Mark Herzlich: ‘I’ve Always Wanted Just A Chance’
The New York Giants weren’t relevant at any point this season, but the Super Bowl is being played in their home stadium, so the question is at least worth asking:
What the heck happened this year? The Giants started 0-6 and finished 7-9.
“Well, we didn’t make the playoffs,” New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich said on The Morning Show. “It’s a frustrating thing. You come here and you have the goal of winning a Super Bowl in your home stadium – it’s never been done before – and you want to break records and set new goals, but it didn’t work out for us. And really, the first six games set us back and just didn’t get it rolling. (Winning) seven out of the last 10 was a good finish, but (it’s) not where we needed to be.”
Herzlich, of course, made national headlines during his collegiate career at Boston College. A former All-American, Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare from of bone cancer, in 2009. Less than five months later, however, he was cancer free and returned to the Eagles.
Herzlich overcame the odds once more in 2011. An undrafted free agent, he made the Giants’ 53-man roster and eventually became their starting linebacker.
“I’ve always wanted just a chance,” the 26-year-old said. “That’s what I asked for from my doctors. Just give me a chance to do what I want to do. Coach Coughlin gave me that chance when he called me up after the lockout was lifted (and invited me to camp). I was probably 92nd on the 92-man roster. I got in there and I was probably 53rd on the 53-man roster. And things happened. You just start to come into your own and let the nerves die down and just make plays. We’ve played football since we were 5 years old. You just go out there and you make plays. I was able to do that.
“I think that I have a leadership style that fits in with what the Giants like and (I’m) able to hone that in and go out there and not take it too seriously (to the point) where I’m playing tight.”
Herzlich, a Super Bowl champion, has high hopes for next season.
“I think the way we finished the season on a high note should guide us into a good offseason,” he said. “We’re going to have the mentality that, look, no one’s going to give us a chance, and we need to play as hard as we possibly can. We’ve got to win our first game. That’s the hardest part. It takes a while. That was the most difficult thing for us this year.”
Herzlich also offered his thoughts on this year’s Super Bowl, as the Giants played the Broncos in Week 2 and the Seahawks in Week 3. New York lost both games by a combined 41 points.
“I like the Broncos because of the ability of Peyton Manning and their offensive coordinator (Adam Gase) to be on the same page and give Peyton options,” Herzlich said. “When Peyton has options and he can read a defense, he plays really well.”