Terry Bradshaw receives no respect in greatest quarterback discussion

Malcolm Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

It's somehow become easy to cast aside a four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback when it comes to conversations about the best of all time.

Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson has some company.

The former Cowboys linebacker famously questioned Terry Bradshaw's ability prior to Super Bowl XIII. More than 35 years later, the media is doing the same. On Tuesday, ESPN's local radio affiliate in Columbus, Ohio ranked the top-10 quarterbacks of all-time, in their opinion. Bradshaw, one of two quarterbacks to win four Super Bowl titles, was left off both broadcasters lists.

It's bad enough that Ben Roethlisberger is often left out of the discussion of the best active quarterbacks. When Bradshaw is not included in an all-time list is almost a crime. 97.1 "The Fan" isn't the only media medium excluding Bradshaw from his rightful place in history.

"Best all-time quarterback" debates raged on throughout the national media before and now after Sunday's Super Bowl. Not once did I hear Bradshaw's name, but heard plenty about Montana, Elway, Marino, Favre, etc. My father, a Pittsburgh native, grew up in Pittsburgh when tickets to a Steelers game didn't cost much more than a bottle of Yoo-hoo. He and his father watched the great Browns and Packers teams of the '60s breeze through through the Steelers in Pitt Stadium on many occasions.

When he was older, he was there in person to witness regular season and playoff games during Pittsburgh's glory years of the '70s. I asked him how he defined a great quarterback. He said how the quarterback played in the biggest games against the best defenses. By that rubric, there aren't any quarterbacks better than Terry Bradshaw.

He threw the game-clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter against the famed Vikings defense in Super Bowl IX. He did the same thing the next year against the Dallas Cowboys. He did the same thing three years later against Henderson and the Cowboys while winning the game's MVP award. He did it against the next year against the Rams, again taking home the MVP trophy.

He is the only quarterback in Super Bowl history to throw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter in four different Super Bowls.

One typical argument against Brad is that his regular season stats are very average when looking at the other great quarterbacks. I would argue that is more of a case for him. He was able to elevate his performances on the games biggest stages, against the best teams with the championship on the line.

They also seem to forget that Bradshaw played in a different era when running games were more valued and defenses had liberties that have since been taken away. Another argument is that Bradshaw had a great defenses. He did have some of the best defenses ever, but San Francisco's defense wasn't too shabby when Montana led them.And while the Steel Curtain was great, it was the offense-most specifically Bradshaw-that led Pittsburgh to their last two Super Bowl titles.

Debates such as this will never have a true answer. That's what makes them interesting and even fun. But to not include a player of Bradshaw's caliber is just plain ignorant.

I'm not saying he should be unanimously picked as the greatest quarterback of all time. But I am saying that questioning and leaving out the Blonde Bomber in this discussion is a mistake. Just ask Hollywood how that mistake worked out for him.

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