DeAngelo Williams has been in the NFL for 11 years. Two weekends ago, he played in his first conference championship game.
He only wishes it could have ended differently.
Williams knows how hard it is to get to a Super Bowl, which is why the Steelers’ loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 22 stings that much more.
“I felt like that was the best opportunity I’ve got in 11 years,” the 34-year-old running back told Newsday during a phone interview Friday promoting his appearance in a series of Pizza Hut Combine videos on YouTube. “For us to lose that game, it hurt a lot. And then to turn on the TV and see that in Tom Brady’s 16, 17-year career he’s been there seven times? Like other guys, this is their first or second year and they’ve been there two times? Or Russell Wilson, when he first got in the league he went there like two out of the first three seasons that he was there?
“You start thinking about the guys, the Fred Taylors when he was down in Jacksonville. You think about Dan Marino not winning one. You think about guys like that and you’re like, ‘Man.’ The guys who have been there multiple times don’t understand how hard it is to get there until they talk to a guy like myself or someone who hasn’t had that opportunity. Different feelings among different people, based on the perception that you have.”
Williams, who will be a free agent when the new league year begins in March, said he’ll be ready to move on once Super Bowl LI is over.
“Before Sunday, there are only two teams that have an opportunity to win a Super Bowl,” he said. “After Sunday, there are 32 teams.”
So who does he want to win on Sunday — the team that beat him two weeks ago, or the team that was a division rival for the first nine years of his career with the Carolina Panthers?
“I hope both teams lose,” Williams said half-jokingly. “I’m hoping for a blackout.”