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During his football career, Terry Bradshaw found plenty of success. As a player, the quarterback was a member of several legendary Pittsburgh Steelers teams and won four Super Bowls. In retirement, Bradshaw has found a comfortable home in the media. Despite that resume, though, things could have turned out even better, according to the former QB.

Bradshaw was once asked if he would’ve liked to play in today’s NFL. For all of his success in the ’70s, the Steelers star believes he would have had more fun and made more money taking the field these days.

Terry Bradshaw found plenty of success, both on and off the field

Pittburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw looks for a received as he holds the football
Terry Bradshaw thinks he would be ‘filthy rich’ if he played football in the modern NFL. | Bettmann/Contributor

As a player and media personality on Fox NFL Sunday, Terry Bradshaw isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, however, has still been quite successful during his time in the spotlight.

After his high school career ended, Bradshaw took his talents to Louisiana Tech. He didn’t immediately claim the top job, though. Instead, he sat behind Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame on the depth chart. Robertson, however, decided his passion was something other than football, giving Bradshaw the starting spot.

Once he hit the field, though, Bradshaw became a star and started rewriting the Louisana Tech record books. By the time the 1970 NFL draft rolled around, the quarterback seemed like a sure-fire star. After a coin flip awarded the Steelers the first-overall pick, Bradshaw packed his bags and headed to Pittsburgh.

While things weren’t always perfect in the Steel City, Bradshaw still had quite the career with the Steelers. He played 14 professional seasons, won four Lombardi Trophies, took home two Super Bowl MVP titles, and earned 1978 NFL MVP honors. That success continued into retirement, too, as Bradshaw has appeared in movies, stars in his own reality show, and become a fixture in the NFL media.

Bradshaw’s NFL success, however, didn’t translate into a massive salary

Over the years, Terry Bradshaw has a sizable net worth. Compared to today’s NFL players, though, he earned almost nothing playing professional football.

While Bradshaw’s exact salary with the Steelers isn’t publicly known, we do have some details about the quarterback’s earning power. “I signed with Pittsburgh for $25,000 rookie year, $5,000 raise next year, and $100,000 signing bonus spread out over 10 years,” he told Parade in a 2021 interview.

These days, though, you can’t even pay a rostered player less than $600,000. For comparison’s sake, Ben Roethlisberger has earned more than $250 million in salary during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to Spotrac‘s data.

Terry Bradshaw would be ‘filthy rich’ and have plenty of fun if he played in today’s NFL

In recent years, NFL salaries have gone through the roof. That reality isn’t lost on Terry Bradshaw. In the same Parade interview, Bradshaw was asked if he’d like to play in today’s NFL. Unsurprisingly, the quarterback thinks modern football represents a pretty sweet deal. Bradshaw explained:

“There’s two reasons I’d want to play in today’s game: Number one, I’d be [he shouts] filthy rich. Two, it would be so much fun to throw the football 40 times a game and throw it all over the field. Oh, my God, I would have been in my heyday, I would have just eaten that up! … I’m watching Ben Roethlisberger throw 51 passes, and it’s so much fun to watch.

Playing today…oh, my God, I’d own a private jet. I’d have my own yacht! And then we’d win Super Bowls, and I would be a hero, and I would have hair plugs and beautiful wavy hair.”

During the ’70s, Terry Bradshaw proved himself to be a star with the Pittsburgh Steelers. If he was playing in 2020 and free to throw with more freedom, he might have been even more of an NFL legend.