The older I’ve gotten the more I’ve learn to appreciate football players like Matt Muncy. Sure, he took care of business on the gridiron, but he also took care of business off of it.
In this era of players like Pacman Jones and Plaxico Burress, it seems like you can’t sneeze without turning on the television and watching another football player get in trouble. It aggravates me to watch players that play the sport I love make such stupid mistakes.
It is refreshing to have players like Muncy, who was an elite football player, but a good citizen as well. In 2006, he was nominated for the Lott Trophy as the Defensive IMPACT (Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community, and Tenacity).
Past winners of the Lott Trophy are: LB James Laurinaitis of Ohio State, DT Glenn Dorsey of LSU, DB Daymeion Hughes of California, LB DeMeco Ryans from Alabama, and DE David Pollack of Georgia. Simply being nominated for the award is quite an honor.
A dominant linebacker for the Ohio Bobcats in his college days, Muncy racked up an impressive 203 solo tackles, ranking him second in Ohio football history. He also had 39.5 career tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks during his days in Athens, OH.
One of his best seasons came in 2006, when he led the Bobcats to a MAC East title, a MAC Championship game appearance, and a 2007 GMAC Bowl berth against Southern Miss. The bowl appearance marked the first time the Ohio Bobcats had gotten a bowl since 1968.
Muncy ended up making a roster in the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals, and in doing so fulfilled a life long dream. The dream was short-lived, but not many of us can say that we have filled our childhood dreams like that.
The Miamisburg, OH native was gracious enough to answer a few questions through e-mail on Facebook with me. Below is the interview and I hope you enjoy it.
Q: You were a legendary linebacker for the Ohio Bobcats--you finished your career as the second all-time leading tackler in Ohio Bobcat football history. What was your favorite game that you played in for the Bobcats and why?
A: I played in alot of memorable games so it's tough to choose one. I guess I would have to say our OT win over Pitt my junior year. It was Frank's first home game, our first nationally televised home game, and Pitt was ranked that year to start the season.
Q: You and fellow linebacker Tyler Russ spearheaded a dominant Bobcat defense that was crucial in leading the Bobcats to one of the best seasons in Ohio football history, earning Ohio its first bowl berth (GMAC Bowl) since 1968. Could you talk about how much it means to you to be such a big part of a special season in Ohio football history?
A: It was definitely a memorable season. It meant even more since my classes’ first four years had been losing seasons. I think all that losing gets to you after a while and we just had enough of it.
Q: You had a mysterious "staph" infection during your senior year at Ohio—a problem that has become more and more common across the country in the game of football. Could you explain how exactly you got the infection and talk about how serious it was?
A: We had a lot of staph infections that year; I was one of the only ones who had to be hospitalized. I had gotten a turf burn against Northern Illinois and the next week we played at Rutgers. I guess I didn't cover up the burn well enough because as soon as the game was over I could tell something wasn't right.
Q: What's the hardest tackle you ever dished out on anybody throughout your football career? Could you give me a play-by-play description?
A: Once again it's hard to pick one. I laid out a guy pretty hard against Kent State my junior year. They ran a quick underneath route and it looked like the quarterback didn't like the guy he was throwing it to because he just set the guy up to get killed.
Q: You had the privilege to play for the Cincinnati Bengals for a little bit in the NFL, why don't you talk about how that was a dream come true for you, being that you are from the Dayton, OH area.
A: It was definitely a surreal experience at first because nobody had been a bigger Bengals fan than myself. I got over the "awe" factor pretty quickly and did everything I could to make the team.
In the end they picked a guy off waivers who I felt was an inferior player. That’s another story, but it just wasn't the way I would have liked it to end.
Q: Of all the players you played with in your football career, high school, college, or professional, which player did you admire the most and why?
A: I had to think pretty hard about this one and I can't honestly name one. I would have to say I admire the whole class of seniors in '06 for persevering through all the hard times. It meant a lot to go out on a high note and start taking the program to a higher level.
Q: Which coach or person had the most influential impact upon your football career?
A: Once again I had so many great coaches throughout my football career that I can't name just one. All my high school coaches, coach Steve Russ, Pete Germano, Sonny Sano, Ross Els, the list goes on and on. You always remember the coaches who you felt cared about you more so than just a football player.
Q: What are you planning to do and where are you planning to live these days?
A: I'm living in Dayton at the moment working in sports marketing. I enjoy what I'm doing and couldn't ask for a better first job. I would like to go back to school and get my masters so I can continue to work in sports; in coaching or athletic administration.
Q: If you somehow won a lottery of $500,000 what would you do with the money and why?
A: First of all there is no way that would happen because I'm not a very lucky person. If it did I would probably buy a few things and use the rest to start my own business.
Q: Let's say a doctor tells you that you've been hit with a mysterious illness which will kill you and you only have 24 hours left to live. What would you do with those precious 24 hours?
A: I would let every person who made an impact on my life know how much I appreciate them.
Q: What kind of music are you cranking these days?
A: I listen to it all depending on the mood I'm in.
Q: Name one city that you plan to travel to that you've never been to before and explain why you want to go there.
A: I won't name one city but I would really like to go to Japan.
That’s it for now folks, look for more interviews and football articles from me in the future! Remember, “Life is best described in football terms!”