These days, NFL legend, broadcaster extraordinaire and national treasure Terry Bradshaw can be found on his 800-acre quarterhorse ranch in Thackerville, Oklahoma, located right on the Texas-Oklahoma border. Bradshaw, his wife Tammy, his three grandchildren, and nine dogs have been home for six weeks when a recent chance phrase by his wife inspired the entertainer — whose career in country and gospel goes back more than 40 years — to contact songwriter Jimmy Yeary. The duo recorded “Quarantine Crazy,” a humorous look at the pitfalls of staying home 24 hours a day, in Nashville last Friday and released the song late Thursday night.
“Now all this time with them has sure been a blessing/Just hangin’ out together 24-7,” he sings on the country tune. “Now it was fun for a week, I’ll admit it/But my cabin fever’s bout to reach its limit.” In reality, Bradshaw seems ecstatic to spend every minute with his family. Scratch that. Bradshaw seems ecstatic, period. The 71-year-old is a talking exclamation point; a fount of optimism that’s hard to not be inspired by. He spoke to Rolling Stone from his ranch to talk about, well, whatever was on his mind.
Hey, is this Terry?
Jason from Rolling Stone! This is a first for me! An absolute first! First interview for Rolling Stone! Please, please, just give me two lines anywhere in the magazine! We’re on our way! [Laughs]
So what inspired this new song?
I was on the phone in my office with Buddy Martin, a really great sportswriter I’ve known for 30-something years. And we were talking football, and Tammy’s in the kitchen and she hollers at me and says, “Terry! I’m going quarantine crazy!” I said, “Quarantine crazy? Hey, that’s a country song title.” I said, “Buddy, I’ll call you back.”
I came into the kitchen and said, “Oh, yeah, I got it all figured out. He’s the guy that’s never taken time to spend with his family; always got an excuse. It’s either, ‘Honey, football season. Got to work late. Golf on Saturday to get the stress off of the week’s work.’ He’s always got all these excuses.” But now he’s quarantined and he has to spend time with them.
How often do you get out of the house these days?
I get out every day. I got 800 acres out here.
So there’s no nosy neighbors or anything?
Naw, today I was outside mowing the three-acre yard and Tammy was working in the garden.
What habit of yours drives your wife the most crazy?
Huh. [Long, awkward silence]
Is that it?
Yeah. Saying “Huh?” That’s what drives her crazy.
Just saying “Huh?”
I can’t make out a lot of times what she’s saying and so I’m always like, “Huh? What? Huh?” I can’t make out the clarity of it. Drives her crazy. Drives me crazy. I got hearing aids, I just don’t wear them.
On the flip side, what habit of hers drives you crazy?
You’re not gonna believe this, but she doesn’t have a bad habit.
That’s a very nice, diplomatic answer.
No, it’s not diplomatic. I’d tell ya if she did. She’s the most positive person you’ve ever been around in your life. She’s thoughtful and caring and — hang on just one second. [Talks to Tammy] You know you’re gonna give them the shits. They’re gonna be pooping all over the house [if] you give them the green things. Are you gonna clean it up when they do it? It’s gonna come out like water. Sorry, I’m back. She’s feeding [the dogs] these green treats, and it ain’t gonna be a pretty sight outside tonight. But really, there’s nothing; she’s so doggone sweet and thoughtful. She lives to give to people. I struck a gold mine.
Is there anything that surprises you about her? You hear people say, “I never knew my husband was a ‘Let’s circle back’ guy until we started staying at home.”
[Laughs] She leaves notes for me. She may stick them in my Bible. She may stick them in my notebook. She may stick them in the ashtray in the truck. She wrote “I love you” in lipstick in the bathroom mirror.
What do the notes say?
She writes things like how much she loves me and appreciates me and she’s thankful for God every day of her life. One second, I think she just walked in. [To Tammy] I was just telling them that I had no complaints about you whatsoever.
How are you passing the time these days?
Yeah, get up and I go to the barn and go through all the livestock; go through the training facility. Go through the office and back here. I watch the news or get on the computer. I like to work out before noon and sometimes will tend to the yard. I stay busy. I look forward to having to go and fill my truck up. I mean, who can ever say that?
Everyone’s just watching TV and movies, and you have a surprisingly large body of work. Which movie or show of yours should people definitely see and definitely not see while they’re stuck home?
They should definitely see me in Fox NFL Sunday on Sunday mornings and definitely have watched Better Late Than Never, [a travel reality show] with George Foreman, Henry Winkler, William Shatner, and [comedian] Jeff Dye. That was hysterical for two years. OK. They should not watch an old TV show I did called Stockers. Absolutely not. It was a show on NBC. It’s horrible. The pilot was a takeoff of Cannonball Run.
I’ve never heard of this. Why was it so bad?
Bad. It was bad. Bad writing. Bad acting. You just name it. The music in it was even bad! How can you have bad music?
What year was this?
Shoot, I don’t know. 1906? [Editor’s note: It was 1981.]
You’ve been public about your issues with anxiety. What advice would you give to anyone feeling anxious these days?
Well, dealing with depression is understanding the stimulus of depression. Things will trigger it like what we’re going through now. I am a man of faith and a Christian, so I’m in my prayer. I live a healthy, happy, mindful life. I’m very positive in my mind. And I’ve tried to look at the positive side of everything and look at this as “This too shall pass.” There’s a saying that I use all time and see if you understand it: “It is in the quiet crucible of your personal, private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you have been through.” If you take that and live by that, it’s in your trials, your downs, your outs. You fight and you struggle and you work your way through the top. You persevere through it and God’ll bless you for it. That’s a saying I’ve used over and over again. I’ve used it 10 times this past week alone.
Anything else you think we didn’t talk about?
I want everybody to look at how serious this is and let’s all pull together. We’re going to get through this. We’re going to get through this. And we’re going to learn from it. And this country was built on tough people who don’t take no for an answer; who persevere and have a positive outlook.