PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – It isn’t supposed to be like this. It shouldn’t be like this. A guy — however long ago he played — who was the starting quarterback for teams that won four Super Bowls should have that hometown perpetually eating out of his hand.
He should forever be unanimously celebrated in Pittsburgh. There really shouldn’t be one person who dislikes Terry Bradshaw in this city of steel. That is, if he had played his cards right, didn’t act like a goof time and again and go out of his way to ruin a relationship with this town.
The latest episode came when Bradshaw insisted he had “absolutely no opinion” of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, despite Tomlin having his squad with an 11-2 record as the mighty Patriots come to town this weekend. This is all a double-down from Bradshaw’s comments last season, when he referred to Tomlin as “a great cheerleader guy” despite the Steelers coach having a .659 winning percentage and winning a Super Bowl.
All this on top of Bradshaw’s penchant for short-selling Ben Roethlisberger’s talents over the years and his much-publicized rift with the Rooney family, who did nothing but extend to him the class and dignity with which they stand for on all matters.
In short, Bradshaw’s job on Fox calls for him to give his own candid views, but he has come across again and again as taking a detour to a road where he feels the need to criticize the Steelers and Pittsburgh.
Maybe that’s why he isn’t revered the way he should be here.
Try this one on for a litmus test…
Go to the Heinz Field parking lot or North Shore bar area on a Steelers home game date. Get there nice and early so as to stand (drink, really) elbow to elbow with the deepest of black and gold die-hards. You know the ones, the ones wearing the hard hats and with tattoos of Lombardi Trophies — and I’m talking about some of the men, too. Now, among that group of the real Steelers fan, take a look around at the ones wearing the vintage jerseys. The ones who have on jerseys from those Super Steelers teams.
Know what you see?
A ton of Jack Lambert and Joe Greene jerseys. You see Jack Ham and Franco and Webster, too. You see some Blount and Stallworth and Swann sprinkled into the jersey-wearing mass.
Know what you don’t see enough of? People wearing Terry Bradshaw jerseys. I’m telling you, I’ve conducted this social experiment in the past; kept a keen eye on who is wearing what and it is glaringly absent. Sure, you see some people with their No. 12 Bradshaw jerseys, but not anywhere near the number you would think if you just took on the surface that this is a football-crazy town and that is a man who played the most important position (incredibly successful, at that) as the team won four titles. It is a head-scratcher as to why Bradshaw doesn’t have all generations of Steelers fans eating out of the palm of his hand.
He should be what Brett Favre is to Green Bay or what Dan Marino is to the Dolphins fan base or something along those lines. He should be — by virtue of his personal success that propelled the team to success — one of the far and above fan favorites, even after all these years and especially in a place like Pittsburgh that loves nostalgia. But the guy seems more circus act and semi-afterthought with the current fanbase than the eternal conquering hero he could have been in this town.
It’s so weird.
And it is all on him.
Pittsburgh is a sternly loyal place, it is a town that appreciates its sports stars — both present and past — being gracious and appreciative of the little man who came out and cheered for them. Bradshaw helped bring great heights to the fans and the city, no doubt. But in the aftermath of it all, he has — for whatever reason — gone out of his way to be what we call a “jagoff” about a good many Pittsburgh things.
It’s so weird.
And it is all on him.