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Pittsburgh Steelers’ Terry Bradshaw Effect on Fox’s NFL Coverage

January 29, 2019
4 minutes read
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Terry Bradshaw Effect on Fox’s NFL Coverage

1993 was momentous for companies which were fighting for the broadcasting rights of the NFL. ABC, NBC, Fox, TNT, and ESPN were all hoping for good deals and lodged bids to get the rights to broadcast NFL matches.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the fact that NFL entered television rights negotiations was Fox. Its bid of almost $1.6 billion for four seasons of coverage was quite substantial and even managed to push long time NFL coverage partner CBS.

Back in those days securing the TV rights for the NFL was a big deal and can be compared to the 2018 Supreme Court ruling which legalized betting on the NFL on US soil. Both of these events were monumental and just like TV coverage of the NFL got much better from 1993 onwards, NFL betting is expected to go from strength to strength in the coming years.

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One man who was never afraid to go where no other man has ever gone was Pittsburgh Steelers’ very own Terry Bradshaw. He was one of the first NFL stars to have a successful TV and movie career and wasn’t afraid to be a pioneer in NFL punditry as well.

The Perfect Match

When CBS lost the broadcasting rights to Fox, many people thought that it signified the end of Terry Bradshaw’s career as pre-match analyst. It is said that even Terry himself felt certain that he reached the end of the road.

However, Fox executives didn’t feel that way. They felt that since they were new to NFL broadcasting they needed someone more experienced than themselves to lead the way. The decision was to go with Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw.

Bradshaw and Fox were the perfect match for each other. Bradshaw gave Fox the credibility they needed in front of die hard NFL fans and Fox gave Bradshaw top of the line broadcasting technology to make the most of his extensive NFL knowledge.

Elevating NFL Broadcasting

The likes of Bradshaw, John Madden, and Pat Summerall helped Fox elevate NFL coverage and gave that recognizable tone of being professional, but not taking itself too seriously to Fox coverage.

This unique style of covering NFL games was crucial for Fox when it first struck that $1.6 billion deal. Back then the TV network was still very inexperienced in covering NFL matches and having a unique broadcasting style sometimes even papered over some cracks that appeared due to that inexperience.

Bradshaw was key here. He is the type of person who is difficult not to like. His pre match analysis are funny, but to the point, and very much relevant for the match that follows. That’s why, on the 25th anniversary of Fox’s NFL coverage the network felt obliged to thank Bradshaw publicly.


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