February 11, 2005

Give Me a Bruschi

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Got game? Got class? Got Milk? Tedy Bruschi does.

In the great tradition of superstars bearing that infamous, frothing, two percent mustache, the New England Patriots star linebacker has become the latest dairy-diet poster boy — a lineage that includes the mugs of American cultural icons Brett Favre and Tom Brady, Muhammad Ali and Mia Hamm, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Tony Hawk. Even the likes of Yasmine Bleeth, Martha Stewart, and Alex Trebek have graced the glossies in magazines over the decade since America’s Dairy Farmers began enticing the fast food nation to choose cow over Coke.

But if anyone deserves the role, it’s Tedy Bruschi: he’s just about as wholesome as the stuff he’s drinking.

You all saw the Super Bowl, so it bears little to mention that Bruschi gave an all-star performance in the Big Game. The Big Guy (6-1, 247-pounds), whom head coach Bill Belichick calls the heart and soul of the Pats defense, made seven tackles, had one 10-yard sack, and recorded his second career postseason interception midway through the fourth quarter to help New England seal its third world championship in four years.

What you might not have seen, though, was footage of Bruschi on the field before the game.

In a scene worthy of ESPN’s Top-10, the event’s most valuable papa plays with his two sons, Tedy Jr. and Rex, on the grass at Jacksonville’s Alltel Stadium during the team’s pregame warmup.

Tedy is jogging backwards, his young cubs trotting after him. Their legs must have been motoring at least 10 times faster than his, but he let them catch up, anyway. And, in form uncharacteristic of the All-Pro, Bruschi topples backwards to the field, only to have the pursuing toddlers pounce him. It was the last time he’d be on his back until hitting the training table after the game.

The shot was priceless, especially considering the thunderstorm of criticism the NFL and its broadcasting affiliates have taken since last year’s nipple fiasco. Janet Jackson bears a boob, Randy Moss moons the crowd, Daunte Culpepper rescinds his “ice” — the list is endless.

Jackson stole the show at last year’s halftime with her stunt, but paid dearly in the press. Moss just got the boot from Minnesota, which finally realized its receiver is more cancer than catcher. And Culpepper took back two diamond necklaces he promised a terminally ill fan at a press conference.

Unlike his attention-whoring, money grubbing counterparts, however, Bruschi prefers to remain out of the limelight until it’s his time to shine on the field. Five years ago, the unrestricted free agent signed a $2 million deal to continue playing for the Pats — pittance by NFL standards. He probably could have gotten more elsewhere, but he chose New England because he’s a winner who wanted to win.

He has in every way. Now he has three Super Bowl rings — the only pieces of “ice” any pro player can really be proud to wear. He has a family, not a host of mistresses and illegitimate kids in every NFL city, as so many professional athletes do. Most importantly, he’s got milk. “I look back in time where I sat back and drank milk to give me that extra edge,” he told Sports Illustrated’s Lisa Altobelli. “[Drinking milk] has put me in a position to fulfill a dream.” At least most of us put it in our coffee.

Everett Hullverson is a Sun Assistant Sports Editor. Chew On This will appear every other Friday this semester.

Archived article by Everett Hullverson