Terry Bradshaw in a segment on NBC's "Today." Terry Bradshaw in a Nov. 2 segment on NBC’s “Today.”

Early last month, Fox NFL Sunday co-host and analyst Terry Bradshaw revealed on that show that he had been battling cancer for a year. Bradshaw said there that he was diagnosed with bladder cancer last November, went through surgery and treatment for that, then was diagnosed with a Merkel cell tumor (a rare form of skin cancer) in March, went through treatment for that, and was now cancer-free. NBC’s Today featured a piece on Bradshaw from NBC News correspondent Harry Smith Wednesday, and that included Bradshaw talking about why he didn’t reveal his cancer diagnosis publicly for almost a year.

Here are a couple key quotes from NBC’s writeup of that.

“I didn’t talk about it because I didn’t want pity. I didn’t talk about it because a lot of celebrities — unfortunately, I’m one of those — when they say this, I think the perception around America with all the the millions of people is, ‘Aw, look at him. Bless his heart. He has cancer. Well, my husband died of cancer! My kids are…’ I didn’t want that.”

“Took me a long time before I told my family,” he added.

But when he received negative feedback from fans, he decided to share his story publicly.

“I couldn’t breathe,” he recalled. “That’s when everybody notices. ‘What’s wrong with him?’ Social media went, ‘Get rid of him. He needs to be off the air. He’s an embarrassment.’ And I was like, ‘Embarrassment? I got cancer.'”

That interview also includes some notable quotes from Bradshaw’s wife Tammy, especially about his Merkel cell tumor diagnosis:

“The doctor calls me to tell me what it is, and then I’m shook because I was a radiation therapist for 10 years,” she said. “I knew where this could go. I knew what the outcomes could be. And it did scare me the second time with that diagnosis.”

“I never said this to him, but inside I carried a lot more worry and stress than what I let him know I think.”

It’s understandable why Bradshaw didn’t necessarily want the attention that comes with someone so in the public spotlight announcing they’re battling cancer. And it’s interesting that he was motivated to finally mention it by the criticism he took for shortness of breath in a particular segment.

Bradshaw, who turned 74 in September, had a prominent NFL career as a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1970-83, but he’s had even a longer career in broadcasting. He served as a guest analyst for NFL on CBS postseason broadcasts from 1980-82 while still playing, then became a regular game analyst for them in 1984, working alongside Verne Lundquist. He then went to CBS’ The NFL Today studio show in 1990 and worked there through 1993, then was an original figure on Fox NFL Sunday at its launch in 1994 and has been there since.

Bradshaw’s life has had plenty of ups and downs, as he discussed in HBO documentary Terry Bradshaw: Going Deep (based on his autobiographical variety show, with additional interviews) earlier this year. But he seems to be in a good place now, both mentally and physically. And it’s good to hear that he’s doing well, even if there were some frightening times for his family through this cancer scare.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.