Terry Bradshaw is among the greatest quarterbacks of his generation. And until Ben Roethlisberger came along, he was the only Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback he ever really had (the twilight of Bobby Lane’s career brushed aside). Bradshaw helped propel the franchise to the first four Super Bowls with his cannonball, gritty stance, and all-consuming movement. But to hear Bradshaw say it, it all came close. Sit down with Colin Cowherd from FOX on today’s episode of the herdBradshaw revealed after his prosecution with Joe Gilliam, He asked Chuck Noll to trade him.
Here’s what Bradshaw had to say about Russell Wilson’s experience in Seattle with his own experience.
“Oh yeah,” Bradshaw said when asked if sitting on the bench in Pittsburgh was messing with him mentally. “I asked to be traded.”
Bradshaw said it came in 1974 when Knoll picked Joe Gilliam to start the season from him. Gilliam’s year got off to a hot start, throwing twice in a game, and beating the Baltimore Colts to open the season. He and the Steelers played at the Denver Broncos a 35-35 tie the following week, and Gilliam completed 62% of his passes and threw for nearly 348 yards. Bradshaw felt his time in Pittsburgh was over, and told Cowherd that he had entered Noll’s office and asked to go elsewhere.
“Listen, I love Chuck Noll, and I give him all the credit in the world for the success we had in Pittsburgh. Brilliant coach. Not my type but a brilliant coach. Elsewhere. Would you trade me elsewhere? I know Kansas City wants me. Or maybe you can take me home to New Orleans. And his exact words were, ‘You’ll be awesome.’ I will not trade with you. You will be great. And that was a strange thing to say. But I said OK, “I’ll be great.”
Nol’s words soon became true. It won’t take long for Bradshaw to be back in the lineup. Gilliam’s career collapsed, falling only once in five interceptions during his next four starts. He went 8/31 against the Raiders as Pittsburgh fell 17-0 and the Steelers’ defense started providing most of the attack. Bradshaw was named a starter for the Week 7 competition against Atlanta, and the Steelers’ season is back on track. Leading them to their first Super Bowl title, Bradshaw didn’t do much (he threw for less than 100 yards in the AFC and Super Bowl title game) but did enough, three touchdowns to just one interception, to earn Pittsburgh their first title.
The rest is history, with the Steelers repeating in 1975 and back in time in 1978 and 1979, the last two Super Bowls featuring a powerful aerial attack from the Steelers that threw the ball deep thanks to Bradshaw’s rocket arm.
While only Bradshaw and Knoll know the finer details of the story, it’s worth noting in 2020, Bradshaw has hinted strongly that he never asked to get out of town. in Interview with KDKA, He said at the time that he would have stopped playing football if the team had dealt with him.
“If Pittsburgh tried to transfer me, I would have just quit. I wanted to play for one team and that was Pittsburgh.”
It is hard to imagine the authenticity of these two quotes. He suggests he quit and also says that he asked to play elsewhere. This Grandpa Bradshaw may have been telling stories in his big reclining chair. But it is definitely a story worth passing on. And if true, Noll’s quick decision to shut down any trade talks and keep Bradshaw in Pittsburgh was the best move for both men.
Check out the full interview below.