Mark Herzlich, New York Giants Linebacker, Cancer Survivor

Mark Herzlich (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event in the USA every year. The focus this week so far has been Peyton Manning’s future, and Tom Brady vs Eli Manning. What I think should be the biggest story going into the Super Bowl should be Mark Herzlich and his incredible story.

Herzlich was a star at Boston College and had was projected to be a 2nd round pick of the 2009 NFL draft. Instead of entering the NFL draft he decided to return to Boston College for his senior year. Then in May of 2009 his world came crashing down around him.

Herzlich was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. Here is his quote from a press release.

“Obviously, I was shocked. I had been extremely focused on preparing for my senior season at Boston College and for life beyond that. Now, I must channel all that energy into facing my toughest opponent yet, and that is exactly what I will do. . . . At this point, I do not know what this means for my football future, but I am determined to rid my body of this disease so that I can put that uniform back on. Thank you in advance for your prayers and concern. Together, we will fight this and win”

He did win.

Mark announced in October of 2009 that he was cancer free. After sitting out the 2009 season, Herzlich returned to playing football for Boston College in 2010. Despite proving to be a major force to be reckoned with on the Boston College defense, he didn’t get selected in the 2011 NFL draft. Though he was picked in the UFL draft, Herzlich declined to play in that league, stating that he was going to wait for a team in the NFL to sign him.

In July of 2011, the New York Giants decided to do just that. Mark ended up playing in 11 games for the Giants this year, and though he didn’t make a major impact on the field, think about everything he went through.

He went from being a star LB in college football to battling cancer so he could just keep living, and is now playing in the National Football League, and is going to be playing in the Super Bowl. I’m not a Giants fan by any means, but as someone who has had a family member battle and beat cancer, I can’t help but root for Mark Herzlich. He has all the potential to inspire people who are battling cancer, know someone who is battling cancer, or just feel like they can’t do something.

If you feel like giving up on something, just think about how Herzlich could have easily given up on and succombed to the evil that is cancer. But, instead he fought it and is now living out his dream. Herzlich should be the biggest story going the week of the Super Bowl. Almost everyone knows someone who is battling cancer, or battling cancer. If you don’t then you probably know someone who has a family member who is/has. Even if you don’t like the Giants you have to like Mark Herzlich and find it to be a feel good story no matter what happens on Sunday.