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White Heat

The fire still burns for Terry Bradshaw, former Super Bowl MVP quarterback.
Ken Shouler
From the Print Edition:
maduro issue, Winter 93/94

(continued from page 3)

"I don't like 'em real strong. That's why I like the Griffin's. They smoke so-o-o-o mild, so even. I could almost chew' em. Don't inhale 'em, though. There are two sizes. I like more water in the humidor, no cellophane wrapper because those suckers crumble.

"I just like the taste of cigars. My grandfather was a chewer, then my dad with his cigars. I smoke and chew, and I'm trying to quit chewing."

Bradshaw has no profound reasons or concerns with style that lead him to smoke cigars. "I started smoking around Mr. Rooney" (the Steelers' late owner). It's always "Mister" Rooney in Bradshaw's lingo.

"I just started because he did it. He once offered me a cigar; I can't remember what kind. I just liked it. After awhile I knew where he kept his stash in his office and the secretary would let me in to get a handful out of his humidor," says Bradshaw in wonderment. "My daddy always smoked cigars, but dad's King Edward brand wasn't as good as Mr. Rooney's."

When I'm home I don't smoke that many. But when I go to New York, I bring about six. But they're expensive (about $6 a piece). So it's hard to go out with a handful of those suckers.

"I get about five boxes--about 125 a month--from Connecticut. For every one I smoke, I give away two. I like to smoke while watching tapes and watching the games."

The Sunday show will run smoothly. That's because the leisurely feel of the show has been arrived at with painstaking preparation. From 8:15 A.M. till show time there are production meetings, rehearsals, makeup. "We rehearse until airtime and there are constant changes," Gumbel notes.

New information is added, cuts have to be made. In the first half hour of the show, Gumbel will hear from producer Eric Mann about 15 times: time runs long, segments have to be shortened. Mann, says Gumbel, rises at 7 A.M. on Sunday, after going to sleep about 3 A.M. the night before. Audio assistant Rich Brender says more than 200 people work on the show. "Researchers, gofers, producers--plus all the people who just worry," he says with a laugh.

A show might open with Bradshaw at the blackboard one moment, then switch to Dan Fouts in Atlanta, to Jim Nance in Buffalo, to Randy Cross in New Orleans, to Tim Ryan in Chicago and back to Lesley Visser in the New York studio. A lot of handoffs in about two minutes. Each is picture perfect.

But at times improvisation becomes the rule. "Terry can talk about eight, nine, 10, even 12 games at a time. He is able to do that and read coverages on the field and tell the situation," Gumbel says appreciatively. Occasionally Bradshaw will see something that demands a physical explanation, like the time he grabbed a ball and demonstrated exactly how quarterback Jim Everett of the L.A. Rams was fearful and thus, threw off his back foot instead of stepping up. "Terry has always liked Everett," Gumbel explains. "He thinks he has all the cool, but is losing his heart."

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