It isn’t hard to get Antonio Pierce talking. The former Super Bowl champ is an eloquent football lifer who can confidently hold court on a wide variety of subjects. Whether reminiscing about his childhood in Compton, or discussing his love/hate relationship with former coach Tom Coughlin, Pierce is an expert at weaving a compelling tale.
That’s just one of the reasons we asked him to be our new spokesman for SportsBettingDime.com. Pierce brings with him a lifetime of football knowledge and his passion for the game is unrivalled. He’ll provide our site with weekly picks and expert analysis, and will also be involved in an exciting new contest.
Our very own Matt McEwan recently sat down with Pierce in New York City for an entertaining and free-wheeling video interview that will appear on our site soon. The pair chatted about a wide variety of subjects, but the one topic that kept on popping up was Pierce’s love for laying out opponents.
The 6’1”, 240 lbs. middle linebacker wasn’t the biggest player on the field, but he often had the biggest impact. His timely, bone-crushing hits made him a Pro Bowler in 2006 and helped the Giants win their third Super Bowl championship in franchise history two years later in 2008.
Pierce racked up 530 tackles and nine sacks during his time with the Redskins and Giants, but he didn’t hesitate when we asked him about his favorite player to hit.
“It’s got to be Tom Brady,” he replied with a glint in his eye. “He’s the only guy who gives you that kind of response when you sack or hit him. You’re not supposed to touch him. I did have an opportunity to sack him that Week 17 game [in 2007] and when I played in Washington I had a couple of hits. That’s the one guy because he’s the golden standard of a football player from my era. We’re talking about a guy who’s won five Super Bowls. That’s unheard of.”
Although Brady may be Pierce’s top prize, there were plenty of other players he loved taking down, including two-time Pro Bowler Clinton Portis.
“Clinton was one of those guys when it was third down and you were blitzing, he tried to just knock you out,” Pierce told us. “And when he was running the ball he was a real skillset guy, he would try to lower the shoulder on you. We played together for one year in Washington, and then I switched over and could really hit him in New York. I thought we had some good battles. He’s one of these guys he’s a competitor. You might get the best of him, but he’s going to give you 110% the next play or the next opportunity he gets to hit you.
And which current player would Pierce most like to tackle in a game? That’s an easy one too.
“Marshawn Lynch,” he replied without thinking twice. “I went up against him as a rookie. That’s a battle. You’ve got to strap up with that boy. You’ve got to make sure that everything from your shoulder pads to your chin strap… Hell, you better have a mouth piece in, because you might come out with some missing teeth. That’s one guy just because of the challenge he provides you.”