Ihedigbo: 'I want to be called a champion'


Ihedigbo: 'I want to be called a champion'

At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, James Ihedigbo and the rest of his teammates are ushered into an expansive white tent at IUPUI for another media session. Ihedigbo, in gray team sweats, his jersey, and a red hat, takes a seat at the table marked "1". He shows me the background on his cell phone: it's a photo of the Lombardi trophy raised amid a swirl of confetti.

We talk about football.

I'm into the week. Every morning, every night. This is why we're here.

It's amazing that you can work and get to this point, but it says what you have to be as a team to get here -- how together you have to be, how focused you have to be, how you have to pay attention to every detail.

Because this doesn't happen.

There's a lot of good football teams that have played over the years, but we have the opportunity to be a great football team. And the difference is so small between being good and great. So small.

A lot of times you have tunnel-vision and you're making accomplishments, and people are telling you about the accomplishments that you make, but you don't have a second to notice them because it's on to the next thing, week after week after week.

But this is the only game that's left. There is no tomorrow, there is no next week. It's now.

It means everything, to be called a champion. People pass their boards and are then lawyers their whole lives; people who become doctors are doctors their whole lives. When you are a champion, people will call you a champion for the rest of your life.

I want to be able experience, after you win, the drive that you have to get back, to always pursue that level of football. Tom Brady is a testament to it. Kevin Faulk's been in the league forever and he just continues to play for this opportunity.

It says a lot about the man -- the ability to stay humble, to be successful, but continue to be driven.

My teammates are keeping me grounded in the moment. We haven't done anything yet. Right now, we're AFC champions who've had a good season. We want to have a great one. Winning the Super Bowl determines that.

The game will be here before we know it, he tells me. We'll talk more about that tomorrow.