MIAMI—Six years removed from being the Ravens' Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Trent Dilfer is more emotional about the events that followed the victory.
Dilfer remains extremely bitter about Brian Billick's decision to replace him with Elvis Grbac after the championship season and doesn't plan to speak to the Ravens coach again."He grossly misunderstood the talent of that football team, myself specifically," said Dilfer, who is working for the NFL Network at this year's Super Bowl. "I totally agree with so many things he did. But to this day, I am so sad I didn't have the chance to face the challenge of repeating."
But he is still steaming about being the first quarterback in NFL history to win the Super Bowl and lose his job before the next season.
Dilfer went 11-1 as the Ravens' starter after replacing Tony Banks midway through the 2000 season but struggled at times with his accuracy. Because the Ravens had such a dominating defense, there was a perception that the Ravens won in spite of Dilfer.
Since winning the Super Bowl, Dilfer said he has not had a substantial conversation with Billick.
"I have absolutely zero desire to talk to Brian Billick," Dilfer said.
Dilfer said he has spoken with former teammates Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe and Brandon Stokley, all of whom said they wished he could have returned as quarterback.
"Those guys will go to their graves swearing to God that we would have won two, three Super Bowls if they would have kept me," Dilfer said. "I'm not going to say that; I have no idea. But I sure would have liked the chance to face the challenge. I would have loved that opportunity."
The decision wasn't made by Billick alone. The Ravens chose to make a change at quarterback after extensive personnel meetings that were headed by general manager Ozzie Newsome.
Billick also met with several team leaders after the Super Bowl, and they reinforced his decision to go in another direction at quarterback, a league source said.
Former Ravens safety Woodson said yesterday that he always favored bringing Dilfer back.
"I don't want a guy with gaudy numbers; I want a guy that wins. I want a guy like Trent Dilfer," said Woodson, who also works for the NFL Network. "I think we could have won another Super Bowl with Trent as our quarterback."
Billick could not be reached to comment yesterday.
"We loved what Trent did for us," said Kevin Byrne, the Ravens' senior vice president of public relations. "He's a tremendous competitor."
Dilfer's name has become a popular one at this Super Bowl, but it's not been used in a positive light.
The national media are labeling Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman as one of the worst quarterbacks to reach the Super Bowl, a group that often includes Dilfer. In fact, Grossman is trying to become the first quarterback not rated among the top 10 passers to win an NFL title since Dilfer.
Asked whether he could relate to how Grossman has been repeatedly beaten up by the Super Bowl media corps, Dilfer said: "Yeah, I lived it. The difference is I didn't listen to it as much. Listening to him talk, he obviously hears it."
Dilfer's advice to Grossman is to isolate himself.