Ex-Patriot Reveals Details Behind Unexpected 2016 Locker Room Speech

Bill Belichick called upon Steven Jackson to address the team

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Bill Belichick turned to an unexpected source of inspiration leading up to the New England Patriots’ AFC Championship Game matchup with the Denver Broncos in January 2016: Steven Jackson.

Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowl running back who spent nine years with the St. Louis Rams and two with the Atlanta Falcons before joining the Patriots in December 2015, played in just two regular-season games with New England. Yet, as Jackson recently explained on the “NFL Total Access: The Locker Room” podcast, Belichick wanted him to address the team before facing the Broncos in Denver with a trip to Super Bowl 50 on the line.

“I’m like, ‘It’s the biggest game of my life, what do you want me to say to guys that have won four or five championships at this time?,’ ” Jackson recalled, as transcribed by WEEI. “And he’s like, ‘Just tell your story.’ “

The Patriots had just won Super Bowl XLIX the season prior, giving New England four titles to that point in the Belichick-Tom Brady era. Jackson, meanwhile, had played in just two playoff games in his 11 seasons before signing with the Patriots.

So, yeah, one can understand why Jackson was a little taken aback by Belichick’s request. But Jackson’s story really put things into perspective for those who knew nothing but postseason football.

“I’m like, ‘Guys, there was a point in my career when I won six games in three seasons. I went 3-13, 2-14, 1-15 consecutively … winning six games, you guys do that before your bye weeks,’ ” Jackson said. ” ‘And to have a cold call from Belichick in the middle of what I thought was my retirement, to get this opportunity, I could’ve been blind and I still would’ve come back and taken advantage of this. What you guys are touching, what you guys are doing is not normal.’

” … ‘I’ll tell you now, there are some highs and there are some lows, but ultimately it’s a team sport. And everything I’ve accomplished, I’d trade it for what you guys have been able to do here.’ “

The Patriots ultimately lost the AFC Championship Game 20-18, paving the way for the Broncos to beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. But it’s still fascinating to hear about Jackson’s experience, for it shows that you never know where inspiration might come from throughout the course of an NFL season.

New England Patriots defensive back J.C. Jackson
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