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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 4)

Earlier in the season, Bradshaw reviewed a CBS tape showing Everett throwing an interception and then running away from making a tackle. Everett would not return a phone call on the subject, and Bradshaw was going to look at the tape himself to see if Everett was a "woosey." Would Bradshaw have run away from making a tackle? "He-l-l-l-l-l no." End of discussion. Bradshaw makes clear his preference for "a man's man" like Bill Parcells. In quarterbacks, he likes the understated valor of Phil Simms.

"When it comes to halftime updates and highlights, it's "fly by the seat of your pants," Gumbel says. CBS switches to regional games across the country, trying to take fans live to the most exciting contests.

Visser, who was a sportswriter for the Boston Globe for 12 years, covered Bradshaw during his playing days. "He still has all the qualities you would expect of a championship quarterback. Greg and Terry are a studio version of Madden-Summerall. Greg is urbane and dry like Summerall, while Terry is not afraid to be physical and opinionated like Madden."

For all his candor, there's a side to Bradshaw that he has hidden from public view. It is his Baptist faith. "I found in the past when I would talk about my relationship with Jesus, someone would see me with a beer and say, 'Hey, I thought you were a Christian.' So just shut up and don't say anything. Then they won't know, and I won't hurt anybody. I keep to myself. People are just waiting for you."

The signs of his spirituality are present though. The word enthusiasm corrals Bradshaw the way he corrals cattle in Roanoke. To understand his manic fire and convulsive excitement, his immersion in the moment and his irrepressible spirit, one must understand his enthusiasm. Interesting word, enthusiasm. It derives from a Greek prefix and root meaning "having God within." People refer to his exuberance, his wackiness, his genuineness. "He's more fun than anyone I've ever worked with," says Rich Brender. Yes, fun, too.

In this business where people often don't like one another, but purport to get along on the air, Bradshaw says the studio crew is like family to him. Studio guys say the same. And Gumbel calls him his best friend.

Ken Shouler is a sportswriter and author based in White Plains, New York.

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