PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger appears to be getting further and further away from his goal of winning five Super Bowls. But the quarterback he is chasing in Pittsburgh Steelers lore said Roethlisberger is the biggest reason why the team will not necessarily be down for long despite losing 11 if its last 15 games dating back to last season.
Bradshaw is among those who believe if you have a quarterback, you have a chance in the NFL.
"Absolutely," said Bradshaw, who led the Steelers to four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s and is now an NFL studio analyst for FOX Sports, "and [the Steelers] have the quarterback so you're good. Everybody wants to have Roethlisberger, [Tom] Brady, [Peyton] Manning, [Drew] Brees."
Roethlisberger joined Bradshaw on Sunday as the only quarterbacks in Steelers history to throw for 200 career touchdowns. He needs 10 more touchdown passes to move past Bradshaw (213) and into first place on the Steelers' all-time list. Roethlisberger is also on pace to establish a new Steelers' single-season high for passing yards in a season.
The Steelers are not nearly as recognizable to Bradshaw as they have been in recent years given their struggles stopping the run.
The Steelers collapsed on Sunday, and Bradshaw said a 55-31 loss at New England reinforced an inevitability for a defense that provided the foundation for the teams that won a pair of Super Bowls and played in a third one from 2005-10.
"It's had its run," Bradshaw said, "and you've got to rebuild it."
That is one of the harsh realities facing a team that is just 2-6 at the halfway point of the season.
"Am I surprised? Yes," Bradshaw said of the Steelers' record. "It's just because I'm spoiled with the Steelers. It doesn't mean they can't right the ship."
Roethlisberger has a more basic goal -- and message that he will impart to his teammates -- following the Steelers' fourth 2-6 start since 1970.
"Keep fighting," he said. "Don't give up. Don't quit."