Terry Bradshaw

Bradshaw, born on September 2, 1948, in Shreveport, LA, was the second of three sons born to Novis and Bill Bradshaw. He attended Woodlawn High School, where he led his football team to a state championship game before making a name for himself as an All-American selection during his time at Louisiana Technical University. Bradshaw’s early career as a quarterback with the Pittsburgh Steelers proved to be rockier than expected, as his on-field performances were often punctuated by a high percentage of interceptions. The press perpetuated the perception that Bradshaw was more of a little country bumpkin than an impressive intelligence. However, things began to change during the 1972 season, when Bradshaw memorably led the Steelers to historic victories, including a game-winning “reception” thrown to Franco Harris in the AFC divisional playoff game against the Oakland Raiders. Throughout his 14-year NFL career, Bradshaw led the Steelers to eight straight playoff appearances, six AFC Championship Games, and four Super Bowl victories. Noted for his powerful arm and game-changing prowess, Bradshaw completed 49 of his 84 pass attempts, throwing only three interceptions and nine touchdowns in his four Super Bowl performances. He was unanimously chosen as the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowls XIII and XIV.

In 1984, prior to his retirement, former professional football player Bradshaw sustained numerous injuries, including a devastating concussion, which ultimately led him to retire. He then went on to appear in movies such as “The Cannonball Run” (1981), “Smokey and the Bandit II” (1980), and “Hooper,” directed by Hal Needham. With his unique down-home brand of charisma, Bradshaw proved to be a hit in the commercial and music industry as well. He recorded several country and gospel albums, earning him a spot on the country music charts with his title track “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” in 1976. Prior to his retirement, he had already served as a guest commentator for post-season games on CBS. In 1984, he signed with the network as an analyst for NFL games, further solidifying his presence in the world of football.

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Bradshaw joined the FitzBradshaw Racing team early in the year, as he became increasingly involved with the popular NASCAR motorsport. During the filming of a humorous segment for Fox’s coverage of the Daytona 500, Bradshaw, a former NFL player and racing legend, spent time with Dale Earnhardt Sr. Unfortunately, Earnhardt died in a horrific crash during the final lap of the race. Bradshaw later openly spoke about the disease and the available treatments for those who suffer from it. He followed his doctor’s advice and started taking the anti-depressant Paxil. In 1999, following his divorce from his third wife, Bradshaw was diagnosed with clinical depression. He appeared to be struggling with weight loss, mood swings, and a growing problem with alcohol. Despite his outwardly happy-go-lucky demeanor, Bradshaw’s personal life was not as easy and free as it seemed. However, he still enjoyed a rambunctious camaraderie with his fellow hosts and NFL veterans, Jimmy Johnson and Howie Long, on Fox’s “NFL Sunday” show. When Bradshaw’s contract with CBS, which held the broadcasting rights for the National Football League, expired, he decided to work as an analyst and co-host for the NFL on Fox.

It was not banned substances on the NFL’s list, but rather corticosteroid injections that were used to accelerate time for recuperation and healing during his professional career. Bradshaw told Dan Patrick during a 2008 interview on the talk show host’s show that he used these injections. Bradshaw’s career also included engagements as a motivational speaker and other endeavors nationwide. In addition to his football accomplishments, Bradshaw added more film credits to his résumé, including a turn opposite Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates in the 2006 film “Failure to Launch” and voice work on the animated comedy “Robots” in 2005. He also became the first professional athlete to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with dozens of television appearances over the course of decades. Later, he released his second book, a memoir titled “It’s Only a Game,” in which he regaled readers with tales of his glory days (and taunted opponents who couldn’t spell ‘cat’ if you spotted them the ‘c’) – a note for a brighter 2001.

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Written by Bryce Coleman.

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