BC Speaker Series: Terry Bradshaw talks football, faith, perseverance

Michael Gennaro 

North Bureau Chief

Four-time Super Bowl Champion, two-time Super Bowl MVP, football analyst, motivational speaker and best-selling author.

Terry Bradshaw’s resume is as diverse as it is illustrious. On March 11, Bradshaw came to the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for Performing Arts to deliver a fiery, impassioned speech on his career, his faith and his philosophy on life as part of BC’s Speaker Series.

Bradshaw, currently an analyst and co-host on the four-time Emmy Award winning “FOX NFL Sunday,” brought his trademark candor and self-deprecating humor to the talk. 

Broward College President Gregory Haile promised that the night would be electric, and Bradshaw delivered.

“He’s one of the most authentic individuals you could ever meet,” President Haile said.

When he was announced to a raucous ovation, Bradshaw deadpanned. “I haven’t had an ovation like that since my honeymoon night.”

The first quarterback to win four Super Bowl championships, Bradshaw’s talk centered primarily on gratitude and perseverance, with some personal anecdotes about football history and his teammates on the legendary “Steel Curtain” Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s.

The title of one of Bradshaw’s biographies is “Keep It Simple.” 

Indeed, “Keep it simple” was Bradshaw’s mantra throughout the speech.

Bradshaw believes people complicate things too much in their daily lives and spend too much time being miserable over things that ultimately don’t matter. 

According to Bradshaw, helping other people and gratitude should be one’s primary motivations in life.

“I want people to feel good when they’re around me!” Bradshaw yelled. “Everyday of my life I sit up, and I say ‘What a great day! I’m going to learn to smile, I’m going to meet somebody and I’m going to make a difference in their life!’”

At one point during his speech, Bradshaw implored everyone in the crowd to stand up and hug the person next to them. 

After all, compassion can make all the difference for somebody that is struggling, according to Bradshaw.

“I don’t think I’m a big shot! Everybody needs a hug! There’s not a soul in this auditorium that doesn’t need a hug! There’s something about the bond of the human touch.”

“Want to have a great year in business? Learn to shake some hands. Learn how to hug and encourage.”

“It’s the simple things that we have gotten away from,” Bradshaw explained. 

“You got to enjoy your life folks. Got to enjoy it,” Bradshaw said. “Don’t waste a day. Too many struggle; too many miserable; too many unhappy people in this world.”

“They just don’t understand. You’re going to take a dirt nap. You’re not here for very long! Don’t waste it! Have a passion for what you do!”

Bradshaw’s speech was highly energetic and impassioned. His charisma was infectious, with the crowd roaring and laughing at his statements. At times it resembled a mashup of a motivational speech and a comedy routine.

“I’m a simple man. On FOX, I will occasionally use a big word—but I have looked it up and written it down!” Bradshaw bellowed in his trademark Louisiana drawl.

At three separate points in the speech, Bradshaw’s clip-on microphone fell off because of his constant gesticulating.

The crowd laughed at his misfortune, but Bradshaw’s razor-sharp wit came through.

“Go ahead and laugh, I don’t care! I’m making $1,500 tonight, what are you making?” Bradshaw exclaimed without missing a beat.

Indeed, being able to laugh at oneself is imperative to Bradshaw. According to him, too many people take themselves far too seriously.  

Money should not motivate people, but passion, according to Bradshaw. In a monologue that could be prescient to some students, he explained how finding one’s passion in life should have nothing to do with money.

“The financial reward is not anything that should even be a concern. If it’s a passion of your heart, then the dedication will come, the work ethic will be there, there will be no excuses. You won’t even want to leave work! You’ll love what you’ll be doing!”

Gratitude was also a key theme of the night.

“You will accomplish not one thing in this world while you are on this Earth without having to say ‘thank you’ to someone else,” Bradshaw said.

“I’m absolutely nothing. I got in the Hall of Fame because of all these people. I completed 52 percent of my passes; that’s horrible! I had 210 interceptions. I got in because of the great people that I was around.”

“It’s never going to be all about you! Don’t let your ego get you carried away!”

The Speaker Series continues April 24, 2019, with Hill Harper, a philanthropist and humanitarian. The topic of the night will be “Sailing the Seven C’s of Success.”

Students get a 50 percent discount on individual tickets if they are purchased at the AutoNation box office window at Broward Center for Performing Arts.


Photo: BC men’s basketball coach Anthony Anderson meets Terry Bradshaw during the Fire Side Chat. Photo courtesy of Broward College

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