Playing in a Super Bowl is an accomplishment many NFL players both past and present can say they haven’t achieved. But for McComb native and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward, making it to the big stage is something that he has done not only once, but twice already in the first three years of his NFL career.
He and his team won last year against San Francisco, but his latest trip Sunday didn’t end in their favor, with his Chiefs losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-9. Ward said that lack of execution and miscues hurt his team in the game.
“We made a lot of mistakes and they didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” he said. “We didn’t make the plays that we normally make and they did. That was the swinging point. We had a few mental errors. I feel like going back to the week of preparation for the game, I feel like we would probably put the same game plan together but the players would come out and execute better. The coaches did their job but the players didn’t execute like we were supposed to.”
One of the factors that hurt the Chiefs was a holding call against Ward which negated an interception by fellow defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.
“I knew what route he (Bucs receiver Mike Evans) was running,” Ward said.
“I knew that Tom Brady wanted to throw it to my side because I came off of the line kind of fast. I felt him break down by the first down marker and I tried to brace for it and break down as well but I felt him throw me by to get position. Once he pushed me I tried to hook him back and I guess the referee saw me hook instead of him push me and threw the flag. But that is football though, it is a physical sport. The receivers push a lot and sometimes the DB’s (defensive backs) have to grab to keep up. I’m not saying it was holding, I’m not saying it wasn’t, but they threw the flag. They should have just let us play it out.”
Ward adds that playing against the first team to compete in a Super Bowl inside their own stadium didn’t really play too much of a factor due to the limited crowd size.
“The crowd felt more slanted toward them and they obviously had more fans there than we did,” Ward said. “But we heard our people in there as well. We had a lot of Chiefs fans in there.”
Even though his team lost, the former McComb Tiger looks back on last year’s campaign, thankful, and considers it a win especially since he had to face some adversity this year with COVID restrictions.
“It was kind of a weird year,” Ward said. “It was kind of boring at times, kind of stressful at times. The camaraderie that we usually get every year, wasn’t there. They (team officials) tried to keep us apart because they didn’t want us in big groups. I am glad that we all got through it. I feel sorry for the fans who couldn’t come out and enjoy it.”
Another hurdle he had to face was breaking his hand early portion of the year.
“That was the first injury in my career,” he said. “I never knew the toll that injuries take on you. It was more mental than physical. I missed one week then came back the next with a big cast on my hand. I couldn’t use my left hand at all. It kind of took a toll on me like, ‘I am not the same person I was.’ I was dealing with the broken hand for like six or seven weeks.”
Looking forward, Ward and his team will not dwell too much on the heartbreak in the past. Their focus is now set on the future and continuing to develop and make another run.
However, they will remember the loss to Tampa Bay and use it to provide extra motivation for next year.
“I know that we lost. I know that a lot of people think that we are sad and holding our heads down but we know that we are still one of the best young teams in the NFL,” he said.
And regardless of the wins or losses, Ward is proud to be from McComb and always appreciates the love and support he receives from his hometown.
“I’d just like to thank everyone for the support,” he said. “I love the people who support me and I love the people who don’t support me. I just want to make folks happy and make people to smile. I just want to bring joy to people.”