Terry Bradshaw talks Pepsi Halftime, the Super Bowl and the “Immaculate Reception”


40 years ago this month, fifth-year NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw came of age. The former #1 overall draft pick in 1970 had struggled in his first five regular seasons, averaging just 1,504 passing yards per season, while throwing 48 touchdowns and 81 interceptions.

But in the 1974 playoffs, something clicked. In wins over the Buffalo Bills, the Oakland Raiders, and finally, in the Super Bowl IX against the Minnesota Vikings, Bradshaw played the best football of his career, steadying himself long enough to let a powerful running game and legendary “Steel Curtain” defense dictate the tempo of games and slowly bleed out opponents.

We spoke to Terry about his progression as a quarterback, the Super Bowl and the Steelers dynasty of the 1970s.

Talk about your experience working with Pepsi on the Pepsi GRAMMY Halftime Show.

“This is just great, man. My agent called me and described the script and it sounded like so much fun, I couldn’t wait to do it. It was so much fun to make. And Deion (Sanders) and Shannon (Sharpe) were all laughing at each other. And coach Ditka was a hoot! Just four old guys out there showing off our stuff!

As a rookie, you were the first overall draft pick, and in the ensuing season, you threw a league leading 24 interceptions and split time with Terry Hanratty. What are your thoughts on that year in hindsight, after all the success?

“Well, I came up out of a small school where I was not exposed to the media, not exposed to fans, what it was like to have a bad game and the repercussions. So being booed, being ripped in the papers, this was all new to me. I had to learn how to be a professional, I had to learn how to study, I had to learn defenses. It took me a while. I wasn’t a real student of the game, I never really was one even as the years went on. I was never a guy that could sit down and just pound out tape after tape. Now, it’s a lot easier. Back then, tape would break and you’d have to glue it back together. I could sit there and my coach could tell me the coverages they would use, take all that information and put it on a piece of paper, go through all the plays and everything, and I would know what to do. I learned how to be a professional and it was brutal. Being booed and being called all those horrible things left a lasting impression on me. I never forgot it.”

Read the full interview here.

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NFL retirees file complaint against league, players

DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA executive director (C) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (C) arrive for labor negotiations between NFL players and owners with federal mediation in Washington on March 3, 2011. The current collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight tonight and a lockout is possible but not definite if none is reached. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg.

According to ESPN.com, a group of NFL retirees has filed a complaint against the league and its current players for not allowing them to be a part of the ongoing labor discussions.

The retired players say that NFL owners, the NFL Players’ Association and a group of current players including star quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are “conspiring to depress the amounts of pension and disability benefits to be paid to former NFL players in order to maximize the salaries and benefits to current NFL players.”

The complaint said the players’ decision to decertify their union makes it an antitrust violation for the owners and current players to negotiate for retired players.

It also alleges that the NFL had said it would tap revenue streams both from within and outside the salary cap to help retired players, union representatives including DeMaurice Smith want all the money delegated for the cap to be given to current players.

“Through the settlement they are forging, the Brady plaintiffs, the NFLPA and the NFL defendants are conspiring to set retiree benefits and pension levels at artificially low levels,” the complaint alleged.

I’ve spoken with a handful of current players during the lockout, including Jared Allen (Vikings), Kellen Winslow Jr. (Bucs) and Stanford Routt (Raiders), and they’ve all said the same thing: They want to make sure that during this labor dispute, they represent the players that paved the way for them and their careers. Even though I only spoke with a handful of these players, I get the sense that they want what’s best not only for themselves, but for retirees as well.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that DeMaurice Smith, the owners, the mediators or the lawyers want wants best for the retirees, which is where the problem lies. Thirty years ago, players weren’t making what they are today and obviously our society has advanced from a medical standpoint over that span as well. Thus, retirees want to make sure that the league in which they broke bones, spilled blood and suffered long-lasting physical alignments will take care of them now that they’re older. And it’s not fair that current players represent the retirees in this labor strife. The retirees should represent the retirees because they know what’s best for themselves. How could Drew Brees possibly know what’s best for Franco Harris?

As a fan, I would hate to see anything derail the progress that the owners and players have made over the last month. But what’s right is right. And what’s right is that the retirees have a voice at these labor negotiations. Of course, the whole situation could backfire on them too, so this complaint may all be for naught.

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