In Sunday’s Pittsburgh Steelers home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a career-high five interceptions. According to Pro Football Reference, Roethlisberger’s five-interception game was the 153rd time a player has thrown 5 or more in a single game during the NFL’s Super Bowl era. Roethlisberger also became the 108th different player to throw 5 or more interceptions in a game.
Roethlisberger, however, wasn’t the first Steelers quarterback to throw five interceptions in a game as Dick Shiner, Terry Bradshaw and Mark Malone had all previously done it. Shiner threw 5 interceptions in two separate games during the 1968 season. Bradshaw three 5 interceptions in two different games as well during the 1977 and 1979 seasons. Malone was the last previous Steelers quarterback to throw 5 interceptions in a single game and that happened during the 1987 season.
What’s interesting is the fact that Bradshaw actually went on to win a Super Bowl with the Steelers in 1979 after throwing 5 interceptions in a 35-7 road loss to the San Diego Chargers during that regular season. You probably remember hearing about that horrible game of Bradshaw’s in the America’s Game video that chronicled the Steelers 1979 season. Below is the snippet from that video for you.
— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) October 11, 2017
The fact that Bradshaw was able to accomplish that feat had me wondering if any other quarterback had also gone on to win a Super Bowl after throwing 5 interceptions in a single game in that same year and surprisingly I found out it’s happened quite a few times.
Bart Starr was the first Super Bowl era quarterback to accomplish the feat in 1967 with the Green Bay Packers. Joe Namath did it as well in 1968 with the New York Jets and he even threw 5 interceptions in two separate games that season. Len Dawson added his name to the list in 1969 as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs and Johnny Unitas followed him in 1970 as a member of the Baltimore Colts. Bradshaw was next in 1979 and Jim Plunkett was the last quarterback to accomplish the feat in 1980 with the Oakland Raiders.
Of those six quarterbacks, Plunkett is the only one not currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Additionally, Namath, Unitas, Bradshaw and Dawson all have links to the Pittsburgh area as the first two hail from the Western Pennsylvania and the second two actually played for the Steelers.
Should Roethlisberger indeed ultimately lead the Steelers to a Super Bowl win this season, No. 7 will be the seventh quarterback to accomplish this rare feat. Also, in doing so, the Steelers will have then captured their seventh Lombardi Trophy. That looks like a sign to me.