Unlike last Super Bowl, this Super Bowl will be won by the best team and that's the Steelers.
This was one of Rodney's quotes during his Super Bowl XLIII coverage duties. NBC also managed to repeatedly play the Tyree wonder catch, further jabbing the knife in Rodney's heart. According to him, he didn't sleep for days, wondering if he could've done something differently to prevent that catch. In the end, he said, he did everything he could. I believe he did as well. Watching in slow motion or looking at the pictures, you'd think he could've knocked Tyree's hand loose as it was pinning the ball to his helmet. Watching that play at full speed, it's amazing Harrison was as close as he was to ending New York's chances. Rodney didn't lose that game nor did Brady or the Offensive Line; IMO, it was attitude. New York came to win a football game and NE came to put the cherry on top of a historic season. Just one blogger's opinion.
In the third quarter of our 41-7 rout of Denver, Harrison injured his quad while trying to make a tackle on quarterback Jay Cutler. Battered by a series of injuries over the season, NE fans simply said, "What else can go wrong?" I know I had a sort of "Oh well" attitude. Mind you, I hated seeing him go down, but what can you do? In Bill we trust, I guess. He would later sit out the rest of the season like many other players in an injury plagued 2008.
Rodney Harrison has the distinction of being considered one of the dirtiest players in the NFL. Does he play on the edge? You bet. Strong Safety requires a lurking, brooding bloodhound to roam the field looking for the unsuspecting. And he's one of the most feared players on the field. There are many dirty players out there. The biggest difference is they're better at hiding it. I don't think Rodney's dirtier than the next guy, but the label has stuck and he's a default choice when these polls come around.
As Rodney contemplates his retirement, I think about his contributions on the field. Rodney rarely makes the top of any list. Widely considered one of the most feared players in the NFL, his on field play was less about the number of tackles and more about the message he sent. Come into my territory and you WILL pay for it. That makes receivers tentative to cross where he prowls and quarterbacks timid to throw there. Is there such a thing as a shutdown safety? Maybe, just maybe...
But, Rodney's greatest contribution might just be to the young safeties he's had the chance to mentor. Playing under the shadow of one of the greats might be suffocating, but Brandon Meriweather is learning and 2008 was an opportunity for him to show what he's picked up from his teacher. I've seen flashes of serious talent from Meriweather and, if he chooses to stay with NE for the long haul, I think we'll be in good shape with him prowling around. This position requires brains, the ability to watch what's going on and move around as well as coach the defensive backfield on the field. Rodney has that and Brandon seems to be picking it up.
Rodney has an endless motor and burning desire to play the game. It's the same desire that Troy Brown had and Tedy Bruschi has. Troy had to be told, in so many words, it was time. He knew his body wasn't reacting to his desire to play, but just couldn't bring himself to make the decision. Rodney is cut from the same cloth. With nothing left to prove, he could end his career as a proud member of one of the greatest teams of this decade. If he decides to play and CAN, offenses will have another year of playing against one of the most feared players in the NFL.
Whatever he decides, thank you Rodney. Thank You.