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NFL – Greatest QBs Ever – Saints Archie Manning & Steelers Terry Bradshaw


When you consider the history of the two NFL franchises of the New Orleans Saints and the Pittsburgh Steelers…..you find a tale of two cities……one being the home of the “lovable losers” known for many years as the “Aint’s”….and the other being the 6 – time SuperBowl champions known as the “steel curtain”….with their fans whirling the “terrible towels”…..but both teams have had multiple all-time-great quarterbacks……Archie Manning and Drew Brees for the Saint’s….and the Steelers Jim Finks, Bobby Lane, Terry Bradshaw and Ben Rothlisberger…. which makes this video all the more reason to watch this video….cuz you get to see two of the best to ever play the game…..Archie Manning and Terry Bradshaw….in this wonderful video which spans and highlights their great careers.

Manning was the second overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft and played for the Saints for ten full seasons….where during his tenure in New Orleans….the Saints had nine losing seasons….managing to get to .500 only once in 1979….which was also the only season they finished higher than third in their division. Nevertheless, he was well respected by NFL peers….as he was sacked 340 times during his Saints career….and the opposing players knew how tough of a player he was….. evidenced by Archie’s comment prior to Los Angeles Rams DE Jack Youngblood’s Hall of Fame Induction….by saying that to Youngblood that he should have let him be his presenter in 2001, saying, “He wouldn’t have gotten in without having me to sack.”

In 1972 he led the league in pass attempts and completions….and he led the National Football Conference in passing yards….though the team’s record was only 2–11–1.  Archie sat out the entire 1976 season after corrective surgery on his right shoulder….then in 1978, he was named the NFC Player of the Year by UPI….after leading the Saints to a 7–9 record….and that same year was also named All-NFC by both the UPI and The Sporting News….then was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1978 and 1979. He went on to conclude his career with the Houston Oilers (1982–1983)….finishing with the Minnesota Vikings (1983–1984). He ended his 13-year career having completed 2,011 of 3,642 passes for 23,911 yards and 125 touchdowns with 173 interceptions….in a career in which he also rushed for 2,197 yards and 18 touchdowns. His 2,011 completions ranked 17th in NFL history upon his retirement. His record as a starter was 35–101–3 (26.3%), the worst in NFL history among QBs with at least 100 starts. He retired having never played on a team that notched a winning record nor made the playoffs….and the Saints have not reissued Manning’s #8 since he left the team midway through the 1982 season.


In my lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile’s opinion…..where Archie Manning outshown all other quarterbacks in NFL history was in his “DNA legacy”……for having fathered two future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback brothers….Eli and Peyton Manning.

Terry Bradshaw was the first overall player selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970 NFL Draft….which means that the quarterback tied with 49’ers Joe Montana with the most Super Bowl victories (4) was drafted the year prior to the “lovable loser” legend of the Saints….and both turned out to be great NFL quarterbacks that became legends in their own right. The Steelers drew the first pick in the draft after winning a coin flip tiebreaker with the Chicago Bears…..since both teams had identical 1–13 records in 1969. In either case, Bradshaw was hailed at the time as the consensus No. 1 pick.

Bradshaw became a starter in his second season after splitting time with Terry Hanratty in his rookie campaign…and during his first few seasons Bradshaw was erratic….throwing many interceptions (210 career nterceptions)….and was widely ridiculed by the media for his rural roots and perceived lack of intelligence.….as it took the quarterback from the rural back-woods of Louisiana several seasons to adjust to the NFL….however he eventually led the Pittsburgh Steelers to eight AFC Central championships and four Super Bowl titles.

The Pittsburgh Steelers featured the “Steel Curtain” defense and a powerful running attack led by Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier….and Bradshaw’s strong arm gave them the threat of the deep pass to Hall of Fame receivers like Lynn Swann and John Stallworth….which helped to loosen opposing defenses. In 1972, he threw the “Immaculate Reception” pass to Franco Harris to beat the Raiders in the AFC Divisional playoffs….which is one of the most famous plays in NFL history.

The Steelers’ 16–6 victory in Super Bowl IX victory over the Minnesota Vikings soon followed….as Bradshaw completed 9 of 14 passes….along with his fourth-quarter touchdown pass that put the game out of reach and helped carry the Steelers to their first Super Bowl victory.  In Super Bowl X following the 1975 season….Bradshaw threw for 209 yards….most of them to Lynn Swann….as the Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys, 21–17….and his 64-yard touchdown pass to Swann (that traveled roughly 70 yards in the air)….which was released a split-second before defensive tackle Larry Cole flattened him causing a serious concussion late in the fourth quarter is considered one of the greatest passes in NFL history.

Neck and wrist injuries in 1976 forced Bradshaw to miss four games….but he was sharp in a 40–14 victory over the Baltimore Colts in the Divisional Playoffs at the end of the year by completing 14 of 18 passes for 264 yards and three TDs….but the Steelers’ hopes of a three-peat ended when both of their 1,000-yard rushers (Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier) were injured in the win over the Colts….so, the Steelers subsequently lost to the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Championship game, 24-7.  As a sidenote….Steeler Hall of Fame LB Jack Lambert asserted that that 1976 Steelers team was the best team that he ever played on….including the 4 Super Bowl teams of which he was a part of.

Bradshaw had his finest season in 1978 in which he was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player by the Associated Press after a season in which he completed 207 of 368 passes for 2,915 yards and a league-leading 28 touchdown passes. He was also named All-Pro and All-AFC that year….despite throwing 20 interceptions.

Before the Steeler vs Cowboy rematch in Super Bowl XIII….Cowboys linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson famously ridiculed Bradshaw by saying, “He couldn’t spell ‘Cat’ if you spotted him the ‘c’ and the ‘a’.”….but Bradshaw got his revenge by winning the Most Valuable Player award after completing 17 of 30 passes for a then-record 318 yards and four TDs in a 35–31 win. 

Bradshaw won his second straight Super Bowl MVP in 1979 in Super Bowl XIV….when he passed for 309 yards and 2 TDs in a 31–19 win over the Los Angeles Rams….in a game that was far closer and more interesting than the final score suggests…..for early in the 4th quarter with Pittsburgh down 19–17….Bradshaw would again turn to the long pass to help engineer a victory with a spectacular 73-yard touchdown to John Stallworth….as Terry would share the Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Sportsmen of the Year” award with Willie Stargell that year..

After two seasons of missing the playoffs in which Bradshaw played through pain….needing cortisone shots before every game because of an elbow injury sustained during training camp….in a strike-shortened 1982 NFL season…as he still managed to tie for the most touchdown passes in the league with 17….then in a 31–28 playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers which turned out to be Bradshaw’s last postseason game….he completed 28-of-39 passes for 325 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

After undergoing off-season elbow surgery….Bradshaw was idle for the first 14 games of the 1983 NFL season….after which on December 10, 1983….in a game against the New York Jets….he felt a pop in his elbow while throwing his final pass….a 10-yard touchdown to Calvin Sweeney in the second quarter of the Steelers’ 34–7 win….when he later left the game and never played again….and the two touchdowns Bradshaw threw in this game….allowed him to finish his career with two more touchdowns (212) than interceptions (210) for his career. 

In April 2006, Bradshaw donated his four Super Bowl rings, College Football Hall of Fame ring, Pro Football Hall of Fame ring, Hall of Fame bust, four miniature replica Super Bowl trophies, and a helmet and jersey from one of his Super Bowl victories to his alma mater, Louisiana Tech…..where he starred in his College Football Hall of Fame career…..so, the “country boy” remained forever grateful and loyal to the place that gave him the chance to let his star shine. 

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