Did Montana and Bradshaw Skip Super Bowl Over Cash?

Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw refused to attend the Super Bowl MVP ceremony because the league would not pay up, according to several published sources.

When the NFL unveiled its MVPs from the previous 39 Super Bowls, only three living members skipped the ceremony. Former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana and former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw decided to stay home, while former Dolphins MVP Jake Scott was traveling in Australia.

Montana, the league’s only three-time Super Bowl MVP, turned down the invitation over money, Newsday and the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Montana, however, told ESPN2’s Cold Pizza last week that he wasn’t going to be at the game because his son had an important basketball game he wanted to attend.

Bradshaw, who told league officials that he wanted to be with his family, also took issue with the fees, the Chronicle reported. Bradshaw, through a representative, denied the Chronicle’s report that there was a dispute over money.

Former MVPs were given $1,000 for incidental expenses while in Detroit, along with other amenities such as plane tickets, car rental and game tickets. Sources told each paper that Montana asked for a guarantee of at least $100,000 in appearance money. When the league balked at Montana’s demands, the quarterback declined to be in attendance.

Here are the Chronicle and Newsday reports. Neither offers much additional information. MSNBC has a similar report.

Such petty behavior would hardly be in character for either Montana or Bradshaw, both universally thought of as good guys. Let’s hope the reports are untrue.

Both men used their football talents to earn fame, accolades, and millions of dollars. Surely, showing up to honor the game and commemorate the 40th playing of the stage that helped make them famous would be incentive enough.

Update: Title modified from “Montana and Bradshaw Skipped Super Bowl Over Cash” to reflect the contested nature of the allegation.

Update 2 (2/7): Montana, Bradshaw deny missing ceremony over $$

In a phone interview with “Quite Frankly” host Stephen A. Smith on Monday night, Montana vehemently denied forgoing the ceremony over money and reiterated that his absence was due to his preference to see his son’s basketball game.

Montana told ESPN last week that he wasn’t going to attend the Super Bowl because his son had an important basketball game he wanted to attend. Bradshaw, according to the Chronicle, told league officials he wanted to be with his family.

[…]

Bradshaw, through a representative, denied the Chronicle’s report that there was a dispute over money.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Squiggler says:

    As the Quarterback of the Steelers during their last round of glory days and Super Bowl wins, there is no excuse, short of health issues, that should have kept Bradshaw away. It was an out and out insult to the Steelers and the current players. He knew that his absence would be noted by everyone and keep the attention on him. What petty, childish behavior. No one cared about Montana being there or not, he was not even missed, but EVERYONE noticed Bradshaw’s conspicuous absence.

    Of course, the other thing missing yesterday was ANY mention of our troops.

  2. Flingsfs says:

    Such petty behavior would hardly be in character for either Montana or Bradshaw, both universally thought of as good guys.

    If there is anything petty here it is the NFL’s niggardly stipend to these legends. The NFL makes $5.7 BILLION per year in revenues–thats’ more than the annual GDP for the Bahamas. Those guys deserve mroe than just a token amount for their time.

  3. Mark says:

    I am wondering if Bradshaw being on Fox’s NFL programs had anything to do with his no-show on an ABC telecast?

  4. Mark says:

    I don’t know about Montana, but I wondering if Bradshaw’s no-show had something to do with him being on the FOX NFL broadcasts and he did not want to show up on an ABC telecast? Petty, yes, but who knows about these television contracts?

  5. caltechgirl says:

    I’m not one to condone either of their actions, but the truth of the matter is that Terry Bradshaw was at home, with his daughters, who he has precious little chance to see, according to his friend and colleague on Fox, James Brown, whose radio show just went off the air. Any of you who are divorced parents should be able to understand this and not fault him for wanting to be with his kids. If TB had an issue, it would have been appearing on an ABC broadcast while under contract to Fox.

    According to JB, Terry was in Detroit all week promoting his movie and making MVP-related appearances, including at the PC announcing the MVP stunt, and was originally scheduled to be elsewhere promoting the movie yesterday. When the promotion schedule changed, Terry simply decided to take the opportunity to go home and hang out with his kids, feeling that he has “been there” for the league as an MVP many times, and that his girls were more important.

  6. Anderson says:

    Given the dubious nature of the reports, I think a “?” mark after your post title would not be the worst idea in the world, legally-speaking & otherwise.

  7. James Joyner says:

    Squiggler: Actually, there was a mention of the troops. As always, they welcomed everybody watching from Armed Forces Television and ships at sea. There was also the color guard.

    Montana won two Super Bowl MVP awards; he was hardly unmissed.

    Flingsfs: Showing up at HOF events and the SB to be honored isn’t something that should require compensation. The NFL more than covered their expenses.

    caltechgirl: That makes some sense.

    Anderson: Fair point. I write the headlines within space constraints and with some eye to search engine query structures.

  8. ICallMasICM says:

    ‘Such petty behavior would hardly be in character for either Montana or Bradshaw, both universally thought of as good guys.’

    ‘Surely, showing up to honor the game and commemorate the 40th playing of the stage that helped make them famous would be incentive enough.’

    I think you’re jumping to some conclusions based on some assumptions that probably aren’t shared by Bradshaw and Montana. I wouldn’t presume that they would necessarily feel any strong obligation to go or necessarily feel that they were being honored. I also wouldn’t assume that there was any reason they didn’t attend other than why they stated. I know some people who work in the sports/entertainment business and it is a business. If I had to guess money had little if anything to do with it but that’s a guess.

  9. Christine says:

    Being a true Steeler fan… I am sad…sad that poor Mr. Bradshaw could not give us a few hours(whch is all it would have taken) to support the team that made him who is is….without Swann and the rest he would have been mediocre at best.. but I do not want to be ugly… we loved him because he was pert of a team…or was he?

  10. James Joyner says:

    Christine,

    As a Cowboys fans since the Bradshaw era, having seen him lead two close Super Bowls against what otherwise would have been the dynasty of the decade, I certainly think Bradshaw was an excellent quarterback. He was the first overall pick in his draft class and a legit Hall of Famer.

  11. Chrissie Hargraves says:

    Yes Bradshaw was a good quarterback, but if any of his past teammates are interview they really don’t have alot to say about him. And even though Roger Staubach only won the Cowboys two superbowls, any time his former teammates talk about him, its like he was and still is the greatest quarteback of all time. So to me maybe the Steelers and there fans and past players really don’t matter that much to Bradshaw either.