As I sat down to watch some NFL Live on ESPN at my favorite local bar, I overheard a conversation already in progress that left me in a bit of a stutter: Was the great Warren Sapp more worthy of the distinguished honor of being accepted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame than his rival for that position, Michael Strahan?
Earlier this month, Mr. Sapp was inducted into the Tampa Bay organization’s own Ring Of Honor (along with Lee Roy Selmon, John McKay, Jimmie Giles, and Paul Gruber since it’s unveiling in 2009), as well as having his number 99 retired (only the second to do so), and now no other Buccaneer from this point on will be able to don the value on theirs. If this admission to our own Ring Of Honor had anything to do with his acceptance into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, I do not know.
What I do know – is that this conversation burdened me. Why, you ask?
It was not anything the gentlemen, or the lady in their presence, had to say about the Big Man; sure, he is loud, boisterous, opinionated, and sometimes a bit obtuse (no pun intended), but he is nevertheless one of the greatest Defensive Linemen to ever play the game. He ran the D-Line at the line of scrimmage almost single-handedly during the infamous “Tampa 2″ years, which in turn led to 7 Pro Bowls in his illustrious thirteen season career.
But what they said was that he had switched teams before his career was officially over, so he did not even deserve the honor of even having his number retired.
Granted, Mr. Strahan never changed teams in his fourteen-year career, and a few more accolades (despite the exact same number of Pro Bowls, as if that matters). But if because he spent the last four years playing for the disastrous Oakland Raiders under the now deceased Al Davis, I do not believe that is anything to keep a man so involved in the capitulation of a team that was always (and perhaps even to this day) been considered the underdog.
Strahan will get there soon enough with his number retired, as well as his own entrance into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame (I am betting on next year). The people sitting next to me (Minnesota Vikings fans, by the way) believed quite fervently the opposite, and acted as if I had no idea what I was talking about.
I then proceeded to open my book bag and reveal “Sapp Attack: My Story”, the new autobiography by Mr. Warren Sapp, himself. At that point, I believe there was no more discussion to be had on the subject.