ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Mark Herzlich Miracle Continues at Super Bowl XLVI

Updated on February 2, 2012
Mark Herzlich won the Disney Spirit Award in 2009
Mark Herzlich won the Disney Spirit Award in 2009

Mark Herzlich appearance with the New York Giants this coming Sunday February 5, 2012 in Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana for Super Bowl XLVI is simply the continuation of a miracle the award winning linebacker has been experiencing for the past two years. And if his track record for beating the odds is any indication, the result of Sunday’s football game is more than likely to produce a favorable outcome for the rookie Giant.

In the spring of 2009, Mark Herzlich was looking forward with great anticipation to his senior year at Boston College as the Eagles’ star linebacker. Then in May, he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma. What a setback for a career! As he put it—his whole world was taken away in 20 seconds.

Since the cancer manifested itself in the form of a tumor in his left leg, he was informed that—not only was his football career over—he might never even walk again. That wasn’t an outcome Herzlich was willing to settle for. Given a couple of options for his cancer treatment, he chose the riskier option because it provided him the only possible scenario for ever playing football again.

Mark Herzlich at Boston College with his trademark eye black mask
Mark Herzlich at Boston College with his trademark eye black mask

While undergoing treatment, Herzlich continued to attend college classes and tried hard to keep up a workout schedule. He managed to graduate that year and then began working on an MBA and getting ready to rejoin his team in the fall.

He missed the entire 2009 football season in order to fight cancer. He managed to keep a very positive attitude by praying every day and compared going through the tunnel with his team onto the field with seeing the figurative “light at the end of the tunnel.” After enduring six months of chemotherapy and four weeks of radiation treatments to finally defeat cancer followed by excruciating physical therapy designed to rip muscles loose that had fused to his bones during radiation, he came back for the 2010 season.

15 months after receiving the deadly news, Herzlich was back playing ball with the Eagles at Boston College. He now had a 12-inch titanium rod inserted into the once cancer-stricken leg to provide support. He had been pronounced cancer free!

Herzlich makes an interception against the Bears in the preseason
Herzlich makes an interception against the Bears in the preseason

In his eagerness, instead of easing back into rigorous football practice regimen, he threw himself full throttle into the preseason workouts and suffered a stress fracture in his right foot causing him to miss the entire training camp in preparation for the 2010 season. This was a minor setback, though, since after overcoming cancer, it was more annoying than burdensome. In the end, he was still able to start all 13 games that season.

Before his cancer diagnosis, Herzlich had been a hot prospect for the NFL draft. He was inches from achieving his childhood dream of becoming a professional football player. At Boston College he had been named ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 after accruing 110 tackles that season. He considered forgoing his senior year at Boston in order to enter the NFL draft for which he was guaranteed to be a first round pick. He decided to complete his college senior year instead shortly before discovering the daunting cancer diagnosis.

After successfully finishing his senior 2010 football season, this go round Herzlich received no calls from the NFL, though he was invited to participate in the draft. As a result, his only hope for an NFL career was as a free agent. He made the roster for the New York Giants against all odds after impressing everyone during the training camp and several preseason games.

Sister Barbara Ann Hallman started praying and writing to Herzlich when she read about him online.
Sister Barbara Ann Hallman started praying and writing to Herzlich when she read about him online.

He started the season as a backup linebacker but was promoted mid-season to a starting middle linebacker. He got his first career start against Philadelphia on November 20 and the second one the following week which resulted in another setback—he broke his ankle when knocked to the ground by an opponent. He missed seven games and wasn’t able to return to practice until the middle of January 2012. Since then, he’s been working hard to be in shape for the Super Bowl. He had a total of 12 tackles in the regular season of his rookie year with the Giants. It will be exciting to see if Coach Coughlin gives him a chance to play on Sunday though just the chance to be there with the Giants is a tremendous triumph.

As he got off the plane in the Indianapolis airport Monday prior to the big game on Sunday, and saw the red carpet rolled out to the plane, Herzlich was overwhelmed with how far he had come in the past two years. His tweet to the world in response to the emotions that swept over him quickly went viral and is sure to be recounted over and over in the annals of NFL lore:

"2 yrs ago I was told I might never walk again. Just WALKED off plane in Indy to play in The #SuperBowl. #TakeThatSh*tCancer”

Herzlich has already been a source of inspiration for many people facing similar challenges. While he was still in college, a nun at Our Lady of Holy Angels Convent in Mishiwaka, Indiana named Barbara Ann Hallman who battled colon cancer herself, just happened to stumble across an article on the internet about Herzlich and immediately began to pray for him regularly and to write letters to him. Boston College provided her with a special seat at Herzlich’s first game of the season since being declared cancer free.

Recently, a 20-year-old female Darton college student named JoLynn Johnson was encouraged and inspired to keep fighting the cancerous tumor in her left leg (same as Herzlich) when she heard about Herzlich’s story. When informed about her plight, Herzlich’s called her up in the hospital to encourage her shortly before she was to go into surgery.

Herzlich has also received a blizzard of invitations for appearances at various celebrity functions. He has also lent his support to various charities to assist them in raising money such as Uplifting Athletes, which is an organization founded by college football players for the purpose of funding research for rare diseases.

See an inspiring video about Herzlich at:


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)