Counting down the weekdays to Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5 in Houston, we look back at the 50 greatest Super Bowl competitors from the ASN family of schools as calculated one year ago. Today: 43.
Lardarius Webb was a spectator for Super Bowl XLVII due to an injury, which the Baltimore Ravens cornerback used the same way he did any piece of equipment in his rehabilitation.
“This has motivated me to want to come back here again,” Webb told USA Today leading up to the game. “To look and see this Super Bowl and get this feeling and not get to actually step foot on the field is going to be motivation for the rest of my career to always get back here. It’s something that is always going to be that extra chip on my shoulder.”
Webb was a fourth-year pro out of Nicholls in 2012, an emerging star on a Ravens’ defense that featured veterans Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. He had signed a lucrative contract extension prior to the 2012 season and had performed well before tearing his left ACL versus the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6.
Webb underwent surgery and spent the rest of the season rehabbing and assisting the secondary. When the Ravens arrived in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers, he tried to enjoy himself.
“I’m very excited and happy to be here,” Webb told USA Today. “It’s so much bigger than me. It’s about Joe Flacco, Ed Reed, for the guys who’ve been playing a long time who haven’t reached this point."
Webb, 5-10 and 180 pounds, began his college career at Southern Miss, but transferred to Nicholls, where he was an All-American and finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award that goes to the outstanding defensive player in FCS. The Ravens drafted him in the third round in 2009.
Webb stood out as a kick returner and reserve defensive back early. He was increasingly productive and became a starter, with 20 passes defended and five interceptions in 2011. The ACL injury cut short his next season, but not his desire to return to the Super Bowl.
“It was a good feeling on the sideline,” Webb, now 30, told SB Nation’s Ravens website in July 2013, “so I can imagine how good it felt to actually be out on the field and just be playing — make some tackles and make some plays. I feel like a champion, but I’m motivated to get back, just like a couple of the other guys on my team, like (Elvis) Dumervil, some new guys — (Michael) Huff. We’re all motivated to get back to that championship. That’s what we want to do.”
Dave Fairbank is a freelance writer based in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.