clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Closer Look at the Steelers QBs Since Terry Bradshaw (Part 2)

Onward through the fog that is the so-so QB play Pittsburgh received from their signal-callers after Terry Bradshaw hung up his cleats for the final time. Though many of the names discussed in Part 1, save Mark Malone, and many here in Part 2, were quite obscure, we're eventually making our way towards some of the more infamous and well-recognized QBs in the post-Dynasty Steelers era. Beginning with...


Can you believe that Brister was still in the league as of 2000? Kudos to him for finding a way to earn a paycheck well into his 30s in the National Football League. Anyway, Brister began his career in 1986, having been drafted in the 3rd round . He started two games in place of Malone that year in Weeks 6 and 7, losing both contests to Cincinnati and New England. Perhaps that Patriots game should have been a foretaste of the feast famine to come, as Brister completed just 33% of his passes that day, with 2 picks and 5 sacks to boot.

Brister got his first prolonged opportunity to produce when Malone left town following the 1987 season. In '88, Brister started 13 games. The team went 5-11 that year, and Brister managed to lose a staggering 8 straight starts in the middle part of the season.  He managed to have solid boune-back years in '89 and '90, but nevertheless, it was clear he wasn't a viable long-term solution, and would eventually head east to Philadelphia after losing his starting job to Neil O'Donnell.



Sadly, Brister's legacy lives on on YouTube only through highlights of other teams greatest moments and in fishing videos



Career Statistics in Pittsburgh:

776 of 1477 (52.5%); 10104 yards; 51 TDs; 57 INTs; 69.8 QB Rating

Best Year in Pittsburgh (1990):

Though the Steelers would narrowly miss out on the playoffs in 1990, finishing the year 9-7 and losing their playoff berth via tiebreaker following a Week 17 defeat to the Houston Oilers, who snuck their way in in front of us by merits of that 34-14. Brister's preformance that day symbolized his tenure in Pittsburgh: decent, but not -quite- good enough for this proud franchise.

223 of 387 (57.6%); 2725 yards; 20 TDs; 14 INTs; 81.6 QB Rating


Better known for his work on CBS and ESPN's College Football Coverage and for his career at Penn State, Blackledge never really materialized as an NFL QB. When you consider he was taken 7th overall in the 1983 draft, a year that was not too shabby for finding QB talent, he has to be considered in any discussion surrounding the biggest busts in NFL history.

Don't be fooled by the good footwork, posture
and balance in the pocket. Blackledge struggled
as a professional QB after a brilliant collegiate
career at Penn State

Blackledge would play only two years in Pittsburgh ('88 and '89) before calling it a career. He had played the first five years of his career in Kansas City.

Career Statistics in Pittsburgh:

60 of 139 (43.2%); 776 yards; 3 TDs; 6 INTs; 50.5 QB Rating

Best year in Pittsburgh:

1988 and 1989 were equally unimpressive. No need to go there.


Steve Bono played in Pittsburgh? Wow, I always just thought of him as Joe Montana's permanent shadow, be it in San Francisco or Kansas City. Guess not. Turns out Bono played two years in Pittsburgh ('87 and '88). He started Week 3-5 in '87, compiling a 2-1 record, and a respectable 5:2 TD/INT ratio. Again, I hope someone can fill in the gaps here, but for some reason, the coaching staff went back to Mark Malone in Week 6 (returning from injury??), and the team finished the year 5-5 en route to an 8-7 mark. Side question that I don't have time to look up: why were there only 15 games played that year??

Career Statistics in Pittsburgh:

44 of 109 (40.4%); 548 yards; 6 TDs; 4 INTs; 59.7 QB Rating

Best Year in Pittsburgh:

34 of 74 (45.9%); 438 yards; 5 TDs; 2 INTs; 76.3 QB Rating


Who the hell is Rick Strom? Well, not a prolific QB, that's for sure. Remember when I wrote about Art Rooney last week and mentioned that he had a propensity to draft local players? Perhaps that's why Strom found his way on to the Steelers squad (he was born in the Steel City) beginning in 1989 following his collegiate career at Georgia Tech. Strom would never start a game in any of his five years in Pittsburgh, throwing just 22 total passes, with 0 TDs and 1 INT.

A fine citizen whose achievements off the field
dwarf his contributions in football

Career Statistics in Pittsburgh:

14 of 21 (63.6%); 162 yards; 0 TDs; 1 INT; 66.9 QB Rating


Next up - The 1990s of the Bill Cowher Era: Neil O'Donnell, Jim Miller, Mike Tomczakl, Kordell Stewart,  Mike Quinn