File this one under “How did no one know about this until now?!”
The Twitter account Quirky Research, which features tons of interesting NFL tidbits from years past, tweeted a truly mind-blowing article on Wednesday.
On Feb. 3, 1983, when then-Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw needed offseason elbow surgery, he decided to go incognito. He didn’t check into Doctor’s Hospital in Shreveport, Lou. under his own name, and instead used the alias “Tom Brady.” Yes, really.
On this date in 1983, the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history checked into a Louisiana hospital using an assumed name. pic.twitter.com/Yr3ujc0fHC
— Quirky Research (@QuirkyResearch) March 3, 2021
There’s no way Bradshaw or anyone besides a genuine clairvoyant could have known that “Tom Brady” was the name of a six-year-old California boy who would one day become perhaps the greatest quarterback the game has ever seen. Bradshaw was just trying to avoid fans while having his elbow surgically repaired — though that didn’t stop him from visiting sick children and cheering them up during his stay, which is pretty adorable.
It’s also weird that Bradshaw wasn’t quoted for this story at all. Only the doctor that operated on Bradshaw, Dr. William Burdick, and hospital administrator Charles Boyd were quoted for the story. It’s not clear if Bradshaw gave permission for the hospital to tell the story (and burn his alias), or if the hospital decided to snag a headline or two and talk to the press about it. It’s also possible that Bradshaw could have been too busy to be quoted; the article says that after the surgery he “went to New York to film a commercial and served as grand marshall for the CocaCola 500 stock car race.”
Unfortunately, the elbow surgery didn’t end up fixing Bradshaw’s issue. He didn’t play for the Steelers until the 15th game of the 1983 season, and he felt his elbow pop while throwing what would be the final pass of his career. He retired after that season, leaving the name “Tom Brady” behind for the real Brady to use when he made his NFL debut 17 years later.
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