Terry Bradshaw
Terry Bradshaw Steelers 1978.jpg
Terry Bradshaw with Steelers, 1978.
Personal Information
Position(s)
Quarterback
Jersey #(s)
12
Born: September 2 1948 (1948-09-02) (age 72)
Birthplace: Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
Career information
Year(s) 19701983
NFL Draft 1970 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1 Pittsburgh Steelers
NFL Supplemental Draft / Pick:
High School Woodlawn HS, Shreveport, LA
College Louisiana Tech
Professional teams
Career stats
Pass Attempts/Completions/Comp. Percetange (%) 3,901/2,025/51.9%
TD-INT 212 TDs-210 INTs
Passing Yards/QB Rating 27,989 YDS/70.9 Rtg
Stats at NFL.com
Career highlights and awards

Terry Paxton Bradshaw (born September 2, 1948 in Shreveport, Louisiana) is a former American football quarterback with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the National Football League (NFL). He is currently a TV analyst and co-host of Fox NFL Sunday. He played 14 seasons with Pittsburgh, won four Super Bowl titles in a six-year period (1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979), becoming the first quarterback to win three and four Super Bowls, and led the Steelers to eight AFC Central championships. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989, his first year of eligibility.

A tough competitor, Bradshaw had a powerful – albeit at times erratic – arm and called his own plays throughout his football career. His physical skills and on-the-field leadership played a major role in Pittsburgh Steelers history. During his career, he passed for more than 300 yards in a game only seven times, but three of those performances came in the post-season, and two of those in Super Bowls. In four career Super Bowl appearances he passed for 932 yards and 9 touchdowns, both Super Bowl records at the time of his retirement. In 19 postseason games he completed 261 passes for 3,833 yards.

High school and college[edit | edit source]

Bradshaw was born in Shreveport, Louisiana the second of three sons of Bill and Novis Bradshaw.[1][2] He attended Woodlawn High School and led the Knights to the 1965 Louisiana AAA High School Championship game, where they lost to the Sulphur Tors 12-9. While at Woodlawn, he set a national record for throwing the javelin 245 feet. His exploits earned him a spot in the Sports Illustrated feature Faces In The Crowd.

Bradshaw decided to attend Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana. He has much affinity for his alma mater. He is a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He was active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and spoke before many athletic banquets and other gatherings.[3]

In 1969, he was considered by most pro scouts to be the most outstanding college football player. As a junior, he amassed 2,890 total yards, ranking #1 in the NCAA, and led his team to a 9-2 record and a 33-13 win over Akron in the Rice Bowl. In his senior season, he gained 2,314 yards, ranking third in the NCAA, and led his team to an 8-2 record. His decrease in production was mainly because his team played only ten games that year, and he was taken out of several games in the second half because his team had built up a huge lead. As quarterback, Bradshaw threw his passes principally to teammates Larry C. Brewer (1948–2003) of Minden, Louisiana, the offensive end, and Thomas Allen "Tommy" Spinks (1948–2007), the split end who had also been Bradshaw's Woodlawn High School teammate. As a result, Brewer and Spinks were recorded among the top pass receivers in Louisiana Tech history.

NFL playing career[edit | edit source]

Bradshaw was the first player selected in the 1970 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers; the Steelers drew the first pick in the draft after winning a coin flip tiebreaker with the Chicago Bears due to both teams having identical 1-13 records in 1969.[4] In either case, Bradshaw was hailed at the time as the consensus number one pick, regardless of which team drafted him.

Bradshaw became a starter one year after he was drafted in 1970. During his first several seasons, the 6'3", 215 lb. quarterback was erratic, threw many interceptions (he threw 210 interceptions over the course of his career) and was widely ridiculed by the media for his rural roots and perceived lack of intelligence. As quoted by reporters before Super Bowl X in 1976, former Dallas Cowboys LB Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson quipped, He's (Bradshaw) so dumb that he probably couldn't spell "CAT", even if you spot him the "C" and the "A"".

It took Bradshaw a few seasons to adjust to the pro game but once he did, he eventually became the premier quarterback in the NFL, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to eight AFC Central championships and an unprecedented collection of Super Bowl rings. The Pittsburgh Steelers featured the "Steel Curtain" defense and a powerful running attack led by Franco Harris, but Bradshaw's strong arm gave them the threat of the deep pass, helping to loosen opposing defenses. In 1972, he threw the pass leading to the "Immaculate Reception", among the most famous plays in NFL history.

Bradshaw temporarily lost the starting job to Joe Gilliam in 1974, but he took over again during the regular season. In the 1974 AFC Championship Game against the Oakland Raiders, his fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Lynn Swann proved to be the winning score in a 24-13 victory. In the Steelers’ 16-6 Super Bowl IX victory over the Minnesota Vikings that followed, Bradshaw completed 9 of 14 passes and his fourth-quarter touchdown pass put the game out of reach and helped take 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. 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. He was sharp in a 40-14 victory over the Baltimore Colts, completing 14 of 18 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns, but the Steelers' hopes of a three-peat ended with a 24-7 loss to Oakland in the AFC Championship game.

Bradshaw had his finest season in 1978 when 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 Super Bowl XIII, a Steelers-Cowboys rematch, Cowboys linebacker Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson famously ridiculed Bradshaw by saying, "He couldn't spell 'Cat' if you spotted him the 'c' and the 'a'." Bradshaw got his revenge by winning the Most Valuable Player award, completing 17 of 30 passes for a then-record 318 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-31 win. Years later, Henderson, who struggled for years to conquer drug addiction, admitted he was high on cocaine at the time of the interview. Bradshaw has in later years made light of the ridicule with quips such as "it's football, not rocket science."

Bradshaw won his second straight Super Bowl MVP in 1979 in Super Bowl XIV. He passed for 309 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 31-19 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Bradshaw also shared the Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsmen of the Year" award with Willie Stargell that season.

After two seasons of missing the playoffs, Bradshaw played through pain — he needed a cortisone shot before every game because of an elbow injury sustained during training camp — in a strike-shortened 1982 NFL season. He still managed to tie for the most touchdown passes in the league with 17. In a 31-28 playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers, Bradshaw's last postseason game, he completed 28-of-39 passes for 325 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

After undergoing offseason elbow surgery, Bradshaw was idle for the first 14 games of the 1983 NFL season. Then on December 10 against the New York Jets, he felt a pop in his elbow while throwing his final pass, a ten yard touchdown to Calvin Sweeney in the second quarter of the Steelers' 34-7 win. Bradshaw later left the game and never played again. The two touchdowns Bradshaw threw in what would be the final NFL game played at Shea Stadium (and the last NFL game in New York City to date) allowed him to finish his career with two more touchdowns (212) than interceptions (210) for his career. In his 14-season career, Bradshaw completed 2,025 of 3,901 passes for 27,989 yards and 212 touchdowns. He also rushed 444 times for 2,257 yards and 32 touchdowns. He was 107-51 as the starting quarterback and the Steelers reached the playoffs 10 times. His career postseason record as a starter was 14-5. He was also selected to play in three Pro Bowl games.

While the Steelers no longer officially retire uniform numbers (with the exception of Ernie Stautner's #70), they have not reissued Bradshaw's #12 since he retired, and it is generally understood that no Steeler will wear that number again.

In 1999, he was ranked number 44 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. Bradshaw holds the record for most games with a QB rating of 0, with 3 games.

Sports broadcasting career[edit | edit source]

Bradshaw retired from football in 1983, and quickly signed a television contract with CBS to become an NFL game analyst in 1984, where he and play-by-play announcer Verne Lundquist had the top rated programs. Prior to his full-time work for them, he served as a guest commentator for CBS Sports' NFC postseason broadcasts from 198082.

Bradshaw was promoted into television studio analyst for The NFL Today in 1990 (which he hosted with Greg Gumbel through the 1993 season), and Fox NFL Sunday, where he normally acts as a comic foil to his co-hosts. On Fox NFL Sunday he hosts two semi-regular features, Ten Yards with TB, where he fires random questions at an NFL pro, and The Terry Awards, an annual comedic award show about the NFL season. He appeared on the first broadcast of NASCAR on FOX where he took a ride with Dale Earnhardt at Daytona International Speedway.

On June 19, 2008, Terry Bradshaw revealed on The Dan Patrick Show that he took therapeutic corticosteroid steroid injections, per his doctors' orders, during the 1970s to "speed healing." Corticosteroids, which are different from anabolic steroids and are used to reduce inflammation, are not banned from the NFL.[5]

Bradshaw has the reputation of being the "ol' redneck," but, in co-host and former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson's words, the act is a "schtick."[6] According to Johnson, Bradshaw deflects such criticism by stating that "he's so dumb that he has to have somebody else fly his private plane."[6]

Bradshaw has also garnered a reputation for criticizing players.

Passing stats[edit | edit source]

NCAA Collegiate Career Stats
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Season Passing Rushing
Comp Att Yards Pct. TD Int QB Rating Att Yards Avg TD
1966 34 81 404 42.0 0 3 76.5 26 -74 -2.8 0
1967 78 139 981 64.9 3 10 108.1 31 -118 -3.8 0
1968 176 339 2,890 57.9 22 15 136.1 87 97 1.1 0
1969 136 248 2,314 57.9 14 14 140.6 77 177 2.2 11
NCAA Career Totals 424 807 2,196 52.5 39 42 126.7 221 75 0.3 11
NFL Career Passing Statistics
Pittsburgh Steelers
Year GP Att Com Pct Yards YDS/G Long TD Int QB Rating
1970 13 218 83 38.1 1,410 108.5 90 6 24 30.4
1971 14 373 203 54.4 2,259 161.4 -- 13 22 59.7
1972 14 308 147 47.7 1,887 134.8 -- 12 12 64.1
1973 10 180 89 49.4 1,183 118.3 -- 10 15 54.5
1974 8 148 67 45.3 785 98.1 -- 7 8 55.2
1975 14 286 165 57.7 2,055 146.8 59 18 9 88.0
1976 10 192 92 47.9 1,177 117.7 50 10 9 65.4
1977 14 314 162 51.6 2,523 180.2 65t 17 19 71.4
1978 16 368 207 56.3 2,915 182.2 70 28 20 84.7
1979 16 472 259 54.9 3,724 232.8 65t 26 25 77.0
1980 15 424 218 51.4 3,339 222.6 68t 24 22 75.0
1981 14 370 201 54.3 2,887 206.2 90t 22 14 83.9
1982 9 240 127 52.9 1,768 196.4 74t 17 11 81.4
1983 1 8 5 62.5 77 77.0 24 2 0 133.9
Career Totals 168 3901 2025 51.9 27,989 166.6 90 212 210 70.9


Super Bowl Statistics
Super Bowls Comp Att Pct Yards TDs INTs QB Rating Result
IX 9 14 64.3 96 1 0 108.4 W 16-6
X 9 19 47.4 209 2 0 122.5 W 21-17
XIII 17 30 56.7 318 4 1 119.2 W 35-31
XIV 14 21 66.7 309 2 3 101.9 W 31-19
Totals 49 84 58.3 932 9 4 112.7 W/L Record 4-0

Key to Abbreviations
GP = Games Played
Att = Passes attempted
Com = Passes Completed
Pct = Completion percentage
Yds = Yards
TD =Touchdowns
Int = Interceptions
Long = Longest Pass Play of season
QB Rating = Passer rating

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Casting Call: Terry Bradshaw - FLW Outdoors
  2. "Bradshaw embraced in return to Steelers", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 22, 2002. 
  3. "Pro Star to Speak at Blue and Gold Banquet", Minden Press-Herald, Minden, Louisiana, February 16, 1972, p. 1
  4. Template error: argument title is required. 
  5. Bradshaw admits to steroid use
  6. 6.0 6.1 Five Questions With Jimmy Johnson

External links[edit | edit source]

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