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Terry Bradshaw: ‘I Wish I’d Retired’ After 1979 Season And Fourth Super Bowl Title

Entertainment has always been Terry Bradshaw’s profession, even—perhaps especially—when he was on the football field. But he was never a man who was content with one role. Even during his playing career, he appeared in films and television shows.

He even charted as a country musician, hitting number 17 in the United States country music charts in 1976 with I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, a cover of the Hank Williams song from the 1940s. After his playing days, he has had an extensive second primary career in broadcasting. He has appeared on game and variety shows; most recently, he and his family have been the subject of a reality show.

Another project, titled ‘Going Deep’, recently debuted on HBO, and while I have not watched it, Peter King of Football Morning in America did, and he provided some interesting notes from what was apparently a rather candid exhibition from the four-time Super Bowl champion.

Most notably, he revealed that he not only strongly considered retiring following the 1979 season after claiming his fourth Super Bowl title, he to this day seems to regret not doing so. The Steelers won back-to-back championships in ’78-’79, for the second time after also doing so in ‘74’-’75. Bradshaw, drafted in 1970, would play four more seasons before an injury ended his career in 1983. The Steelers did not win another postseason game following the 1979 Super Bowl until 1984.

“Winning didn’t satisfy you, because you had to do it again. As much as we accomplished, it was hard to enjoy”, he said on the program, as transcribed by King. “After Super Bowl 14, I told my dad, I need to retire. I’ve had enough of this. ‘Dad, four Super Bowls in nine years! Four Super Bowls in nine years. I like the sound of that.’ I didn’t have the balls to NOT come back … God I wish I’d have retired. That’d have been so cool”.

King mentions that Bradshaw also felt a certain amount of obligation to the Rooney family—then Art ‘The Chief’ and Dan—which was also an important factor in his decision to continue playing, even as injuries continued to limit him.

Had he retired following the 1979 season, he would have well and truly gone out on top. Not only with his four Super Bowl titles, but a 26-6 record over the prior two seasons, two Pro Bowls, and the Most Valuable Player Award in 1978. He threw a career-high 3,724 yards in 1979.

While he would continue to put up solid numbers, the Steelers as a team were diminished, particularly with departures and aging on defense. They did not even qualify for the playoffs in 1980 and 1981. They made it in the strike-shortened 1982 season, but lost in the first round.

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