Terry Bradshaw had a spelling problem last year, at least according to Thomas (Hollywood) Henderson of the Dallas Cowboys, who said at the time that the Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback couldn't spell "cat" if you spotted him the "c" and "t".
Now, as he prepares for his fourth Super Bowl Game at 6 P.M. (EST) on Sunday, against the Los Angeles Rams, Bradshaw sounds as if he is majoring in news management, and getting high marks.
When Playboy magazine arranged an interview in October, there was speculation that he would get slickered by the reporters. Pete Rose, it is remembered came out of a Playboy interview facing an allegation of racism because of remarks he later said were taken out of context.
Bradshaw came close to setting pre-conditions worthy of the Iranians.
"I was honest," Bradshaw said here of the interview, "but I was guarded. I liked the way it came out."
The Steelers are laughing about Bradshaw "using" the magazine for his religious message instead of being exploited.
Bradshaw could qualify for Tom Landry's All-FCA team -- the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It is a propaganda triumph, almost as total as if Playboy Bunnies were distributing Gideon Bibles for the quarterback.
Maury Z. Levy and Samantha Stevenson conducted the interview under the "Playboy" byline, for convenience, and came close to acknowledging that they threw rubber-tipped darts at Bradshaw, almost asking forgiveness.
PLAYBOY: Do you think we've been too rough, pressed you too hard on personal matters?
BRADSHAW: The devil is speaking through you right now . . . Lord, take the devil from their heart.
PLAYBOY: Perhaps we should have prayed about this before we started the interview.
BRADSHAW: I know we're going to pray about it when it's over.
Stevenson's impression of Bradshaw was, "He had a good heart and a great sense of humor. He kept telling JoJo (Starbuck, his wife) on the phone that I was a Playboy bunny. 'Goor-ge-ous,' he lusted. I'm afraid she believed him for a while . . . after baring his soul, Terry took my hands and we sat, knee to knee, on the couch. 'I'd like to pray about this,' he said." Stevenson is described as a born-again Christian herself.
PLAYBOY: Knowing your fundamentalist Christian background, we wonder why you agreed to do this interview.
BRADSHAW: Well, it Jesus were on earth today, he'd want to be interviewed by Playboy.
Bradshaw said at Steeler headquarters here, tongue in cheek, "I lied a little during the interview." That question was prompted by another colloquy.
PLAYBOY: When did you find Him (Christ)?
BRADSHAW: While I was watching "Monday Night Football."
PLAYBOY: Are we talking about Christ or Howard Cosell?