Why play in the NFL? It’s hunting season! That pretty much summed up Phil Robertson’s philosophy behind turning down a promising career in the National Football League to pursue his true passion: hunting. Phil Robertson is the patriarch of the Robertson family, a wild bunch of highly entertaining goodoleboys and southern belles from West Monroe, Louisiana. Their hit show, Duck Dynasty, has developed a loyal following throughout the country with their wild living, southern hospitality, and strong family values.
The show is based off of the family business. Phil invented the Duck Commander (a duck calling device used for hunting) back in the day, but it wasn’t until his son Willie took over that the family business really made it big. Duck Commander is now a multi-million dollar company and is the setting for Duck Dynasty on A&E.
Back in the 60’s (long before Duck Dynasty), Phil Robertson was a star quarterback at Louisiana Tech. His backup quarterback was some guy named Terry Bradshaw. You may have heard of him. Robertson turned down an offer from the Washington Redskins his junior year to concentrate more on duck hunting. It may sound crazy now (and a bit crazy back then as well), but NFL quarterbacks in the 60s only earned around $60,000/year. It was far less glamorous than it is today. Robertson opted to hang up his cleats in return for some waders and a shotgun.
“I ran into my old buddy Bradshaw, for the first time since the locker room back at Louisiana Tech. I ran into him at the LA airport. I said, ‘Bradshaw, you’ve done well, my man.’ And then he started telling me about how many injuries he received.”
In Terry Bradshaw’s autobiography, “It’s Only a Game,” the Hall of Fame quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers recalls going to practice with Phil Robertson at Louisiana Tech. “He’d come to practice directly from the woods, squirrel tails hanging out of his pockets, duck feathers on his clothes. Clearly he was a fine shot, so no one complained too much.”
Eventually Robertson got the last laugh as he became a multi-millionaire doing what he loves best, hunting.
WATCH: PHIL ROBERTSON ON “HAPPINESS” (DUCK DYNASTY)