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Ex-Giant Jake Ballard: Tearing ACL in Super Bowl XLVI the “Most Frustrated I’ve Ever Been”

June 9th, 2014 at 1:00 PM
By Dan Benton

When an NFL player realizes his dreams and wins the Super Bowl, it should be the greatest career moment of their life. But for former New York Giants tight end Jake Ballard, that's not how his Super Bowl-winning experience went down. Rather, Ballard recently told AZ Central that suffering a torn ACL, being unable to celebrate on stage with his teammates and missing most of the 4th quarter was one of the most frustrating things he had ever endured.

"There's no TVs in there, no radio, we had no idea what was going on," Ballard said. "We kept hearing cheers but we didn't know who they were for. It was the most frustrated I've ever been. I'm like, 'We have to get out there to see what's happening in the game.' I'm hopping down the hallway on one leg and the doctor is saying, 'Get back here, you're going to hurt yourself more. So we got a golf cart and got out there just in time to see the last Hail Mary attempt by Tom [Brady].

"I'm sitting in the golf cart when the game is over. I don't even get to go up on stage for the trophy presentation. I didn't even know what to think. I enjoyed it with my teammates as much as I could and reality set in the next morning when I got my MRI."

After suffering through that torn ACL, being unable to celebrate with his teammates and dealing with an offseason of rehab, Ballard faced even more tough times in 2012. The Giants waived him with the belief he'd clear waivers and then be placed on Injured Reserve (IR), but the New England Patriots swooped in and claimed him. He subsequently spend the season with new England on their Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

A year later and still recovering, he signed with the Arizona Cardinals.

"I don't think anybody has been through the trials and tribulations like I have, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows," Ballard said. "It's been mentally challenging and physically challenging. But it's definitely been worth it."

Despite the struggle and frustration, Ballard did have an opportunity to poke fun at Patriots quarterback Tom Brady the season after Super Bowl XLVI with the help of former Buckeyes teammate, Bobby Carpenter.

"It was the last day of minicamp, and they were getting their AFC Championship rings. So I have another buddy, Bobby Carpenter, and he and I leave the team room because we weren't with them the year before. So they're all walking into the room, and Bobby is like, 'Hey Ballard, why don't you show Brady the real ring?' I'm like, 'Bobby, it's my first day here. I'm not trying to make enemies.' And Tom kind of half smiles, looks at me and says, 'Too soon, Bob.' "

Ballard will now enter 2014 the healthiest he's been since Super Bowl XLVI and could make quite a significant impact for a very talented Cardinals offense.


Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Football, Jake Ballard, New England, New England Patriots, New York, New York Giants, NFL

7 Responses to “Ex-Giant Jake Ballard: Tearing ACL in Super Bowl XLVI the “Most Frustrated I’ve Ever Been””

  1.  GOAT56 says:


    norm says:
    June 9, 2014 at 12:41 PM
    To Krow’s point…

    ..there have been.only two teams since 2004 who have won the Super Bowl with a QB on his second contract: the Steelers and Big Ben on 2008 and the Giants/Eli in 2011.

    That recent history would certainly lend credence to the idea that having a good cheap QB is vastly more important to a team’s title hopes than having a good expensive one.

    •  Krow says:

      Thank you for the stats … it’s difficult to discuss this because the argument always gets diverted to a variation of … a) are you saying QBs are not critical to a team’s success? … or … b) Eli is not overpaid !!!

      What I’m saying is exactly what you’ve pointed out. Having a good, CHEAP QB is increasingly becoming the ticket to the Superbowl championship.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Peyton, Rodgers and Brees were all also on their second contracts. Plus under the old rules Eli was paid and Big Ben paid wasn’t paid cheaply either. So only Wilson and Flacco were the only QBs and maybe Big Ben’s first SB that were getting underpaid. Pittsburgh and Seattle had great defensives and running games. Baltimore was kind of like us in 2011 just with less money allotted to their QB.

      •  Krow says:

        … c) the teams had talent at other position.

        •  GOAT56 says:

          That’s still 7 out of 10 for teams with significant $ invested in QBs. And if you look at SB losers only Grossman and Kaepernick were on their rookie contracts. Paying a QB still makes sense and is the best way to sustain winning.

  2.  Krow says:

    … and the second most frustrating thing was the damn Patriots claiming him off waivers when it was obvious that the Giants were trying to move him to the practice squad so he could rehab his knee. They wanted to take a cheap shot at us after beating them twice in the “big game” … so they eff’d over poor Ballard as if he didn’t matter. They were scum to have done this.

  3.  fanfor55years says:

    I think you can say that it can be a help to have a quarterback who is “late” in his rookie contract (after a few years of learning what it takes to succeed in the league and allowing a GM to fill in around him), but otherwise there’s no way anyone but a very well-compensated quarterback is going to get you a Super Bowl ticket, much less a win, absent fluky circumstances (ie. the 2000 Ravens’ defense).

    Andrew Luck is, IMO, going to be one of the all-time greats, and came out of Stanford as ready to be a successful championship quarterback as anyone is likely to EVER be, but only now is he at the stage where he might be able to lead his team to a championship if the other pieces have been filled in properly. It is FAR more likely that he will win a few rings well into his next contract as the Colts are built around him (and his $20MM+ annual salary).

    In any case, this argument (such as it is) is a bit silly. The Era of Huge Contracts for Quarterbacks is not ending soon. Unless the league decides to try and put a cap on individual salaries as well as team salaries, the QB is always going to scoop up way more than his share of the rewards in a league that rewards excellent quarterback play as the single biggest advantage a team can create.

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