In a earlier article, I wrote about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky and the probabilities of shedding his job to rookie Kenny Pickett. In week two of the NFL season, the Steelers misplaced to the New England Patriots in Pittsburgh’s season house opener. Many followers have been chanting “We wish Kenny” as Trubisky had his second straight mediocre recreation.
As Ben Roethlisberger retired after the 2021 season, it was the primary time since Terry Bradshaw’s ultimate season in 1983 that the Steelers have been confronted with changing a real “franchise” quarterback and discovering the following nice sign caller.
In some methods, Mitch Trubisky is starting to remind me of former Steelers quarterback Mark Malone. Malone was the inheritor obvious to Bradshaw however turned out to be simply a mean quarterback whose performances have been usually so abysmal that followers turned on him. I can clearly recall driving round Pittsburgh throughout Malone’s tenure and seeing an effigy of the Pittsburgh quarterback hanging from a neighborhood bridge. That’s how a lot he was disliked.
Mark Malone is perhaps probably the most unfavorable quarterback within the Steelers’ historical past. Now it’s Mitch Trubisky who whereas solely having performed two video games for the Steelers up to now, has not proven any indicators of being “particular” in any manner. In contrast to Malone who didn’t have somebody behind him with potential “star high quality” as Kenny Pickett does, his job was by no means at risk due to who was carrying the clipboard for him.
That’s not the case for Trubisky who can be on the new seat if his play doesn’t enhance and accomplish that rapidly. After week two Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin preached endurance with the Pittsburgh offense however losses will play a significant half in making a change at quarterback.
As for attempting to switch the legends at quarterback for the Steelers, an injured Terry Bradshaw in 1983 which turned out to be his ultimate yr created the chance for Cliff Stoudt to take over. Stoudt was drafted the identical yr as Mark Malone however head coach Chuck Noll opted to go together with Stoudt and never Malone who was drafted with Pittsburgh’s first selection in 1980 28th total.
Stoudt and the Steelers completed 10-6 that yr and received the then AFC Central Division solely to get hammered by the Raiders within the divisional playoff spherical 38-10. Stoudt had a reasonably respectable marketing campaign throwing for two,553 yards and 12 touchdowns but additionally threw 21 interceptions and was sacked an eye-popping 51 occasions. He could be launched by the Steelers and be out of the NFL for the following two seasons till the St. Louis Cardinals introduced him onboard.
Stoudt’s launch paved the way in which for Mark Malone to take over in 1984. Malone did cut up a while with David Woodley with Malone getting 9 begins and Woodley seven. It’s unlucky that Malone didn’t discover the identical success all through his profession that he and the Steelers noticed in that first yr of Malone as a full-time starter.
In 1984, Pittsburgh completed 9-7 profitable the division once more after which defeated the Denver Broncos to succeed in the AFC championship recreation. There they misplaced to Pittsburgh native Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins 45-28 in what could be Marino’s solely Tremendous Bowl look. Paradoxically sufficient, the Steelers wished to draft Dan Marino who attended Central Catholic Excessive Faculty in Pittsburgh after which the College of Pittsburgh. However reportedly, Chuck Noll thought Bradshaw had a number of seasons left within the fuel tank due to this fact they handed on Marino.
Steelers followers usually surprise what would have been had Marino stayed house.
Contemporary off a really profitable season, in 1985 Malone’s decline started. The Steelers completed 7-9 and in third place in a division of 4 groups. Mark Malone began eight video games and David Woodley began in six. Even newcomer Scott Cambell noticed motion beginning two video games as he came visiting from the Atlanta Falcons however after the season by no means performed for the Steelers once more.
As for Malone that season, his completion proportion was simply 50.2% and his ultimate yardage passing was just one,428. His quarterback ranking was solely 75.5 however a lot better than Woodley’s 54.8. The following season in 1986 was even worse for the Steelers. With a 6-10 document, this was not the sort of season that Chuck Noll appreciated to endure.
Like Kenny Pickett this yr, Pittsburgh drafted one Bubby Brister within the third spherical of the 1986 NFL draft from Tulane College (La-Monroe). Noll began Brister in two video games however Mark Malone carried the majority of the snaps behind heart. Malone’s ranking was worse than from a season earlier than at 62.5. Malone additionally threw extra interceptions than touchdowns (18 to 15).
Nonetheless on the lookout for some backup to Malone, the Steelers introduced in veteran Steve Bono who began in three video games and carried out a lot better than the incumbent Malone. Brister was not prepared but to take over however in 1987 Malone bettered his interception fee from the season earlier than by throwing 19 extra whereas connecting on solely six touchdowns.
By the tip of the 1988 season, head coach Chuck Noll will need to have felt like he aged 30 years as he noticed his crew win solely 5 video games and lose 11. With a last-place end within the AFC Central Division, the Steelers have been far faraway from the successes of the 1970s. Noll had seen sufficient of Mark Malone and he ended up on the San Diego Chargers roster for the 1988 season earlier than signing with the New York Jets the place he performed in only one recreation in 1989.
With Mark Malone now not sporting Black and Gold a lot to the enjoyment of Steelers Nation, Chuck Noll handed the reigns over to Bubby Brister. In his first full season because the starter, Brister grew to become a fan favourite regardless of his stats not being that nice (2,634 passing yards, 14 picks, 11 touchdowns, 65.Three ranking).
In 1989 the Pittsburgh Steelers obtained off the shedding aspect by posting a 9-7 document which was solely adequate for third place of their division however it obtained them into the wild card spherical the place they defeated the Houston Oilers 26-23 however then misplaced an in depth recreation to Denver within the divisional spherical 24-23. Bubby Brister was changing into extra snug within the pocket and was enhancing slowly.
A season later Pittsburgh missed the playoffs once more repeating their 9-7 document as Chuck Noll was eying the tip of his teaching profession. The Steelers roster was diminished to simply two quarterbacks, Brister and Rick Strom. Strom was additionally a Pittsburgh native graduating from Fox Chapel Excessive Faculty however lasting simply three seasons within the NFL all with the Steelers.
Behind the quarterbacking of Bubby Brister, the Steelers completed 9-7 in 1990 however missed the playoffs. For Bubby Brister, he put in a reasonably good marketing campaign. With 2,275 yards passing and a ranking of 81.6, Brister threw for 20 touchdowns, seven of these to tight finish Eric Inexperienced. Brister had a completion proportion of 57.6 and began in all 16 video games.
Considering Brister is perhaps the following franchise quarterback, that wasn’t to be. That’s as a result of a participant named Neil O’Donnell got here alongside by way of the draft in 1990 within the third spherical out of the College of Maryland. O’Donnell took over for Brister and began eight of 12 video games he appeared in. In his eight begins, the brand new quarterback misplaced six of these eight video games. With a 7-9 document, Chuck Noll referred to as it a profession and moved from the sidelines into the entrance workplace for a place there as Invoice Cowher got here to city from Kansas Metropolis the place he was a defensive coordinator to switch Noll as head coach.
Invoice Cowher started his Corridor of Fame profession in the one head teaching place he would ever maintain. Cowher would stick with the Steelers for 15 years and in his rookie season he led the Steelers to a division title with an 11-5 document however misplaced to Buffalo within the opening spherical of the divisional playoffs to Buffalo.
With Neil O’Donnell firmly implanted because the starter, that marked the tip of Bubby Brister’s Pittsburgh Steelers profession. Except for Bradshaw and Roethlisberger, Neil O’Donnell could be the closest to Pittsburgh having one other franchise quarterback. Nonetheless, O’Donnell would final simply 5 seasons in Black and Gold earlier than shifting to the New York Jets, and Cincinnati Bengals for one season, and shutting out his profession in 2003 with the Tennessee Titans the place he would begin solely eight video games in 5 years.
Steelers followers, nonetheless, will keep in mind Neil O’Donnell principally for his efficiency in Tremendous Bowl XXX a recreation through which he threw two essential touchdowns that made the distinction within the Steelers’ 27-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. O’Donnell’s two awfully thrown interceptions to Larry Brown made Brown the sport’s M.V.P. despite the fact that he would by no means set up a strong NFL profession. After that loss, O’Donnell grew to become often called O’Dummy in Steelers Nation.
Sadly for Neil O’Donnell many Steelers followers consider he was wanting previous the Tremendous Bowl to changing into a free agent which he did and signed with the New York Jets. A lot to the glee of Steelers Nation, in his first season with the Inexperienced and White, the Jets completed 1-15. O’Donnell additionally suffered an harm however in his six begins, he was 0-6.
With O’Donnell now not on the crew, in his ultimate yr with the Steelers Invoice Cowher drafted a younger man within the 1995 draft named Kordell Stewart. Well-known on the College of Colorado for an unbelievable “Hail Mary” play, Stewart in time would grow to be merely often called “Slash.” That’s as a result of as a Steeler he was used as a working again/quarterback/huge receiver and even punted
As a rookie, Stewart began two video games however threw simply seven passes. 5 of these have been completions. Slash was a harmful runner although and in his NFL debut season, he ran the ball 15 occasions gaining 86 yards together with one landing. In 1993 Invoice Cowher introduced in former Bears, Browns, and Packers quarterback Mike Tomczak to backup Neil O’Donnell. Not pondering Kordell Stewart was prepared in 1996, Tomczak was handed the reigns and he began 15 video games because the crew completed 10-6 however misplaced to the Patriots within the divisional spherical.
The Steelers had three quarterbacks in 1996, Tomczak, Stewart, and Jim Miller. Miller left the crew the next season changed by Mike Quinn as Kordell Stewart received the beginning job over Mike Tomczak and him alongside along with his teammates obtained to the AFC title recreation the place they misplaced an in depth recreation to John Elway and the Denver Broncos 24-21. For Kordell Stewart, he was extra of a novelty regardless of placing collectively a profession yr in 1997. He completed with 3,020 yards passing, 21 landing passes and ran for one more 476 yards averaging 5.four yards-per-carry the crew’s greatest. Slash additionally added 11 touchdowns on the bottom.
What a distinction a yr makes as a result of the next season Pittsburgh completed 7-9 with Stewart because the starter. Slash would toss 18 interceptions whereas placing collectively simply 11 landing tosses. Like Chuck Noll earlier than him, Invoice Cowher had a second consecutive shedding season within the final yr of the 90s because the Steelers completed 6-10 and Kordell Stewart’s numbers continued to say no. He began in 12 of 16 video games whereas Mike Tomczak began within the different 5. Neither quarterback might generate a lot of a profitable document.
The Steelers obtained their document above .500 in 2000 however simply barely completed 9-7. Kordell Stewart managed to carry on to the beginning position however Kent Graham was introduced in from the New York Giants, however he was a nasty acquisition lasting only one season within the ‘Burgh. Graham did begin 5 video games and misplaced three of these. The Steelers have been beginning to look previous Slash and discover that subsequent quarterback that may be a gradual drive and be round for a very long time.
In 2001, Invoice Cowher caught with Kordell Stewart another time and he grew to become “Slash” once more throwing for 3,109 yards, finishing 60.2% of his passes, and working the ball for 537 yards on simply 96 carries. The Steelers obtained all the way in which to the AFC title recreation with a 13-Three document solely to lose to Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Tommy Maddox who was a bust with the Denver Broncos had been introduced onboard in 2000 after a strong profession within the Enviornment Soccer League and he pressured Kordell Stewart again to the bench and took over and was often called an actual “gunslinger.” The change to Maddox led to an entire new philosophy to Pittsburgh’s offense.
In his first full season because the Steelers’ beginning quarterback (2002), Maddox completed with a 7-3-1 document and a pair of,836 yards passing. His completion proportion was a pleasant 62.1 and he threw for 20 touchdowns. He was sacked solely 26 occasions and Kordell Stewart was returned to his position of Slash. However it will be the final time Steelers followers noticed Stewart in a Steelers uniform.
Stewart moved on to the Chicago Bears and began seven video games for them however in Pittsburgh, it was now the Tommy Maddox present and in his ultimate season as a starter with the Black and Gold, he and the Steelers ended up shedding 10 of 16 video games and Maddox whereas throwing for 3,414 yards, had 17 passes intercepted whereas hitting on solely 18 touchdowns tosses. He was additionally sacked 41 occasions. A brand new period was about to start in 2004.
2004 is a season for any Steelers fan that may not be forgotten. Earlier than the season started, the NFL draft occurred early within the yr and it grew to become often called the “quarterback draft.” That’s as a result of, within the first spherical, Eli Manning was the general primary choose for the league by the San Diego Chargers however as it’s well-known, he refused to play there and facilitated commerce to the New York Giants who a number of picks later chosen Phillip Rivers and the 2 groups exchanged picks.
With the 11th choose total in that 2004 draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers discovered the franchise quarterback they’d been on the lookout for for the reason that retirement of Terry Bradshaw. It was “Large Ben” Roethlisberger and the College of Miami (Ohio) product was miffed that he had been handed on by the earlier 10 groups. Not counting the Chargers and Giants who wished a QB as nicely, lacking out on the long run Corridor of Fame quarterback have been the Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Houston Texans.
A few of the entrance places of work for the aforementioned groups in addition to their respective fan bases in all probability kick themselves to today for not selecting Large Ben. The Raiders picked Robert Gallery who grew to become a bust. The Cardinals nonetheless landed one other Corridor of Famer in Larry Fitzgerald. The ‘Skins landed Sean Taylor, an amazing secondary participant who was tragically murdered.
However for the Cleveland Browns who’ve been ceaselessly searching for a franchise quarterback, their fan base was in all probability furious and nonetheless is perhaps that they handed on a person that hails from their state. At the moment they’re nonetheless on the lookout for that particular participant at quarterback. As an alternative, they drafted Kelln Winslow II in 2004 and he solely turned out to be bother on and off the sector.
The Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars on reflection in all probability want they drafted Large Ben as an alternative they ended up with Dunta Robinson and Reggie Williams respectively. Each have been busts. In order Roethlisberger started his rookie season on the bench, an harm to Tommy Maddox in simply the second recreation of the season gave solution to Large Ben stepping in.
Not solely did Roethlisberger grow to be the starter after the second recreation loss to the Baltimore Ravens, however he and the Steelers additionally didn’t lose one other common season recreation the remainder of the way in which in 2004. 14 straight wins later, Pittsburgh received the division after which in extra time defeated the New York Jets within the divisional playoffs solely to lose their greatest nemesis the New England Patriots within the AFC title recreation. Had they received Large Ben would have had the chance to grow to be the primary rookie quarterback to win a Tremendous Bowl. However it wasn’t meant to be.
By beginning the 2004 season 2-0, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers had received 16 straight common season video games. Large Ben would stay a starter apart from video games missed attributable to harm till he retired in 2021. From the time Terry Bradshaw retired till Ben Roethlisberger grew to become the star in 2004, the Steelers have had 19 totally different quarterbacks on the roster (Neil Graff, Reggie Collier, Mike Quinn, Pete Gonzalez, Kent Graham, Mark Malone, David Woodley, Scott Campbell, Bubby Brister, Steve Bono, Todd Blackledge, Rick Strom, Neil O’Donnell, Mike Tomczak, Jim Miller, Kordell Stewart, Tee Martin, Tommy Maddox, Charlie Batch).
Since 1969 (53) years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had solely three head coaches (Chuck Noll, Invoice Cowher, Mike Tomlin) and solely two precise franchise quarterbacks. For the document, had the Steelers not drafted Terry Bradshaw, one other Terry (Hanratty) would in all probability have been the starter. If you weren’t conscious both the Steelers and Chicago Bears held a coin toss to find out who had the primary total choose in 1969 and Pittsburgh received that toss, drafted “The Blonde Bomber” and the remaining is historical past.
The Bears subsequently traded their second choose to Inexperienced Bay who then picked Mike McCoy. Only for comparative functions, talked about earlier than was the failure of the Cleveland Browns to search out themselves a franchise quarterback. Since Terry Bradshaw was drafted in 1970 till Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement in 2021, the Browns have had a complete of 73 quarterbacks on their roster both as starters or backups. A few of the well-known names for the Browns that by no means grew to become the prototype QBS have been: Brian Sipe, Don Strock, Mike Tomczak, Mark Rypien, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Trent Dilfer, Bruce Gradkowski, Jake Delhomme, Jason Campbell, Robert Griffin III, Drew Stanton, Tyrod Taylor, Mike Phipps, Brian Sipe, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde, Ty Detmer, Tim Sofa, Kelly Holcomb, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel, Josh McCown, Terrelle Pryor, Baker Mayfield, and Case Keenum.
So the underside line for the Pittsburgh Steelers is that this…Mitch Trubisky, is he the following Bradshaw or Roethlisberger? Or is rookie Kenny Pickett priming to grow to be the following franchise quarterback and spend the following 10-20 years behind heart simply as the 2 legendary quarterbacks that preceded him? Once more, the extra I watch Trubisky the extra he jogs my memory of Mark Malone and that’s not the place he needs to be consider me.