM
Roethlisberger on the other hand came into a situation where the team had a number of core players and the talent to win.


Good read. I'm not much for these kind of comparisons but it's interesting nonetheless. I don't agree with the idea of taking away from what Ben has accomplished because he came into a better situation. 14-1 has a lot to do with the team, but as WE all know, big plays at big times by BIG BEN led us to many of those victories. He ALWAYS came up with the big play when we needed it most. He made Faneca and doubters alike eat their words a number of times. Now way in hell does water buffalo Maddox lead us to a 15-1 season, let alone get us to an AFCCG only to get beat by cheating pieces of $hit.

What he did that year was VERY impressive, especially when you remember how EVERYONE was doubting him EVERY WEEK of that season. They always said this is the week the rookie's streak ends blah blah blah. Now all of sudden we should minimize what was once considered the impossible???? I'm gonna call bullshit on that one. He was great that year any way you cut it.


Bradshaw is still the king of the hill AFAIC, but if we're talking about the first 5 seasons it's not even close. Big Ben wins that battle hands down. I mean we're talking all time PERIOD when it comes to Ben's first five seasons. It's also worth mentioning that Ben took a car to the face in those first 5 seasons. It'll be interesting to see how Ben stacks up to TB when it's all said and done. If he keeps up this pace though, it won't even be close. It's hard to keep that kind of pace but betting against Big Ben has never been very smart.

Steelerfreak58
07-18-2009, 01:54 AM
Until Ben has 4 Rings there is no comparison. TB has done more and did more for the Steelers period. Dont get me wrong I would love to see Ben with a few more rings and when that happens the debate is wide open for discussion until then TB is the greatest Steeler QB ever in my book. Ben has plenty of talent and time on his side to obliterate all of the QB records and if he does that he can simply eliminate the debate points.

Its a great time to be a Steelers fan we deserve it I consider it payback for having to put up with the dismal 1980's and the heartbreaking 90's.:tt03:

Preacher
07-18-2009, 02:26 AM
Until Ben has 4 Rings there is no comparison. TB has done more and did more for the Steelers period. Dont get me wrong I would love to see Ben with a few more rings and when that happens the debate is wide open for discussion until then TB is the greatest Steeler QB ever in my book. Ben has plenty of talent and time on his side to obliterate all of the QB records and if he does that he can simply eliminate the debate points.

Its a great time to be a Steelers fan we deserve it I consider it payback for having to put up with the dismal 1980's and the heartbreaking 90's.:tt03:
That's a bit unfair as I think the article was discussing the first 5 years. truth be known, Bradshaw SUCKED in the beginning of his career. Ben has outshined him. However, that middle 6 year period? WOW. That is the big test.

So right now comparing careers, I'll take Ben. But he REALLY has to dial it up to compete in the next 6 year period.

Hopefully, he will!! And I agree with you in the second half, Ben sure does have the talent.

Galax Steeler
07-18-2009, 06:01 AM
This is something that could be debated for a long time. I think Terry was a man in his time and Ben in his own time. One thing is for sure I would take either one of them anyday.

LambertLunatic
07-18-2009, 06:29 AM
Until Ben has 4 Rings there is no comparison.

If the number of rings is the standard of comparison, you'd have to say that Trent Dilfer was a better QB than Dan Marino, since he (Dilfer) has a ring and Marino doesn't.

I agree that it's impossible to compare players from different eras, but I think it's fair to say that Ben has more of an impact on the team than Bradshaw did. Bradshaw was hurt and missed 6 games during the '76 season. The Steelers won all 6 of those games, and with a MUCH worse backup QB than Batch or Leftwich. Does anyone here really believe that we could win 6 straight without Ben?

mmalone
07-18-2009, 10:38 AM
. The Steelers won all 6 of those games, and with a MUCH worse backup QB than Batch or Leftwich. Does anyone here really believe that we could win 6 straight without Ben?

Dixon in and Arians out we could do it... :-)

LambertIsGod58
07-18-2009, 05:12 PM
I don't know that I can really give a definitive opinion either way. I mean, Bradshaw was in and out of the starting line up all of the first 5 years. Guys like "Jefferson Street", Hanratty and Kruckzek getting their opportunities. But with that said, the "Mel Blount" rule didn't come into play until '78. Then Bradshaw tore it up winning the league MVP. The thread is about the first 5 years. They both have two rings after that time. Both had great defenses to rely on as well. I'd say it's a toss up. I think it's unfair to Ben to say that Brad was better......b/c the people saying that are basing Brad's entire career. Ben still has many more years ahead of him. Apples to apples here folks.

steel striker
07-18-2009, 07:05 PM
It is still early to tell and, Ben did come into a pretty good team here. Now has proven he is a winner and, I'm gald his our qb. Terry was a big game qb and, I don't think anyone can question that. Ben makes big plays and drives when we need him to. Plus name a qb alive or dead that would have made THE TACKLE against the colts in the 2005 div playoff game? The answer is only Ben. Plus like Bradshaw the only thing Ben cares about is winning throw stats out the window.

slashsteel
07-18-2009, 08:47 PM
Ben is better out of the gates obviously. But Terry had 4SBsUntil reaches that landmark. It's Terry. But let Ben win two more and it's hands down Ben for me......

STEELAMANIA
07-19-2009, 03:38 PM
Bradshaw did'nt get any playmakers till 2 seasons later with Harris, and after 4 years, he got Swann and Stallworth who really didn't get to par till the 76 and 77 seasons...

When Ben got drafted, all the weapons were there except a qb, which he was the heir apparent.

The_WARDen
07-20-2009, 09:25 AM
At the 5 year mark, Ben is better. Check again at the 10 year mark...

BlastFurnace
07-20-2009, 09:29 AM
At the end of Ben's career, at worst they will be 1 and 1A. You couldn't go wrong with either one.

The_WARDen
07-20-2009, 09:34 AM
At the end of Ben's career, at worst they will be 1 and 1A. You couldn't go wrong with either one.

couldn't agree more...it's like deciding between Jessica Biel and Jessica Alba. In the end, does it really matter?