As special as the Super Bowl is to most players, it means even more when you can play for an NFL title in your hometown.
That is the case for a trio of players this year as New England’s Eric Rowe and Martellus Bennett and Atlanta’s Jake Matthews get to play in Super Bowl 51 just a few miles from where they grew up.
Fitzgerald makes a good point, especially after the Cardinals played in the 2012 Hall of Fame Game without a single Hall of Famer in that year’s class. The Cardinals do have former quarterback Kurt Warner in this year’s class, but the foundation for Warner’s Hall of Fame resume is winning a Super Bowl championship with the St. Louis Rams.
With the Rams in Los Angeles and former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson headlining the class, the NFL clearly went with the safe choice by choosing the Cardinals to represent Warner while choosing the Cowboys to honor team owner Jerry Jones, who is also among this year’s enshrinees.
The Cowboys have appeared in the Hall of Fame Game a record six times while the Cardinals are making their fifth appearance. The Chargers have only been in the Hall of Fame Game twice, and not since 1994. The Rams were scheduled to play the Bears in 2011 when Marshall Faulk was enshrined, but that game was canceled because of the NFL lockout. The last time the Rams played in Canton was in 2001 when former L.A. Rams Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood were enshrined.
The NFL chose not to embrace its return to L.A. by choosing the Chargers and Rams, clearly not wanting upset fans from San Diego and St. Louis storming into Canton. So, instead of upsetting fans, the league will upset players such as Fitzgerald by putting them into a game they don’t want to play.