It was one play but it had a drastic impact on the future of the Kansas City Chiefs franchise.
Bernard Pollard’s hit on Tom Brady.
We all know the story. It was game one of the 2008 season when the young Chiefs, led by then head coach Herm Edwards, traveled to Foxboro to take on the Patriots. Early in the game, with the baby Chiefs showing some surprising fight, Kansas City safety Bernard Pollard lunged at Tom Brady as the All-Pro QB stepped into a throw. The hit ended Brady’s seasons and sent shock waves through the NFL that are still being felt today.
The dust has settled now and the much of the NFL landscape is quite different. Scott Pioli left New England and brough Matt Cassel, Mike Vrabel and eventually Romeo Crennel with him. He hired Todd Haley, then fired Todd Haley who fired Bernard Pollard, who landed in Houston before settling in Baltimore. Pioli also cut veteran guard Brian Waters who turned in another Pro Bowl season in 2011.
For the Patriots.
The Chiefs are out the race for the Super Bowl (were they ever really in it?) but two of their former players, Pollard and Waters, will meet Sunday for a chance to play for a championship.
Pollard may also be meeting Mr. Brady again.
The press can always be counted on to bring up the past and so they asked Pollard, Brady and Waters about the hit that sat Brady on the sideline for an entire season.
While Pollard likely wasn’t trying to injure Brady on the play, Waters says his former teammate has no regrets about the incident.
“If you know Bernard, you know there wasn’t much blowback for him,” Waters told CSNNE.com.
“He took pride in the fact that he was able to get a hit on Tom. He’s not going to live that down, one way or the other. He’s a guy that takes pride in putting hits on people, being physical. He’s never going to back down or have any kind of regrets for that.”
Pollard himself confirmed those feelings himself on Thursday, via weei.com.
“I took pride because I didn’t do anything wrong,” Pollard said. “This is a game where anything can happen. I don’t care about recognition, I don’t care about being the face of the NFL, I’m just blessed to be able to do what I do.”
Given Brady’s tremendously high profile, outside of KC, Houston and Baltimore, Pollard is likely best known for his hit on the NE QB. In fact, shortly after the event, some fans that were evidently happy to see Brady injured, started selling “Bernard Pollard Fan Club” t-shirts.
For Pollard, however, not all fans were happy about the incident.
“I’ve gotten death threats, from fans, mail email stuff like that,” Pollard said. “They got my house address, they got the Chiefs facility, it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s one of those things. Fans don’t understand the game. We play this game and put so much into it, and when they see the beloved quarterback go down, no one wants to see it. Nobody wants to see it.”
For his part, Brady holds no ill will toward Pollard.
“Injuries are a part of the game,” said Brady. “I hate being injured, that was a tough one but I’ve moved on, he’s moved on to some different teams. He’s a very good player, fits in this scheme very well. I don’t think too much about that injury or anything. I just really try to be the best QB I can be.”
Though both players are being professional about it, don’t expect them to remissness about the incident on Sunday.In fact, according to Pollard, the two have never spoken directly about what happened.
“I’ve not spoke to him directly, indirectly we’ve spoken through other people,” Pollard said. “If you are asking me if I apologized? No. And I’m not going to apologize for it. It’s football. He doesn’t apologize for throwing the ball over your head, he doesn’t apologize for throwing five touchdowns against you. We don’t want anyone to get hurt, but it’s a rough sport and sometimes things happen.”
“He’s (Pollard) a very physical football player, he loves to hit. He has a very aggressive personality. I expect him to be at an all-time high come Sunday.”
For Brady’s sake, Waters had better hope Pollard keeps his hits high as well.