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Richard Dent recalls how big hit re-focused him in Super Bowl XX originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Of all the storylines we’ve heard time and again, one of the most surprising is Walter Payton’s fumble on the second play of the game, which led to an early Patriots field goal. But could that early mistake have been a blessing in disguise? Richard Dent joined NBC Sports Chicago for our “Countdown to Kickoff” show, and said taking a big shot— literally— helped him to focus, and re-center himself in the biggest game of his young career.
“First play was a play-action, and I can just remember (Brian) Holloway just hitting me in my chest,” Dent said. “I felt like I was just falling backwards, and just trying not to fall backwards. Now he’s coming at me, now he’s trying to clean me up, and this thought in my mind just said, ‘You want to let him take a shot? Or do you want to hit reset?’ Fall down, quickly hit reset, then boom.
“He popped me pretty good… the guy got the first punch, maybe their best punch of the game.”
Dent admits he was surprised he would need to “hit reset” after weeks of preparation leading to the Big Game. But then again, it’s hard to know how anyone will react in their first Super Bowl appearance.
“Why are you hitting reset in a Super Bowl?” Dent said. “It’s the biggest game in your life. But if you’ve never been there, you don’t know. Again, it was about turning it up. You would think you’d be turning it up, and if you haven’t been there, you don’t know. You come there with everything, and you can explode, but if you’ve got to hit reset, you’ve got to hit reset… to be the best that you can be, or to win that game.”
Sure enough, that big lick Holloway laid on Dent knocked him into his senses. From then on, he was on his game, en route to winning the MVP.
“I’m chasing all day,” Dent said. “I’m chasing, I’m smelling things down, and I’m pissed off. I’m at the ultimate, ultimate of pissed.”
As we all know, those 58 minutes of being ultimately pissed off led to ultimate joy.
“It’s something that you dream of as a kid to accomplish,” Dent said. “But you don’t know the sacrifice that you have to go through to get that situation.
“To have that, to sit on Chicago’s shoulders, to be a part of such a great accomplishment with a bunch of guys, and to be MVP of that, it’s a great honor and a great feeling.”
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