Around dawn on a Monday, flanked by the other men in pinstriped
suits on a Connecticut-to-Manhattan commuter train, Terry
Hanratty feels that old game-day anticipation creeping into his
bones. By 7:30, with 30 analysts on his team and the stock
ticker keeping score, the former Notre Dame, Pittsburgh Steelers
and Tampa Bay Buccaneers signal-caller swings into action. "In
trading, you're always thinking about your next move, and
quarterbacking is great training for that," says Hanratty, a
vice president in charge of buying and selling millions of
dollars of equity on behalf of institutional accounts at the
Wall Street firm Sanford C. Bernstein. "My whole life I've had
three seconds to make a decision."
Hanratty retired from the NFL in 1976 after seven seasons as a
backup. He quickly realized that the standard former jock
pursuits--golf, glad-handing and the lecture circuit--didn't
interest him. Even college football color commentary, which he
did for a few years for ESPN, was a yawn. "In the late '70s
everybody was running the wishbone," says Hanratty, 53, who still
holds the Irish single-season record for pass attempts per game
(28.1 in 1968). "It bored the hell out of me."
Intrigued by options of the financial kind, Hanratty took his
Notre Dame business degree to Wall Street. For a man whose career
included a national college championship in 1966, the Steelers'
1975 Super Bowl victory and the worst season in Buccaneers and
NFL history (0-14 in '76), the highs and lows of trading were
comfortably familiar. The intense nightlife that went along with
it was not. "This industry breeds extreme entertainment," says
Hanratty, who by the early 1980s was battling alcoholism. "I was
single and living on an expense account in the city that never
A group of co-workers confronted Hanratty about the disease that
had whittled the 6'1", 210-pound quarterback to 165 pounds, and
in 1985 he checked into Arms Acres, a rehabilitation facility in
upstate New York. It was, he says, the best 30 days of his life.
"They got me off a roller-coaster ride that kept going down. I'm
lucky I found the bottom. For some it's death."
July 29, 2001
The father of three grown children from his first marriage,
Hanratty now lives with his second wife, Kelly, and their
children, Conor, 7, and Erin, 4, on four hushed acres in New
Canaan, Conn. Bedtime is 9 p.m. "I lead a pretty quiet life," he
says. "Even on Friday mornings, when I see some of the young guys
staggering into the office, I'm at my desk, fresh as a daisy.
That's a true blessing."
"I was single and living on an expense account in the city that
never sleeps," he says of his battle with alcoholism.