Steven Jackson has been a cornerbacks coach for the Cincinnati Bengals over the past couple of seasons and has made quite the impact.
“I’ve been thinking about a lot of things,” Jackson said Tuesday after he settled into the Bengals’ first Super Bowl of this century. “One of them is, why did it just show up this year?”
Jackson is referring to the Super Bowl game jersey he wore during his playing days with the Tennessee Titans, which ended up being the last game of his career.
It was an agonizing loss to the Rams and in the end, and Jackson didn’t think to grab his No. 24 jersey before he walked out the door.
Two days later, he was released from the team.
“I was gone,” Jackson said. “I left. I got most of my stuff. I already had three jerseys, so I never thought about the one I wore in the Super Bowl.”
While Jackson never played again, he has been coaching ever since.
When the Titans sent over his Super Bowl worn jersey last summer, he talked to his players about what it meant on the first day of training camp.
“We had a discussion what it means and what it all represents,” Jackson said. “We did that the very first meeting of camp. We’ve talked about it.”
Being back in the Super Bowl, as a coach this time, is special, and it reminds him of the Titans’ run in his last season where they began that year with an unexpected victory over Cincinnati.
“When we beat the Bengals, no one expected us to go to the Super Bowl. We weren’t the favorites. Nobody had us going to the Super Bowl,” Jackson said. “We were something like 7-9, 8-8 (8-8) the year before. Then in the playoffs we had the Music City Miracle. Then we had a fourth-quarter comeback in Indy.”
Just because you get counted out by everyone does not mean you should count out yourselves. Jackson and the rest of his teammates in Tennessee didn’t, and he’s seeing the same thing in this scrappy Bengals squad.
Now, it’s off to face the Rams, the same team that beat Jackson in his last game as a pro.