For 15 Days we will be counting down the Top 15 Greatest Steelers of the Bill Cowher Era. The list will have both offensive and defensive players, and in doing the list no kickers or punters were selected. Below is our number choice of the day building towards the number one Steeler of the Cowher Era.
QB/WR Kordell Stewart 1995-2002: Call him “Slash” if you will, the #15 on our list is none other than “Slash” himself – Kordell Stewart. Drafted in the second round out of Colorado, he made an immediate impact in 1995, but not as a QB, but as a wide out. Chan Gailey quickly made Stewart his everything, as in the season in which the Steelers made it to the Super Bowl, Stewart caught passes, threw them, ran reverses, and even punted in the playoff win over the Bills. He caught a touchdown in the AFC Title game in 1995 vs the Colts, and ran for a couple of first downs in that game.
After still playing wide out in 1996, Stewart finally got his shot to QB the Steelers in 1997, and the team advanced to the AFC Championship game with an 11-5 record. Stewart though, had an awful game that afternoon, as he fumbled once and threw a costly end zone interception as the Steelers lost 24-21. In 1998, he started to go downhill, throwing 11 TD’s and 18 INT’s and by the end of the season was sitting the bench. After starting the first 11 games in 99, he sat the last five games for Mike Tomczak. Then in 2000, his career got back on track, as he started the year behind Kent Graham, but by week five was once again the starter, and he led the Steelers to an 8-4 record over the last 12 games.
2001 was Kordell’s dream season. With Jerome Bettis carrying the rock, and a wide out core with Yancy Thigpen and Plaxico Burress, Stewart was a Pro Bowl selection, throwing for 3109 yards and 14 touchdowns to go along with 5 TD’s on the ground. After a solid divisional playoff game vs the Ravens, the AFC Title game was a nightmare once again, as Stewart threw three INT’s, and the Steelers lost to the Pats. In 2002, he played in a handful of games before being replaced by Tommy Maddox. He was gone the next season.
Say what you want about Kordell, he did have the ability to change a game with his arm and his feet. The sad part is he was so inconsistant, you never really knew what Stewart you were getting each Sunday. The bottom line is he will be remembered for the two AFC Title game failures and his poor play in those two games.
Tomorrow: Number #14
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