I'm not sure there is a more iconic member of the Buffalo Bills than Bruce Smith. You could make a case for a few others but only Smith was referred to as "a bad man" and we can't forget, "bad things happen man". Smith struck fear into the hearts of every offensive lineman who had to face him and every coach who ever had to game plan for him. The league's all-time sack leader is considered by many to be the greatest defensive lineman to have ever played.
The folks at FanSided got to sit down with Smith and pick his brain on his thoughts on the Super Bowl matchup but also discussed pass rushers in today's NFL, how they've changed, and how the rules have changed the game. Smith also gave some insight on how to sack Patrick Mahomes and what a pass-rusher needs to not just be good but great.
First and foremost, everyone wants to know what is the secret to sacking Patrick Mahomes. Well, according to Bruce Smith, it's simple. "Just get him on the ground, don't go for the kill shot, unless you're coming from the blind side" according to Smith. Sound easy enough, right? Mahomes isn't the most fleet-of-foot or most elusive or powerful quarterback in the league, but there might not be a better quarterback in the league when it comes to manipulating and moving around in the pocket.
What is different between pass-rushers of his era versus today's edge rushers
Bruce said there isn't really a difference, that much hasn't changed as far as the player, but he did provide the secret ingredient to being a great pass-rusher. The ability to bend and turn the corner is paramount and will make a good pass-rusher a great pass-rusher. Of course, they still need all the other tools but to be great means to bend and turn the corner.
Naturally, you can't talk about comparing eras of the game without talking about the rules changes as well. Probably my favorite quote from Bruce Smith during this interview came while discussing those changes. Smith said, "This is an offensive-minded game, the league wants to see points scored, and they want to protect their princes." The princes of course were the quarterbacks, and he couldn't have been more spot on with that assessment.
At the conclusion, Bruce was asked his thoughts on the Super Bowl and while he wouldn't give a prediction, he did say the game will come down to whether the San Franciso 49ers defense can contain Travis Kelce and get to Mahomes with their front four. If they can do those two things, the 49ers should win the game. He also said he can't count Mahomes and Kelce out either. Click here for the full Bruce Smith interview with FanSided at the Super Bowl.