Steelers: Is Terry Bradshaw Underappreciated?

Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw almost seems like an afterthought when examining the 1970’s teams. Perhaps he deserves a little more appreciation.

Joe Starkey’s article in the Feb 2nd Trib makes a good case about this.  He qualifies that you must consider Bradshaw’s play in the erae he played because you cannot compare his numbers to games today.  Starkey builds his case on how clutch Bradshaw was in the big games.  I agree, but….

There is always a “but” when it comes to Bradshaw:  Bradshaw threw some great passes, but did you see how Lynn Swann made that amazing catch???? Bradshaw had a great game, but did you see that tackle from “insert anyone from the Steel Curtain here”?

Did you know that Terry Bradshaw still holds some of the top passing records in Super Bowl history?  Of course he’s not holding many number one spots, but he is still third on the all time Super Bowl passer rating list after Joe Montana and Jim Plunkett.  After forty-nine Super Bowls?  Interesting.

I think some off-the-field things factor into how Terry Bradshaw continues to be viewed.

Bradshaw has been famously derided for a supposed lack of intelligence.  Sports Illustrated posted an article discussing how poorly Bradshaw (and others) did on the all-powerful Wonderlic test and managed to get the “last laugh.” Still, the perception persists. 

Bradshaw’s relationship with the beloved Coach Chuck Noll was rocky, as Starkey himself has pointed out. When he didn’t come for Noll’s funeral, there were some comments and discussion about it.  Bradshaw is matter-of-fact about his relationship with Noll and I appreciate his candor. However, the other greats were there for the service.

Bradshaw has distanced himself from the Steelers.  He rarely attends events, even to support fellow players.  When the Steelers celebrated the anniversary of the “Immaculate Reception,” Bradshaw was absent.  He is quoted:

“The ‘Immaculate Reception’ did nothing to help me; we won a game and got beat the following week. It’s voted a great play every year, but not much. It wouldn’t change anything.”

That is part of why I think Bradshaw is underappreciated.  He does not embrace the celebration of his team victories. He seems to shy away from celebrating WITH his fellow players.  He embraces being a Steeler, but he does it as an individual.

Bradshaw was roasted prior to the Super Bowl this year.  When I looked at the attendees,  only Mel Blount and Franco Harris are noted.  Perhaps it is a misperception on my part, but the team celebration seems missing.

No one should live in the past, but fans like to relive the team’s accomplishment.  Terry does his own thing and in his own way.  I just think it sometimes works against him.

I consider Bradshaw a great quarterback and an integral part of four of six of the Steeler’s Super Bowl wins.  This fan appreciates him.  What do you think Steeler Nation?  Is Starkey right?  Is Bradshaw underappreciated?

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