LaDainian Tomlinson removed any doubt that may have been remaining in regards to what he is all about when he said this week that he would prefer the personal recognition of the Hall of Fame over the team goal of winning a Super Bowl championship.

 

On Monday Tomlinson appeared on NBC Sports Talk and was asked if he would have rather won a Super Bowl and then not get in the Hall of Fame, or gain enshrinement in the Hall of Fame and not have a Super Bowl ring.

 

“Hall of Fame player without a ring, because you’ve got to sacrifice so much individually just to be good,” Tomlinson said. “They draft you individually and you’ve got to back them up and make them right. I think at the end of the day, even though I didn’t win a Super Bowl ring, I felt like I backed them up for drafting me. I backed up the San Diego Chargers for picking me with the fifth pick.”

 

The majority of what I have seen nationally backs Tomlinson up. The rationale is that benchwarmers can get a ring but only the best of the best enter the HoF, and that because football is such a team game winning a championship is out of an individual player’s control.

 

Those are valid points – but they really miss the point.

 

 

You don’t play a team sport like football to collect individual honors like most rushing yards or even Hall of Fame enshrinement. You play for the greater good, to win the game, to win a title. The very concept of placing individual accolades above the success of the collective group is foreign in a team environment.

 

The Tomlinson apologists are missing the point. Yes, it is indeed more difficult to be good enough to deserve enshrinement in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame than it is to win an NFL championship; I am not contesting that viewpoint. But to have the opinion that when given the choice that a player would not choose the ring over the canary jacket ? That to me is worst kind of attitude a teammate could have: the antithesis of a team player.

 

Greater accomplishment? Hall of Fame.

 

Better goal to have achieved? Championship.

 

It’s really a no-brainer if you are a team player.

 

LaDainian Tomlinson has let his true colors show: a green jacket is fitting as th ultimate accomplishment in an individual sport like golf. The canary jacket worn upon entrance to Canton should not be the ultimate accomplishment of a player in the ultimate team sport.

 

My lasting image of LaDainian Tomlinson: on the bench, hiding behind his visor while Philip Rivers gamely carried on despite a torn ACL

 

 

 

 

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