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Insane Story Of Terry Bradshaw Taking Fake Name 'Tom Brady' In 1983 Resurfaces

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON  (CBS) -- There's an old adage that says sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction. This story certainly qualifies.

It's not a new story, per se, but it's sure to be the first time hearing about it for most people.

It involves Terry Bradshaw, back in his playing days for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He needed to undergo elbow surgery in March of 1983, but he didn't want to draw attention to himself. So, upon checking in to the hospital, the four-time Super Bowl champion assumed a pseudonym.

That fake name? It was Tom Brady.

A tweet from "Quirky Research" spread that hard-to-believe story on Wednesday, sharing a newspaper article from the time.

That story is also archived on

"[Bradshaw] was admitted to Doctor's Hospital on March 3 under the name Thomas Brady," the report stated. "Bradshaw, who owns a farm south of Shreveport [La.], was operated on the same day and left the hospital March 5.

Hospital administrator Charles Boyd explained the alias in that story.

"Many times we have to admit people under an assumed name or under no name to keep the press and the fans away," Boyd said.

Of course, exactly 38 years ago on this date, when Bradshaw was checking into the hospital, the Tom Brady that we know today was merely 5 years old, still buzzing from being in attendance for "The Catch" a year earlier. (Or he had no recollection of being in attendance for that famous connection between Joe Montana and Dwight Clark, as tiny tikes tend to get a little fuzzy on the play-by-play details of sporting events.)

In the years since, the real Brady has gone on to improbably become the greatest quarterback of all time, passing both Montana and Bradshaw in Super Bowl wins and continuing on to an unprecedented stratosphere.

Even more coincidentally, Bradshaw was on hand as the presenter on stage to congratulate Brady for winning his fifth Super Bowl.

Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady
Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady
Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Suffice it to say, had you told this story to the fake Tom Brady in 1983, he never would have believed it. Bradshaw and the hospital could have made up any fake name they wanted to concoct, but they instead happened to go with Tom Brady, the only quarterback to ever win more Super Bowls than Bradshaw himself. As wild stories go, that one ranks among the wildest.

UPDATE! The Boston Globe's Chad Finn couldn't believe the story, so he reached out to Fox Sports, and Bradshaw said the story isn't true. HOWEVER, a different article noted that the hospital assigned the alias to Bradshaw.

So it wasn't necessarily Bradshaw seeing the future and picking the name, as much as it was the hospital keeping the same initials and a last name that was somewhat similar to the actual patient's name. Still, as far as aliases go, it's the craziest coincidence of all time.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE! Ed Bouchette of The Athletic contacted Bradshaw, who had fun with the story.

"Everything Tom Brady has today is because of me, do you know that?" Bradshaw jokingly told The Athletic. "Think about it. Every record he owns he had to go through me. Get used to that, Tom Brady."

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