Mark Malone signaled the start of an overall dark period for the team
Mark Malone was drafted at the tail-end of the first round in 1980. Many speculated that Terry Bradshaw might have been pushed out sooner rather than later because of this move. It was also a different era at that time and many rookies took a year or more until they gained significant playing time, especially at the quarterback position.
After Bradshaw officially retired in 1984, there was a quarterback competition open between Malone and David Woodley for the top job. They would end up nearly splitting those duties for that season before Malone would become the main starter following the 1985 campaign. It was not all rainbows and butterflies for this starting quarterback, but it wasn't all bad either.
Other than a couple of average to above-average records with Malone at the helm, the Steelers were mostly an unsuccessful franchise during his time. He produced a lot of turnovers that went against the team with 68 interceptions that he threw during his time in Pittsburgh. He was mostly a backup who was asked for too much of a role in this club.
His best moment as the starter for the black and gold was the playoff upset that he helped pull off against the Denver Broncos and John Elway in the 1984 playoffs. Malone just wasn't good enough to be a starter in the NFL and should not have commanded that title in Pittsburgh for as long as he did. The Steelers were mostly losers during his era.