Throwback: Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw used Tom Brady alias for shoulder surgery without notice

Terry Bradshaw is a legendary figure in the NFL, who rose to prominence as the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s. His leadership and skill led the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories, and achieved back-to-back titles twice, cementing their dynasty status.

Beyond his on-field success, Bradshaw transitioned into a successful broadcasting career and even ventured into acting. The former NFL quarterback has always been in the limelight. Once he wanted to duck the spotlight, and Tom Brady surprisingly became a scapegoat for his trick.

When Terry Bradshaw used Tom Brady alias to reduce attention

Players often employ clever tactics to maintain a degree of anonymity in public spaces. One of the more amusing instances comes from Terry Bradshaw. Surprisingly, he chose the alias ‘Tom Brady’ to undergo elbow surgery in 1983.

This peculiar revelation surfaced through a tweet from “Quirky Research.” The page shared a newspaper clipping with the headline ‘Steelers ‘Tom Brady’ undergoes arm surgery.’ Bradshaw required off-season elbow surgery, and opted for a subtle pseudonym when checking into Doctor’s Hospital in Shreveport, LA.

The irony of this alias choice is not lost on Bradshaw. He later even confirmed it to The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette, humorously remarking on the coincidence. “Tom Brady! How lucky am I? There’s no question he and I are linked at the hip—same initials, same number.”

The veteran even playfully suggested he deserves credit for Brady’s eventual success, claiming, “Everything Tom Brady has today is because of me. Every record he owns he had to go through me. Get used to that, Tom Brady.”

In 1983, while the six-year-old TB12 was far from the football spotlight, Bradshaw was wrapping up his illustrious career. The four-time Super Bowl champion made a brief appearance in the 1983 season. He succumbed to a re-injured elbow in what turned out to be his final NFL game.

Terry Bradshaw contrasted his and Tom Brady’s football styles

The legendary Terry Bradshaw, in a recent appearance on the “Games With Names” podcast alongside Julian Edelman, shed light on his playing days, drawing a clear distinction between his own on-field approach and that of the modern-day quarterbacking titan, Tom Brady.

Bradshaw highlighted a fundamental difference in their roles on the field, which is the autonomy he enjoyed in calling his own plays. He proudly recalled being not just a quarterback but also the play-caller for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I was a quarterback, I ended up calling all of my plays in college. I called all of my plays in the pros. I didn’t realize that people don’t call their own plays”, Bradshaw said via The Sun.

Terry Bradshaw
Commonwealth Journal

Unlike modern quarterbacks like Brady, who often rely on play cards and communication from coaches on the sidelines, Bradshaw’s approach involved direct engagement with his teammates in the huddle.

“That is one of the things about my life that I get the biggest kick out of. I say, Brady didn’t call his own plays. He flipped a card, I never saw a card.”

The absence of today’s extensive coaching staff structure meant quarterbacks in his time had to be more than just players. Bradshaw reminisced about the play-calling process by revealing his consultation with teammates on the field.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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