Yesterday, ESPN caused some consternation by declaring Terry Bradshaw to be the best first round choice at quarterback. The reaction was swift and immediate. Today I want to add some teeth the claim that Bradshaw is among the most overrated players of all time.
Everyone knows that Bradshaw's career numbers are pedestrian. His career passer rating is 70. He threw 212 TDs to 210 picks. His YPA is 7.2 is just pretty good, but is lower than that of dink and dunk master Tom Brady, though I suppose that it's a bit lower because he completed just 51.9% of his passes.
The argument is that Bradshaw has four Super Bowl rings. He must have been a major cog in those Super Bowl teams, right? Not so much.
The Steelers won their first Super Bowl. Bradshaw was a train wreck. He was 5-2 as a starter, with 7 TDs and 8 picks. His rating was 55. He threw for less than 1,000 yards on the season. In the final two games of the playoffs, his COMBINED numbers were:
17/31, 191 yards, 2 TD, 1 pick.
Again, those were two game numbers. Awful. But hey, they won the Super Bowl and he was the quarterback. He must be a legend.
Bradshaw rebounded in '75 with a nice year...for him. He racked up 2055 yards, completed 57.5% of his passes, 18 TDs, 9 picks and a rating of 88. It was a nice Brady-esque year.
In the playoffs, however, Bradshaw was awful.
32-57, 529 yards, 3 TDs, 5 INTs, 68.5 rating
Again, these are THREE game totals. The Steelers won all three games and were world champions. Amazing.
This was one of Bradshaw's finest years! He led the NFL with 28 touchdows. He was voted MVP! He also threw 20 picks, had a rating of 84.7 and threw for fewer than 3000 yards on the season. He also played with the best scoring defense in football.
Bradshaw had a great Super Bowl, throwing four TDs and 1 pick. He was voted Super Bowl MVP.
Bradshaw single handedly led the Steelers to their fourth title by throwing a league high 25 interceptions (against 26 TDs). In the Super Bowl, Bradshaw threw three interceptions, but the Steelers won anyway, 31-19.
Listen, anyone who wants to worship at the alter of rings is welcome to. They are just going to have to accept that Terry Bradshaw is one of the five best quarterbacks of all time. If you can live with that, have at it.
The ESPN discussion eliminated Elway (he didn't play for the team that drafted him), settling on Bradshaw over Manning, Kelly, Marino, and Aikman.
The logic...the rings.