Years ago on many occasions flying to the East Coast and back, I almost always ended up connecting at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). It’s a large, busy airport and you never know who you might run into there. One afternoon, as I was waiting to board an American Airlines flight back home, I noticed a familiar face. Standing in front of me in line was NFL legend and current Fox Sports broadcaster Terry Bradshaw.
Bradshaw is co-host of Fox NFL Sunday. As a teen growing up, I watched him lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles in 1974, 1975, 1978, and 1979. In his Super Bowl appearances, he passed for 932 yards and 9 touchdowns, both Super Bowl records at the time of his retirement. During his 14 seasons with the Steelers, they won eightAFC championships. In 1989, in his first year of eligibility, Bradshaw was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
I had randomly run into celebrities before at DFW, but this was Terry Bradshaw, the same quarterback who completed those unbelievable passes to wide receiver Lynn Swann in Super Bowl X. That, and those intense rivalry games vs. the Oakland Raiders, made Bradshaw a sports icon in my mind. When I said hello as we were standing in line, he was friendly and didn’t seem at all put-off that I had recognized him. In contrast, once I noticed the country singer Larry Gatlin next to me in a restaurant food line at DFW, and he was neither friendly nor talkative. I asked Bradshaw what was bringing him out west to San Jose, California. He told me he was actually headed to the Monterey Peninsula to meet some friends to play golf. I’m not sure what other small talk we made, but I do remember he was personable and friendly.
Among U.S.consumers, Bradshaw is one of pro football’s most popular retired players. As of September, 2007, Bradshaw was the top-ranked former pro football player in the Davie-Brown Index (DBI), which surveys consumers to determine a celebrity’s appeal and trust levels. He has written or co-written five books and recorded six albums (country/western and gospel music). Bradshaw also has appeared on numerous television shows and in movies. In fact, he has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first and only NFL player (as of 2008) to do so.
When you watch Bradshaw on Sundays during Fox NFL Sunday, you can see he’s a friendly down-to-earth guy. Despite all his success in the sports and entertainment world, he’s remained genuine. That is the mark of a true legend.