Wearing an NFL conference championship ring to a state sports hall of fame induction press conference would usually mean that athlete is the most accomplished in the room.
But not in a 2015 inductee class that kicked off the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame celebration Thursday with a media gathering at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum.
Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme and Buffalo Bills defensive back Leonard Smith won a combined three conference championships in the NFL, but neither inductees’ hands bore a sign of their postseason success Thursday.
That’s because New England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk – a three-time Super Bowl champion — is also part of this 11-member inductee class that features excellence achieved by athletes on the field and court, coaches on the sideline, trainers in the stable, sportswriters in the press box and administration in the bowels of a stadium.
“Unfortunately we went there too many times and didn’t win,” said Smith, who played on the first two (the 1990 and 1991 seasons) of Buffalo’s four straight Super Bowl losses. “I try not to wear my second-place rings around. Jake didn’t wear his either because we knew somebody would be here (with the rings).
“They’ve stayed in the box and aren’t being pulled out. But those times were great with the Bills and the (Phoenix Cardinals). I made some great friends and still have those guys today.”
Faulk did wear one of his rings Thursday, but he said he could count the number of times he’s worn each of his rings on one hand.
“Yes I do have one on today,” Faulk laughed. “But (wearing them) I think would take away from everything else that we had.
“Everybody that’s here, there is a reason why we’re here. Whether that’s statistically on the field or off the field in our respective sports … but the one thing I feel like this event is for is to recognize the people that nobody knows about in your life, people that have gotten you to where you were going. God brought a whole lot of people my way and they’ve directed me on the right paths.”
One of Faulk’s (Carencro High) Super Bowl wins came against his Acadiana counterpart Delhomme (Teurlings Catholic) as the Patriots edged the Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII following the 2003 season.
Delhomme quipped that he did have a World Bowl ring (1999 with NFL Europe’s Franfurt Galaxy), but he said he feels a “deep connection” to almost every 2015 inductee.