Ranking every Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback since 2000

Ranking every Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback since 2000

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a rich history of success highlighted by six Super Bowl championships. Since their establishment all the way back in 1933, this team has had dozens of starting quarterbacks, but Ben Roethlisberger and Terry Bradshaw are always the two premier passers mentioned, thanks to their long-term success with the Steelers.

Ranking every Steelers starting quarterback of all time would be a nearly impossible task. It’s extremely difficult to find film floating around before Bradshaw started his tenure with the team in 1970, and there were dozens of players who started from 1933 until Bradshaw took over. However, we can rank the quarterbacks over the past few decades.

Since 2000, we have seen a dozen different starting quarterbacks take the stage in Pittsburgh with both good and bad results mixed in. Here is every Steelers starting quarterback since 2000 ranked from worst to best.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

Every Pittsburgh Steelers QB since 2000

12. Devlin Hodges

It was fun watching Devlin Hodges sling it at times during his brief tenure with the Steelers. The champion duck caller had a great story with a remarkable journey to the NFL. Hodges had a respectable 3-3 record as a starter, but he also threw 8 interceptions in limited NFL action and managed a dismal 5.0 adjusted yards per attempt to go with his 71.4 passer rating. Hodges had a memorable road game against the Chargers, but the sample was unspectacular outside of a few big moments.

11. Kent Graham

We have to go back over two decades to recall the five-game stint Kent Graham was part of with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The then 32-year-old carved out some early-season action despite the presence of Kordell Stewart on the team. However, the results really weren’t good. Graham completed just 44.6 percent of his passes in 2000 and chipped in one touchdown pass while failing to earn 6.0 yards per attempt. He finished with a 2-3 record in Pittsburgh.

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10. Michael Vick

Even at the age of 35 by the time he joined the Steelers, Michael Vick showed that he still had some juice left in his legs as he rushed for nearly 100 yards on 5.0 yards per carry in limited action. Vick went 2-1 as a starter but just wasn’t doing enough as a passer to keep his job as the primary backup. He was benched for Landry Jones after 8 pass attempts against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6 of 2015.

9. Dennis Dixon

The former Oregon standout had the ability to take off and run with the football, but his opportunities were so limited in the NFL that he didn’t get to use his legs much. In just 3 starts, Dixon had respectable numbers for the Steelers and made some big plays. He managed an impressive 7.9 yards per attempt in his final two starts with the team and held down the fort until Ben Roethlisberger returned by leading Pittsburgh to a 2-1 record over 2009 and 2010.

8. Landry Jones

Landry Jones always got a bad rap, but he was serviceable as a backup. Jones started five games between 2015 and 2017 and he did enough to manage the game so that the Steelers could stay firmly in the playoff race. Jones didn’t have any spectacular traits and was very much a system quarterback, but he served his purpose when called upon.

7. Mitch Trubisky

Mitch Trubisky had some inconsistencies early in his Pittsburgh career, but he used his legs and ability to throw on the run to help manage the game. Trubisky did just enough with a young offense before losing his job to Kenny Pickett. He never came close to living up to his draft status, but as a backup, he was at least respectable.

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6. Mason Rudolph

Fans love to hate on Mason Rudolph, but just because he wasn’t the next franchise quarterback in Pittsburgh didn’t mean he was a bust. Rudolph didn’t put up gaudy numbers as a starter, but he had his moments with the team. The young QB managed the game well enough to earn a 5-3 record in his first time seeing the field in year two (5-4-1 in his Steelers career). Rudolph managed 16 touchdowns and 11 picks during his time as a fill-in and backup to Ben Roethlisberger.

5. Charlie Batch

Charlie Batch was a career backup, but the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t have asked for anything more than what they got from Batch every time he was asked to step in for an injured Ben Roethlisberger. Batch didn’t wow anyone with his ability to make plays, but he was rock-solid and always ready at a moment’s notice from 2003 to 2012. When filling in as a starter, Batch had a record of 6-3.

4. Kenny Pickett

This might be a bit premature, but Kenny Pickett showed flashes that could make him the franchise quarterback of the Steelers. Pickett was far from perfect as a rookie, but after a rocky start, he did lead his team to a 7-2 record after the bye week in 2022. Pickett has a lot of improving to do, but he overflows with confidence, and his ability to extend the play and keep his eyes down the field is going to get this offense out of a lot of jams.

3. Tommy Maddox

Tommy Maddox was a great story and he certainly had his moments with the Steelers in the early 2000s. On paper, his stats were far from what you would hope for from a starting quarterback, but he also played on a team that was still early in the process of building their Super Bowl roster. Maddox proved to be a solid bridge quarterback from Kordell Stewart to Ben Roethlisberger.

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2. Kordell Stewart

Speaking of Kordell Stewart, the dual-threat quarterback comes in at number two on my list of Steelers starting quarterbacks since the 2000s. Stewart didn’t start all 16 games in 2000, but he did lead his team to a 7-4 record in 11 starts while being utilized as a rushing threat.

In 2001, Stewart earned Pro Bowl honors after his team went 13-3. He chipped in nearly 1,000 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in a two-year span from 2000 to 2001 and he kept Pittsburgh competitive with a 48-31 record over his tenure with the Steelers.

1. Ben Roethlisberger

This one goes without saying. Ben Roethlisberger isn’t just the best Steelers quarterback of the 2000s – he’s the best to ever play the position for Pittsburgh, in my opinion. Roethlisberger was a part of two championship teams and finished 6th on the list of all-time passing yards at the time of his retirement.

Big Ben holds virtually every passing record for the Pittsburgh Steelers – records that may never be broken. Roethlisberger had a Hall of Fame career, and this team is one of the winningest franchises in NFL history thanks largely in part to Ben’s contributions. He finished his nearly two-decade career with a record of 178-91-1.