FOOTBALL: Cheltenham's Brandon Bing's hard work pays off with Super Bowl title
As the final pass by Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLVI fell to the ground in the end zone, giving the New York Giants a 21-17 win over the New England Patriots, Brandon Bing’s lifelong dream had been achieved.
He was part of a Super Bowl-winning team.
In high school, while a star multi-sport athlete at Cheltenham, Bing, while not playing football, set records on the track with his incredible speed. Eventually, it earned him an athletic scholarship at Rutgers University, where he would get noticed by former head football coach Greg Schiano.
Bing tried out for Schiano, made the football team and turned into a star defensive back for the Scarlet Knights.
The now 22-year-old NFL cornerback was an All-American track star in high school. He was a Pennsylvania state champion in the 200 and 400 meter dashes for indoor track, as well as the outdoor 400 meter dash. He was ranked third in the country in the 400 meters. But as it turned out, Bing never participated in a single track and field event in college.
High school athletes don’t always stay on course (no pun) with their college plans. But Bing’s decision to stay off the track and play college football has already turned into one of the best decisions he could have ever made.
If you were one of the 111-plus million people in the U.S. who watched the 47th annual Super Bowl two Sundays ago, you didn’t see Bing on the football field. You didn’t see him knock down or intercept any passes and you didn’t hear his name spoken by anyone by the commentators.
But Bing was still part of the team. He was and is still a New York Giant. He earned his spot on the practice squad, is still part of the roster and still earned his Super Bowl ring. And besides his uncanny athletic ability, his hard work and dedication are to thank.
“To be honest, everything that Brandon has done was because of what he did himself,” Cheltenham football coach Joe Gro said. “Brandon led us by being here, but he worked harder than just about anyone I’ve ever seen in my life. He worked with us all summer before going to training camp and I’ve been around a long time and coached and seen some incredible athletes, but I’ve never seen anyone work harder than Brandon. Never. He earned what he got.”
Bing, a Wyncote resident who lived in northern New Jersey during the football season, went undrafted in last year’s NFL Draft, but was signed by the Denver Broncos as soon as the lockout ended. After being cut by the Broncos, he was picked up by the Buffalo Bills, another team Bing would eventually be released from.
But back on Nov. 1 of last year, Bing got his big break, signing a contract with the Giants, where he would remain on the practice squad and eventually win a Super Bowl.
“I did everything but play in the game,” said Bing, who stands at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds. “If it was practices or meetings or any type of team activity, I was there. I was on my way to become active in games a few times, but a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes prevented that from happening.”
But Bing was still on the field with every other NFL player when he had to be. He still worked with the likes of Corey Webster, Aaron Ross and Prince Amukamara, all defensive backs whom Bing said he is close with. And after being signed to a new contract by the Giants last Wednesday, Bing has proved to be a valuable commodity and a player who will be brought back for next season.
“I signed a contract as soon as we got back from the Super Bowl, so I’m looking forward to next year,” Bing said. “I celebrated after we won the Super Bowl, I celebrated when we got back, went to the parade and celebrated with my family when I got home. And then I signed a contract, so this is definitely a feeling of accomplishment that I can’t even explain.
“It’s a goal that a lot of people don’t even come close to getting and I don’t even think it has fully sunk in for me yet. It didn’t even sink in for me that we were in the Super Bowl until I got there and the game was actually being played. I just feel blessed to be in this position.”
Bing said the entire experience was “unbelievable.” It was a situation which he has been dreaming to be in for his entire life. Playing in the NFL was his dream and just getting to the Super Bowl was his next goal. Winning the Super Bowl was just icing on the cake. And most importantly, for Bing, he got to do it with his mother in attendance.”
“To be there in ‘Indy’ and to have my mom with me there was just an experience of its own,” Bing said. “It was great to have her there and to have her see me. I was happy to have family with me to experience a dream of mine.”
Bing’s Super Bowl ring can be added to his long list of achievements as a football player. In high school, he played cornerback and safety. He lined up in the backfield as a running back, played on special teams, was a star wide receiver and even lined up as a quarterback when asked.
In his junior year at Cheltenham, Bing racked up more than 600 receiving yards on only 22 catches, 16 of which went for touchdowns. And while on defense, he was one of the best weapons in the area.
At Rutgers, Bing was a two-year starter and earned a Big East Special Teams Player of the Week Award in his senior season.
Now, a picture of Bing with the Super Bowl trophy in his hands (pictured) is on the front of Cheltenham High School’s website. Anyone who grew up with Bing, coached him or watched him play while rooting for the Panthers is proud to be able to call Bing a champion.
“I am very happy for Brandon and his accomplishments at every level he has been at,” Cheltenham athletic director Scott Layer said. “To be part of the winning Super Bowl team is an achievement that every football player dreams about and Brandon is just a tremendous athlete with daunting speed and I am not surprised with the success that he has had since leaving Cheltenham. What I am most impressed with, though, is the fine human being he has become.”
Those sentiments are not only held by Layer.
“I’m really proud to just know Brandon,” Gro said. “He is one of the finest young men we’ve ever had. Forget about being a football player, but just as a young man. He has worked incredibly hard and earned everything and he is a role model, not just for a football player, but for everyone. That’s the best thing I can say about him is that he’s as fine a young man as I know. And I know that winning the Super Bowl was his dream.”
There’s no doubt that the Giants’ organization has a similar view of Bing, as they have already made a commitment to keep him around for at least another year.
So, what will be the next achievement to add to Bing’s laundry list of athletic successes? Making the active roster and seeing actual game time is at the top of that list. And while most of Bing’s hometown friends and family will continue to root against Giants, Bing still knows they want to see him succeed, first and foremost.
“For me, as a defensive back, I’ve built relationships with groups of players at my position,” Bing said. “They help me out and run with me every day and we click off the field as well. But I’ve talked to my friends and former teammates from home who are Eagles fans and they support me and that is all that matters right now. This is my job. I’m happy to be here.”