Football is the ultimate team sport, and the ultimate goal of the ultimate team sport should be the ultimate objective for anyone who plays football.
That’s what former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi believes, contrary to the views of former Chargers and Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who said earlier this week on NBC SportsTalk that he’d take a career that ends in Canton over one that concludes with one or more Super Bowl rings on his fingers.
During Thursday’s SportsCenter loop, Bruschi makes the case for choosing a silver trophy over a bronze bust.
Bruschi explained that induction into the Hall of Fame is determined not on any field but by 44 voters. “A Super Bowl, a championship is something you earn,” Bruschi said. “And it’s something that can never be taken away. And no one can stop you from doing that.”
As to the inherently subjective process of picking the best of the best players for immortality, Bruschi says, “You can’t control that, but you can control winning.”
And let’s take it a step farther. Individual accomplishments necessarily mean nothing in a team sport. What matters is the team. So the goal for any member of any team should be success of the team, and true success of an NFL team is determined in one way. By winning a Super Bowl.
If, then, a player was a member of a Super Bowl-winning team, the player participated in an inherently shared success. Since that’s the objective of the game, winning a Super Bowl should carry more meaning than the Hall of Fame or any other external acknowledgement of the exploits of any one player.
That’s not to say the Hall of Fame should be disbanded. But any player in any team sport should aspire not to be a Hall of Famer but to be a champion.
For any athletes who don’t feel that way, there’s a whole bunch of individual sports out there.