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Terry Bradshaw Was Once Tom Brady: An Explainer

By Stephen Douglas
Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady
Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady / Al Bello/Getty Images
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Terry Bradshaw was the original Tom Brady. Kind of. First thing this morning, at 8:47am, the Twitter account @QuirkyResearch, posted a screengrab of an old story about Terry Bradshaw getting arm surgery in 1983 and using the alias, "Tom Brady." The tweet, understandably, went viral because that's pretty wild.

In the hours since this tweet went out, many people have gone digging for more information because this story is almost too perfect and how could this have not come up once in the two full decades Tom Brady has been in the NFL and Terry Bradshaw has been covering the league?

Maybe because by the time anyone ever heard of Brady, Bradshaw was more than a decade removed from the story. Or maybe because Bradshaw wasn't the one to come up with the name, as he explained a few weeks later in a story that appeared in the Tampa Tribune. Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press tracked down the explanation.

Then another weird thing happened. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe reached out to FOX Sports about the story and Bradshaw, through a PR contact, said it wasn't true. That tweet has since been deleted and Finn followed up quickly. It's quite possible Bradshaw simply forgot. Again, this was something that happened 37 years ago and it was a name that he didn't come up with.

If you only saw the Finn tweet, you might think QuirkyResearch had pulled a fast one on the internet. I mean, what are the odds that a guy who at the time had the most Super Bowl wins in NFL history, would be given an alias that would turn out to be the name of a then five year old who would eventually become the quarterback with the most Super Bowl wins in NFL history? It's almost too perfect.

But the story was real. And the person who wrote it, Lee Ivory, chimed in saying it was his first "viral" news piece when he was with the Shreveport Times and he only found out about it because his neighbor's daughter worked at the hospital.

Now for the perfect part. The name. Where did it come from? Is this a Back to the Future type scenario or did Frank Abignale learn to time travel? Or, as some people have pointed out on Twitter, was the name inspired by former Steelers quarterback Patrick Thomas Brady who played for Pittsburgh in the early '50's?

We may never know with 100% certainty. Both names have T and Brad in them so it's probably just a wild coincidence. And it should also be noted that the name was changed from "Thomas" to "Tom" in the headline and that probably happened because that's all their was room for on that page. Take it up with the time traveling copy editor.

As weird as Tom Brady part is, it's possible that Bradshaw was shortened to Brady by a fan of The Brady Bunch which had aired from 1969 to 1974. Marcia took her driver's test a year and a day before Bradshaw won his first Super Bowl. Then 45 years later E! would debut a show called The Bradshaw Bunch.

There is one final piece to this that could be nothing, but if you've made it this far, you might want to consider. Tom Brady revealed last night to James Corden that he had knee surgery. Did he use an alias at the hospital? Because if he did, there could be a kid out there walking around with that name who is someday going to win a dozen Super Bowls. Stranger things have happened.

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