There is no question that the NFL is filled with tough players. It is a contact sport, after all.
Literally every play in the NFL happens with the thought that at the end of it one human being is going to crash into another one. It is a gladiator sport which is why it captivates so many.
In the week leading up to Super Bowl LVIII my colleague J.P. Acosta and I were fortunate enough to talk toughness with two of the toughest running backs in the league in Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson Jr., thanks of course to our friends at Bounty.
With billions of saucy chicken wings being eaten during the Super Bowl alone, playoff season means more wings and more messy fingers. Enter Bounty, the wingman everyone needs to keep things clean when cheering on your favorite team.
This Super Bowl Sunday, Bounty will be your wingman, because you can’t have football without wings, and you can’t have wings without Bounty.
J.P. and I talked to the Washington Commanders duo while they ate wings and used the incredibly tough Bounty paper towels to clean up the mess and in the process we found out what the toughest hit was that each of them has been a part of so far in their careers.
Antonio Gibson said that Leighton Vander Esch offered him the hardest hit he has ever had
Given that I cover the Dallas Cowboys here at SB Nation it was a bit awkward to interview two Washington players, but thankfully Antonio Gibson threw me a bone (not the one from the wing he had just eaten).
When we asked the two who authored the toughest hit that they had ever been a part of was, Gibson knew right away that it was Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. He noted that LVE met him right in the A-Gap and knocked him into what felt like an entirely different dimension.
That is the style of play that Leighton offers, but also the kind that Gibson invites. While Antonio has a lot of speed to his game he is also the kind of player who can absorb a huge hit and keep on going.
Brian Robinson Jr. on the other hand… he seeks contact. A lot.
— RJ Ochoa
Brian Robinson looks to be the hammer, not the nail
When asked about the hardest hit he’s ever taken in the NFL, Brian Robinson’s answer was simple: there was none. As the initiator of contact, he looks to bring the pain to linebackers, not the other way around, and has the body of work to prove it. Through his first two seasons in the NFL (including one shortened season), Robinson has over 1,500 yards and has left many defenders in his wake.
In fact, the only linebacker Robinson said met his same hunger for contact was none other than San Francisco 49er Fred Warner, who met him in the gap and stopped him in his tracks. Robinson said that his entire running style is built on contact and dishing it out, and the fact that Warner met him in the gap spoke volumes to Robinson.
— J.P. Acosta
Our thanks to Antonio, Brian and Bounty for the time.
No wings or running backs were harmed in the taking of this photo.