FRISCO - There are few people in the world of football more successful than Troy Aikman. Maybe that explains how it is that his work in a Super Bowl would mark what he calls his "rock-bottom.''
"I felt no sense of accomplishment, nothing,'' Aikman said on The Ringer's "Flying Coach" podcast, co-hosted by Sean McVay and Peter Schrager, looking back at his work as a TV analyst for FOX Sports during Super Bowl XLII. "And I said ... 'Man, if this is supposed to be the pinnacle of this profession, then I'm in the wrong profession.'
"And I was just really down, you know ... I just know that that was rock bottom for me in this profession."
Aikman, the former Dallas Cowboys QB and a Hall-of-Famer, played in and won three Super Bowls. So the Super Bowl itself marks his greatest heights in the profession - heights that he was disappointed to learn would never be reached again once he left the field.
The realization came to him after the game, when he encountered another QB-turned-broadcaster Ron Jaworski, who raved about the excitement of the New York Giants' last-minute win. Jaworski noticed in conversation that Aikman didn't seem very excited about it all.
"Man, what's wrong with you?' Jaworski said to Aikman.
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"Jaws, nothing's wrong,'' Aikman replied (as relayed by Audacy). "But what did I do? I didn't do anything. All I did was talk about (the game).''
Aikman's point: Broadcasting it was nothing like playing in it. As he said to his then-wife, "I may have just called the biggest game that I'll ever call in this profession. I mean, I may look back on my career in broadcasting and this may be the biggest game that I'll ever call. And here we are, just an hour after the game ended, and everyone's ecstatic, what a great game and great ending, and I said, 'I could not be more miserable.'
A lesson, though, was learned.
"There will never be the feelings you get when you're in the arena and you're actually doing it, but now I do get satisfaction from my job," Aikman said. "And I don't know why it changed all of a sudden, but it changed after that Super Bowl and I'm glad that it did, because if it hadn't, I just was not going to be able to continue. And you want to walk away from your job feeling like you've done something worthwhile and noteworthy, and I do now when I leave the stadiums."