The irony drips like a faucet with a bad washer.
The speaker was Terry Bradshaw, Hall of Fame quarterback—he of the four Super Bowl rings won with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And he was offering his opinions on some of the young gun QBs in the NFL currently.
After damning the Lions’ Matthew Stafford with praise, Bradshaw turned venomous when it came to Carolina rookie Jimmy Clausen, the Panthers’ second-round pick out of Notre Dame.
“Let me say what I said before earlier up to the (NFL) draft,” Bradshaw began about Clausen. “I didn’t like him in college and I don’t like him now. I never did like him. I don’t like his delivery. I don’t like his motion. I think he’s too slow. “Physically, the way he threw the football, I just didn’t like him. (There’s) way too much shoulder action. (He’s) just another guy as far as I’m concerned.”
About that irony…
Bradshaw was drafted first overall by the Steelers in 1970, out of Louisiana Tech. Before long, most of the city would have chipped in for a one-way plane ticket out of town for their young QB.
Bradshaw didn’t possess the classic skills of a top-flight NFL quarterback, as it turned out. He didn’t have a very strong arm. He was slow. He wasn’t all that accurate.
On top of that, Terry Bradshaw was portrayed as not having the brains to be a pro quarterback.
Bradshaw was a country bumpkin who didn’t sound like anyone from the Steel City would embrace. He opened his mouth and southern twanged words dropped out. He was a hick, trying to win over the blue collars of Pittsburgh.
The Steelers were coming off a 1-13 season when they drafted Bradshaw. If this is our savior, the Steelers fans said, then we’re living down below where it’s burning all the time.
Bradshaw wasn’t a premier quarterback. He really wasn’t. He rose to the level of adequate just in time for the Steelers to add pieces like Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, and Franco Harris. Oh, and the best defense of the 1970s.
Bradshaw’s career numbers don’t leap out at you. They don’t even blink. If they were in a window, they’d be the last item chosen by the shoppers—with CLEARANCE labels slapped over it.
But Bradshaw won four Super Bowls, armed with a running game, Pro Bowl receivers, and one of the stingiest defenses ever fielded.
It’s reminiscent of what baseball manager Leo Durocher once said about one of his players, Eddie “The Brat” Stanky.
“He can’t run, he can’t hit, he can’t field,” Durocher said. “All he does is beat you.”
Bradshaw couldn’t throw, couldn’t run, couldn’t elude. He was less than smart.
But he’s in the Hall of Fame with those four rings.
So I had to chuckle when I read Bradshaw’s rebuke of the young Clausen, who has yet to throw his first NFL pass.
Very similar dreck was spewed about Bradshaw, back in the day. To Steelers fans, Bradshaw wasn’t a quarterback—he was a criminal sentence that had been levied on them.
Until the organization surrounded him with fellow Hall of Famers, on both sides of the ball.
Bradshaw ought to know better than to offer such stinging criticism of a young quarterback before his career has really gotten going.
Forty years ago, Bradshaw arrived in Pittsburgh—a country bumpkin with precious few brains. Thirteen years after that, he retired as an under-talented legend.
Now he’s burying Jimmy Clausen before the kid is even in the starting gate.
Maybe Terry isn’t so bright, after all.