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More Than Just A Super Bowl Ring | Bobby Johnson VIDEO

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ESPN Video Clip

The Story Of Bobby Johnson

After a long day of work and meetings, I couldn’t wait to come home, zone out, and not have to focus on anything or anyone else. My boyfriend was watching ESPN and since I am not a huge sports fan, I wanted so badly to interrupt him and change the channel. But I care about his needs, so I decided to wait until he was done. I pulled out my phone and began to scroll through my Facebook feed like I always do when I am bored, until I heard a man crying from the T.V.

It really caught my attention for some reason. I looked up and he was holding his head and letting out some serious tears of gratitude. It got my attention because it hit my heart – I knew what those tears felt like and I knew what they meant.

So who was the man releasing those sobs of gratitude? His name is Bobby Johnson, and he just received his Super Bowl ring back after he pawned it for crack cocaine over 27 years ago.

Bobby Johnson was a wide receiver for the New York Giants who would later go on to win Super Bowl XXI in 1986. With all the excitement and cheer, no one knew that Johnson was suffering silently from the disease of addiction.

After crack cocaine took over his life, he was cut from the team and ended up homeless less than a year later.

When Johnson was asked by ESPN what it was like, he humbly replied, “Lonely, cold, hungry, looking stupid, wondering how in the heck did I end up in this situation?”

Johnson finally got sober after his mother confronted him on his behavior. “I walked in the house one day, and she looked me dead in the eye,” Johnson said. “She said, ‘You look terrible. You look dehydrated, gray; you lost all kinds of weight.’ It went to my core. It went to my soul.”

“She asked me, ‘Are you my son? I didn’t raise you like this. This is not you.'”

After hard work and dedication to getting clean and sober, Johnson came out and shared with the world that he was 14 years in recovery. Lee Einsidler, who was a huge fan and touched by Johnson’s story, reached out to his friend Bill Parcels, Giants Head Coach 1983-90, about getting Bobby’s ring back.

The two of them together found where the ring was and had Chris Mara, Giants Sr. Vice President, present it to Bobby before the Giants game against the Ravens.  Bobby had no clue that they were going to be giving him back his ring, and when they gave it to him, he broke down in tears of joy and gratitude.

Bobby Johnson Super Bowl RingThe Heart Of Recovery

That was the moment I lost it too. It was more than just the Super Bowl ring. It was about staying sober no matter what, never giving up, and knowing that we are taken care of regardless of what we gain or lose in life. Johnson got and stayed sober regardless of his football career or the ring – he didn’t let his past dictate his sobriety or future, because he wanted recovery more than anything else in the world. For those of us who have lost something because of addiction, this message hit home like a ton of bricks. If you have been where an addict or alcoholic has been deep into the depths of addiction then you know what it feels like to come out and be free.

Written by your sister in sobriety.

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