In a candid, inspirational, and whimsical memoir, the legendary quarterback and TV personality shares the story of his life on and off the field, describing his Louisiana youth, record-breaking college and professional football careers, post-Super Bowl acclaim, and dedication to family, faith, and the game of football.
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Terry Bradshaw was a four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is currently co-host of Fox NFL Sunday.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
I had a real job once. It was back about 1990. My ex-wife-to-be and I had moved to Dallas so she could get her law degree and I could learn how to play golf. I was determined to become a good golfer, but the ball seemed about equally determined to go wherever it wanted to go. I was playing golf four days a week and started feeling guilty about it. My buddies couldn't play when I wanted to because they all had jobs. And suddenly it dawned on me that I had never had a real American nine-to-five job. I'd worked hard my whole life and done a lot of different jobs; I'd done all the chores on a farm from baling hay to making buttermilk, I'd been a spot welder and worked on the oil pipelines, I'd been a youth minister. I'd been a pro football quarterback and won four Super Bowls -- and called all my own plays -- I'd been a television broadcaster, I'd sung professionally and made several CDs, I'd acted on TV and in the movies and coauthored two books. I'd been the world's worst cattleman and owned a horse ranch. I'd been a public speaker, a product spokesman, I'd done commercials, infomercials, and endorsements. I'd worked all my life, just the way I'd been taught by my father.
But I'd never had a real, honest-to-goodness get-up-in-the-morning-when-you're-too-dad-blamed-tired-to-look-in-the-mirror-and-see-this-creature-look-back-at-you-and-think-oh-my-goodness-gracious-and-get-dressed-in-a-tie-and-jacket-and-drive-downtown-in-rush-hour-traffic-having-to-listen-to-Gus-and-Goofy-on-the-radio-and-finally-arrive-at-the-office-to-face-a-pile-of-papers type of job. So I told my wife, "I got to get me an honest-to-goodness nine-to-five real job."
"What?" she said. I have to admit that the things I did often surprised my wife. Well, it wasn't personal -- they often surprised me too.
"I got to get a job." My self-esteem was suffering because all I was doing was playing golf. I was feeling very guilty that I was a fully grown man making my living as a sports personality. I felt that I was not part of mainstream America. Somehow it didn't seem right that I could be having so much fun without even knowing how to use a computer, send an e-mail, or even get on the Internet. It wasn't natural.
So I went out and got a job -- at Lady Love Cosmetics. So help me Butkus this is absolutely true. My job was to launch a line of shampoos, conditioners, and fragrances for men primarily to be sold at sports clubs.
We were going to change the aroma of the locker room. I went down to the chemical lab and started sampling the different choices of fragrances for our products.
I didn't know how to have a job. So I bought a briefcase, and each morning I would buy the Wall Street Journal, wrap it around my Sports Illustrated, and put it into my briefcase. I'd put on a starched shirt, a tie, and a jacket and go to my office at Lady Love Cosmetics, feeling proud that people could look at me and say, "That boy has a job." At my job I had a little office and I had a secretary that I shared with another man, and that was definitely fine with me because otherwise she would not have had anything to do. I had a phone, and I would call people to tell them, "I'm calling from my job."
I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn't a very good cosmetics salesman. The truth is I really didn't want to sell cosmetics, I just wanted to have a job. I would go to meetings and sit quietly, occasionally nodding my head, but I didn't understand the terminology any more than those people would have understood my play calling. I didn't even know how to read the stock market results, but I still bought stocks, because that's what people did when they had a job. And from that job I learned a very important lesson.
I didn't want to have a job. For almost five months I went to work every morning, just like my buddies. The big problem with my job was that my office window overlooked the eighth fairway of a beautiful golf course, and every day the sun would be shining, the birds would be singing, and I'd be sitting up there watching people playing golf and thinking, Man, I sure wish I didn't have a job. My lunch hour began getting longer and longer till it stretched from about noon to the next morning, and nobody seemed to notice. Soon my lunch break took the whole entire day, starting with a lunch breakfast. Finally I quit, although apparently it took a long time before people noticed I wasn't just on my lunch break, and I did the very thing I should have done months earlier: I found some other people who didn't have real jobs either who could play golf with me.
But it didn't make that feeling that I needed to do something more go away. Nor, truthfully, did it make my golf game better. The fact is I'd had feelings like that my whole life. No matter what I achieved, it didn't seem to satisfy me. In high school I set the national record for throwing the javelin, but I desperately needed to throw it farther. I won four Super Bowls -- calling my own plays, thank you very much -- and I had to win five. I was the number-two broadcaster at CBS behind the greatest announcer in the entire history of football, John Madden, and I was so unhappy I was ready to quit. Finally I decided to find out why I just couldn't be satisfied living a wonderful life. I went to see a professional therapist.
That didn't work very well at all. I was afraid the therapist wouldn't think that my real problems were very interesting, so I made up a whole character for him. A whole other person. I was actually embarrassed that my problems weren't big enough. I wanted him to be happy that I was so messed up. I wanted him to be able to tell people, Oh man, that Terry Bradshaw has great problems. I just felt that if I told him, I drank too much on Thursday night, or I love beautiful women, or I'm not good with details, he'd be bored. I wanted to have the best problems of any patient he'd ever seen. I wanted Super Bowl-size problems. So I had to make them up.
That was hard for me to do. So I only had two visits. But because I didn't want him to feel like a failure, I told him I was cured. It was a miracle, I told him, he was the greatest counselor I ever saw; two visits and cured.
The truth is that the person I had been telling him about was cured. Me? I felt guilty about lying to my counselor. So I had to start seeing another therapist to resolve my guilt about lying to my first therapist.
There really has been only one thing in my life that has made me feel complete, and that is the game of football. The ability to throw a football was my God-given talent. That was my blessing and my passion; that was my calling in life, and everything that I've accomplished has derived from that. When I was four years old, I would wad up a piece of paper and spend hours lying on the floor throwing it up and down. As I got a little older I'd lie in bed at night throwing my football against the ceiling. Thump! Thump! My dad would yell, "Terry, put the football down right now and go to sleep!" and I would. But five minutes later, thump! Thump! My best friend Tommy Spinks and I would throw the football for hours in our backyard until we couldn't do it anymore. Throwing a football was the most fascinating thing in the world to me. We never got tired or bored, we jut ran out of day.
I got a new football every year. I'd take cordovan polish and just shine it up. As I learned, the more you throw inexpensive footballs, the bigger they get. Those footballs would literally swell up. Eventually the laces would split, I'd take the laces out of my shoes and pull it back together. I loved that, because the bigger the football got, the lighter it got, and the farther I could kick it. In my backyard one day, trust me, this is absolutely true, I popped that baby and it didn't leave my foot good and it -- blew up! Bam! Scared me to death. Then there was this real sa
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