This is business, and also personal.
Tim Hasselbeck was an NFL quarterback, just like his far more accomplished older brother, Matt. Tim studies the position and is honest when it comes to evaluating his brother’s career and place in the pecking order of the most scrutinized job in the NFL.
“I don’t know if people can really appreciate how much of a life-changing event it really is, between winning it and losing it,’’ Tim Hasselbeck recently told The Post. “I mean, my brother went in ’05 and they lost and I think had they won he would have finished his career as a Seattle Seahawk.’’
Matt Hasselbeck did not win the Super Bowl in his one and only shot and did not finish his career with the Seahawks. The chasm between winning and losing a Super Bowl is among the widest of any championship in any sport. Winners are exalted, losers are forgotten. The winning quarterback is forever linked to the Lombardi Trophy. The loser is usually damned because he did not attain the prize.
“Me, personally, I don’t think that’s a great way to go about it, but it’s how we do it,’’ Tim Hasselbeck, an ESPN analyst, said. “Right or wrong, that’s just what winning one does for you.’’
Right or wrong, that is the fate that awaits Matt Ryan. Sometime Sunday night, he either will be in the club of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks or else be on the outside, looking in, denied a place at the best table in the room. Ryan does not have to outplay Tom Brady to gain admission, he just has to make sure his Falcons beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LI. If he does, Ryan’s legacy is secure.
“We got ready to do a game earlier this season, after [the Falcons] played Green Bay, late October and one of the guys on the crew asked me, ‘Why isn’t Matt Ryan mentioned amongst the game’s greats when people start talking about him?’ ’’ said Troy Aikman, the former Cowboys quarterback, who will work Super Bowl LI as an analyst for FOX Sports. “I said, ‘The only reason is because he hasn’t won a Super Bowl.’
“The only reason I wasn’t talking about him with ‘the others,’ the Aaron Rodgers and Tom Bradys, those type guys, is because he hasn’t yet won a Super Bowl and he hasn’t done it consistently enough in January. Right or wrong, that’s when all legacies are born in the NFL, for quarterbacks, and even in a lot of ways for other positions as well. What you do in January goes a long, long way.’’