Tribute To A Title: Sports Interviews With Morgan Adsit: Ravens Center Matt Birk
For an NFL player, getting to the Super Bowl is difficult. Winning it is nearly impossible. Ravens center Matt Birk waited 15 years in the league for his chance at a Super Bowl. Birk heads into another offseason with a retirement decision on his mind, but, when he talked to Morgan Adsit before Super Bowl XLVII, he said the outcome of the game wasn't going to play a role in that decision.
Morgan Adsit: Have you thought about, just [looking] back at your career, and how not everyone gets to this moment and that you're finally here and what it means to you?
Matt Birk: Oh yeah, I mean, I know exactly how hard it is to get here, and I've played with some great guys in my career. [I] played a long time with guys with great careers, Hall of Fame careers. They're in the Hall of Fame now, but they never got to the Super Bowl. So part of me, you do want to appreciate the moment and enjoy it when it's time to. But … you definitely have to be able to compartmentalize, and when it's time for fun, it's time for fun, but when it's time for work, you've got to focus on the time for work.
MA: You've always said that when you decide to leave that you'll kind of just disappear into the background and everything like that, but does the outcome for Super Bowl affect your decision in how long you want to play?
MB: I don't think so, because although it's the ultimate goal, I think winning or losing in the Super Bowl, I don't think it's going to define me or my career. It's not the only thing I'm after. I mean, I'd like to think that the reason I continue to do this is just because day in and day out, I like it. I like the work. I like the challenge. I love my teammates, and that's the biggest thing, just day to day, how much fun I have and how much I enjoy it. And obviously the goal every year is to win the Super Bowl, but I don't think it's going to define a guy like me, a player like me.
MA: When did [your eye injury] happen? Because as far as I remember, the Patriots' front seven, especially their line and [Vince] Wilfork, were nonexistent. You guys manhandled them.
MB: I don't know what happened. I was driving down the day after the game, and I looked in my rearview mirror -- because I like to look at myself in the mirror a lot, I'm very vain -- and I thought, "Is that a black eye?" Sure enough, every day it's just kind of gotten worse and worse. I don't know, I guess they say I popped a blood vessel on my forehead during the game and it bled down into my eye. I didn't have any plans on becoming a model after football, so I don't think it's going to affect my long-term plans at all.
MA: Let's talk about the game. The 49ers are a very physical defense. There are a lot of comparisons as far as what the Ravens' defense is and what the Ravens are able to do and how they play -- best linebacking corps probably in the league -- just the [San Francisco] front seven and the problems that they present trying to get after the quarterback.
MB: You're right, they are a great front seven. Attacking, really no weaknesses, probably even better than what most people think they are, if that's possible. Last year, when we played them on Thanksgiving night, I said after the game that I think that's the best defense I've ever played against. They're that good.
MA: December Ravens, January Ravens -- it's night and day. What is the it factor about this team -- that in January, you guys are still going strong and one of the best right now?
MB: Hard to say exactly. We're human. We have good days and bad days, good stretches and bad stretches. But for whatever reason, a lot of the things that you just talked about, for whatever reason, it all just kind of clicked in late December, and we've put a good run together the last 5-6 weeks. But with all that being said, we don't really feel like we've accomplished anything really up to this point. We feel it's kind of all for naught if we don't go out there on Super Bowl Sunday and put forth a great effort.
Watch Morgan Adsit on "Sports Unlimited" on Fox 45 Baltimore, at 5:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekdays and at 10 p.m. weekends. Follow Morgan on Twitter: @MorganAdsit.
Issue 182: February 2013