Bernard Pollard is off to his first Super Bowl after once again playing a role in slaying the New England Patriots. Pollard’s presence in the game alone might be enough to cause Pats fans to cheer for the 49ers in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Bernard Pollard joined Josh Innes and Rich Lord on KILT in Houston to discuss the team stepping it up in the playoffs, the rules regarding hits on backs compared to receivers, the hate he’s facing from Patriots fans, the league’s rules regarding hits on defenseless receivers and Super Bowl hype.
On rising to the occasion in the playoffs:
“Being a veteran team, we understand that it’s one-and-done in the playoffs. We had to take it up another notch. … The last game we kind of rested up a lot of our team. We wanted to come out smoking in that first round and we did.”
On not being able to hit receivers or quarterbacks in the same way you can hit running backs:
“I kind of understand where they’re coming from with the receivers or the running backs or the tight ends when they catch the ball and they’re kind of just open. They’re basically open. So they want to cut back on a lot of the collisions with that, especially launching or helmet-to-helmet action. As far as running backs, they have vision. That’s what teams want. They want running backs that can see and understand how to get in and out of a hole, to be able to view the field. So I don’t have any complaints with that. It’s kind of one of those things where this is their rule and we understand it.”
On what he’s heard from the people of Boston after beating the Patriots last week:
“They hate me. I understand it. And what a coincidence it is that somebody always just has to get hurt when I’m on the field. … I’m just doing my job. I’m an old-school player. I enjoy the game of football. The game has been great to me. I’m blessed. God has given me an opportunity to play, given me a skill to be able to showcase it. … Some people are actually saying, ‘You hit too hard or you’re trying to injure guys.’ Those are not my intentions. My intentions are go out there and play football, and I just so happen to hit hard playing football.”
On his perception of a defenseless receiver differing from the league’s:
“What I think a defenseless receiver is is a ball thrown over a guy’s head and he’s not gonna get it or he might make some attempt to put one hand in the air but the ball’s way over his head and a guy hits him. I figure that’s a defenseless receiver, but if you’ve got a ball in the line of play and it’s catchable and everything else, and a guy is going to catch it and you strike him with your shoulder in his chest or anywhere else, except on his head, that’s free game. This is the game of football, man. The guys that created this game and everybody that played it have made a way for us. It’s been a great game. I don’t want to tarnish this game, and they’re doing everything they can to make sure they’re keeping it safe. But at the same time, I think it’s gonna have some setbacks because you’re taking all of this money from guys who are playing the game fair. And if you’ve got some people that are trying to be malicious, get these cats out of here.”
On dodging the Super Bowl hype:
“So many people have asked me for tickets, and once you let them know how much the ticket costs, everybody backs down after you let them know — $950 for one ticket? Yeah, everybody’s like, ‘Nah, I ain’t got that.’ It’s been pretty cool. My wife deals with everything. I’m concentrating. This is another game for me. I’m not thinking about anything else. … It hasn’t even hit me yet that we’re playing in the Super Bowl. I’m looking at it as a regular game. It just so happens that with this game, we get a trophy and a freakin’ ring like five or six months down the line.”
On the media:
“I respect the media. So many players don’t understand that media can make or break you. And I take that very seriously because you guys are trying to do your jobs.”