Terry Bradshaw, the former Steelers four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, isn’t known as “Nice Terry” when giving interviews—I made that up.
He’s also not known as “Not So Nice Terry” when giving other interviews. However, you’ll have to excuse me for making up my own nickname for the Blonde Bomber; I just never know what he’s going to say when he goes on the record when discussing anything that has to do with the Steelers or the NFL.
Thursday was one such day when he went on the record as he appeared on 93.7 The Fan with Ron Cook and Joe Starkey.
I’m not sure if either Cook or Starkey knew what to expect, especially considering Cook, a long-time Pittsburgh sportswriter and radio personality, has called Bradshaw one of the biggest phonies he’s ever covered during his career.
Would there be fireworks? Even if there weren’t, would Bradshaw say something to further alienate Steelers fans?
Turns out, every time Steelers fans think they’re out with regards to loving Terry Bradshaw, he pulls them back in.
Not only was Bradshaw mostly positive when discussing the Steelers, he gave current quarterback Ben Roethlisberger the ultimate compliment when asked who he thought the greatest passer in franchise history was:
“I would give it to Ben,” said Bradshaw courtesy of The Fan. “His numbers far exceed mine. I have more Super Bowls but he is a much better quarterback. I wasn’t bad in my era but he is big, strong, accurate and puts up monstrous numbers and has 2 Super Bowls,” Bradshaw added. “I passed that baton on to him gladly. I absolutely have no problem with that. He deserves it.”
Shocking, especially considering the less-than flattering things he’s said about Big Ben in the past, right? Not really.
Bradshaw went on to say he never really had a problem with Pittsburgh, even if he never truly loved it, being a southern boy and all.
He's said similar things about Pittsburgh in the past.
His opinions on people, on the other hand, well, they can be a bit complicated.
For example, he's often talked about the great respect he had for head coach Chuck Noll, even if the wounds he endured while playing for him have never fully healed.
Surprised that he changed his tune a bit about Mike Tomlin during the interview and praised him for his coaching performance in 2019? You shouldn't be, even if he did once call Tomlin a cheerleader.
Of course, Bradshaw also said of both Ben and Tomlin that he doesn’t have a relationship with either. You could attribute that to his strong criticisms of both in the past—and who could blame either guy if they told old Brad to go pound salt?
But, in fairness, does Bradshaw really have a relationship with anyone—even those he doesn’t criticize?
Bradshaw’s always been the life of the party, but he’s never really wanted to attend one.
In any event, it was nice to hear Bradshaw talk in a complimentary manner about the current team and his time playing in Pittsburgh four decades ago—even if he's never far from also referencing his strained relationship with Noll or the "dumb" label that fans once placed on him.
But that’s Terry.
I’m just glad he didn’t say anything that will make people in town want to run to the nearest sink and wash their hands of him...yet again.
I’ve always longed for Bradshaw to embrace the city, the team and those memories he helped create back in the 1970s. And in 2002, when he came back to town and was showered with love by the fans for the first time since he retired, I thought that would put an end to the bitterness and insecurity. Heck, he even asked Noll to present him at the 2003 Dapper Dan Dinner and spent a good deal of his speech openly apologizing to his old coach for a post-playing career feud that was clearly one-sided.
But that didn’t put a stop to anything—including the controversial remarks aimed at his old coach and team.
Fortunately, I’ve come to terms with the reality that Terry and the Steelers will never be blood brothers.
Bradshaw will never truly let go of the tough parts of his time as a Steeler and fully embrace the good stuff.
That’s just not who he is—or at least that’s not who he will allow himself to be.
But he is a guy who likes to tell people what he thinks they want to hear, and that may be why he really let Tom Brady have it during his interview on Thursday. That’s right, not only did he refuse to call Brady the G.O.A.T, he criticized him for his decision to leave the Patriots and play out the rest of his career with the Buccaneers.
“It’s just a lot of things,” Bradshaw said. “I’m a little bit tired of all this soap opera going on between him and (Bill) Belichick,” Bradshaw said. “Look, he left because he wanted to prove something, and he wants to prove to everyone that he can win without Bill Belichick. Between all that, you say all the wonderful things (about Belichick) … but after 20 years, he’s leaving. You gotta be kidding me.”
That quote is courtesy of Tampa Bay Times, a Tampa news outlet that is probably wondering why Bradshaw was being so mean to Brady.
Simple, he was talking to a Pittsburgh news outlet.
Don’t worry, he’ll likely praise Brady and bash Big Ben at a later date.
Give it time.
That’s our Bradshaw. You’ll just have to get used to it, Tampa, Brady, etc.