April 19, 2011

MVP Profile: Terry Bradshaw, 1978

Quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers



Age: 30
9th season in pro football & with Steelers
College: Louisiana Tech
Height: 6’3” Weight: 215

Prelude:
The first overall pick by the Steelers in 1970, Bradshaw took time to develop. In his fifth season (1974), he lost his starting job early to Joe Gilliam but got it back and led Pittsburgh to the first championship in franchise history. With a solid hold on the starting job, he was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in 1975 as the Steelers won a second straight Super Bowl. Following an injury-plagued 1976 season, he came back in ’77 to achieve a new high with 2523 passing yards while leading the NFL with 8.0 yards per attempt.

1978 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 368 [13, tied with Dan Pastorini]
Most attempts, game – 33 vs. Seattle 9/10, vs. Houston 10/23
Completions – 207 [10]
Most completions, game – 17 vs. Seattle 9/10, at NY Jets 10/1, vs. Houston 10/23
Yards – 2915 [9]
Most yards, game – 242 at Cincinnati 9/17
Completion percentage – 56.3 [7]
Yards per attempt – 7.9 [1]
TD passes – 28 [1]
Most TD passes, game – 3 at NY Jets 10/1, at San Francisco 11/27, vs. Baltimore 12/9
Interceptions – 20 [8, tied with Dan Fouts & Jim Zorn]
Most interceptions, game – 4 vs. Cincinnati 11/19
Passer rating – 84.7 [2]
200-yard passing games – 8

Rushing
Attempts – 32
Most attempts, game - 6 (for 6 yds.) at San Francisco 11/27
Yards – 93
Most yards, game – 27 yards (on 2 carries) vs. Cleveland 9/24
Yards per attempt – 2.9
TDs – 1

Scoring
TDs – 1
Points - 6

Postseason: 3 G
Pass attempts – 78
Most attempts, game - 30 vs. Dallas, Super Bowl
Pass completions – 44
Most completions, game - 17 vs. Dallas, Super Bowl
Passing yardage – 790
Most yards, game - 318 vs. Dallas, Super Bowl
TD passes – 8
Most TD passes, game - 4 vs. Dallas, Super Bowl
Interceptions – 4
Most interceptions, game - 2 vs. Houston, AFC Championship

Rushing attempts – 11
Most rushing attempts, game - 7 vs. Houston, AFC Championship
Rushing yards – 28
Most rushing yards, game - 29 vs. Houston, AFC Championship
Average gain rushing – 2.6
Rushing TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: AP, Bert Bell Award
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, Pro Football Weekly
2nd team All-NFL: NEA
1st team All-AFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
Pro Bowl

Steelers went 14-2 to win AFC Central. Won Divisional playoff over Denver Broncos (33-10), AFC Championship over Houston Oilers (34-5), and Super Bowl over Dallas Cowboys (35-31).

Aftermath:
Bradshaw had a Pro Bowl season in 1979, throwing for a career-high 3724 yards and leading the Steelers to another NFL title. While there were no more championships, Bradshaw played well from 1980 to ’82, but a severe elbow injury limited him to the season finale in 1983, and he was forced to retire. For his career, he passed for 27,989 yards and 212 TDs, but most significantly had a 107-51 record as a starting quarterback (as well as 14-5 in the postseason, 4-0 in the Super Bowl). Bradshaw was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1989.

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/15/14]