From "The Blind Side" to the Super Bowl
The 2009 Oscar winning film “The Blind Side” made Carolina Panthers’ offensive tackle Michael Oher into a household name. However, the film is not a favorite subject of its main character.
Oher commented that the movie hindered the success of his NFL career to ESPN reporters in July 2015.
“People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie…they don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am. That’s why I get downgraded so much, because of something off the field,” said Oher.
The movie earned over $300 million, winning actress Sandra Bullock an Oscar and Golden Globe for her depiction as Oher’s mother in the portrayal of his life. Oher is depicted as slow to learn, un-athletic, and sluggish. Fellow teammate Kelechi Osemele soon found out that this portrayal is nothing like the real Michael Oher.
“He’s nothing like that,” said Osemele, “I can’t even imagine Mike being like the guy that they portrayed on the movie.”
Oher has already won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012, and can now put the past of “The Blind Side” behind him as he heads back to the Super Bowl in 2016. Millions of people who will watch Super Bowl 50 will probably know of Oher as he faces off with the Carolina Panthers against the Denver Broncos.
Oher’s road to the Super Bowl has been a hard earned path. He first signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2009, and in 2013 ended his five-year run with them after winning Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers. In 2014, Oher signed a contract with the Tennessee Titans for four years. He suffered a toe injury and was placed on the injured reserve list, resulting in a release from the Titans in February 2015. Oher then signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Carolina Panthers in March 2015, greatly influenced by now teammate Cam Newton to join.
Newton sent a text to Oher reading, "I need you. I don't want you. I NEED you."
The Panthers placed Oher as a left tackle, a more natural position for Oher and the same position that he was renowned for in the film.
Among many challenges, Oher will face off against All-Pro Von Miller and Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware during Super Bowl 50. Oher sees these challenges as a way to revive and regenerate his now seven-year career and completely move on from the presumptions that many have about him as a player due to “The Blind Side.”
After being cast aside and left high and dry by the Titans decision to cut him, Oher was on his way to potentially earning his second Super Bowl win, overcoming and making peace with any false representations of himself and his career.
When reminded of the text Newton sent last year to convince him to sign with the Panthers, Oher said to USA Today, "Stuff like that made me feel at home. [It] made me know they wanted me. [It was a] good feeling."