It’s Howie Time: Football hero makes it into a trucking magazine

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If there’s one rule that I have for the pages of Today’s Trucking, it’s that every word needs to focus on trucking. It’s the reason we exist, and why the word “trucking” is splashed in bold letters across the front of every cover.

Then the NTEA had to invite former defensive end Howie Long to be a breakfast speaker during the annual Work Truck Show.

Anyone who spends a bit of time with me knows that I’m a proud member of Raider Nation; a lifelong fan of the Oakland-soon-to-be-Vegas Raiders. I wear Howie Long’s jersey when I watch games. One of my prized possessions is a signed Howie Long football that sits in my home office. When any weekend comes, you can bet that I’ll be wearing silver and black.

I’ve never filled out a registration form for a trade show more quickly. Sure, the annual show is one of my favorites on the trade show calendar. Look no further than our related coverage to see why.

But now there was this. It was Howie time.

The challenge would be finding a way to make his comments appear right at home in Today’s Trucking. Surely Howie – and former Steelers great Terry Bradshaw – would say something about trucks. It was the Work Truck Show, after all.


This will take some work.

The introduction offered a bit of background on the man who once recorded five sacks in a single game against the Washington Redskins. Howie (can I call him “Howie” now that we’ve sort-of met?) was playing high school football in Milford, Massachusetts in 1977. This happened to be the same year the Ford F-Series began its 40-year reign as the top-selling pickup truck in the U.S.

Truck reference Number One. Check.

Howie and Terry, let’s call them both by their first names, begin talking about the nature of players have changed. “The game is bigger, stronger, faster in every way,” Howie says. “Because of that the impacts are bigger … I think we’re at the envelope of what the players can take.” A theme of size emerges again when he breaks down a Super Bowl play referring to the size and speed of individual players. That reminds me. The Canadian Trucking Alliance is looking for Environment and Climate Change Canada to expand its definition of heavy linehaul tractors in proposed emissions rules, to include Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings between 80,000 and 120,000 pounds. That will better support the more-productive equipment that can be found on this side of the border.

Truck reference Number Two. Check.

Howie now begins telling the story of what it was like to watch his son Chris, also a defensive end, play in the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. He had encouraged Chris to agree to a one-year deal with the Patriots, and then questioned whether he was a terrible dad for doing so when the team trailed the Atlanta Falcons by 28-3 in the third quarter. Of course, they went on to win 34-28 and secure another championship ring. “It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,” he says. “I must have said, ‘Oh my God’ 40 times.” That reminds me. Driver turnover at large truckload fleets has dropped to 71%. Drivers are less likely to hop from one contract to the next than they were last year.

Truck reference Number, uh, Two-and-a-Half?

Time to get back to some truck-specific content. But Howie, if you’re reading this, and you ever want to talk trucks, give me a call.






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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking,, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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