Lurtsema's Reaction: Super Bowl Edition

Former Viking Bob Lurtsema talks about the media hype surrounding the Super Bowl, from Brady's boot to Burress' talk to Belichick's ways. He also recounts a story or two from his days with the Giants, including a memorable game against the Vikings.

VU: What is your reaction after being around the NFL and on Super Bowl teams about the whole issue of Tom Brady with the boot on and how much attention he received during the week after the conference championships?

BL: The most important thing to shorten the length of an injury is to get ice on it and control the movement of it. That was just smart on the trainer's part to lock it in. The media blows everything out because they're walking around on two good ankles. He was walking around on a bad ankle; they gave it the treatment. When they said high ankle sprain and he didn't limp off the field, I knew it wasn't as severe as what they were supposedly worried about because the high ankle sprain is the worst ankle sprain you can have. That will take four to six weeks to heal. He had a very minor high ankle sprain. But you've got to take care of your body. The players in the National Football League are freaks, and I mean that in a very complimentary way because they will heal faster than the normal person. Jim Marshall, you could cut his main artery and 30 seconds later it would be a scab and one second later you would peel the scab off. He had rare blood. They heal a lot quicker than the average person. The average person, who doesn't heal fast enough, is usually eliminated through high school and college sports.

VU: Plaxico Burress and a couple of other Giants said things throughout the last couple of weeks that could be considered bulletin board material. Burress had talked about the wide receiver situation with each team and said that he thought the Giants had better wide receivers. As a player, do you like seeing that talk and bravado from teammates or would you rather they not give the other team something to get riled up about?

BL: They can talk all they want. The people that get riled up more than anyone else are the media. It gives them something to have a call-in question about, or the fan can read about it. But as far as what it does to a player, after the first two series bulletin board material is out the window anyway. I think it's very, very much overrated. But some of these players are so dumb that they will carry it onto the field and do all of this chattering, get the fines, be a distraction potentially. It's all about them and they lose the focus on the game because it's all about them. Al Harris is a prime example of that in Green Bay. You've got to be smart about it, but that's the exception. The general rule is that it doesn't mean anything to the players.

VU: I know you're not a big fan of players and coaches who don't talk much to the media, but what do you think of Bill Belichick and what do you think has made him so successful the last six or seven years?

BL: I think he takes each individual on in a different manner. I know when Mike Garrett, Jason Garrett's dad, he gave a motivational talk and did he reach me. I'd run through a steel building for him – it pumped me up that much. But for some of the players, it didn't help them at all. It didn't affect them. What I'm saying is that Belichick pretty much takes each individual. He might slap one guy on the fanny and he might just absolutely go ballistic on another person for the same mistake, but that will get 100 percent out of both of them. There is no better example than what Randy Moss is doing out there. He had a quote earlier this season along the lines of ‘I don't believe Coach Belichick would allow that.' Belichick stood up for Randy Moss when he had the lawsuit come forward. He knows how to handle each person and he plays to the strength of the player. He doesn't put them in a situation where they can't execute to the best of their ability. A lot of coaches don't do that. I still don't like him, but he does that well.

VU: Are you rooting for Randy Moss in the Super Bowl or is it mixed emotions there?

BL: Having played five years for the Giants, I'm pulling all the way for the Giants. I really hope they do it. I am an underdog guy on top of that, so that gives me more fuel for the fire. And then I played against Archie Manning and I know him very well – what a wonderful person he is. I'd like to see both of his kids both play really well in Super Bowls.

VU: What is your favorite Giants story from your time in New York? What do you remember most or appreciate the most?

BL: The best thing I remember is when they got rid of Allie Sherman. Wellington Mara, God rest his soul, decided after the sixth preseason game – we had six back then – to let Sherman go. After we had lost to Pittsburgh, the next day he hired Alex Webster as the next head coach. That was just a great move on the management's part. We were 9-5 – we didn't make the playoffs. But everybody hated Allie Sherman, all the players did. Even Sam Hough wrote in his book, ‘Allie Sherman, may he burn in hell' because he really tore apart the championship team from the early '60s because of his ego. I had a lot of great memories, but the highlight was the opener of 1969 when the Vikings lost the Super Bowl and they had their opener in New York and I got the game ball for that. I had a couple of sacks, etc., and we beat the Vikings on a play that Fran Tarkenton drew up in the sand at Yankee Stadium. The funny part about it is that I should have had more than two sacks because when I came to Minnesota I asked who was blocking me that day and nobody was. That bothered me. But it's fun to beat the best, and the Vikings at that time, of course, were the best.

VU: So your pick is the Giants, or is that just with your heart?

BL: I think New England is showing that they're vulnerable. I think the Giants will be able to attack their defense well enough and you get that big horse for the Giants, Brandon Jacobs, it can get that running game going. That's going to be the difference.

Bob Lurtsema was a 12-year veteran defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.

Viking Update Top Stories