Kordell Stewart and Neil O'Donnell are two of the most controversial Steelers ever.
Love them or hate them, each played roles in one of the teams' more successful decades, the best decade in franchise history that didn't produce a Vince Lombardi Trophy. Indeed, the decade of the 90s produced a bevy of wonderful moments that included division titles, dramatic playoff wins and the franchise's fifth trip to the Super Bowl.
At the center of this success were two quarterbacks, Neil O'Donnell and Kordell Stewart. You can't have a more different set of quarterbacks, O'Donnell the classic, pocket passer, and Stewart, the electrifying human highlight reel. NFL.com recently tabbed O'Donnell as the Steelers' third greatest passer of all-time behind Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger. I refuted this in an article on Wednesday, stating that Stewart should be known as the team's third greatest quarterback ever.
Given the history of these two players, I shouldn't have been surprised with the mixed reactions in response to my post. While some agreed with my opinion, many BTSC readers backed O'Donnell as the Steelers third best signal caller. I decided to settle the score by letting the BTSC readers have the final say in who was the better between Stewart and O'Donnell, but before you vote, here's a quick run-down of the careers of Kordell Stewart and Neil O'Donnell.
Neil O'Donnell: 1992 Pro Bowler...12,867 yards passing with 68 TDs and 39 INTs in five seasons... Best season: 2,970 yards passing with 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in 12 games in 1995...57.1 passing percentage...39-22 starting record... NFL-career best touchdown to interception ratio... 3-4 playoff record, threw for 1,709 yards with 9 TDs and 8 INTs in post season...
Kordell Stewart: 2001 Pro Bowler... 13,328 yards with 70 TDs and 72 INTs in eight seasons... 56.5 percent career completion percentage...Best season: threw for 3,020 yards with 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 1997 while rushing for 476 yards and 11 touchdowns... only quarterback in NFL history to pass for 20 and rush for 10 touchdowns in same season... Set then-franchise record for single season completion percentage by completing 60.2 percent of his passes in 2001... Held NFL record for longest touchdown run by quarterback for 17 years... Recorded five touchdowns in a game twice... Rushed for 2,561 yards for a 5.2 YPG average with 35 TDs...46-29 staring record... 2-2 playoff record, threw for 744 yards with 2 touchdowns and eight interceptions in post season... Rushed for 282 yards and four touchdowns in post season...
The skinny: The answer to who is the better quarterback comes down to who you would rather have starting to win one game, one time. For me, it's Stewart for a multitude of reasons. He could run, he engineered more comeback victories, and while O'Donnell was the more consistent quarterback, I'd rather take my chances and hope Kordell has one of those memorable performances that we still talk about 20 years later. It was that excitement that captivated fans back then, and that's why he's my choice over O'Donnell now. But this isn't about my choice, it's about what you think, so without further adieu, I leave it in your hands.