BTSC continues to rank the best numbers in team history on a standpoint of thriving over time throughout multiple players. It seems there are a few numbers which are always represented with quality play in Steelers lore. One BTSC author has wondered aloud “what is the most accomplished number in Steelers history?” Through player and jersey value rankings found in Pro Football Reference, we have ranked the most successful numbers in Steelers history worn by various players. You won’t see numbers like 12, 58, 75, 32, 52, 59, 36, 63 and 47 as it would be basically ranking an individual player over the other and not the cumulative effort. In today’s submission, we take a look at those ranked 20th. Enjoy.
20) No. 10
Most Notable: Martavis Bryant 2014-2017, Santonio Holmes 2006-2009, Kordell Stewart 1995-2002, Roy Gerela 1971-1978, Kent Nix 1967-1969
Current Wearer: Ryan Switzer 2018-Present
No. 10 may be the best collection of true talent on this list with the caveat that a few of the most-gifted didn’t exceed their lofty expectations. Two of the top number tens would surely be Santonio Holmes and Kordell Stewart. Holmes was a gifted pass catcher and returner for only four years in Pittsburgh. The Ohio State Buckeye shined the most in the postseason and his Super Bowl XLIII MVP performance was cemented by one of the single greatest plays in the history of the big game. After the Lombardi Trophy returned to Pittsburgh in February of 2006, the Steelers were reportedly high on Chad Jackson, a receiver from Florida. But Jackson answered his phone in the middle of an interview with Bill Cowher and the action resulted in Jackson’s removal from the Steelers’ draft board. Jackson only played 18 games in his disappointing career. Had he not disrespected Cowher, the Steelers may have never traded up seven spots to select Holmes. We all would have missed out on his 3,835 yards and 25 total touchdowns in Pittsburgh. Holmes, instead of being outright released because of a pending four-game suspension for substances, was traded to the Jets for a fifth-round pick. The pick was then traded to the Cardinals for a sixth and Bryant McFadden. The sixth round pick resulted in the drafting of Antonio Brown. Holmes officially retired as a Steeler in 2017 and has represented the team in various instances the past couple of years.
A very polarizing player during his time in Pittsburgh, Kordell Stewart burst onto the scene in 1995 and was a key contributor and fan favorite during the run that led to the team’s Super Bowl XXX appearance as a jack-of-all-trades, mostly as a receiver. The best running QB in franchise lore had 2,874 yards on the ground, but “Slash” was hot and cold as a passer. Stewart led the team to two AFC Championship Games, throwing multiple picks in both appearances. Kordell’s 13,328 passing yards and 70 TD passes rank him third all-time behind Ben Roethlisberger and Terry Bradshaw. Stewart played nine seasons as with the Steelers and departed for Chicago at season’s end after being benched for Tommy Maddox late in a Week 3 game in 2002.
Check back soon for the 19th best jersey in BTSC’s countdown of the most prolific jersey number stables in Steelers history. But first, a recap of the countdown so far.