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Terry Bradshaw Making “Fake News”

By Buddy Martin
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After going on Paul Finebaum’s SEC Network TV show in a faux “phone feud” with super-fan Phyllis and making outlandish charges, Bradshaw set Google ablaze with more fakery than a Kardashian fashion show.

When you’re bored and feel the need for cooking up something different this summer, try making some fake news. It’s so hip these days. You can make national headlines and go viral before they ever catch you. It’s so easy, sometimes you don’t even have to try. Just ask Terry Bradshaw.

After going on Paul Finebaum’s SEC Network TV show in a faux “phone feud” with super-fan Phyllis and making outlandish charges, the Fox NFL Sunday co-host unwittingly set Google ablaze with more fakery than a Kardashian fashion show.

Among Bradshaw’s trumped-up outrageous claims were a prediction that Tennessee would blow out Alabama, that Nick Saban’s nearly $12M salary was “shameful.” 


Correction: Terry Bradshaw wants you Alabama fans to know that he does not think Nick Saban’s salary is “shameful,” that he’s a big admirer of their five-time national champion coach and that he’s not really predicting that Tennessee will “walk all over” the Crimson Tide. It was all a prank.

“Reality radio,” Bradshaw explained with a laugh. “It was a joke. For all those Alabama fans who think I was taking shots at their great coach, get off your high horse!"

Most of the would-be Internet reporters totally missed that joke. Even many of the legitimate members of the media fell for it.

Bradshaw’s friends know him as a serial prankster. This particular prank was Terry’s idea, involving Bradshaw, myself, SEC Network talk show host Paul Finebaum and his producers, designed to rile noted Crimson Tide-crazed Phyllis from Mulga, Ala., whose credits already include a spot on The Daily Show and frequent mentions by people like Brent Musburger and Verne Lundquist. Phyllis was tipped off somewhat in advance.

It was like a WWE scene setup for a movie, except it was radio, Terry said. The idea was Terry’s. “I want to go on the show and tell Phyllis that ‘Alabama’ sucks,” Bradshaw warned on his own program, The Terry Bradshaw Show on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network.

“I love listening to her because I really do love her passion.”

Thus was born Terry Bradshaw, Accidental Fake Newsmaker.

To wit:

Terry Bradshaw calls Nick Saban's salary 'shameful' on Finebaum ...

USA Today played it as serious news: “... four-time Super Bowl champion Terry Bradshaw, who bluntly called the Crimson Tide coach’s income ‘shameful' during a segment on the Paul Finebaum Show while debating Phyllis, a die-hard 'Bama fan … Bradshaw didn’t make the often-noted point that the NCAA student-athletes who have helped Saban win four titles in Tuscaloosa don’t earn a cent outside of their scholarships. He just thought it was way too much money ...'Twelve million. Think about it,' Bradshaw said. 'I could use a little bit of that money to help pay off my trailer house.'”

The writer at sort of got it:  "In an appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback verbally sparred with popular guest Phyllis from Mulga. 'What's he making, $12 million now?' Bradshaw said of Saban. 'That is the entire athletic budget at Louisiana Tech. The entire budget. That's shameful. Shameful.''

Bradshaw’s retort: “Of course I know Louisiana Tech’s budget is about eight million dollars more than that. And I’ve got no problem with Coach Saban’s salary. I’m OK with it if he makes thirty million. He’s probably worth it.”

Terry Bradshaw on 'Finebaum': Tennessee 'will probably walk all over Alabama...

Wrote GoVols247: "There's at least one national football analyst who isn't buying the notion that Tennessee will take a step back this season.”

Bradshaw’s response: “My dad’s family is from Tennessee, so I just threw that in there to stir it up."

SB Nation writer Josh Chatham took it personally: "Bradshaw also said retired college coach Steve Spurrier is a better coach based on personality. 'If he has the personality of Steve Spurrier, then I would like him,’Bradshaw said. 'Spurrier, now you’re talking about a great coach. That’s a great coach, Steve Spurrier, not Saban. Saban hates people. The man doesn’t even like people.’"

And then the SB Nation writer added: "We don’t like you, Terry. Seriously, is there a more overrated QB in NFL history than this guy? Snake (as in Ken Stabler??) played at the same time and ran circles around him."

I must have missed that game.

The one who got it right was savvy veteran Ron Higgins of under the headline: "Terry Bradshaw loves gigging Alabama fans.” His story read: “Considering Finebaum's audience is wall-to-wall short fuse college football lovers who think their team can do no wrong, especially Alabama fans, Bradshaw is the ultimate Bic lighter ... He's pushed more buttons in his career than a NASA mission control director."

Now Bradshaw is sitting back laughing even harder as he packs his bags to leave for Europe and tape a second edition of the NBC hit reality show “Better Late Than Never” with William Shatner, Henry Winkler, George Foreman and a comedian named Jeff Dye.

The overreaction to his prank shocked Bradshaw.

“It’s amazing to me how the media was so desperate for news,” he said. “I was laughing when I saw the reaction. It just goes to show you how the media can see or hear something and then draw their own conclusion. It was all for fun.”

These days it’s difficult to discern between the real and fake stories. As a matter of fact, how do you know for certain I didn’t make this whole thing up?



Buddy Martin - Buddy Martin is a veteran columnist, talk show host and author. A longtime observer of college football, Martin is heard weeknights on the Buddy Martin Show on ESPN Coastal Georgia and WMOP/WGGG in Ocala/Gainesville Fla. and the Southern Pigskin Radio Network, where he also co-hosts The Terry Bradshaw Show. Buddy won an Emmy while he was with Terry at CBS as an associate producer. More of Buddy's work can be found at where his show is streamed live. Buddy's most recent book is Steve Spurrier's autobiography "Head Ball Coach: My Life in Football" published by Blue Rider Press. He also wrote Urban Meyer's authorized biography, "Urban's Way," and Terry Bradshaw's autobiography "Looking Deep." Contact him at, Facebook/The Buddy Martin Show and @Buddyshow on Twitter.