40 years ago this month, fifth-year NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw came of age. The former #1 overall draft pick in 1970 had struggled in his first five regular seasons, averaging just 1,504 passing yards per season, while throwing 48 touchdowns and 81 interceptions.
But in the 1974 playoffs, something clicked. In wins over the Buffalo Bills, the Oakland Raiders, and finally, in the Super Bowl IX against the Minnesota Vikings, Bradshaw played the best football of his career, steadying himself long enough to let a powerful running game and legendary “Steel Curtain” defense dictate the tempo of games and slowly bleed out opponents.
In 1975, Bradshaw set a career high in passing yards, posted a 2-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio, was named to the Pro Bowl and guided the Steelers to a victory in Super Bowl X. Over the next four years, the Steelers won two more Super Bowls (XIII and XIV) because of Bradshaw and a ferocious defense, not in spite of him.
The evolution of Bradshaw as a quarterback can be neatly surmised via a casual glance at his statistics in each of the four Super Bowls which he participated in and won. From throwing just 14 passes for 96 yards and one touchdown in his first Super Bowl, to throwing 21 for 309 and two touchdowns and winning the MVP Award in his fourth, Bradshaw rebuilt himself and completely changed the trajectory of his career.
After a brutal first five years as a professional quarterback, Bradshaw was named NFL MVP in 1978 and was the first quarterback to win three, and then four Super Bowls, collecting two Super Bowl MVP awards in the process on his way to Canton, Ohio and a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.
We spoke to Terry about his progression as a quarterback, the Super Bowl and the Steelers dynasty of the 1970s.
Tags: 1972 AFC Championship, 1973 Divisional Playoff, Dwight White, Franco Harris, Immaculate Reception, Jack Lambert, Mean Joe Greene, NFL Hall of Fame, Pepsi #Halftime, Pepsi GRAMMY Halftime Show, Pepsi GRAMMYs, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rocky Bleier, Seattle Seahawks, Steel Curtain Defense, Steel Curtain Steelers, Steelers Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl IX, Super Bowl MVP, Super Bowl party food, Super Bowl X, Super Bowl XIII, Super Bowl XIV, Terry Bradshaw, Terry Bradshaw talks about Pepsi Halftime, Terry Hanratty