Tag Archives: Tedy Bruschi

One Last Post from Super Bowl XLVIII: Do Championships Define a Player’s Greatness?

4 Feb

Today’s Final Report from  Super Bowl XLVIII is powered by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society

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by Chris Murray 

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Russell Wilson reflects on Seattle's Super Bowl win. Photo by Chris Murray.

Russell Wilson reflects on Seattle’s Super Bowl win. Photo by Chris Murray.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—With the Seattle Seahawks 43-8  thrashing of  the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, the talk in social media, sports-talk radio and the various 24-hour cable sports networks has centered around the legacy of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

The current narrative among sports fans these days is that the more championship rings you have the greater you are as a player.  Of course, you will have someone saying the Manning’s greatness is now diminished because he didn’t get that second Super Bowl ring.

Of course, whenever I am in these discussions on social media or even sports-talk radio, I often point out the absolute silliness of that notion in team sports because it takes more than one player to win.

Pointing out to sports fans that it takes teams to win a championship is the equivalent of your mother telling you to eat your nasty-tasting vegetables because it’s good for you.

I think the popularity of this notion in the current era comes from one Michael Jordan who helped to lead the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships. Never mind that he had help from teammates like Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, Jordan is the face of those championships.

That mindset has invaded the ultimate team sport that is football and this is the stuff you see in the ongoing vilification of Manning after losing to Seattle.  The former Tennessee star has one Super Bowl ring, but it’s never enough for the limited, narrow scope of fans who are bedazzled by the glow of the ring or the trophy.

What they often fail to understand or maybe they don’t want to understand is the collective effort that it takes to get to win that championship.

There are a lot of great players in football who never won or even played in a championship game. Yet, in the eyes of various sports media types, the jockocracy, and fans, not winning a title somehow takes away from a player’s greatness.

During this past Super Bowl Week, I asked some prominent members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame if it was fair to tie a player’s greatness to the amount of championship rings he has or the  lack thereof.

“I would have to say that it is because that’s what this game is,” said Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, who helped lead the Cowboys to three Super Bowl crowns during the 1990s. “I don’t care how great you play individually if you can’t get others to play great we gotta to measure you on that. We can’t call this the ultimate team sport, but give you accolades for individual success.”

Then I asked Irvin what about guys like Dan Marino, Don Fouts or Barry Sanders? Those guys were Hall-of-Fame players who never won a championship. Surely their greatness is not diminished by their lack of rings, right?

“A Tom Brady couldn’t play defense, but can Tom Brady get a little more out of the guys that are playing defense? Is Tom Brady reaching and associating with guys in a way that brings more out of them?” Irvin asked rhetorically.

“So when we say hand the ball off to the ref like Barry Sanders. Barry Sanders never spiked the ball or acted crazy. Maybe he should have because maybe it would have gotten the defense fired up and maybe they would have gone out and made some plays.”

Cris Carter, a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee and an outstanding receiver for the Minnesota Vikings would beg to differ with Irvin on that one. He said the notion of a great career being diminished because of lack of a Super Bowl ring is something created by the media.

“When you play certain positions you don’t have that much of an impact on who’s gonna win or lose the game,” Carter said. “Ninety-seven percent of players that play in the NFL don’t even play in a Super Bowl, 97 percent. So to think that you have to win a Super Bowl to be in the Hall of Fame wouldn’t be fair.”

Carter said it’s easy for Irvin to say championships define greatness because he played on a Cowboys team that had Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Larry Allen—all of whom are Hall of Famers.

Former New England Patriots linebacker and ESPN football analyst Tedy Bruschi was a part of three Super Bowl winners. I thought he would share Irvin’s sentiment, but he didn’t.

“Championships define greatness of teams that’s the way it is,” Bruschi said. “I don’t need Cris Carter to have a championship ring to know how great he is.  He’s one of the greatest of all time.”

As fans we have a weird kind of Drum Major Instinct when it comes to our athletes because we all like the glitz and the glamour of the guy who stands out in the crowd. In football and for that matter any sport, the guy who stands out does so because he stands on the shoulders of his teammates who are holding him up.

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The Champ Is Here: Bailey Finally Gets to Enjoy Super Bowl Spotlight After 15 Years

31 Jan

 

 

Today’s Super Bowl XLVIII Report is powered by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society 

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By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey fields questions from reporters during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day. Photo by Chris Murray.

Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey fields questions from reporters during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day. Photo by Chris Murray.

JERSEY CITY, NJ.—Most of the talk during the buildup to Super Bowl XLVIII has been about players and their lasting legacies in the game.

For a player like Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, it’s about solidifying an already outstanding legacy as one of the game’s great quarterbacks by taking two different teams to a Super Bowl win.

In the case of young players like Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman, it’s about establishing themselves and their team as one of best in the game in the here and now.

But let’s face some reality here, they’re a lot of great Hall of Famers who played in the NFL with distinction and have never come close to winning or even playing in a Super Bowl.

In the eyes of some football fans and observers in the age of sports talk radio and 24-hour cable sports networks a player not having that Super Bowl ring is that one thing that diminishes his greatness.

Considering that football is the ultimate team game, it’s a pretty silly notion.

“Championships define the greatness of teams. That’s the way it is,” said Tedy Bruschi, who won three Super Bowl rings as a linebacker with the New England Patriots. “I don’t need a Cris Carter to have a championship ring to know how great he is.”

The same could be said for the 15-year career of Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, who will be playing in his first Super Bowl on Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Seattle Seahawks.

Bailey has done it all as a cornerback in this league and has done it longer than some of the guys who are in the Hall of Fame now. He’s a 12-time Pro Bowl selection and a five-time All-Pro selection, making the first-team three times. His career Pro Bowl selections are the most in NFL history by a defensive back.

Not many corners have lasted as long as Bailey and not been moved to safety. He is still playing the game and his position at a high level.

Going through a plethora of interviews during Super Bowl week, Bailey isn’t measuring his ring size or even thinking about what it would be like to win a championship. He’s more focused on trying to shut down Seattle’s passing game and helping his defense contain running back Marshawn Lynch.

“All I been thinking about is the things we got to clean up from yesterday,” said Bailey, who has 52 career interceptions. “We had a good practice. It’s never perfect. That’s really all I been thinking about. … I haven’t thought about what kind of ring or anything. I’m just worried about winning.”

Some of Bailey’s teammates, especially his colleagues in the Broncos secondary, want to win this game for him because he has been a leader and mentor to them. Safety Mike Adams, himself a 10-year veteran in the league, said the joy Bailey would experience, if Denver wins,  would be indescribable.

“I cannot imagine what he would be feeling because I know I would be feeling tears of joy and everything and I was in it for 10 years. [Bailey] has been in it for 15 years,” Adams said. “For him to get to this point and if he wins, that’s the ultimate. That’s what we play for.”

This season, Bailey played in just five regular-season games while playing through a foot injury that he suffered during the preseason. Though he was on the sideline, Bailey was coaching and advising his teammates during the course of games and in practice.

“He spent many games inactive, but he was always there,” said Denver head coach John Fox. “And in that defensive room, his guidance, his leadership was always there and that never wavered.”

While Bailey, who spent his first five years with the Washington Redskins, appreciates the encouragement of teammates, he said he’s just happy to be with a solid group of players, the best team he’s played on in his long career.

“I finally got with the right group of guys,” he said.

Bailey said whether his team wins on Sunday or not, he will not leave the game with any regrets.

“It’s been a journey to get here, but I don’t regret anything that’s happened in my career,” Bailey said. “I’m not worried about winning or losing right now. I’m just worried about going out and making sure we’re prepared to play and give ourselves a chance to win.

“If I feel like on (Sunday) that we’ve done enough to prepare and we don’t win, I’m cool with that because we gave it our best.”

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