Jan 18, 1976; Miami, FL, USA, FILE PHOTO; Dallas Cowboys linebacker D.D. Lewis hits Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw as he releases the ball during Super Bowl X at the Orange Bowl. The Steelers defeated the Cowboys 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
When Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw talks, people listen.
When Terry Bradshaw says the contact in football will "slowly fade away" over the next decade, Steeler Nation likely nods its head in agreement.
The fact Bradshaw also says he'd absolutely do it all again, we have more admiration for the legendary hero.
If it's possible for those not blessed with the super-human abilities of a professional football player to comprehend what they do for a living, and the risks with their health they happily assume, we can see it with Bradshaw.
A man who took a savage beating throughout his career, both on and off the field, rebounded to become one of the most winning quarterbacks of all time. He went on to a successful broadcasting career, and became a lightning rod for the claims of former players, and the advancing research of concussions and their effects on the former players.
Only an ignorant person will listen to Bradshaw. While we gnash our teeth and curse the direction the league is going in, Bradshaw's generation saw at least - LEAST - the same amount of regulation facing the players today. When he says he sees the game we know today fading away, it's because he watches the results of a game that faded away from the late 70s to today.
Maybe in 10 years, this game will equate to basketball on grass, where contact happens but is mostly disallowed and the strategy is largely diluted due to the dimensions of options becoming basically "run as fast as you can, catch the ball, and win the game 72-65."
Regardless, though, if this quote doesn't encapsulate the issue at hand - as well as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's legacy - I don't know what does.
"I have to be careful here because I work for Fox and NFL Network," Bradshaw said, "but I don't think they care. They're forced to care now because it's politically correct to care. Lawsuits make you care. I think the P.R. makes you care. But personally, when I got out in 1983, do I think they cared about me? No. And you know what? I don't expect them to. I don't need them to worry about me. I take care of myself. But, do they care? They're forced to care right now because, P.R.-wise, it's not very favorable to them."