Which Steelers jerseys should be permanently retired?

Jack Ham #59 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Jack Ham #59 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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Steelers Terry Bradshaw  (Photo by Sylvia Allen/Getty Images) /

#12 Terry Bradshaw

What is there to say about Terry Bradshaw that you have not already heard. Chuck Noll, after drafting Joe Greene in 1969, the player he felt was the best player period in the NFL draft needed a quarterback. Plus, the Steelers ended up with the number one pick heading into 1970 after having the fourth selection in 1969.

His early career was a bit shaky. In 1974 Chuck Noll benched him until the middle of the season. Bradshaw’s benching seemingly proved to be the catalyst needed to light a fire under him. The Steelers won the Superbowl in 1974. Then led the Steelers to three more Superbowl titles in the next five years. At the same time, he finished his career with 27,898 passing yards and 212 touchdowns.

Bradshaw finally retired in 1983 after he re-injured his elbow. Upon his retirement, the Steelers have not used his jersey number since. However, the Steelers have not chosen to retire it permanently. It should be retired, though.  Given Bradshaw was the first quarterback to lead the Steelers to not one title but four in six years, no other quarterback has achieved that, not even Tom Brady. Granted Bradshaw’s stats are not on par with Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, or Tom Brady. Bradshaw was a prolific passer for his era, especially since the rules for defensive backs did not change until 1978.

The argument for not retiring it could be that Ben Roethlisberger is nearing the end of his career. He has maybe 2-5 years remaining before he hangs it up for good. It seems unlikely the Steelers will use number 7 any time soon when he does retire. Plus, he will end his career as the Steelers all-time passing leader. If he wins another title or two yet before he does, one could make a case to retire Big Ben’s jersey and put Bradshaw’s number back into circulation.