KORDELL RETIRES A STEELER

Kordell Stewart came back to Pittsburgh so that he could retire a Steeler.

Despite being misunderstood and misused by several coaches here, including and especially Bill Cowher, he still has fond memories of his time as a Steeler.

If his former teammate Josh Miller said it once, he said it 10 times today on The Fan : The Steelers coaches didn’t know how to use him.

I started saying that in 1998 and became known as his number one apologist. And that’s basically all that I said and continue to say.

Miller also said several times that the coaching staff and some people in management didn’t have his back and that Stewart –considering what’s been happening with NFL quarterbacks lately — was ahead of his time.

Kevin Gilbride spent two years here trying to turn him into Eli Manning.

Stewart is the third best quarterback in Steelers history (Bobby Layne wasn’t here long enough) and ended up being a wasted talent.

And he’s one of the nicest guys ever to play in Pittsburgh.

Nice to see him have a little moment today.

  • Jeff S

    I’ll always remember Stewart as one of the best athletes I’ve seen in a Steelers uniform. I went to a lot of games in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, and can honestly say I thought we were a lock to win the Super Bowl one minute and swimming with the Titanic the next. They could win with Stewart but without a strong running game his inconsistencies were exposed. He just didn’t quite have enough when playing against the best in ’97 and ’01. (No excuses he was surrounded by talent those years)

    • John Steigerwald

      He lost two AFC Ch.ampiosnhip games to teams that won multiple Super Bowls. He had to have done OK against the top teams to be in a position to lose those games. In 2001 he lost to a team that scored 2 special teams TDS and may have known what they wee doing in advance because of one of the biggest cheating scandals in NFL history.

      • Bobzilla

        Neil O’Donnell “lost” a Super Bowl to a team that won three Super Bowls. Doesn’t he also deserve a “pass” for not getting it done?
        In fact, I’d say O’Donnell is the third best QB in Steelers history. O’Donnell certainly had a more impressive body of work than Stewart.

        • John Steigerwald

          That’s an argument that can be made. O’Donnell isn’t constantly being accused of not being able to win the game. We had a guy say here a few days ago that Srewart singlehandedly lost two AFC Championshio games.

          • Bobzilla

            I saw that comment. And Stewart no more lost two games “singlehandedly” than Roethlisberger has “singlehanded” won two Super Bowls.
            We can all “thank” ESPN for this simplification of the ultimate team sport.

  • Mike V

    Stewart was an exciting player for the Steelers when he was “Slash”. He brought the energy of the game up when he was in. He was a good, but not great, QB. Now that coaches are more willing to play a mobile QB, I wonder how he would be in the NFL today?.?.

    • John Steigerwald

      He would be very good with good receiver and an offensive coordinator who knows how to use him. Cam Newton does nothing better than Sewart.

      • Mike V

        The only thing Newton does better than Stewart is his ability to run with more power. Not sure how valuable that is, but it is the only thing he does better.

        • Bobzilla

          Newton does nothing better than Stewart? That’s absurd.
          Newton accounted for 35 TDs last season: 21 passing, 14 rushing. He was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year…
          Let’s not get carried away with this Kordell lovefest.

          • John Steigerwald

            I wasn’t talking about statistics. I was talking about athletically. He does nothing better than Stewart.

          • Bobzilla

            Well, I think in time, you’ll see that Newton brings a whole lot more to the table than Stewart ever did.
            One of Newton’s more important intangibles is his leadership abilities. He played last season with a confidence and swagger not usually found in rookie QBs. This kid is in the process of changing the QB position.

          • John Steigerwald

            Just like Stewart in 1997 in his first year as a starter. How will Newton do if he loses his best receiver this year and has Ray Sherman for his offensive coordinator., How will he do if he loses his best receiver again next year and gets a new offensive coordinator who wants to turn him into Neil O’Donnell?

  • Glenn

    Its not so much that we “hated” Stewart. He was a great athlete and contributed to many wins.

    But his insisting that he was going to be a QB and his pouting when he wasn’t early in his career put fans off. Yes the systems he played in did not necessarily play to his strengths, but think of the career he could have had if he had accepted the slash role for the rest of his time in the league.

    I’m glad he “retired” as a Steeler. This is where he made his name. Its a nice gesture…but that’s all it is. A footnote at the end of the story.

    • John Steigerwald

      He was not anything close to great as a receiver. They made him a full time QB IN 1997 and they went to the AFC CHamionship game. He proved he WAS a winning QB

      • Bobzilla

        Most quarterbacks are going to be “winnning quarterbacks” playing on a team with a stout defense and a solid running game.
        Stewart played on such teams, until 2002, when the defense collasped and points were needed by the offense. That’s when Stewart became exposed.
        Regardless of the QB, the Steelers haven’t had an elite offense since the 1970s.

        • John Steigerwald

          Maddox exposed the defense byu turning the ball over. In 2001, Stewart and the Steelers won because they won the time of possession battle and didn’t turn it over. What’s amazing is that Stewart is widely regarded as a turnover machine when Maddox was worse.

          • Bobzilla

            Stewart was never regarded by me as turnover machine. He seldom threw picks with leads that were made possible by a stout defense and a solid running game.
            Where Stewart got into trouble was when he fell behind. He got rattled and made mistakes.
            Even though the special teams ultimately led to that 2001 AFC title-game loss, Stewart was in a position to lead the team to a come-from-behind win. Only, he couldn’t.
            Maddox made mistakes. Plenty of mistakes. But he also led an offense in 2002 that put points on the board. The team would have never made the playoffs in 2002 without a change at quarterback.
            I certainly would never expect you to agree. And that’s OK. I’m not here seeking anyone’s approval. I know what I saw.

          • John Steigerwald

            I know what I saw and I know that the worst games a Steelers QB played in 2002 were played by Tommy Maddox. He was bailed out by the defense in two games in which he threw a pick on the first possession of OT. He also was saved in the first playoff game in 2002 against the Browns. After playing the worst first half any Steelers QB has ever played in a a post season game. He brought them back but only was able to win because Honeycutt dropped a third down pass that would have allowed the Browns to kill the clock.

          • Bobzilla

            I realize your bitterness towward Maddox. I get it.
            However, Steelers quarterbacks being “bailed out” by Steelers defenses was invented by Maddox.
            Roethlisbeger absolutely stunk in the 2004 postseason, against both the Jets and the Patriots. He also threw three first-half picks in a playoff loss to Jacksonville in 2007. Then, of course, there was his sorry performance in Super Bowl 40.
            Maddox was a great story. He was a guy who hadn’t played in 10 years, was willing to play for bare mininum, and was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2002.
            Was he a one-year wonder? Absolutely.
            Stewart had other opportunities, first in Chicago, then in Baltimore.
            When he went to the Bears, he told the Chicago media that he was no longer playing for the money but went to the Bears to play for a championship. Nice. I think he lasted three or four games.
            He never even saw the playing field in quarterback-poor Baltimore.
            Stewart was a “nice” QB who relied on a running game, a defense, and on a dependable field-goal kicker. Even though Kris Brown led the league in 2001 in most field-goal attempts and most field-goals made, he was still released.
            Your SOS (same old story) about Maddox playing the worst first-half any Steelers QB has ever played in the postseason history became obsolete in 2007.
            Sorry Honeycutt dropped that pass. I’m sure you were rooting hard for the Browns that day.

          • John Steigerwald

            I liked Maddox both as a person and as a QB. Especially as a person. But I found it my duty to point out the inconsistencies with the media and the fans. Until it became ridiculous in 2003, they were happy to overlook the things that Maddox did after they had bashed Stewart for doing the same. I said on the air that Maddox deserved a chance to start. I also said that Maddox had been bad enough against Tennessee and Houston that Stewart –coming off a year when he was team MVP — deserved his job back. They did the same thing to him with Kent Graham. He was a joke. Stewart came in after he got hurt and played well for two games, both of which the Steelers won. Graham, after being pathetically bad, was given his job back. Stewart finally got it back for good in 2000 and went on to have a Pro Bowl year in 2001. Cowher humiliated Stewart by turning him into a WR and forbidding him to meet with the quarterbacks, even though it was his terrible choices for offensive coordinator that were greatly responsible for Stewart stinking –along with losing his top recievers in back-t0-back years. The Bears were terrible. Mike Ditka said Johnny Unitas wouldn’t have succeeeded playing for them. Phil Simms said the same thing. I have no idea what happened in Baltimore but I know that Stewart was better than every QB that played in front of him there and it’s not close.

          • Bobzilla

            Your hero, Chuck Noll, turned Mark Malone into a WR. I don’t recall anyone worrying about Malone being humilated.
            Phil Simms has no credibility. He never saw a QB he didn’t like.
            This is an endless debate that you seem to take way too personally.

          • John Steigerwald

            Noll used him as a wide receiver. He didn’t publicly banish him from the QB meetings.

          • Dan

            Stewart doesn’t deserve to be trashed the way he is but we would never have heard of Tommy Maddox if not for him stumbling out of the gate so poorly in 2002 that he had to be replaced. They got skunked by the Pats and Raiders and then came off a bye and Kordell stunk up the joint in the first half against Cleveland. The season was on the brink already – starting 0-3 would have been a death knell – and Stewart was rightly benched. Maddox won every game from that point on except the Saints game but it was a high scoring close game. Stewart got a raw deal with his coordinators but champions don’t need people to make excuses for them and there is a litany of them in your above post.

            Somebody’s going to write all the same things about Phillip Rivers one day when the bottom line is some guys got it and others don’t. Rivers, much like Stewart, just didn’t have it upstairs.

          • John Steigerwald

            You prove again what an unfair rap Stewart got. You actually think that they won every game after the Saints game? They lost to Tennesse when Maddox, after throwing three interceptions was kn0ocked out of the game. He came back and they lost to an expansion team–Houston– when Maddox threw two pick sixes and had a fumble returned for a TD. They also tied the Falcons despite Maddox throwing a hideous interception on the first series in OT. He failed to get the hail Mary pass across the goial line at the end and Burress caught it on the 2. Even the Saints game was an example of how Maddox got a pass. He put up some impressive numbers. He brought the team back to within one score when the Saints went into a prevent defense and then he threw an ugly interception in Saints territory when the Steelers had a chance to tie it in the fourth qtr. Stewart deserved to get his job back when Maddox embarrassed quarterbacks everywhere with his performance against Houston. The first two losses in 2002 were to the defending Suoer Bowl Chanps on the road and the theam that would win the AFC at home. Go back and look at some of the Steelers defensive stats in those games. Brady completed somethinbg like 20 passes in a row and Rich Gannon threw for 400 yards. Stewart actually played better than Gannon did in that game.

  • Gary M

    Not a big fan of Kordell but I do believe this. If Cowher had used him even more in the Super Bowl loss to Dallas; I believe the Steelers would have won.
    That game, every time he touched the ball it was magic.
    He had some very good years, usually the final year of a contract, but he’s a Steeler for life now.
    Good Luck Kordell

  • Mr. Diddles

    I don’t know why you defend this guy.

    He had 6 interceptions in 2 AFC Championship games. Missed the playoffs 3 times.

    Maybe he was misused in some games but he never won when it really mattered.

    • John Steigerwald

      He had to win two playoff games to be in position to lose the AFC Championship games. Do those playoff games really matter? There were no regular season games that really mattered on the way to winning the division?

  • Ryan

    Can’t wait to read Roy Gerela’s book on Steel Curtain.

    • John Steigerwald

      I guarantee you Gerela could write a good book about the Steelers. Are kickers and punters deaf and blind?

  • colt

    Niblik, if he started as quarterback for the Steelers for 5 years and took the team to the AFC Championship game in 2 of those 5 years, is that not pretty good? And what about all of the NFL quarterbacks who played at that same time who did not make it to even one championship game in 5 years? Was Kordell worse than them?

  • Dan

    It didn’t matter what system Kordell Stewart was in, he was not an accurate enough passer. I don’t care what kind of offensive system you’re in, if you can’t hit your receivers in stride then you can’t win. Kordell’s weaknesses would have been exposed further if he had burners for receivers instead of guys like Charles Johnson, Hines Ward, or Plax. He just quite didn’t have enough talent – re-enforcing the reason he was a second round pick.

    He also played behind some of the greatest offensive lines in Steelers history. You don’t need elite receivers when you have all day and create even more time by moving around. The fact of the matter is that he made a habit of throwing interceptions and skipping balls off the turf far too often. When was the last time you saw Ben skip a ball off the turf?

    • John Steigerwald

      He’s not as good as Roethlisberger. It’s absurd to say h couldn’t hit receivers in stride. He threw for over 3000 yards and Yancey Thigpen still holds the Steelers record or single season receiving yards.

  • Martin

    Kordell should have been in hall a fame. As a wide receiver if he stayed in that position. He was an awful QB who happened to play on a very good team. Never seen such inconsistency between sets of downs. One set he would look like Elway, the next he was throwing ten yeard passes into the ground. To pretend he was a good QB is insane.

    • John Steigerwald

      He started two full seasons with good receivers and an offensive coordinator who knew how to use hum. He had spectacular numbers for a first time starter in 1997. In 2001 he was AFC Offenive Player of the Year. In that season he had a stretch of 12 games when he threw 3 interceptions. Yancey Thigpen still holds the Steelers record for receiving yards in a season, set in 1997. He left as free agent after that season. Hi leading receiver in 98 was Charles Johnson. He left after that season. In 1999 Courtney Hawkins was the best receiver on the team at the start of the season. Hines Ward was begging for more plying time but the geniuses n charge of the offense weren’t ready to gime him a prominent role. Stewart was VASTLY overrated as a receiver.

  • Ryan

    Josh Miller…great stuff. Always love hearing what the punter’s take is on the QB. Who was the Place Holder during Kordell’s time w/Steelers?? I’m sure he could give us the inside scoop! Somebody find Eddy Crow.

    • John Steigerwald

      He was in the locker room. He had eyes and ears.

  • Niblick

    The third best or the the third worst quarterback in Steeler history? I vote for the third worst. I can still remember all of those passes landing at the receiver’s feet. If memory serves, he started about 5 years for the Steelers and in 3 of those years they missed the playoffs. He did get to two AFC championship games but then single handedly blew them.

    This retirement thing was the one of the more stupidest things that the local sports media can report. The Rooneys and Cowher coddled this guy when he was here and sucking and they are still doing it today. Kordell does not deserve a retirement press conference. Something is very fishy here.

    • John Steigerwald

      They lost the 2001 AFC Championship game because of two special teams TDS by the Patriots. The fact that you would say he singlehandedly lost that game is typical of the stupidity that he had to deal with here. When he had good receivers and an offensive coordinator who knew how to use him he was a pro bowl caliber QB. When Courtney Hawkins was his leading receiver he wasn’t quite as good.