“It’s Only A Game” by Terry Bradshaw with David Fisher, Pocket Books, $7.50 (Amazon.com), 257 pages.
From the opening pages of Terry Bradshaw’s autobiography, “It’s Only A Game,” I felt like I was sitting on the front porch at Bradshaw’s farm, a cold drink in hand. Between the stories of his life, you can almost hear the insect noises in the woods, bullfrogs croaking down by the pond, horses neighing in the pasture and, off in the distance, a coon dog baying.
And close at hand is the rhythmic creaking of the rocker rungs on the porch floor as Bradshaw does what he does best – talk about what he did best: throwing a football. When the final page was turned, I didn’t want my visit to end.
The humor displayed in the long-distance-call commercials — such as Bradshaw declaring “Sushi! We call this bait where I come from” — is reflected throughout the book. One is never sure if the story is a tall tale or the truth, but what you realize by the end of the book is that Bradshaw views his life with humor because he realizes it is only a game.
Terry shares insight into his personality by saying “I’ve tried to become more than a man who used to be Terry Bradshaw (Football Hall of Famer and four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Pittsburgh Steelers). I never wanted to grow old living firmly in my past. And then I found what I believe to be is my true purpose in life: I like to make people feel good. I like the sound of other people’s laughter.”
He describes his book, written with David Fisher, as “stringing words together into sentences that make you laugh.” And he tells the reader, “when you laugh, laugh loud, so, when people look at you funny, you can just point to the book and tell them ‘That Terry sure makes me laugh. Why don’t you go out and buy some copies of this book! You’ll be laughing out loud too.'”
Not only did I laugh out loud, but I felt the warm glow of a smile rising from my heart to my lips. Bradshaw tells of his love of throwing a football, his high school career in Shreveport, La., and his college career at Louisiana Tech that ranked him co-first-pick in the NFL draft in 1970.
He gives an insight into the professional game that makes you feel every bone-crushing tackle. And he repeatedly reminds you that he called his own plays, plus he gives you a peek into the huddle to see how he accomplished it.
Bradshaw admits that life after NFL was a wakeup call. “Most of the skills pro football players master during their playing career have almost no value after they retire. There is very little tackling needed in management. No one blocks for lawyers. Stockbrokers, restaurateurs, law enforcement officers or farmers rarely need to run backwards at full speed.”
He admits that he was lucky that CBS wanted his football knowledge in their broadcasting booth. And after CBS lost the bid to broadcast NFL games, Fox saw a value in designing its studio show around him and those he calls his best friends — James Brown, Howie Long and Cris Collinsworth.
When Bradshaw was not talking about football, he has done his fare share of starring in movies, television and being a guest speaker. He recalls being a spokesperson for a toupee company and all of the sweat that was involved.
Through the years, Terry Bradshaw has learned to just be himself, and he has been successful in that role.
He said the only time he was not himself was at a White House reception after the 1976 Super Bowl when he meet President Gerald Ford and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. Rockefeller mistook him for Roger Staubach, who was the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys at the time.
“If the vice president of the United States of America wanted me to be Roger Staubach, I was going to be the best possible Roger Staubach for the rest of the evening,” Bradshaw said.
The real Terry Bradshaw comes off the pages and shares thoughts about his life.
His words ring true, like those of a good-ole-boy from Louisiana sitting on his front porch in the summer night air, telling the tales of his life.