The Norman Transcript

National Sports

January 21, 2014

Bailey’s big chance on the big stage

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Champ Bailey finally gets a chance to live up to his name.

The 12-time Pro Bowler is headed to his first Super Bowl in his 15th — and most trying — NFL season, one in which he missed 11 games and parts of two others because of a nagging foot injury.

“It hurt not being out there,” Bailey said after Denver topped New England in the AFC championship game, “but here I am. I’m on the field and my team’s still in the running. That’s what it’s all about.”

Bailey’s subdued celebration and measured reaction in delirious Denver stood in stark contrast to the scene in Seattle later Sunday night, where Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman stole the spotlight with his game-saving deflection, his taunting of Michael Crabtree and his television rant on the field afterward.

The two contrasting styles will draw much attention in the days leading up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

Sherman is the 25-year-old trash-talking leader of the league’s best defense, Bailey the 35-year-old sage of a unit that’s been through the ringer this season, but has come on strong over the past month despite injuries that cost them several starters, including Von Miller and Chris Harris Jr.

Bailey is one of the league’s top cornerbacks, but he’s clearly on the downslope of his spectacular career that includes the most Pro Bowls by a defensive back in NFL history.

Bailey was greeted in the locker room by former teammate John Lynch, who was with him the previous time he’d come this close to the Super Bowl — 2,919 days earlier.

One week after sealing a playoff win with a 100-yard interception return to hand Tom Brady his first playoff loss back in 2006, Bailey had another interception in his grasp and the end zone in his sights, but Hines Ward somehow came down with the football instead and Pittsburgh went on to beat Denver 34-17 for the AFC title following the 2005 season.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Luke Donald shoots 66, takes lead at RBC Heritage

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Luke Donald believes he’s got the right game on the right course — and is ready to make up for so many near-misses at the RBC Heritage. Donald had an eagle and six birdies to shoot 66 on Saturday and take a ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Nets’ experience trumps Raptors in Game 1

    TORONTO — The Brooklyn Nets made a case for the important of playoff experience in their opening victory over the Toronto Raptors....

    April 20, 2014

  • Heat open quest for another title

    MIAMI — If the Miami Heat are going to watch their season and reign atop the NBA end at the hands of the Charlotte Bobcats, then fates of the franchises will have to change in a hurry....

    April 20, 2014

  • Warriors beat Clippers, 109-105, in playoff opener

    LOS ANGELES — Klay Thompson scored 22 points, David Lee added 20 and the Golden State Warriors got Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in foul trouble to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 on Saturday in their playoff opener....

    April 20, 2014

  • Cardinals edge Nationals, 4-3

    WASHINGTON — Lance Lynn was sharper than he had had been all season, which made it all the more frustrating for him when he failed to make it out of the sixth inning....

    April 20, 2014

  • Teague leads Hawks past top-seeded Pacers in Game 1

    INDIANAPOLIS — Atlanta’s Jeff Teague demolished the Pacers’ grand playoff plan. As his teammates set up around the 3-point line, Teague simply blew through open lanes to the basket repeatedly. The Pacers didn’t have an answer....

    April 20, 2014

  • Stars limp home down 2-1

    DALLAS — Tyler Seguin’s week away from Dallas felt a little longer, probably because it included a pair of one-goal losses at Anaheim to start a first-round playoff series....

    April 20, 2014

  • Sooners advance to Super Six

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Oklahoma, Georgia and LSU advanced to the Super Six of the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships....

    April 19, 2014

  • Can the Heat flip the switch?

    MIAMI — LeBron James was walking down the hallway that the Miami Heat call “Championship Alley” a few minutes after last season’s NBA Finals, when he decided the time was right to send a message. It wasn’t for his fans....

    April 19, 2014

  • No April, May or June Madness in NBA

    AP National Writer ATLANTA — If the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks were in any other sport, they might have a glimmer of hope for winning a championship. The NBA? No way....

    April 19, 2014