Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday …Terry Bradshaw


BradshawBradshaw the steelerTerry Bradshaw

Although I was not a Steeler fan growing up Terry Bradshaw was and still is overlooked when talking about the greatest Quarterbacks to play in the NFL. How does he not get in the conversation after winning 4 Super Bowls? As you have figured out by now this week’s Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday is dedicated to the Quarterbacks, Dan Fouts, Roger Staubach and Terry Bradshaw were among the best that ever played. Bradshaw gets a bad rap for being a goofball on the NFL pregame show but …he was really good in his time and knew how to win.

Bradshaw was a tough competitor, Bradshaw had a powerful – albeit at times erratic – arm and called his own plays throughout his football career.[2] His physical skills and on-the-field leadership played a major role in the 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 postseason, 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 post-season games, he completed 261 passes for 3,833 yards.

In the 1970 NFL Draft Bradshaw was the first overall player selected 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.[10] In either case, Bradshaw was hailed at the time as the consensus No. 1 pick.

Bradshaw became a starter in his second season after splitting time with Terry Hanratty in his rookie campaign. During his first few seasons, the 6’3″, 215-pound quarterback was erratic, threw many interceptions (he threw 210 interceptions over the course of his career) and was widely and unfairly ridiculed by the media for his rural roots and perceived lack of intelligence.[citation needed][11]

It took Bradshaw several seasons to adjust to the NFL, but he eventually led the Pittsburgh Steelers to eight AFC Central championships and four Super Bowl titles. The Pittsburgh Steelers featured the “Steel Curtain” defense and a powerful running attack led by Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, 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. 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. Yet the game was far closer and more interesting than the final score suggests. Early in the 4th quarter, with Pittsburgh down 19–17, Terry would again turn to the long pass to help engineer a victory: a spectacular 73-yard touchdown to John Stallworth. Mr. Bradshaw would share the Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Sportsmen of the Year” award with Willie Stargell that season.

Smallthoughts:Old School Tuesday salutes …one tough Quarterback…Terry Bradshaw.

Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
TDINT 212–210
Yards 27,989
QB Rating 70.9

Published by bklynboy59

Welcome to Smallthoughtsinasportsworld. We keep it fun and we keep interesting and informative. On Tuesdays we go back in time with Old School Tuesdays, on Thursdays we keep it fun by Smallthoughts Trivia Thursday and on Fridays ...it is Smallthoughts: Rant of the Week and Smallthoughts:Rave of the Week and we also post the answer from Smallthoughts:Trivia Thursday. I am a lifelong New York Mets, Knicks and Jets and Giants fan. I root hard for my teams and have rooted for them even when it wasn't and in some cases still isn't easy. I enjoy talking sports, and on here I get to write about it as well. I have my thoughts hence Small thoughts, we will not always agree, but respectfully speak about what we feel. I invite your comments and feedback as well. You can also follow me on twitter @bklynboy59 and facebook Jerry bklynboy Small

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