He's not quite using the five-point-palm, heart-exploding technique from Kill Bill, but Terry Bradshaw is poking me in the chest. Hard. This is a big, strong NFL Hall of Famer, after all, fabled for rifling footballs that could sting receivers' hands at 50 yards. I'm only two feet away. And Bradshaw is excitedly driving a point into my sternum. Maybe that's why I'm confused about what he's trying to tell me.
"I love Safeway," Bradshaw asserts. "I want everyone to know that Safeway has the greatest clientele."
Safeway? I asked him for a must-see place in Phoenix, near his new home in the city's tiny Scottsdale suburb. So why is he talking about Safeway? And, also, ouch!
"Oh, it's a killer place to shop," says Bradshaw, a former number-one draft pick who won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers during his 14-year NFL career. "I walk into Safeway not needing anything, just walking the aisles checking out the great-looking women. It's my favorite place out there. I tell all my friends about it when they're there. They say, 'Hey, it's 7 o'clock, where are we going tonight?' I say, 'Safeway,' and they say, 'No, seriously.' I tell them, 'Seriously, Safeway has the hottest chicks.' "
Right. Hot chicks. I should have expected that. That's just the kind of goofball, uncensored comment that has made Bradshaw a successful sports broadcaster. On Fox, in his TV commercials, and on his own talk show, Home Team (which lasted only two weeks longer than the disaster that was The Chevy Chase Show), Bradshaw can be animated to a fault. His twangy, rapid-fire repartee has made him an easy target for critics. But viewers clearly go for the hyper, everyman approach. Fox has dominated pregame ratings ever since hiring Bradshaw.
True to his frenetic style, though, Bradshaw isn't resting on FoxNFL Sunday's popularity. He's hardly resting at all. (For one, you can catch him covering the Super Bowl February 6.) That's because Bradshaw spends some 250 days on the road each year. About 70 of those are for Fox, 30 go to his work as co-owner of the Fitz-Bradshaw NASCAR team, and 50 are devoted to private speaking engagements (Bradshaw is one of the most sought-after speakers in the country). The other 100 or so are divided among commercials, acting, and other businesses Bradshaw has a stake in, including a quarter-horse ranch in Oklahoma. That leaves just 100 days forresting at home.
"I'm definitely a workaholic," says Bradshaw, who when we chat is in New York at a meeting of Fox's entire NFL broadcasting team, many of whom - including flat-topped Radio Shack pitchman Howie Long and former Cowboys hurler Troy Aikman - are milling around us. "So when I'm not working, I really like to relax, and my Phoenix home is the best place to do that."
Safeway is only one of the things that make Phoenix so comfortable for the 56-year-old Shreveport native. Phoenix also has top-notch golfing, big-city hustle and bustle, and the quiet of its natural surroundings. "It's really a cosmopolitan city in the desert," says Bradshaw, leaning back in his chair and mercifully moving well out of chest-poking range. "I love it there."