OTD: Terry Bradshaw Used 'Tom Brady' as Hospital Alias for 1983 Arm Surgery

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2021

New England Patriots' Tom Brady, right, celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy next to broadcasters Terry Bradshaw, center, and Michael Strahan after the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

In a perfect case of the truth being stranger than fiction, legendary Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw checked into a hospital on this day in 1983 using the alias "Thomas Brady."

Quirky Research on Twitter provided a clipping from a newspaper in Bradshaw's hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, from March 3, 1983:

The article noted that Bradshaw underwent surgery to repair muscle tears in his throwing elbow. Rather than checking in under his real name, Bradshaw attempted to maintain a low profile.

Bradshaw confirmed to The Athletic's Ed Bouchette on Wednesday that he used the alias.

"Tom Brady! How lucky am I?” Bradshaw said, per Bouchette. "There's no question he and I are linked at the hip—same initials, same number. I had hair back then. I was a sex symbol. I had it all going then."

Looking back on the situation, Bradshaw—jokingly, of course—believes he should get some credit for Brady's success.

"Everything Tom Brady has today is because of me, do you know that?" Bradshaw said to Bouchette while laughing. "Think about it. Every record he owns he had to go through me. Get used to that, Tom Brady."

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Remarkably, the Tom Brady, who is now known to all football fans, would make his NFL debut for the New England Patriots 17 years later after being selected in the sixth round of the 2000 draft by the Pats.

Brady went on to become arguably the greatest quarterback of all time with seven Super Bowl wins, five Super Bowl MVP awards and three NFL MVP awards to his credit. He is also the league's all-time leader in touchdown passes.   

Tom Terrific won six of his seven Super Bowls in New England, but he proved he could get it done away from Foxborough as well, leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs last season.

At the time of Bradshaw's surgery in 1983, Brady was just five years old, meaning his choice of alias was nothing more than a huge coincidence.

While Brady's eventual Hall of Fame football career wasn't even a thought in 1983, Bradshaw's was about to come to an end.

The four-time Super Bowl champion appeared in just one game during the 1983 season. He missed the first 14 weeks of that campaign while recovering from elbow surgery before returning for a December matchup against the New York Jets.

He threw for 77 yards and two touchdowns before reinjuring his elbow in what turned out to be his final NFL game.