Bradshaw performs live at Victoria Fine Arts Center on Saturday
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Feb. 26, 2014 at 5:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 25, 2014 at 8:26 p.m.
Fourteen seasons in the NFL. Four Super Bowl wins and a place in professional football's Hall of Fame history. Still, former Pittsburg Steelers quarterback, Terry Bradshaw, said he wouldn't want to go back.
When some retired players may look upon their days with nostalgia, Bradshaw said he was eager to exit football.He was determined, post-retirement, to shed his "dumb blond" No. 12 quarterback persona and try his football-throwing hands at other career endeavors, which have included successes in writing, motivational speaking, country and gospel singing, acting, and as a broadcaster on Fox NFL Sunday.
In his downtime, he's a professional horseman and cattleman on his ranch in Oklahoma.
And most recently, he's embarked on a nationwide tour performing, "Terry Bradshaw: America's Favorite Dumb Blonde ... A Life in Four Quarters," which comes to Victoria on Saturday.
The Advocate talked to Bradshaw this week over the phone to discuss the tour, life as a dumb blond, and a few of those four quarters.
Q: Of the many things you've accomplished - football, business, singing career, acting, performing, family - would you give any of it back to return to the NFL?
A: Not at all. I wouldn't trade any of it to go back to the NFL. A lot of players are like me: When they walk out of the crowd, out of the door, they're looking over the horizon. I don't miss football. I was glad when I retired. I was glad when it was over and it was time to move on. God has blessed me so tremendously, and I don't understand why. I don't even want to go back and pick up 20 years of age because then I'd lose my (daughters).
Q: How have you continued to reinvent yourself?
A: I think we live in a world of entertainment with television, radio and newspapers and we love being entertained. I think American people work hard and at the end of working hard they want to be entertained. I was always the kid in the family that kept people laughing. I was always like that.
Q: Did you consider what your life would look like after retirement from the NFL?
A: I always had an exit strategy. I didn't want to play past 10 years. I wish I'd only played eight, but I ended up playing 12 years. My exit plan was to get out and see what else is out there. I always had an opportunity to showcase my personality and I knew it was up to me to take advantage of it. But I wanted to entertain people more than anything. And unfortunately, as football player, you get pigeonholed and I had to figure out how to work my way out of it. So when Fox (NFL Sunday) gave me the chance, that's what I did.
Q: Why do you think you were so focused on the exit strategy?
A: I'm not a northern boy. I'm real serious about where I live. And I didn't want to be in Pittsburg. ..My career wasn't going to be like John Elway or Peyton Manning, or Dan Marino. I wanted to get out sooner than others. And back then, we didn't make the money the guys do now. The guys today are set for life. They can stock pile away $20-$23 million. I was selling used cars in the off-season.
Q: You've attempted many different career paths. Why have you gone so many different directions?
A: Whatever I did, whatever I tried, whether or not I did them well, I thought it would be my loss if I didn't try. Motivational speaking enhanced my television, which enhanced radio . I just tried, tried, tried.
Q: Were you always comfortable in front of the camera?
A: When I started speaking (in front of people) it didn't go well. I knew the reason I was being asked to speak wasn't because I was good speaker; it was because I was good at football. And I knew when I started acting that I wasn't getting acting jobs because I could act, it was because of football. But it was all of those things that got me to my next gig. For a show like this, it takes a long time to get booking. This show needs to be working every week for it to be good. Every time it's a month between shows, you gotta relearn it. You're not confident, you're questioning yourself. I remember Jay Leno told me for a show like this to be good you need to work, work, work, work, work. And I don't mind a little work.
Q: What do you think about your reputation as a dumb blond?
A: I'm an average guy. I'm just like anybody else. Where I lack interest is where I endure failure. I didn't do well in school, not because I wasn't smart, but because I wasn't interested. I always excelled in what I liked. So I'm very normal, but I do have a lot of common sense. You get used to being called dumb, which is one of the most painful things I've had to endure. When people wanted to hurt me they'd call me the dumb quarterback. And then I started firing back with, "Whatever. How many Super Bowl rings do you have? Lets throw the rings on the table." And when compared to guys like Peyton and Marino, I let them know I was the one calling my own plays. (laughing).
Q: What would you tell your 22-year-old self, you know, before all the NFL and career accolades?
A: I would tell myself you gotta grow up real fast. These people are vultures and the press is not your friend. You have no friends. The only thing that matters is your wins. And I would tell myself not to put so much pressure on myself, and that it's going to be hard-going, and they're going to come after you.I was clueless then about the media and how important they were and how important they still are. It's a hurtful thing to know thousands of people are disappointed in you or don't like you, and it's also very humbling. And then there are people out there who are jealous of you.
Q: You seem to have a good attitude about it all now?
A: I'm 65 now and I act like I'm 30. I see life, as the song goes, as a joyful noise. I don't like to look at the cruelness and the hard parts of life. We're zero in this world. We're just here and gone. And I think had I been mature enough then to know how cruel it was going to be I could have sat back and been OK with it. I want to put my 65-year-old mind into that 22-year-old mind.
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to Phil Robertson since the "Duck Dynasty" GQ article controversy?
A: I saw him last summer . and I had seen him at Christmas in the airport and I went up to him and introduced myself. It was a good visit.
Q: Did you think he got a raw deal from the press coverage?
A: That was the way he felt and I respect that. I respect everybody's opinions. So much has changed in life with all the social media and TMZ . People follow me around with cameras, and I think "What are you doing?" . You just have to make sure you believe in what you're saying and have faith in yourself if you feel compelled to answer the question. You have to make sure that's how you want to express yourself . or you'll be crucified. You have to measure yourself or you'll pay dearly for it.
Q: So tell me about the show you're bringing to Victoria this weekend? Why should people come?
A: If they're bored (laughing). It's a fun show. Even if you didn't know who I was, it's an uplifting show, a lot of laughs and catchy songs. My daughter sings. She travels with me. You will be entertained and you will enjoy it.
Q: What's the long-term plan for the show?
A: For the show to continue to grow. It's something I want to do for the next 10 or 12 years. I eventually want more music, less talking and to go back to Vegas. I started this show in Vegas, which was like starting out at the Daytona 500. It's your Super Bowl.