With the Pittsburgh Steelers at training camp to prepare for their next season of play, several players on the current roster can propel their names onto or farther up the list of all-time statistical greats.
While Hines Ward no longer is hearing footsteps, is a new contender coming close to keeping him awake again? Is it Ben or Bradshaw that statistically reigns supreme? Where is Cam Heyward on the all-time sacks list? Will “the Boz” regain his number one spot in all-time accuracy? After three seasons, how quickly is T.J. rising up? Those questions won't be answered until January, but in our annual series, Steeling History, BTSC highlights the players that could move up the all-time charts and what they need to do so.
After a Week 2 injury that curtailed his season, Ben Roethlisberger is back and hopefully better than ever. Ben is, far and away, the greatest statistical quarterback in the history of Pittsburgh football. There will always be a debate on whether Roethlisberger or Terry Bradshaw is the greatest Steelers' slinger of all-time. No. 7 owns pretty much every Steelers' quarterbacking record, but what he lacks is the greatest record of them all, the four Super Bowl titles owned by the incomparable and aforementioned Bradshaw.
Here's where Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger ranks first in Steelers QB passing lore:
Most Passing Yards (Career): 56,545
Most Passing Yards (Single Season): 5,129 (2018)
Most Passing Yards (Single Game): 522
Most 300 Yard Passing Games (Career): 60
Most 300 Yard Passing Games (Single Season): 9
Most Completions (Career): 4,651
Most Completions (Single Season): 452 (2018)
Most Completions (Single Game): 41 (11/25/18)
Most Consecutive Completions: 15 (tied with Bubby Brister)
Highest Competion Percentage (Career): 64.3%
Highest Competion Percentage (Single Game): 88.0% (11/8/18)
Highest Competion Percentage (Single Season): 68.0% (2015)
Most Touchdown Passes (Career): 363
Most Touchdown Passes (Single Season): 34 (2018)
Most Touchdown Passes (Single Game): 6 (twice)
Highest Passer Rating (Career): 94.0
Highest Passer Rating (Single Season): 104.1 (2007)
Most 4th Quarter Comebacks (Career): 31
Most Game Winning Drives (Career): 43
Wins (Career): 144
One of the few records that Ben doesn't have is a positive one. Big Ben (191) is second all-time in interceptions thrown to Terry Bradshaw (210).
Roethlisberger is getting ready to start his 17th season and he's already passed Mike Webster atop that legendary mountain. But he trails the iron man Webster in games played. Ben’s 218 games played, is good enough for second on the franchise list. Having just surpassed Hines Ward (217) last year. He could possibly move ahead of Webster (220) with three games played. So the record could be seized Week 3.
Once again, the landmark that Steelers fans care about most for Ben Roethlisberger to achieve is Super Bowl victories. The hope is that Ben ends the 2020 campaign only one ring shy of tying the record of four.
Going into his fourth season and third as a starter, Conner is tied for 19th with 16 rushing scores. Were he to duplicate his 12 from 2018, No. 30 would jet up to 7th place. Conner’s 1,581 yards have him ranked 22nd. Matching his 973 yards from 2018 would jump him up to 17th place.
After only three seasons as a pro, JJSS is already 18th in team career receptions with 211. Matching last year’s total of 42 would bump JuJu up beyond Charles Johnson for 11th. If the receiver could realuze his 111 from 2018, JuJu would be eighth on the list with 322. No. 19 has 2,895 career receiving yards, also good for 18th. By duplicating last year’s 552 yards, the third-year man could move up over Johnson for 15th place. Matching his 1,426 yards from 2018, the third-year man could rocket up over Plaxico Burress for 9th place. JuJu has 17 career TDs. A year of his season high of seven would move Smith-Schuster in a tie for 12th place.
Chris Boswell fell is the second-most accurate field-goal kicker in the history of the Steelers,. After a dismal 2018 where he converted only 13 of 20, Boswell needed to go 29 of 30 to retake Suisham. He came back with a great 2019, but his 29 of 31 was enough to best the Canadian kicker’s 87.9 and currently stands at 87.0. Another great season can help him reclaim the top spot. His 127 "makes" are good for fourth place. If he could convert on 20 field goals next season, the Boz would move past Roy Gerela (146) and into third place. Jeff Reed at number two (204) and Gary Anderson at the top spot (309) will take a while.
Three years ago, Cam was tied with Keith Gary for 25th on the Steelers' career sack list. After recording nine last season, eight in 2018 and 12 the year before, Heyward now ranks sixth with 54 on the official list and eighth on the unofficial ledger. With nine more in 2020, No. 97 would surpass Joey Porter for third on the unofficial list and fifth unofficially.
T.J. Watt has 34.5 sacks in three seasons. If he can duplicate his season average in 2020, No. 90 will jump from his tie for 11th to eighth on the official list and a tie for 10th with Dwight White on the unofficial list.
Bud Dupree’s five season sack total rose him to 13th on the official team list, A repeat of his 11.5 sack breakout in 2019 would place him at 43 and ninth on the official list.
Tuitt has been around seven seasons in Pittsburgh and has a sack total of 23.5 and ranks 21st in team history. No, 91 was coming on strong and on pace for his best season when he got hurt in Week 6. A ten sack season would place him at 33.5 and 13th on the official list.
The Steelers coach is going into his 14th season coaching the team. Mike has a record of 133-74-1 with a .642 winning percentage. Coach T has the highest winning percentage in team history over Bill Cowher (.623) and Chuck Noll (.566) and 14th all-time in NFL history. However, Tomlin is still 17 wins from passing Cowher for second at 149. Noll leads at 193 wins. Although, he’s had three seasons of 8-8, Tomlin is the only of the three never to finish a season with a losing record.
All of the players chronicled above have an opportunity to be included among the greats in Steelers history. Tune in to the 2020 season to see whose play helps them reach those particular ranks.