It gets passed off as a cliche in football, but the 12th man does have an effect on how NFL players approach the game.
If the crowd is behind you, waves of momentum come crashing down on the opponent, players play with more energy and excitement and it shows during the game. However, that wave of positive energy can quickly go away when the fans aren’t behind you, making it an uphill battle every time the ball is snapped.
Leading up to Super Bowl LVIII, my colleague RJ Ochoa and I were lucky to interview Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett and CB Denzel Ward to talk fan momentum, trash talking and anime, thanks to our good friends at Bounty.
With billions of saucy chicken wings being eaten during the Super Bowl alone, playoff season means more wings and more messy fingers. Enter Bounty, the wingman everyone needs to keep things clean when cheering on your favorite team.
This Super Bowl Sunday, Bounty will be your wingman, because you can’t have football without wings, and you can’t have wings without Bounty.
While Garrett and Ward ate some wings and wiped their hands with Bounty paper towels, RJ and I asked them about the Browns becoming the fan favorites in the NFL this year, and of course Garrett and I talked about anime!
Denzel Ward said playing at Ohio State prepared him the most for being on an island in the NFL
Michael Thomas. Terry McLaurin. Curtis Samuel. Parris Campbell.
For most college cornerbacks, facing any combination of those receivers meant a bad day at the office and being on the wrong end of a highlight reel.
For Cleveland Browns (and Ohio native) star CB Denzel Ward, that was just a normal weekday practice. Ward sharpened his own tools against the best of the best at Ohio State, and Ward said those battles helped him prepare for the schematic shift the Browns went through in 2023. Under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, the Browns defense became more in-your-face and aggressive, switching quarters coverage for man coverage and letting their guys go be better.
The result? A defense that was led the NFL in yards allowed per game and passing yards allowed per game. Ward, along with teammate Myles Garrett, was the centerpiece of the defense, his sticky man coverage becoming a staple in Cleveland. For Ward, the shift in scheme was a return to his roots, saying that man coverage was all he played while at Ohio State, and that he’s grateful for the battles he’s had with the most feared receivers in the sport at an early spot in his football career.
Myles Garrett might be the most likable player in the NFL and is the perfect face for the Browns
Let me be very clear and say that I am a Fightin’ Texas Aggie so I am a huge Myles Garrett fan, but goodness me if I wasn’t before this conversation I would have easily been by the end.
Garrett might be the most physically-intimidating human being that I have ever seen. He is a monster of a man from a physical perspective (which made him and J.P. chopping it up about anime all the more cool) but is incredibly soft-spoken with high levels of intelligence.
We live in an era where quarterbacks are so often the faces of their team, but if there is a team with an undeniable non-quarterback star it is Cleveland. Myles is an electrifying personality and that he can manage to be that way while devoting how much time he has to in order to maintain his physical gifts is really a testament to the kind of person he is. He is total and complete love these days and it really, really shows.
You can watch our entire conversation with Denzel and Myles below.