NOVEMBER 7, 1966
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 sleeps."
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."
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."