Loyal Steelers fan from Beaver County appears in commercial with Terry Bradshaw
There was a knock at the front door.
“I opened it, and there stood Terry Bradshaw … THE Terry Bradshaw … and I just lost it,” said Rick Holman of Brighton Township in Beaver County. “As a child he was my favorite player.”
Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback and television analyst Bradshaw came inside. They chatted. Then they went to the driveway to toss around a football.
“Catching passes from him was my childhood dream,” Holman said. “I was crying, because I couldn’t believe it. Good thing there are photos, because I am still in disbelief.”
The Bradshaw visit came as Holman was chosen as a “Super Steelers Fan” by Ford Motor Co. The two appeared in a television commercial that debuted Sunday on the Fox NFL pregame show and is scheduled to run the rest of the season.
Ford is honoring the most passionate fans in the NFL and inducted its inaugural “Hall of Fans” class, a new exhibit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Holman, a Beaver Falls native, was one of three fans enshrined in August.
The commercial, filmed in August, also features former NFL stars Brian Urlacher, Ed Reed and Jason Taylor. Taylor played football at Woodland Hills High School.
“I loved making the commercial,” Holman said. “I think it looks great. I received so many calls and text messages from people who saw it.”
Holman, 40, is a father of three, husband to Melissa and a teacher. He’s also a diehard Steelers fan. His loyalty earned him not only the chance to meet his hero, but also a trip to the Super Bowl last February and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in August.
Holman found out he was chosen for the Hall of Fans when Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker knocked on his hotel room door at the February Super Bowl.
When he visited the Hall of Fame, he dined with NFL Hall of Famers.
Holman has a bronze plaque on the wall in Canton and a blue jacket with a design on the chest. He said the Hall of Fame is the most inspiring place on Earth. He and fans from Miami and Chicago were honored.
Bradshaw told Holman it was the first time he saw his bust inside the hall of fame. He had seen it outside for the actual induction.
“He walked around and was just reading the names in amazement and actually teared-up a little,” said Holman, whose first car was a 1986 Ford Ranger. “It was unreal for me to share that with him.”
Ford is looking for future “Hall of Fans” for the program, which recognizes those most loyal to their NFL teams. Ford honors them with exclusive rewards and access to sports events. The number of finalists is narrowed to the six to eight range, said Jim Peters, manager of Ford brand content and partnership alliances. He said they wanted fans who are everyday people doing good things in their community.
Peters said the inaugural class set a high bar.
“It is amazing the loyalty to their teams,” Peters said. “They show true spirit. Rick sold everything he had to be able to buy tickets. There is an incredible passionate community among these people. They are truly diehard fans, and they earned this.”
According to its website, Ford created the “Ford Hall of Fans” inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame to honor those fans who’ve demonstrated extraordinary loyalty, exceptional passion and outstanding character. Think you have what it takes to be in the Ford Hall of Fans? Enter here.
Holman didn’t enter. Ford found him through a Google search, he said.
“It’s been a wild journey for me,” said Holman, who teaches American History at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.
The whirlwind experience included leading the Terrible Towel wave on the field before the Steelers/Seattle Seahawks game Sept. 15. Former Steelers running backs Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker were there, too.
“Being on the field, to me, it’s so crazy,” Holman said. “People are yelling from the stands, and I saw old friends I hadn’t seen in years. And the players know who I am. Willie Parker said, ‘I heard you haven’t missed any game.’ ”
As a college kid, Holman got the opportunity to buy Steelers home game tickets from a woman on eBay. He pretty much sold all his possessions, including his car that first season — 2001.
He purchased her season ticket seat license the following year.
“I got a seat and I said, ‘I am never going to miss a game.’ “
And, he hasn’t, thanks to the support of his family, he said.
Holman has attended every game played at Heinz Field, including the preseason, as well as the past three Steelers Super Bowls.
He is expected to reach 200 games Nov. 3 when the Steelers host the Indianapolis Colts.
He said an executive from Ford Googled “Steelers Fan” and found a video about Holman and contacted him.
“I am a low-key guy,” Holman said. “I don’t wear wild outfits. But I am loyal. They said they liked me because I represent the Steelers fan base.”
They sent a film crew to his house Nov. 29, and the next day Bradshaw was at the door.
“It was like a Hollywood scene,” Holman said. “That is one of the best days of my life. Ford Motor Company and the Hall of Fame were unbelievable. They took such good care of us. They changed my life. I can’t thank them enough. This whole experience has been surreal.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .