When you think of New York Giants greats at the linebacker position, you think of Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Carl Banks, and even more recently Antonio Pierce. However, there is one player who deserves more recognition than he currently gets. His name is Chase Blackburn, two-time Super Bowl champion. Blackburn was never the key player for the Giants defense. However, he was an influential leader and played a pivotal role in both Super Bowls.
Chase Blackburn: Remembering Underappreciated New York Giants Players
Chase Blackburn played a crucial role in the second Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. In the fourth quarter, Tom Brady found Rob Gronkowski one on one with Blackburn, heaving it down field. Instead of allowing a catch or a touchdown, Blackburn out jumped Gronkowski and intercepted it. There was some irony to this play. Brady and Gronkowski are both future Hall of Famers, while Blackburn was unsigned up until week 13. During this period of time, he became a middle school math teacher. When Blackburn returned to the Giants for their week 13 matchup against the Green Bay Packers, it was as if he had never left. He returned with a bang, recording an interception against Aaron Rodgers in his first game of the season. Blackburn proceeded to go from a middle school math teacher to an unsung hero in Super Bowl XLVI.
High Football IQ
Chase Blackburn was also a very intelligent football player. There was one play from Super Bowl XLII that stands out. The Patriots were about to punt on fourth down. Blackburn, realizing there were 12 men on the field, sprinted to the sidelines to try and avoid a penalty. Initially, there was no flag thrown. However, Bill Belichick challenged the play and as a result he was flagged for 12 men on the field.
This may seem like an odd play to focus on. However, it showcases Blackburn’s football IQ. If Blackburn would have spent time trying to figure out who was incorrectly on the field, there would have been no chance that he makes it off the field in time. However, he understood how time sensitive it was for him to get off the field to try and avoid a penalty. He took a penalty for his teammate who was incorrectly on the field.
Life Threatening Injury
Chase Blackburn almost had his career cut short. At the end of his rookie season, he made a routine tackle. However, he lost all feeling left side of his body. Initially, it was thought that he may be paralyzed. Luckily, he eventually started to regain control of this side of his body. This neck injury could have derailed his entire career in a matter of seconds.
However, he came back stronger than ever and ended his eight year New York Giants tenure with 113 games played, four interceptions, one touchdown, five forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, and 333 tackles. He will not go down as a “Giants Legend” but he will forever be remembered for his important contributions to the Giants defense, the always reliable math teacher turned linebacker who happened to make a play when you least expected it.
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