Mike Williams must sit out this season of collegiate and NFL football after the NCAA (not my favorite sports governing body) refused to reinstate his eligibility (because Williams hired a pro agent) and the courts ruled he was ineligible for the NFL draft (because the league has the right to bar players who are out of high school for less than three years). As a sophomore last season at USC, he was the best college receiver in the land. And he’ll be the best NFL receiver one day as well. I don’t agree with the rules governing the decisions of either the NCAA or the NFL, but they are the rules, and Williams and his departed agent should have known those rules before Mike signed on the dotted line. Speaking of lines, the bottom line is that one can never be over-prepared!
Story of the Week
He was a great quarterback. He was the leader of four Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl championship teams. He was the NFL’s MVP. He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is a fixture on NFL telecasts as a very respected football analyst, combining an infectious and humorous personality with vast knowledge of the game. He is a highly paid public speaker.
But when he joined the Steelers as the league’s #1 draft choice in the 1970 NFL draft upon graduating Louisiana Tech, Terry Bradshaw was the target of irate Pittsburgh fans watching him perform early in his pro career. Bradshaw kept those letters that included:
"You are undoubtedly the worst quarterback I have ever seen."
"What a waste for the Steelers to spend their best draft choice on you."
"How can you live with yourself, ruining the Steelers the way you have?"
"I am so sick of watching you and the Steelers lose. It make me vomit."
"My husband and I watch you play. We think you are a degenerate."
These are some of the nicer ones. I can’t print some of the others.
To state the very least, it all got better. Terry Bradshaw became the premier QB in the NFL, leading the Steelers to eight AFC Central championships, and the unprecedented collection of Super Bowl rings. He was named MVP in two of those Super Bowl victories, and made significant contributions in the other two victories.
Bradshaw possessed a powerful arm. He had the ability to stand flat-footed and throw the ball as far downfield as anyone ever has. He was also deadly accurate on short passing patterns. And he was very mobile, and used his size (6’3"-215) and speed to make him that much harder to defense. Unlike many QB’s who rely on coaches to call plays, Bradshaw called his own plays throughout his pro career.
A tough competitor, Bradshaw excelled in big games. His post-season record certainly justifies that statement. He passed for more than 300 yards only seven times, but three of those performances were in post-season play. He was the perfect complement to the Steelers’ fine running game; his cannon of a right arm loosened opposing defenses.
In his 14-year career, Bradshaw completed 2,025 passes for 27,989 yards and 212 touchdowns. He also rushed 444 times for 2,257 yards, an average of over five yards-per-carry, and 32 touchdowns. Ah, yes, I love QB’s who are mobile.
Coach Chuck Noll summed up Terry Bradshaw best in 1980: "Realistically, the quarterback should just be 1/22 of the team, but that’s not quite the way it works. Terry is a much bigger part of us than that. He’s the one who makes us go. He’s the leader out there, the driving force. He carries this team."
Terry Bradshaw is one of the top QB’s ever, if not the very best.
Last Week’s Trivia
The only two brothers to throw MLB no-hitters were Bob Forsch of the Cardinals in 1978 and 1983, and Ken Forsch of the Astros in 1979.
Trivia Question of the Week
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his career at the U.S. Naval Academy. He then played for the Raiders. He scored five touchdowns in two 1993 Raiders playoff games. Who is he? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.