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Who Should Be Considered the Steelers’ 3rd Best Quarterback of All-Time?

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Who Should Be Considered the Steelers’ 3rd Best Quarterback of All-Time?

The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ six Super Bowl victories remains tied for the most in NFL history with the New England Patriots. As a result, some of the game’s most well-known names have donned the black and gold. All six of their SB wins have been manned by two guys known by many, Terry Bradshaw, and Ben Roethlisberger. Those two are inarguably the best quarterbacks in Pittsburgh Steelers history. You can argue whichever is the best, but they are one and two in some order.

After Bradshaw and Roethlisberger though, there’s quite a drop-off. As previously stated, the franchise has never won a Super Bowl with any other quarterback. The duo has 417 games between them, along with 92,077 passing yards and 630 touchdowns. Beyond the statistics, they won a lot of games, too, including six Super Bowls.

SAN DIEGO, CA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Terry Bradshaw #12 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs onto the field for the second half during an NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at San Diego Stadium on December 17, 1972 in San Diego, California. The Steelers defeated the Chargers 24-2 (Photo by James Flores /Getty Images)


Who is the Steelers’ third-best QB of all-time?

Kordell Stewart, Neil O’Donnell, and Bobby Layne are the most notable choices for the third-best QB in black and gold history. It’s a bit hard to judge statistics when it comes to debates on guys from multiple eras. The game of football has evolved immensely since the late-1950’s when Layne played. Passing used to be an afterthought, but now it is the primary option. Despite the difficulties, we will try and establish who we think is the third-best quarterback in Steelers history.


Bobby Layne

On the surface, Layne’s stats are uninspiring. But again, perspective is important in these debates. It was an era in which passing was few and far between, so you have to compare his stats to that of his competitors. Layne spent five seasons with Pittsburgh after a majority of his career and prime were spent with the Detroit Lions. With the Steelers, he threw for 9,030 yards on 49.2% completion rate, along with 66 touchdowns and 81 interceptions.

His first two seasons in Pittsburgh were quite similar in terms of accolades. Layne made the Pro Bowl, All-Pro Second Team, and finished third in the MVP voting in each of those first two years. He went on to play three more years with the teams, failing to rack up any more accolades before retiring. While he didn’t exactly spend his prime with the Steelers, nor spend a long time with them, he seems to be the obvious pick for this debate. His peak was inarguably better than anyone else on this list.


Kordell Stewart

When looking at the all-time Steelers passing records, Stewart comes in at No. 3 in nearly everything. He played in one era too soon, as his play-style would fit perfectly into today’s game. Stewart was a mobile quarterback that could escape the pocket, something that was a rarity in the 1990’s.

He somehow finished fourth in the 1995 AP Rookie of the Year voting despite attempting just seven passes (!!). Yep, you heard that right. He went 5/7 with 60 yards and a touchdown in two starts and somehow got two votes for Rookie of the Year. He also did run 15 times for 86 yards and a touchdown, but it’s still crazy he got multiple votes. Stewart’s best season came in 2001, where he made the Pro Bowl, the only appearance in his career, and finished fourth in the MVP voting behind Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, and Brett Favre.


Neil O’Donnell

O’Donnell is a guy that had a ton of starts in his career and limited his turnovers (other than the Super Bowl). Of the three, he has the best touchdown-to-interception ratio. In fact, his 68 touchdowns to just 39 interceptions is the second-best ratio in team history, behind Roethlisberger. As a result, he also has the second-best quarterback rating (81.8) behind Roethlisberger. His performance in SB XXX leaves a bad taste in the mouths of longtime Steelers fans though, as his three interceptions helped the Dallas Cowboys back into the game and eventually, to victory.

Quarterback Neil O'Donnell of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to pass the ball during a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Credit: Mike Powell


All in all, I think Bobby Layne is the third-best quarterback in Steelers history. With that being said, if I were to take one for today’s team, I would pick Kordell Stewart. O’Donnell may be the best option for a backup option, due to his ability to not turn the ball over.

Who do you guys think the all-time No. 3 is? Let us know your thoughts on this debate in the comments below!




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Credit to my dad, I have been a lifelong Steelers fan. I have fond memories of watching the Steelers win two Super Bowls when I was a little kid. I have only been to 1 Steelers game in my life, which was in Kansas City. That was the notorious game where Antonio Brown pinned it against his chest down the sidelines for a touchdown. I hope to get to Heinz Field some day! I graduated from Iowa State University and look forward to growing as a writer with #SteelerNation!



  1. Dexter Greene

    July 5, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    I think Cordell Stewart is my third choice at quarterback. He had some great games and lead them to the playoffs many times (I want to say a Superbowl appearance too). But non the less he is my third pick.

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  3. LT

    July 7, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    Tommy Maddox

  4. Rob Voytas

    July 8, 2022 at 7:38 pm


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  7. NB

    August 10, 2022 at 10:59 pm

    Joe Gilliam

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