Woodson's Triple Crown

The Packers' Charles Woodson has a broken collarbone and a Super Bowl title. He also has a collection of accomplishments that only two other football players can claim. Matt Tevsh explains.

Charles Woodson letting out a joyous scream as he left the field, holding up the Lombardi Trophy in his right hand while his left arm was in a sling, will always be one of the more memorable images of Super Bowl XLV.

Though a broken collarbone forced Woodson to the sideline for the entire second half of the Green Bay Packers' 31-25 championship victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers 10 days ago, the incomparable cornerback was at least able to finish off a rare accomplishment that glorious day.

By winning pro football's modern era championship, he joined select company as just the third player with a Heisman Trophy, a collegiate national championship and a Super Bowl to his credit.

Marcus Allen, Tony Dorsett and Reggie Bush were the first three players to pull off the rare "Triple Crown" of football combining individual and team greatness. But Bush, the most recent to do so before Woodson, was stripped of his 2005 Heisman in 2010 after an investigation for NCAA violations while he played in college.

Allen, best known for his days at USC and with the NFL's Raiders, won a national championship in 1978, a Heisman in 1981 and a Super Bowl to conclude the 1983 season.

Dorsett, best known for his days at the University of Pittsburgh and with the NFL's Cowboys, won a national championship and Heisman in 1976 and a Super Bowl to conclude the 1977 season.


Woodson, however, had to wait the longest to complete his triple. He won the Heisman in 1997, his junior season at Michigan, which coincided with the school's Associated Press national championship. But it was not until 14 years later that he won his first Super Bowl.

Said Woodson on what winning the Super Bowl means to a veteran player: "It means a lot. We've accomplished what every man in the NFL wants to accomplish, and that is to win the Super Bowl trophy. For us, we walk those halls everyday at Lambeau (Field) and we've seen all the greats. This is our opportunity to get on the wall, so it means a great deal to us."

What separates Woodson from Allen and Dorsett, both running backs, is that he plays defense. He is the only defensive back ever to win the Heisman and remains the only defensive player to win the award over the past 61 years.

Asked during Super Bowl week if wonders whether a defensive player will ever win a Heisman again, Woodson responded, "I hope one will. I think there are a lot of worthy guys every year that could be mentioned for the Heisman and actually win it. The problem with defensive guys is we just don't put up the numbers that offensive guys do, so their numbers don't wow you as much as offensive guys. I think there are some players that very well should be mentioned as far as the Heisman Trophy."

Like Allen winning the NFL MVP award in 1985, Woodson can add a top individual award to his resume at the professional level – a fourth holy grail, so to speak. In 2009, he won NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors for the first time.

But it is his first Super Bowl title that might just resonate the longest.

"This is it," said Woodson, just days before winning his first Super Bowl. "When I look back over my career, the accomplishments as an individual I think I just about have them all. So I think for me to win the ultimate prize is to win a Super Bowl and to win that team goal is the most important thing ..."


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Matt Tevsh has covered the Packers since 1996. E-mail him at matttevsh@hotmail.com


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