Terry Bradshaw Enshrinement speech
Terry Bradshaw Enshrinement Speech 1989
Presenter: Verne Lundquist
Thank you very much. Just last Monday night in my home in Colorado, I was chatting with a close friend about the events that were coming up this weekend. He is a retired Air Force pilot, an historian and a member of the collegiate Hall of Faroe because of his all-American days as a lineman at West Point, so I value his insight. We talked a little bit about the specific events of this morning, of how this honor will be the single highest honor that can be paid each of these four men. But we talked in more general terms about the role of sport in our society throughout the ages. Of how from the time of recorded civilization those civilizations have venerated their athletes, the Greeks the Romans a multitude of nations since then including us. We do so, my friend said, and his name is Robin Olt, we do so because those who have accomplished in sport have the potential to give us a higher plane. They can provide a mirror so we can see what we can become. They do that especially when a quest of their athletic accomplishment, we glimpse their humanity. We see them prevail and we also see them stumble and fall. We relish their joy because we recognize their pain. Ultimately, the best overcome. And the best of best we put into the Hall of Fame.
Terry Bradshaw is being honored today for the totality of his accomplishment in 14 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I do want to touch on that for just a moment. His football career could be summarized numerically and rather easily 4 - 4 Super Bowls won in 6 years; no other quarterback who ever played the game can make that claim. Two things we all remember well about Terry he was instinctive, he called his own plays for heaven sakes and he could heave it, the boy could heave it a long, long way. For Terry only one statistic was important, he would ask at the end of four quarters, who won. When I think of Terry's approach to the game, I am reminded of a story about a former baseball manager Bobby Breggin's complaint about statistics people. According to the percentage freaks, if you have one foot in a bucket of ice and the other foot in a hot campfire, you ought to be perfectly comfortable. Terry shared Breggin's contempt. It is more than fitting that a new book on Terry's life is called ''Looking Deep.'' It is how he approached the game of football and how he continues to approach everything he deems important in his life now and for just a couple of moments that's the man I would like to talk about now.
Those of us who know him well it is not surprising that Terry has become a successful broadcaster. To those of us who know him well it is no surprise that it wasn't easy. There were early pitfalls. But in television, as he did in football, he became a success. With talent, a strong work ethic and an almost erry intuitive feeling of doing the right thing. To those of us who know him well, it is no surprise that Terry Bradshaw has now found a joy, a peace and a serenity in a wonderful marriage. No surprise because we know how terribly important marriage and family are to him and know it did not come easy. But in this beautiful wife, Charla, his wife for 3½ years, he has found his partner for life and his mother of his children finding Rachael who is two and little Erin who is five weeks old. And if you thought you saw an exuberance in his walk and in his smile after any of those Super Bowl wins, I wish you could have seen the bliss on his face and the radiance in his eyes when each of his little girls were born.
He is a man of the body of faith, a man whose faith manifests itself in simple acts of good works for family, for friends for others. Whether it is as basic as a late-night phone call to pick you up or as magnanimous as the anonymous donation of a gift of a bunch of bicycles for some under privileged kids, you can count upon Terry Bradshaw. For two decades now he has lived his life in public. We have known of his triumphs and we have known of his tragedies. For 20 years we have glimpsed his humanities ... we have seen him prevail. There is I believe engrained in each of us, a small hope that we will be remembered after we are gone that somehow those who come years from now will know that we were here, that we lived, that we loved, that we laughed, that somehow we mattered. For most of us that desire is very fervent, but the dreams are highly improbable. But for Terry Bradshaw, today that dream becomes a reality. Generations unborn today will come to Canton years from now, they will hear bis voice, they will see his face, they will watch his exploits. And no doubt they will say then as we do today, we whose memories are fresher and more fervent, boy wasn't he something.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor and deep privilege to present into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, my partner, my dear, dear friend ... Mr. Terry Bradshaw.
Believe it or not I have missed that. I can't begin to use the words to describe the emotions that all of us have felt, me in particular, in coming to Canton, Ohio and being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I can’t find the words to thank Pete Elliott enough. I know he spent the $50,000 I sent him to make sure I got in here. When I got the phone call, those of you that know me, know I'm not a man that hides his emotions well, I went nuts... I went crazy... which I already am anyway. I jumped around, I ran around the house outside, I just lost it for three days. I said, I can't believe this and then I stopped, and I said what does it mean ... what does all of this mean. It means that, yeah, your one of the best that ever played, and I said, no, wait just a second, wait just a second. What it means is that in football you never get anything that you don't share it with people. You don't get elected into the Hall of Fame by yourself.
Thank you, number 88 Lynn Swann; thank you number 82 John Stallworth; thank you Franco Harris; thank you Rocky Bleier. What I wouldn't give right now to put my hands under Mike Webster's butt just one more time. Thank you, Mike. Sam Davis, left guard, I love ya. Thank you, Sam. Moon, who never knew he played in the National Football League, thank you Moon. John ''Cowboy'' Cole, my left tackle. Larry "Big Boss'' Brown, my right tackle and two of the finest tight ends that I never had more fun playing with, one Big Baby Huey, Benny Cunningham, I love you, thank you. And Randy Grossman, the greatest set of hands a tight end ever had, thank you. Folks, Jim Smith, Calvin Sweeney, Theo Bell and I can go on and on, every one of them. Rocky Bleier, takes people to get anything done. We didn't get in here by ourselves.
Hey folks, I went to my dad in 1955 and I said pop, I'm going to go play in the National Football League. I was 7 years old, we lived in Camanche, Iowa. He said, that 1 s right son, move on. So, I did, and I got a ball. He gave me a Sears and Roebuck ball and learned how to throw that sucker. He said it has got to last a year and had gotten real big. I took this clothes hanger and threaded my shoestrings through it to hold it together. That’s commitment isn't it. That's what it has, that's what it takes. That's what Mel was talking about. I wanted it so bad. Not to get in the Hall, but to just get in the NFL. We moved back to Shreveport, LA ... I tried out at Oak Terrace Junior High school, failed, tried out again, failed. Went to Woodlawn High School, played for the greatest high school coach in the history of sports there, Lee Hedges. He taught me how to play quarterback. Lee Hedges. I went out to a small school. People said why did you go to a small school. Let me tell you why, let's get it out on the records ... I failed the ACT test. Best thing that happened to Taft was me failing the ACT test and signed with this little school. I was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1970. Now folks we didn't have a love affair when it started. Ya all called me Ozark Ike cause I was big and white and d1Jmb acting. Said I was Li'l Abner, said I couldn't spell "cat'', but ya all didn’t, but some fool down in Dallas did. And I never understood what you wanted from me cause all I thought was, bell, we're supposed to win, isn't that what were supposed to do up here, just win. We're supposed to win. He's open, what do you do with the ball, throw it, Terry.
If he's covered what do you do, throw that sucker; get rid of it; you're going to get hit. My nature was attack, throw it deep, anybody can throw wide, let's go deep. You got to play in the huddle. Swann let's throw a hook. John said, I, Fred I gotta go deep. Earl fifty yards throw it deep. Let's go deep. Intercepted ... Oh God! wasn't it fun, didn't ya all like seeing that stuff fly down there. I mean it was fun. What a ride, what a ride. We, we did those winning because that's what we were bred to ... We the Steelers; all my boys, all of them. We loved to win, God, we loved to win. I love ... you know what. I want every one of you loving me, I want you clapping for me, I don't want you booing me and when we won you clapped. But it takes, it takes people, all our careers, we were blessed with great people around us. I'm a fortunate quarterback to have so much beautiful talent, so many wonderful athletes to go out and get the job done. It allowed me to be the kind of person I was. To go out and be aggressive and to attack and have fun and what a line. And tell jokes and cut up with reporters who still haven't figured me out yet. That was fun. I enjoyed that; I got a kick out of that. But folks when it's all said and done, the crowd finally goes home and we're left with our thoughts, we sit back and we say, it's people to share it with.
I got my mom and dad and my brothers are here, well one of them is. But, that's what it's all about. Awards aren't worth a .... I’ve saved a lot of stuff by not having a lot of hair for this thing right over here. But folks, I'm so proud of that thing; as ugly as that sucker is, I'm so proud of it. But it's not worth a .... it’s not worth a hill of beans if I don't have people that love me, to share it with. To my wife, Charla, my kids, God this has just been great. Art Rooney, boy I loved that man. I know you’re watching Art. I love ya. You were always, always by me. I love you so much. Thank you. Pittsburgh, hey, I love you. Thank you. Thank you.