Former Auburn linebacker and BCS champ Josh Bynes adds Super Bowl ring to collection
Feb 09, 2013 (Menafn - Opelika-Auburn News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --On the Superdome sideline Sunday, facing the most unimaginable and untimely interruption to the biggest moment of his career, Josh Bynes thought of Buffalo Wild Wings.
The brightest stage in sports had gone dark. Half the lights illuminating Super Bowl XLVII were out, causing an impromptu, 34-minute delay early in the third quarter. As he waited, his Baltimore Ravens sat on what seemed like an insurmountable 22-point lead.
The former Auburn University linebacker felt a bit of dej... vu.
"I was thinking about the Buffalo Wild Wings commercial, when somebody pulls the lever and they try to turn off the lights make it a (competitive) game," Bynes said, reciting the same joke undoubtedly shared in Super Bowl parties across the country. "Of course, it actually ended up turning into a game after that. It was just crazy.
"It's the biggest event of the year, and you have no lights? Come on. You've got to be joking."
The rest was history, with the San Francisco 49ers clawing back only to come 5 yards short of taking a late lead. The Ravens gave up a safety within the final 10 seconds, cementing the score at 34-31.
On the free kick after the safety, Bynes lined up trying not to think about the implications. He didn't focus on the Super Bowl ring that waited if the Ravens kept 49ers returner Ted Ginn Jr. out of the end zone. All Bynes wanted to do was keep Ginn Jr. in front of him.
At midfield, he came in from the right and had the moment every football player dreams of as a child -- making the final tackle to seal a Super Bowl win.
"I saw him break a couple tackles and get right there in front of me," Bynes said. "I just had to get him. I knew that I had to get him. And once I got a hold of him, it was over.
"I'm never going to forget that. It may not be that big of a deal, but if that guy would've scored it would've been a big deal then. That's something I'm always going to remember. That solidified the Super Bowl. That was it. Once I got him to the ground, that's over, it's a wrap, and I was just glad to be that person who made the last tackle."
Throughout the country, attention shifted to Baltimore's future hall of famers, linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed. Their legacies were forever changed, but on the Plains the same could be said of Bynes.
No Auburn player ever won a national championship and Super Bowl until Sunday, when Bynes stood under the purple-and-gold confetti. He was a defensive leader on the Tigers' undefeated team in 2010. Now, he gets to add another ring to his collection.
"Man, that's crazy," Bynes said. "When I first heard about that, I was just like, 'Are you kidding me?' Because I just assumed somebody else had done that. My mind was blown. I could not believe it. It feels like I won another award, won another trophy."
On Friday, Bynes called the whirlwind of this past week "insane." He was in Baltimore on Tuesday for a champion's parade through downtown. It's been six days since the game, and the exhilaration remains.
All he can think about is winning another one. Early in his career, Bynes knows he's fortunate to have multiple championships.
"It's like, when you want to become a doctor, you have to go through your certain steps before you actually become a doctor," Bynes said. "Same thing with football. You get to college, you focus on that level but, of course, you want to be a professional, you want to be able to play in the NFL. Being the select few that actually gets the chance to play in the NFL -- and being able to win the Super Bowl -- that's the last goal of all the goals that there are in football.
"That's why winning the Super Bowl is the best thing ever. You've got world class athletes, guys winning MVPs, but no matter what it is they feel like their careers weren't complete because they didn't get to win a Super Bowl."
It's a day Bynes will never forget. For the rest of his life, he can call himself a Super Bowl champ. But, over time, some details will undoubtedly get fuzzy. As the years past, the shine on his ring will start to fade.
Bynes said one moment will stay with him forever.
After making the final tackle, Lewis found Bynes on the field. With tears in Lewis' eyes, he had a message for Bynes.
You were a part of this, Lewis told him. You helped us do this.
"To hear that from him and get that love from him and see the tears of joy in his eyes, knowing that he's ending his career on top, that was amazing," Bynes said. "It was something bigger than myself."
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