Before we talk about Super Bowl 53, let’s flash back to a huge turning point in the upcoming Rams vs Patriots clash… November 26, 2004.
Grant High School vs Beaverton High School. PGE Park. Thanksgiving weekend. The Oregon School Athletics Association 4A (Now 6A) football quarterfinals. Somehow, an upstart team from the city has made it farther in the bracket than usual. That team was Grant High School, led by arguably the most talented football recruit ever to come out of Oregon, Ndamukong Suh.
Suh could do it all. He played defense. He kicked (I’m pretty sure). Maybe he was also on offense. I don’t really remember it was 15 years ago. I am like 90% sure he was also the kicker for that team.
What I do remember, kind of, was a sequence of events that led me to believe that Mr. Suh would never win a Super Bowl.
I watched from the stands of PGE Park as Ndamukong Suh disgraced the OSAA 4A state quarter-finals by punching opponents and subsequently chucking his helmet at the concrete wall of that historic stadium. We were all so excited to see this national recruit play, and he managed to crush our dreams. My friends and I had set aside time to watch his talents on the field, and instead we watched him get escorted off the field. Grant High School would go on to lose that game to Beaverton High School 38-14.
Did he not realize what a bad example he was setting for me, a high school sophomore? I vowed that I would never display that kind of behavior on the gridiron.
Luckily for me, and the city of Portland, I was given the opportunity to re-invigorate the city two years later, on that same field, with my legendary performance in the 2006 state semi-finals with 144 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. As I was carried off the field by my teammates that day in 2006 I swore I would never root for Ndamukong Suh.
Ndamukong Suh may have been a national recruit. He may have received multiple scholarship offers from major programs. One has to wonder, will he suffer from not having that big game experience early on in his career? Having played in an Oregon State Championship myself, am I better prepared to play in the big game today?
Coach McVay, if you’re listening, I am ready to play – today. I have more accolades as a high school running back than Ndamukong has, and less ejections. My big game experience vastly outweighs his. Speaking of weight, I probably weight the same as him now too.