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Michael Brockers’ Super Bowl diary: ‘Working to ensure legacy is so much bigger than this one night’

Detroit Lions defensive tackle gives his insight on the lead-up to the big game, being a Black father and more

PHOENIX — Michael Brockers is one of the longest-tenured defensive linemen in the NFL, a longtime starter for the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams who recently completed his second season with the Detroit Lions.

Since being drafted 14th overall in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft out of LSU, Brockers (6-feet-5, 297 pounds) has played 160 regular-season games, accumulating 29 sacks and 52 tackles for loss. He was a veteran leader during the Lions’ resurgence in 2022, starting five games to help Detroit to a 9-8 record, its best finish since 2017. Brockers is also a veteran of Super Bowl LIII, where the Rams lost to the New England Patriots 13-3.

He’s also an Andscape contributor for Super Bowl LVII.

Following in the tradition of Andscape’s NBA diaries from players such as Cade Cunningham, CJ McCollum, Draymond Green, Vince Carter, Trae Young and De’Aaron Fox, Brockers is offering his insight during media week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.

I’ve played 11 years in the NFL and while I have loved this game for a very long time, it has always been a business. My goal is to reveal some behind-the-scenes aspects of the game and show you what it is truly like to balance being a player with being a Black man, a Black husband and a Black father.

I fell in love with football at a very early age and always remember watching Cowboys games on TV. In the ’90s, they were a powerhouse, so it was very easy to root for them, since they usually won. It wasn’t until I was 9 or 10 years old that I really started to think about football as a career.

I spoke my dream into existence and told my grandmother that I would go to the NFL and buy her a house. I didn’t actually even play organized football until high school and that took a lot of begging my mom to even allow that. I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity and make the most of it. I didn’t even have a Plan B, if I’m being honest. I now know I love real estate but ultimately, whatever I was going to do, I was determined to be successful because I knew I had to be the change for my family.

Fast-forward from that little kid to this man with two children, a pregnant wife and we had just won the NFC championship [in 2019]. I knew we had so much more work to do but it was an amazing feeling to finally reach that pinnacle, especially after so many bad seasons in St Louis. I was able to relive a little of my memories from that week during opening night [Monday].

For me, it was a hard distraction. Media days are mandatory; as Marshawn Lynch reminded us, “we are here so we don’t get fined.” There are so many media outlets from all over the world and they ask some off-the-wall questions. I remember just wanting to play the game since we’ve already had all of this prep with the extra week between the Super Bowl and the conference championship. The anxiety is honestly dreadful because you are just raring to go and play the game.

The good thing is the first week is a normal game prep, but the second week is full of so many distractions. It was hard to even get a real practice once we got to Atlanta, so more than being physically ready you have to be mentally strong. I was shocked to see how much work, time and money the NFL put into making the fans feel part of the festivities. For the players, we are just stressed about the game.

Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers celebrates in the first half of the Super Bowl LIII against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

If I could go back, I would want to make sure that I didn’t feel like we made it yet. We had a really good run that year and were undefeated for half the season. I can’t ever go back, but I would tell players that there are only two teams in the world practicing right now and only one can win the game. When I thought about that, I really knew I would give everything in me to win this game.

Winning that game didn’t happen, but I know I was able to bounce back because of my family and knowing who I am outside of football. I have the honor of having four children, two girls and two boys. I want my kids, especially my sons, to know how much I sacrificed to be successful because I wanted to be known as one of the best in the game. No matter what they do, I want them to know that pure determination is what can drive you to change lives. No matter what I am working on, this is how I approach it. I want my sons to own companies that will not only benefit our family but also our communities so we can grow wealth in the Black community. I didn’t grow up with wealth, but I intend to pass it on to my kids and I want them to be in a position to pass it on to their kids.

Working to ensure legacy is so much bigger than this one night or this one week. No matter what the rest of my career looks like, I want to show my children that hard work is always how to approach whatever you are doing.

As a Black man and a Black father, I know the world will try to put them into a box that I refuse to allow them to stay in. As long as they work hard, I will be proud. You don’t ever know if you are showing that to your kids, and especially trying to balance this crazy NFL world with young kids, but I won’t stop until they get it.