After being drafted in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft, Ratliff quietly grew into a beast in the middle of Dallas's 3-4 defense. Ratliff, of course, is no longer a surprise to opposing offenses. The nose tackle was named to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year in 2009, and was named a first team All-Pro for the first time.
Despite playing nose tackle in the 3-4--a position given to consistently low sack totals--Ratliff was second on the team (behind DeMarcus Ware) in sacks in 2009, with seven; add that number to eight stuffs, 83 tackles and 33 quarterback pressures, and it's no great wonder that the Auburn product is the first Cowboys defensive lineman to be named All-Pro since Charles Haley (1994).
But Ratliff has some extra motivation this off-season in the form of Super Bowl XLV, which will be played in Cowboys Stadium, next February. Speaking on Sirius XM Radio (per the Dallas Morning News), Ratliff said that the idea of Dallas playing a hometown Super Bowl was "realistic."
"This off-season, that's one of the things I had time to just kind of sit and think about. And especially after looking at the All-Star game and how crazy that was; and we being the home town ... that is all the motivation you need, right there," Ratliff said. "It's definitely a realistic dream; I mean, every year, I think is realistic. I go into the year no different, man, I believe it's our time; and this time, this year coming around, it's no different--I just believe it's our time.
"We just have to continue to do what we did at the end and just start early, and finish, and that's the main thing."