North Mesquite graduate Brown realizes Super Bowl dream
It is every NFL player's dream to play in the Super Bowl, but it is one that only a few get to realize.
After coming up just short a year ago, North Mesquite graduate and San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown seized his chance last Sunday when his team rallied for a 28-24 victory over Atlanta in the NFC championship game.
San Francisco will meet Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. (CST) at the Superdome in New Orleans.
The victory over the Falcons, in which they rallied from an early 17-0 deficit, helped wash away a year of frustration for Brown and his 49ers teammates.
Last January, after suffering a 20-17 loss in overtime to the New York Giants in the NFC championship game, there were no guarantees they would ever get that close again.
When the Giants defeated the New England Patriots two weeks later, Brown and the rest of the 49ers were left with the sinking feeling of just how close they had come to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
It is a feeling--one that both aches and motivates--that does not go away easily, as Brown related last summer while hosting his 5th Annual Summer Sportsfest football and cheer camp at E.H. Hanby Stadium in Mesquite.
"This is a great opportunity to come back and give something back to the community where I grew up ... I have a chance to do that during the offseason and it is very special," Brown said. "At the same time, you never lose sight of the goals you want to achieve (in the fall). We all make sure we stay in shape in the offseason, try to get better and keep trying to reach the ultimate goal."
Not that any added motivation was needed, but he and 49ers teammate Dashon Goldson also had to hear Aaron Ross, Brown's University of Texas teammate and a member of the Giants last year, talk to the players at the camp about the experience of winning a Super Bowl.
San Francisco entered the season as one of the favorites to make it to New Orleans and they showed why during the regular season, posting an 11-4-1 record to win the NFC West.
Brown, in his sixth season, was a big reason for the success. He set a career high with 57 tackles this season, including a career-best eight in a victory over New England.
In a 24-3 win over Arizona, Brown broke up six passes, a career high and the most in a game by any NFL player this season.
After recording a pair of interceptions during the regular season, Brown added his third off of Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers in a 45-31 win in the NFC divisional round.
And last week, in one of the biggest games of his career, Brown had eight tackles and two pass breakups in the 28-24 win against Atlanta.
Brown has enjoyed plenty of highlights during his football career. At North Mesquite, he played both ways, starting three years at cornerback and rushing for more than 3,000 yards and scoring 42 touchdowns in two seasons at running back.
The Stallions made the playoffs in each of those seasons.
Brown stepped in immediately at UT as a true freshman. He played in 47 games and made 35 starts in his collegiate career, finishing with 169 tackles, three interceptions and 20 pass breakups.
The Longhorns had one of the best four-year stretches in school history during that time, posting a 44-7 record, advancing to two Bowl Championship Series games and winning the 2005 BCS national championship with a 41-38 victory over USC.
There are stories and lessons Brown tells the kids at his summer camp about his experiences with those teams, as well as his first five seasons in San Francisco.
But Brown is hoping a few months from now that he will return to Mesquite with another incredible story to tell and a world championship ring to go along with it.