The Arizona Cardinals just lost the Super Bowl, but it may never be more appropriate to ask this question.
Why not re-name the Lombardi Trophy after a legendary ex-Cardinal?
Hear me out NFL purists. And Packers fans. It may sound crazy, but so did the idea of Michael Phelps being caught with a bong. So did the idea that a black president would be voted into office. Things change, and it may be time to consider one that is thought by many to be unheard of.
When the NFL first formalized a name for the trophy, they wanted to present an image to all its fans of what greatness truly is. Vince Lombardi, master of the pre-game speech, the sweep, and recently deceased due to cancer at the age of 57, certainly fit the mold.
After all, Lombardi was the one who won the first Super Bowl. The first two actually. He revolutionized the game with original gameplans and an era of dominance. The consummate professional, Lombardi always strived for greatness, but made sure to go about his business the right way. For that, he was eternally honored in the most appreciative of ways; he was the true symbol of a champion.
But times have changed. That image the NFL intended to present has faded into oblivion, as outsiders have highlighted the perception that NFL players are merely hoodlums and thugs who, without the sport of football, would be spending their time in a jail cell.
Need proof? Check out this page on ProFootballTalk, labeled simply as “Turd Watch.” Here is an explanation:
“Turd Watch II is a device for tracking and publicizing player arrests and convictions. Though some might find the name to be unpleasant, NFL scouts, coaches, players, and agents commonly use the term “turd” in reference to guys who are, well, turds.”
Above the surface, it’s merely a humorous angle on the criminal offenses NFL athletes have accrued. But in reality, it confirms the concerns of everyone involved with the NFL that character is indeed an issue.
The story of Pat Tillman is well-known among football fans everywhere. But what about the people who don’t follow football, and turn on the local news once in a while to see another player arrested on DUI charges? Some may know his story, and some may not.
What about the fresh young fan whose favorite player is Plaxico Burress, and has spent the last two months helplessly watching his hero get berated by the media. Where is he going to find out about Pat Tillman and his greatness? The Arizona Cardinals' Ring of Honor? A statue outside the stadium?
With all due respect to the Arizona Cardinals, their stadium receives as much national exposure as a museum located in Nebraska. Not many football fans nationwide get to watch a Cardinals game in its entirety, and its no given that fans will hear his story if they do tune in.
The Super Bowl trophy was named after Vince Lombardi with the idea that those who loved the game and wished to play would model themselves after this legend.
But the ideals of NFL players have changed, and kids growing up watching the NFL are seeing that the last two game-winning Super Bowl catches have been hauled in by a man facing criminal charges, and another who recently admitted he sold drugs in high school.
With the re-naming of the Lombardi Trophy, Pat Tillman’s story of courage and selflessness will be told at football’s most exciting time every year, and could prove to be the means to inspire young men to go down a path of modesty and righteousness.
It will depict an image the NFL wants to have for non-football fans. More importantly, it will serve as a way to cement Tillman’s legacy in NFL lore forever.