By Terry Bradshaw
"When I got the phone call -- those of you that know me know I'm not a man that hides his emotions well – I went nuts. I went crazy, which I already am anyway. I jumped around, I ran around the house, outside! I just lost it for three days. I said, 'I can't believe this!' And then I stopped and I said, what does it mean? What does all of this mean? It means that yeah, you're one of the best that ever played? I said, no. Wait just a second. [wild cheering from the Steelers section] Wait just a second. What it means is that in football you never get anything that you don't share it with people. You don't get elected into the Hall of Fame by yourself.
[frenzied cheering after each name]
"Thank you number eighty-eight, Lynn Swann!
Thank you number eighty-two, John Stallworth!
Thank you, Franco Harris!
Thank you Rock Bleier!
What I wouldn't give right now to put my hands under Mike Webster's butt just one more time! Thank you Mike!
Sam Davis, left guard! I love ya', thank ya' Sam!
Moon [Mullins] who never knew he played in the National Football League! [head swaying left and right, eyes upward, like a wild man] Thank you Moon!
Jon "Cowboy" Kolb, my left tackle!
Larry "Big Boss" Brown, my right tackle!
And two of the finest tight ends that I've ever had more fun playin' with. One, big Baby Huey Bennie Cunningham, I love you, thank you!
And Randy Grossman, the greatest set of hands a tight end ever had, thank you!
"Folks, Jim Smith, Calvin Sweeney, Theo Bell… I can go on and on. Every one of 'em! Rocky Bleier! It takes people to get anything done. It,…we didn't get in here by ourselves.
"Hey, folks, I went in to my dad in 1955. I said, 'Pop, I'm goin' to go play in the National Football League.' I was seven years old. We lived in Camanche, Iowa. He said, 'That's right son, move on.' [laughter] So I did. I got a ball. He gave me a Sears and Roebuck ball and I learned how to throw that sucker. He said, 'It's gotta' last a year,' and it got real big. I took a clothes hanger and threaded my shoestrings through it to hold it together. That's commitment isn't it? That's what it has…that's what it takes. That's what Mel [Blount] was talkin' about.
"I wanted it so bad. Not to get in the Hall, but just to get in the National Football League.
"We moved back to Shreveport, Louisiana. I tried out at Oak Terrace Junior High School. Failed. Tried out again…failed. Went to Woodlawn High School and played for the greatest high school coach in the history of sports there, Lee Hedges. He taught me how to play quarterback. Lee Hedges. I went out to a small school. People said, 'Why did you go to a small school?' Let me tell ya' why. Let's get it out on the record. I failed the ACT test. [lots of laughter] Best thing that ever happened to [Louisiana] Tech was me failin' the ACT test! And signed with this little school.
"I was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1970. [wild applause] Now folks…we didn't have a love affair when it started. Y'all called me Ozark Ike 'cause I was big and white and dumb actin'. Said I was Li'l Abner. Said I couldn't spell 'cat'. Well, y'all didn't but some fool down in Dallas did.
"And I never understood what you wanted from me! Cause all I thought was, 'Hell, we're supposed to win, isn't that what we're supposed to do up here? Just win?' We're supposed to win. If he's open what do you do with the ball? 'Throw it Terry!' If he's covered, what do you do? Throw that sucker, get rid of it! You're gonna get hit.
"My nature was 'attack'. Throw it deep. Anybody can throw wide, let's go deep! Ya' got a play in the huddle – Swann: Let's throw a hook. John'd say [in falsetto voice], 'Brad, I got 'im on a deep curl, fifty yards!' Throw it deep! Let's go deep! [HUGE laughter and applause] Intercepted! [more laughter] Oh, God, wasn't it fun? Didn't y'all like seein' that stuff fly down there? [cheering from Steelers section] I mean it was fun, what a ride! What a ride!
"We… we did know… winning, because that's what we were bred to. We, the Steelers, all my boys. All of 'em. We loved to win. God, we loved to win! I love-, you know what? [pointing to Steelers section] I want every one of ya' lovin' me. I want ya' clappin' for me. I don't want ya' booin' me. And when we won, you clapped. [cheering]
"But it takes, it takes people. All our careers, we were blessed with great people around me. I'm a fortunate quarterback to have so much beautiful talent. So many wonderful athletes to go out and get the job done. Allowed me to be the kind of person I was. Go out and be aggressive and to attack. And have fun and to lie and to tell jokes and to cut up with the reporters who still hadn't figured me out yet. That was fun. I en-, I enjoyed that. I got a kick out of that.
"But folks, when it's all said and done, and the, and the crowd finally goes home, and we're left with our thoughts, we sit back and we say…it's people. Who we share it with. I got my mom and dad and my brothers are here, well one of 'em is. [voice starts to quaver and he has to pause…crowd starts to clap and cheer] But, but that's what it's all about. Awards aren't worth a… [pauses & points to the bronze bust of himself to his right] … I saved a lot of stuff by not havin' a lot of hair for this thing right over here. [laughter]
"But folks I'm so proud of that thing, as ugly as that sucker is, I'm so proud of it. But it's not worth a… it's not worth a hill of beans, if I don't have people that love me... [gets very emotional, takes a long pause during which cheering starts, then a collective chant of 'Terry! Terry! Terry!' and more applause] … to share it with.
"To my wife, Charla. My kids… God, this has just been great. [points to the sky and looks up] Art Rooney… [wild applause] … boy, I loved that man. I... I... I know you're watching, Art. I love ya'. You were always, always by me. I love ya' so much! Thank you.
"Pittsburgh… hey, I love you! Thank you! Thank you!" [EXTENDED standing ovation, chant of 'Here we go, Steelers, here we go!' as he leaves podium]