I'm not really into the NFL anymore - the team I grew up rooting for bears no resemblance to the one representing my hometown these days - and, truthfully, football was never more than something to fill in the weeks and months between the World Series and when pitchers and catchers reported.
That said, I do try to watch the Super Bowl, and did get some pleasure out of the Packers' victory yesterday, if for no other reason than the presence of Mark Murphy.
Murphy was a safety for the Redskins for eight seasons, 1977-84. When I was beginning my on-air career in 1978, after having been a news writer and sports producer for five years, Murphy was the only 'Skins' player who would come in and do the talk show in person for nothing. Everyone else wanted some kind of fee or gift certificate or something; Murphy would just show up whenever he was asked. He was also extremely knowledgeable about baseball.
Even after all these years, Murphy is still probably the most cerebral football player I've ever interviewed. During his playing days in Washington, the Colgate graduate earned a master's in business from American University. After his retirement, he earned a law degree from Georgetown. Smart? Oh, yeah.
Murphy went back to Colgate as athletic director, and later filled the same position at Northwestern. He became the Packers' president and chief executive officer in 2007.
To commemorate their 70th anniversary in 2002, a panel selected the 70 greatest Redskins of all-time. Murphy made that list, one of only 23 defensive players who made the cut.
Murphy has a ring from Super Bowl XVII. Now he's got another one. Congratulations to one of the real good guys.
Bring on the pitchers and catchers.