The year was 1983, future hall of fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw was entering his final professional football season having just had offseason elbow surgery. The Steelers were entering the NFL Draft with question marks surrounding the future of their quarterback position. Internally, Mark Malone, who was drafted three years prior, was seen as the man to take the torch. When it was time to make their pick with the 21st selection, Pitt quarterback Dan Marino was still on the board. The Steelers decided against drafting the gunslinger in favor of a defensive lineman. Marino would go on to be one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, while the Steelers would venture through their darkest era since the league merger.
Fast forward 38 years. The year is 2021, future hall of fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is entering his final professional football season having just had an offseason elbow surgery two years prior. The Steelers are entering the NFL Draft with question marks surrounding the future of their quarterback position. Internally, Mason Rudolph who was drafted three years prior is seen as the man to take the torch...
Do you get where I'm going with this?
The similarities are almost frightening, it just comes down to who will be available when its the Steelers’ turn to pick. If North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, or Ohio State’s Justin Fields, is still somehow on the board the only thing running through my mind as Roger Goodell takes to the podium to read out the Steelers pick will be “Don’t pull a Marino”.
In the history of this great organization, the team has only ever had two players you could classify as a franchise quarterback. Those would be Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger. It’s possible as each of their careers came to a close, the Steelers whiffed on the opportunity to find the next starting quarterback of this team. Sure, they are in win-now mode, but when you have a franchise quarterback you’re always in win-now mode. The decision you have to make is one year of Ben, or potentially another 15 with a rookie selection.
The timing feels right for the Steelers to continue to stock their roster while making a power move for their next quarterback avoiding the curse of Dan Marino and righting past wrongs. Being burned at quarterback in 2021 would only hurt so much more. The league is driven by the position unlike any other era. If the right guy is available, they cannot afford to pass on the pick.
But what do you think? Are the similarities of these situations freakishly similar? Will the Steelers draft a quarterback this year? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.