9

NFL player/loudmouth Brian Bosworth had a well-publicized feud with John Elway and the Denver Broncos upon joining the league in 1988:

The scene at Mile High Stadium for my first game against Elway was as wild as anything I'd ever been a part of. The Denver fans were screaming profanities, spitting tobacco and beer at me, and grinning their black teeth off. And some of the men were just as bad. (Drum cymbals). Then again, there were a lot of people yelling for me to kick Elway's butt. And I still think it's funny that it was Elway who got death threats, not me. I guess some people love Johnny Dangerously as much as me.

"The Boz" played a heel with his public persona, and was known for heavily marketing himself and publicly railing against the NCAA's amateurism rules.

In his first NFL game, Bosworth specifically claims to have made money selling $15 anti-Boz t-shirts to 10,000 Denver fans and then donating all profits to a children's hospital.

The fans were all over my butt, but I was the one that got the last laugh. About 10,000 of them had on T-shirts with my face in a circle with a diagonal line through it. Like the "Ghostbusters" symbol. They said something like WHAT'S A BOZ WORTH? NOTHING! And BAN THE BOZ on the back. But if they had looked inside the shirt at the little tag that said 44 Boz, Inc., those hosebags would have realized they just paid $15 for a shirt made by my company.

We gave all the profits to the Children's Hospital. We just wanted to prove how oxygen-deprived Denver fans are.

The above anecdote was apparently written by Bosworth himself for the Orlando Sentinel on September 6, 1988, two days after that Broncos/Seahawks game on September 4.

'Mr. Glee Club' Elway, 'Turtle Face' Rozelle on his Hit List"
By Brian Bosworth and Special to The Sentinel
Sep 06, 1988

This claim was picked up by author Jonathan Rand for his book 300 Pounds of Attitude: The Wildest Stories and Craziest Characters the NFL Has Ever Seen and from there has made it far and wide across the web.

Is this t-shirt story true or just more bull boz s***?

T-Shirts:

  • "What's a Boz worth? Nothing!"
  • BAN THE BOZ
  • BOZ-BUSTERS
  • Ghostbusters symbol 🚫
  • Tag saying "44 Boz, Inc."

Claims:

  1. Anti-Boz t-shirts
  2. Made by Bosworth's company "44 Boz, Inc." Company name on tag of t-shirt.
  3. Sold in the range of 10,000 shirts for $15 each
  4. Proceeds donated to the Children's Hospital
2

2 Answers 2

3
  1. Anti-Boz t-shirts Yes, I can verify at least one design of anti-Boz t-shirt was sold in Denver. The one that can be found on eBay or Etsy is white and has on the front, "BOZ" in large red letters with the O having Bosworth's head (caricature) and the "banned" slash through it. Under that is the word "Busters" in Broncos blue. So it was a "Boz Busters" t-shirt. There may have been other designs but this is the one I found irrefutable evidence for. RATING: TRUE

Bosworth Boz Busters Tshirt front

Boz Busters Tshirt back

  1. Made by Bosworth's company "44 Boz, Inc." Company name on tag of t-shirt. Some sources mention the name of the company, and the label inside the shirt as "44 Blues, Inc." rather than 44 Boz Inc. The back of the Boz Busters t-shirt had the logo of KOOL 105 FM, a Denver FM station, and Quizno's Subs. The shirts I saw only had a "Healthknit" label announcing their 50-50 cotton/poly blend. There was no 44 Boz Inc. label, but it's possible there could have been at one time. The preponderance of evidence points to Bosworth's company having driven the creation and marketing of the shirts. Also see other example from Bosworth's college days in Russell Westbrook article.
    a) Made by Bosworth's company, RATING: ALMOST CERTAINLY TRUE b) Had label "44 Boz Inc." in T-Shirt, RATING: Unproven but not Disproven. Possible artistic license here on Bosworth's part.

  2. Sold in the range of 10,000 shirts for $15 each The fact that there are existing examples 35 years later suggests that 10,000 is a plausible sales figure. I watched the game on TV and recall the announcers mentioning the presence of the shirts inside the stadium. There would have also been promotional support from KOOL 105 and Quiznos marketing the shirts; I bet Quizno's had a special offer for customers wearing the shirt to the store. $15 would be plausible for shirts sold inside or around the stadium venue in the mid-late 80's.
    RATING: TRUE

  3. Proceeds donated to the Children's Hospital We have only Bosworth's assertion to go on here. No mention of which children's hospital in order to do further fact checking. Despite what some might think, this donation would actually be consistent with Bosworth's overall character. RATING: POSSIBLY TRUE, NOT VERIFIED

Also, in college at Oklahoma, Bosworth apparently did a similar thing, selling "What's a Boz worth?" "Nothing in Miami!" T-Shirts. See this article: Russell Westbrook searching for his inner Boz So Bosworth had practiced this scheme in college, and with his $11M contract, probably could hire the resources to pull it off in the pros on an even grander scale. What's a Boz worth college anti-Boz T-shirt

Overall, I'd call the story and the claims TRUE, with minor showmanship embellishments and artistic license. One caveat is that the bit about the profits being donated to Children's Hospital is a toss-up. When Seahawks teammate Bryan Millard wore a "Ban the Boz" T-shirt into the locker room, and asked Bosworth how he liked it, Bosworth turned to fellow linebacker Dave Wyman and said, "He doesn't know it, but he just bought me new seat covers for my Corvette!"

8
  • Sources included an eBay auction and an Etsy listing for a t-shirt of the design pictured. Not sure how to reference an eBay sale listing that is inherently a temporary link. As of Aug 18, 2022, eBay seller ID was prem2er and listing title was "VTG L Denver Broncos Brian Bosworth T-Shirt NFL Funny Rare Boz Busters". Next month I expect there will be a similar auction by a different seller. Aug 19, 2022 at 7:06
  • Also referenced in the response was the link to the Russell Westbrook article, which provides a source for the "he just bought me new seat covers" quote as well as the pic of the "What is a Boz Worth" T-shirt from Bosworth's college days. Perhaps I could place the link better. The photos of actual surviving shirts I thought were pretty good evidence; is there a specific way I need to reference them? Aug 19, 2022 at 7:12
  • 4
    The Ebay link is a tough one. I don't think we've encountered that before. But I am more talking about statements like "Company name on tag of t-shirt." We can't see that. "The preponderance of evidence points to..." What evidence? "Bosworth turned to another teammate " Say who? "I watched the game on TV" You have to understand that the Internet is full of liars, and so even though you are probably telling the truth, we can't rely on anecdotes here.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 19, 2022 at 16:25
  • 1
    This is interesting but claims like "10,000 shirts sold" require a lot more evidence. You haven't shown that any shirt sold anything like that number. It might be reported on media even with a comparatively small number sold, if it was considered newsworthy. You also don't prove it was made by Boz's company - he may have been involved in the shirt or suggested the idea, but that is a different claim. Did his company print the shirts, commission them, licence it, give permission, or something else? Did they collect any money from sales?
    – Stuart F
    Aug 20, 2022 at 12:34
  • 2
    "The preponderance of evidence points to Bosworth's company having driven the creation and marketing of the shirts." Certainly none of the evidence in that paragraph points to this. "...it's possible there could have been at one time" is not evidence.
    – Kyralessa
    Aug 28, 2022 at 8:59
0

Bosworth's company 44 BOZ INC did create shirts, and the company name is included in the screen-printing (if not on the tag).

The ones I've seen have been pro-Boz Seahawk shirts. No anti-Boz Broncos shirts discovered, yet. Also unsure if this company was creating Oklahoma shirts during his college days.

44 BOZ INC

Shirts:

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .