Football is such a humbling game, and for Champ Bailey, Sunday’s Super Bowl was a chance to finally be hailed the champion.
Having spent 15 seasons in the NFL, Bailey earned his first appearance in the big game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII. He finally had the opportunity to hoist the Lombardi Trophy on the podium as thousands of fans looked on in rejoice.
Instead, the favorited Denver Broncos were upended by the young Seattle Seahawks, who were led on offense by quarterback Russell Wilson.
With the performance, the Twitter world erupted with analysis and reactions from football fans across the nation. Of those tweets, there were a few that really stood out as both interesting and debatable.
Although most of the production early on came from the punishing defense, Bailey wasn’t able to keep the offense at bay, as Wilson stiff-armed the all-time great on his way to a big gain.
Bailey collected only four tackles in the biggest game of the year, and in only five games this season, he totalled only 23, the lowest of his career.
So, can Champ Bailey return for another season and still play at a high level?
According to CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson, Bailey was quoted after the game saying, “I’m not done playing football.” He will return for another season, but his glory days are behind him.
One thing is for sure, and that is the fact that Bailey had the support of so many people in this game. He has been an icon to the game, and he deserves a championship ring.
Of course, there are plenty of people who would rather see him retired while he still has something left in the tank rather than going out because he can no longer perform.
However, there are many Hall of Fame players who never won a Super Bowl, such as Dick Butkus and Earl Campbell. So, nothing can be taken away from Bailey's legacy as a player, as he is arguably the greatest cornerback to ever play the game.
When he finally decides to hang up his spikes, Bailey will have nothing to be ashamed of. Of course, he would have loved a ring, but then again, who wouldn't? In his prime, there was nothing Bailey couldn't do, and although he didn't get the ring he was looking for, he knows he still has a chance.
That final chance will come next season, whether he remains with the Broncos or goes elsewhere. There will always be critics, but the fact remains that Champ Bailey was just as much a championship-caliber player as anyone who has ever played the game.
*Statistics Courtesy of NFL.com