More than 40 years later, it remains one of the grittiest, gutsiest performances in NFL history. Hall of Fame defensive end Jack Youngblood played Super Bowl XIV in January 1980 with a fractured left fibula.
“I did have a way of controlling the pain aspect,” the Rams legend said on The DA Show. “For some reason, when we’re not in the middle of a play, it would go away. If I’m getting ready to play, putting my hand on the ground, it turned off the pain levels. And then when the play’s over, now it comes back. I don’t know if that’s just mental or physical or what it was, but it allowed me to be the captain of my football team and [try] to help my guys win the ballgame.”
Although the Rams lost to the Steelers 31-19 that day, Youngblood, a seven-time Pro Bowler, authored one of the great “tough guy” stories in sports history.
“I didn’t have to, but I wanted to,” Youngblood said. “I wasn’t about to go 16 games and then miss the big one. I wasn’t about to do that. I was going to try to play and be a part of the defense.”
As for the Rams’ current defense, Youngblood is in awe of Aaron Donald, who will lead Los Angeles against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers this Saturday.
“He can play on my team anytime he wants to,” Youngblood said. “There’s no question. That young man has got talent. He’s got an instinct about where that football is, and he goes and gets it. That’s the difference in what he does and what some of these others players do today. He reminds me a lot of Merlin Olsen and Larry Brooks. He plays on their side of the ball. . . . He’s not 100 percent this week, but he will make a difference in that front four.”