The following item has been submitted for authentication and grading. Hologram # 303018 was applied. Our methods include the physical examination of the jersey, recording detailed information via our patent pending Jersey Grading and Authentication Worksheet, copyright 2005/2006, comparing it to our data base, taking and analyzing images of the actual jersey, comparing the data to other known or like examples, studying reference material which included reference photographs and video, then compiling the following letter of opinion.
Player Inspected & Jersey Style: Terry Bradshaw Pittsburgh Steelers home jersey tagged 1978 with photographic support of style from the 1979 season.
The jersey inspected is attributed to being issued to be worn by Terry Bradshaw. The jersey was issued as a black home. The jersey is manufactured from heavy dureene with a shiny outer layer with matte inside finish. The jersey is of a traditional football cut with one side seam attaching to a split end opening straight tail.
Bradshaw played in 16 games during the year the jersey was tagged, 1978, and 16 more in the year 1979 which photographic analysis supports to the length of sleeve.
Imagery Analysis for 1978 Terry Bradshaw Pittsburgh Steelers Home jersey
Aiding in this evaluation in the evaluation of this jersey is MEARS football researcher, LTC MEARS Auth, LLC. The following are his findings:
“Imagery Analysis for 1978 Terry Bradshaw Pittsburgh Steelers Home jersey supports a general style match for this jersey with respect to numeral placement, font style, sleeve band pattern, and material composition. A more detailed study of this jersey with respect to images available does indicate a subtle but important irregularity with respect to the over all sleeve length.
Online image searches as well as film reference in the form of NFL Film highlights from the 1978 season as well as Steelers: The Complete History show that the length of black dureene material in the post sleeve band pattern on this jersey is approximately 50% of what appears in images that can be attributed to Terry Bradshaw in 1978.
Additional print media references that confirm this include:
Sports Illustrated Oct 8 1978 (Bradshaw Cover)
Pro Football Weekly: NFL 1978 A Year in Review (Bradshaw Cover)
Pro Football Greatest Teams (Sporting News, 2002, page 32)
Football: History of the Professional Game (Sports Illustrated/Time Inc, 1997, page 92)
While it should be noted that this is in fact a home jersey, this longer sleeve length characteristic appears with the Bradshaw road white jerseys from 1978 as well as opposed to what is evident in this jersey.
While there appear to varying sleeves lengths for Steelers jersey in 1978 for various players, MEARS was not able to identify any example of Terry Bradshaw with this shortened sleeve length in 1978. This does not rule out the possibility of this being a team ordered or produced item. It does however call into question any responsible attribution to it being game worn for 1978. MEARS is willing to reevaluate this item at no additional cost of provided with photographic evidence that is date specific to the 1978 season.”
With 1978 being rules out as a potential year of wear by Bradshaw due to sleeve length, MEARS explored the next season.
For the year 1979, the jersey style matches the following references:
Getty Image 51613911 1979 Terry Bradshaw home jersey with short sleeves
Getty Image 52417615 1979 Terry Bradshaw home jersey with short sleeves
1980 Sport Magazine with 1979 Terry Bradshaw home jersey with short sleeves
Therefore, photographic study indicates the shortened sleeves are more consistent with a jersey worn by Bradshaw during the 1979 season. Also, Sand Knit continued to manufacture Steelers jerseys (MEARS has examples in our database of Sand Knit manufacturing Steelers jersey from the years 1972-1989) therefore, it is plausible that a tagged 1978 jersey could have been worn during the following season. Especially with the fact that the style in regards to color scheme, numbering, and nameplate font remained the same.
Terry Bradshaw played in 16 games during the 1979 season.
Sand Knit manufactured Pittsburgh Steelers jersey in both 1978 (tagged year) and 1979 (sleeve length match). The style of manufacturers tag can be found in examples of other MEARS examined Steelers jerseys, thus establishing the tag as proper issue for the year.
1978 Medalist Sand Knit Franco Harris Road
1978 Medalist Sand Knit Jack Lambert Road
The tag itself and year tag were both similar to this tagged 1978 home jersey of the examined Terry Bradshaw jersey.
Color Scheme: Black shell with 3 yellow stripes with 2 white stripe sleeves. Both front 12 (9”) and reverse (11”) numerals are single white tackle twill. The player name “BRADSHAW” (3”) appear on reverse in yellow block lettering attached to nameplate.
The size 46 appears on the Medalist Sand Knit manufacturers tag. The chest measurement is 26” across. Heritage Auction Galleries sold a circa 1972-74 size 46 Terry Bradshaw jersey, establishing an industry precedent of the size 46 for a Bradshaw jersey.
Examination of the jersey construction shows triangle shaped gusset panels inserted into the underarms. This was common on football jersey construction found on 1970s NFL jerseys.
Sleeves had no extra width or opening size, which was again the norm on 1970’s jersey, which is in contrast to the more wider opened sleeves that started to be used by, quarterbacks during the 1980s. There is approximately 1” of black material on the edge of the sleeve appearing after the final gold stripe. This is consistent with examined photos.
The tail is straight with round side splits with the entire edges factory hemmed.
“BRADSHAW” appears on the reverse of the jersey on a 4” x12” nameplate which is sewn through the back of the jersey with a professional zig zag stitch pattern. “BRADSHAW” is sewn onto the nameplate in 3” gold block letters. The font is correct for a circa 1978 Steelers game issued jersey.
Getty Image #51790887 Supports style of name plate font
Numbering: The number 12 is found on front, back and on both shoulders. The front 12 measures 9” and is constructed of single machine cut tackle twill sewn to the jersey with a professional zig zag stitch. The reverse 12 measures 11” and is constructed of single machine cut tackle twill sewn to the jersey with a professional zig zag stitch. The shoulder 12’s measure 3 ¾” and are constructed of single machine cut tackle twill sewn to the jersey with a professional zig zag stitch.
The jersey neck is the standard crew neck manufactured from durene material with a natural elastic ribbing.
Wear is consistent and is exhibited evenly throughout the jersey fabric. Examination reveals surface wear and abrasions to the front, back, and sleeve numerals. Light fraying of the anchoring threads is found. The nameplate shows wear and the breakdown of the fabric fibers can be noted with the most notable manifestations of wear being found on the fabric edges of the lettering and the fraying of the edges of the nameplate itself. There is a small hole in the right armpit. Internal examination also shows wear consistent with rubbing with shoulder pads. The internal wear is even distributed and consistent with a season’s worth of use.
There is some heavy staining on both the 1 & 2 of the front numbering with some light staining on the reverse numerals. With the Steelers playing on turf, staining is not consistent with home use. To note, MEARS feels the discoloration is more likely associated with a staining which could have occurred during storage rather than staining from contact with field dirt/grass. For this staining, MEARS subtracted ½ point from the final grade.
The overall evaluation of wear finds this jersey to be consistent with quarterback use, which would be found from one seasons of wear.
Soiling on a 1979 home style jersey
Wear had to be evaluated for this jersey and the determination of grass staining on the front numbering was a concern. The Steelers played their home game on artificial turf eliminating the possibility of dirt stains. Research found that during the 1979 season, the Steelers played two road games for which the other team’s home colors were dark, forcing them to wear their home black jerseys. And, both of these teams played on grass. The Steelers schedule showed they played the Chargers (November 11th, 1979) and the Browns (October 7th, 1979) on the road, thus facilitating the need to wear their black home jerseys. Therefore, this leaves open the possibility that the staining was from grass contact and may have occurred during one of these two games. Also, both photos support the sleeve length of examine jersey to being the style worn during 1979.
Getty Image #51613911 Shows Terry Bradshaw wearing home jersey on the road vs. the Browns.
Grading & Conclusion
As per the MEARS grading policy, all pre 1987 jerseys start out with a base grade of ten. As previously stated, ½ point was deducted for staining. Due to the fact that the shirt could not be attributed to the tagged year of 1978, two points were subtracted. MEARS is under the strong opinion that since the style, font, color scheme, nameplate, and Sand Knit manufacturer were the same and that photographic support of the sleeve length was found during 1979, we felt we could attribute the issuance to the 1979 season. Since the jersey was not worn during the season issued, i.e. the style did not match the year tag; 2 points were subtracted from the final grade, thus establishing the jersey as a MEARS A7.5
Troy R. Kinunen