Steelers fans love a good debate, and the Ben Roethlisberger vs. Terry Bradshaw discussion is as juicy as it gets.
Perhaps Steelers fans are bored, or more aptly put, the sporting media is so desperate for content in our current COVID-19-dominated lives that they’ll do pretty much anything to keep the presses rolling. In either case, I’ve heard considerable rumblings lately as former Steelers greats and media members alike chime with their opinion as to who should be viewed as the greatest Steelers quarterback of all time.
The choice is simple. You either select Terry Bradshaw due to his 4 Super Bowl rings and two Super Bowl MVP awards, or you choose Big Ben Roethlisberger due to his two rings, his three trips to the big game, and a stat line that far exceeds Bradshaw’s. Right? It’s that simple.
Or is it?
Can any of us possibly compare players from different generations? The rules changes over several decades favor Roethlisberger, while those same rules allowed Bradshaw’s Steel Curtain defense to dominate foes on a level we’ve not seen for a full decade by any team since. How do the rosters that both men played with factor into their personal greatness? What about the “clutch” factor? Who came up biggest in the biggest games?
Recently, Terry Bradshaw himself stated that Big Ben is the best Steelers QB of all time, yet on the heels of that statement, Rod Woodson stepped forward and claimed that the best is Bradshaw, though Woodson’s reasoning was odd, to say the least.
There is no data set that levels the playing field in a debate like this. It’s all about what you know in your gut. That said, I have done my best to break down the argument for each into four categories:
- Rings, rings, rings. Would Tom Brady be mentioned as the GOAT without his rings? Probably not. Championships hold weight.
- Stats. A QB’s productivity directly correlates to his team’s success. Let’s see how Ben and Bradshaw match up.
- Supporting cast. How have the players around each QB impacted their success in the win column, not to mention their stats?
- The “Clutch” factor. Who stepped up most when it mattered most?
Let’s start the discussion and see where it leads us.