Card: Topps 1972, Upper Deck UT 2011
Acquired: In Person, 11/9/11 Card Traders of Austin UD 2011 UT Football Card Launch Party
A tried and true athlete that found his position of calling while at the University of Texas, “Super Bill” as he was dubbed (for having ambidextrous passing skills) came in originally as a quarterback to the vaunted school in 1965. Unable to crack the lineup there or at wide receiver, he found his true calling at defensive back for the Longhorns. He’d go on to become perhaps one of the best secondary personnel in the history of the school and make an SWC record 4 picks in one game.
Super Bill was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 3rd round of the 1969 draft. The rest is history. The multi-purpose Bradley was inserted into the lineup at free safety, but along the way would play as a kick returner, punt returner, and punter for the Eagles who truly got their money’s worth out of Bradley. Unfortunately these were also some of the leanest years of the Eagles’ storied franchise. His 1970 and 1971 seasons stand among the best in NFL history, recording 11 picks in 1970 for 248 yards and making 2 FR leading the NFL, and then following it up in 1971 with 9 picks for 73 yards to lead the NFL again in interceptions. (No other player in history has lead the league twice in picks.) In 1973 he’d add 4 picks to the total but teams would begin to look the other way in fear of Bradley’s ball-hawking skills. For the 3 seasons, he’d be awarded AP or Pro Bowl honors. He’d again make 5 picks in 1975 before finishing out his career with Philadelphia the following year. Bill would sign with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1977 playing one final season and retire. He is tied as the franchise’s all time leader in interceptions with 36.
He’s been active in coaching working with the San Antonio Gunslingers of the USFL, crossing paths with me briefly as a defensive backs coach of the San Antonio Riders, and along the way as well with the Bills, Chargers, and Jets (in no specific order). He also served as defensive coordinator of the Baylor Bears for 2004-2006. As of late, Super Bill has also worked in the UFL with the Florida Tuskers and the Hartford Colonials as a secondary coach and is a member of the ‘suspended operations staff’ in Hartford. Bradley has been inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and also into the Philadelphia Eagles Honor Roll.
I had been following Sports Cards Traders of Austin for a few weeks and it really paid off. When they posted up that Bradley was going to be appearing, I did not hesitate to call them and have the store pull a few cards of him from the racks. I grabbed a Topps 1972, and then heard that he would be in the UT set. After breaking open a few packs, I was happy to find Bradley inside one of them. I gave an extra to him which made him really happy since it was the first time he saw it. The photo that they used was from his Freshman year at UT. He knew it because he was wearing a helicopter pilot’s helmet and apparently they had run out of ones for their players. We also talked about the Riders, and he told me that Coach Riley owns a house down the street from him. Bradley also loved talking about the hail storm game with me against the Ohio Glory back in 1992. It was a great interaction with a great player who was willing to personalize my cards. Here is Super Bill’s statistics:
G 114 Tac N/a Sac N/a Fum 7 Int 34 Yds 536 Avg 15.8 Td 1 Lg 56t
KR 27 Yds 564 Avg 20.9 Td 0 Lg 42
PR 122 Yds 953 Avg 7.8 Td 0 Lg 60
P 213 Yds 8316 Avg 39.0 Lg 61