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Terry Bradshaw & Cigars

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

Don’t sleep on Terry Bradshaw. Opposing teams learned that quickly when Bradshaw was the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It may have taken TV viewers a bit more time to get acquainted with Bradshaw’s self-deprecating, “aw, shucks” style on football pre-game shows. Don’t let him fool you. Terry Bradshaw, four-time Super Bowl champion, MVP, football analyst and cigar-loving good ole boy, knows exactly what he’s doing and what’s going on.

Terry Bradshaw Smokes

Bradshaw doesn’t care for super-powerful cigars, preferring The Griffin’s, a medium-bodied Dominican cigar with a Connecticut Shade wrapper made by Davidoff.

"I don't like 'em real strong,” Bradshaw shared. “That's why I like The Griffin's. They smoke so-o-o-o mild, so even. I could almost chew 'em. Don't inhale 'em, though.”

Expanding Tastes

Bradshaw, 74 years old, has been smoking cigars since he was 26. While his tastes run to the milder side, he is familiar with brands like Avo, Fuente Fuente Opus X and My Father. He keeps an 18-box humidor on his ranch in Oklahoma but told Cigar Aficionado that he’s not very knowledgeable about cigars.

“I never have been one to get into the ring size. I don’t understand all that. I don’t even take the time to understand it. When I'm home I don't smoke that many,” Bradshaw offered. ”For every one I smoke, I give away two. I like to smoke while watching tapes and watching the games."

Cigars in the Family

Bradshaw’s grandfather used to like to chew his cigars, usually the King Edward brand. So did his father. Bradshaw does too, sometimes.

"I smoke and chew, and I'm trying to quit chewing.”

A Cigar Education

Bradshaw credited the Pittsburgh Steelers’ late owner Art Rooney with introducing the quarterback to the finer points of cigar smoking.

"I started smoking around Mr. Rooney.” Bradshaw always calls him “Mister Rooney.”

"I just started because he did it. He once offered me a cigar; I can't remember what kind. I just liked it. After a while I knew where he kept his stash in his office and the secretary would let me in to get a handful out of his humidor."

Bradshaw understood that he had moved up in cigar quality.

"My daddy always smoked cigars, but dad's King Edward brand wasn't as good as Mr. Rooney's."

The Terry Bradshaw Experience

While we don’t get to see Terry Bradshaw smoking cigars, we do get to see him on TV during football season. He’s entering his 29th year on “Fox NFL Sunday.” Figuring the world wasn’t getting enough of Bradshaw, the “E!” network gave him his own show, “The Bradshaw Bunch.” There’s a lot of laughing with his family. Come to think of it, there’s a lot of laughing around Bradshaw on the football pre-game show as well.

“Wouldn’t you rather laugh?” Bradshaw is fond of asking.

If Bradshaw sometimes plays the rube, it’s very much an act. The reality is that Bradshaw is an ambitious and shrewd person. As Bradshaw’s co-host on the pre-game show, former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, described Bradshaw, “He’s so dumb he has to have somebody else fly his private plane.” 

The Terry Bradshaw Multiverse

Clearly, the roots of Bradshaw’s love of cigars can be traced to his playing days. His fame and fortune these days come from hard work and diversification. Bradshaw has been in several movies, perhaps most notably as Matthew McConaughey’s father in Failure to Launch. He has his own brand of Bourbon, with a 51.9 percent alcohol content, which just happens to be his career pass-completion average. While the whiskey is called “Bradshaw,” the label also carries the numerals IX, X, XIII and XIV for the Super Bowls he won as quarterback on the very dominant 1970s Steelers. He was Super Bowl MVP twice.

The Thoughtful Terry Bradshaw

Bradshaw remains a devout Christian. He is as thoughtful about social issues as he is about football. He has criticized the NFL’s lax policies on domestic abuse and sexual assault, even calling out fellow Steeler Ben Roethlisberger.

“I did not let my words come softly,” Bradshaw told Cigar Aficionado. “I have three girls and there’s a reason he got a suspension. I like him as a player. I really do think he is phenomenal. But what I said about him killed any chance of us having any kind of relationship.” Roethlisberger recently retired from the game.

Bradshaw grew up in Louisiana and witnessed segregation first-hand. He has spoken in support of the NFL players who protest racism and mistreatment of blacks by the police by taking a knee during the national anthem.

“They have a right to do what they feel is best for them,” Bradshaw said. “We are in changing times, and I think it will all go for naught if the players don’t keep on with their movement, if they don’t keep on pushing for social equality, justice for all, like our constitution says.”

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