With Super Bowl XLVII right around the corner, Coach Ricky Hill stepped away from the soccer sideline and gave us his insight on who he predicted would come out as the champion on Sunday. To the surprise of many, Hill is an avid NFL fan following different teams from early on in his soccer career and has always looked forward to the Super Bowl.
“Growing up we would stay up until 11 pm to watch the start of the game,” commented Hill. “It is a big occasion for us in the UK, and in recent years I have had the pleasure of being in the United States to watch it here.”
Hill analyzed the runs that both teams have made to reach the big game, and comments on how each team reaches the game mentally.
“This year both teams have finished very strong in the regular season, as well as a powerful run in the playoffs. The game will be very evenly matched, and both have a Cinderella story to tell. San Francisco had a crushing defeat in last year’s NFC Championship game losing in OT, so they are excited to now have reached the Super Bowl. Baltimore on the other hand, has future Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis who will be retiring at the end of this game, and everyone on that team knows that winning a Super Bowl will help cap off an amazing career.”
Although he believes that the game will come down to the final seconds, when it came down to choosing which team was going to win it all Hill did not hesitate.
“They are evenly matched in defense, and it will be a great chess match having the Harbaugh brothers on the sideline,” said Hill. “I’m going to choose the 49ers, solely because historically I have always admired them since the Jerry Rice years. They have always been an organization to admire, and I am hoping this will give them the push to return to their glory years.”
The Rowdies Head Coach commented on how their generation of soccer players would finish training at 1 pm and have free time to find a hobby. Many at the time filled their afternoons with golf sessions, while Hill would watch and admire different sports, which is when the NFL caught his attention. The NFL first began to be covered in the UK in the 1980’s and Hill described his admiration to the Chicago Bears with William Perry and Jim McMahon.
“Their skill level and tactics was something I had never seen in soccer” stated Hill. “I was amazed to see that coaches could call timeouts and call a certain play, while the defense would analyze every movement and call a play to disrupt whatever the offense had planned. I really admired how it was a chess match, but using human beings as pieces.”
When asked about a specific moment that he recalled as his favorite NFL moment, Hill did not hesitate and talked about former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Doug Williams. At the time Williams was drafted in the first round and was the only starting African-American quarterback at the time. The former Luton Town player admired his perseverance and how he overcame racism in the NFL, especially in an era where many weren’t sure if an African-American would be able to lead a team on the field.
“Williams, along with some other players at the time, demonstrated that no matter what race you were, it did not affect your athletic ability,” commented Hill. “When he won Super Bowl XXII with the Redskins and became the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, I really felt like the sport would change. In my opinion, that was a pivotal moment leading the NFL to where it is now.”
Although Hill admires the 49ers, it is actually not one of his favorite teams. The Rowdies Head Coach stated that the Eagles, the Vikings and the Steelers have been his favorite teams and that he hopes to see them in the Super Bowl in the near future.
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