300 Pounds of Attitude: The Wildest Stories and Craziest Characters the NFL Has Ever Seen

300 Pounds of Attitude: The Wildest Stories and Craziest Characters the NFL Has Ever Seen

by Jonathan Rand


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592289950
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 08/01/2006
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.06(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Rand is the author of Fields of Honor: The Pat Tillman Story. He was a sports columnist for 15 years and covered the Chiefs for the Kansas City Star and the Dolphins for the Miami News and the Miami Herald.

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300 Pounds of Attitude

The Wildest Stories and Craziest Characters the NFL Has Ever Seen
By Rand, Jonathan

The Lyons Press

Copyright © 2006 Rand, Jonathan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781592289950

Warren Sapp seemed larger than life as he was named to seven consecutive Pro Bowls from 1997-2003. He was at the heart of a defense that helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl in January 2003. Sapp never backed down from a battle in the trenches or from a war of words. He signed with the Oakland Raiders in 2004.
The Buccaneers lost for 12 straight seasons before Sapp arrived in 1995. His arrogance and aggressiveness were contagious and the Bucs became a playoff team in 1997.
“When Warren got here, everything changed,” said Rich McKay, then the Bucs’ general manager. “He brought an attitude.”
You can imagine Sapp’s indignation when he and linebacker Derrick Brooks were watching television in San Diego before a 1976 game and an announcer belittled their team as “The Yucks.”
Brooks and Sapp agreed they had to stop such insults. After the Buccaneers defeated the Eagles 27-10 for the 2002 NFC championship, Sapp reminded everybody, “They called us the Yucks!”

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was explaining a $50,000 fine given to Sapp in 2003. Sapp had bumped an official while entering the field against the Washington Redskins, and the league said he spoke abusively to officials in two other games.
“I think hisconduct over a three-week period, which was the basis for the fine, was substantially over the line, to put it mildly,” Tagliabue said.
Some would say that Sapp’s behavior has been over the line since he broke into the league. Before the bumping incident, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Sapp was told by the league to stop running through opponents in pre-game warmups. Sapp called the league a “slave system,” and added, “Make no mistake about it, slave master say you can’t do it, don’t do it. They’ll make an example out of you. I guess I’ve become larger than life.”

Sapp left Tampa Bay in March 2004 for a six-year, $36.6 million contract with the Raiders. He did not leave quietly.
“I had nine great seasons in Tampa,” Sapp said. “There’s no animosity. The only thing that sets me on edge is that for all the time me and [coach Jon] Gruden spent face to face, he didn’t have the nuts to say, ‘Warren, you just ain’t in our plans anymore.’ I would’ve took that a lot better than no call at all.”
The Bucs’ decision to not re-sign Sapp begged the question whether they considered him over the hill. “How can I be?” he asked. “Any O-line that’s playing the Raiders, I guarantee they put 99 on the board and say this is the man we must block. That’s why I play. [For] the respect of my peers. Whether I’ll get into the Hall of Fame is for someone else to decide. I’m just going to keep laying the bricks in the road and hope the road leads to Canton.”

Before the NFL realigned its divisions in 2003, Sapp’s twice-a-year confrontations with Packers quarterback Brett Favre were among the league’s liveliest. Their rivalry began with a 21-7 Packers playoff win in 1997 in which Sapp recorded seven tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and one recovery. Favre got up woozy after one hit and was concerned that his nose might be broken.
“Hey, pretty boy!” Sapp yelled. “What’s wrong?”
When Sapp started trotting off the field to rest, Favre countered, “Where you going, fat boy?”
Sapp, angered, stayed on the field and replied, “I ain’t going nowhere, playboy.”
After the game, Sapp said, “He’s wearing green and gold and I’m red and pewter. We’re going to be fighting for a very long time.”
Over the next several years, Sapp would put a lick on Favre, who would then jump up and slap Sapp’s helmet and crack wise. Sometimes, they would get in each other’s face and butt helmets.
“He won’t talk to me no more,” Sapp complained in 2003. “ ’Cause when he talks to me, I play better, so they won’t let him talk to me no more. Only going off the field or back on the field. That’s the only time he’ll talk to me now.”

Sapp was a loud, powerful presence in the Bucs’ locker room and sometimes rubbed teammates the wrong way. Teammates also rubbed him the wrong way, especially malcontent wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson.
“The thing that I’ll always say is that there’s never been the real deal,” Sapp said. “I want to see the wideout who’s supposed to strike fear in a defense. Show me that guy.”
Sapp also was irritated by Johnson’s spotty attendance at off-season workouts.
Sapp said in 2001, “We’ve changed quarterbacks, we’ve changed coordinators, we’ve changed systems. We’ve changed almost everything – everything but the way our receiver comes to work.”

Sapp recorded 16.5 sacks in 2000, a stunning total for a tackle. He didn’t seem to believe anybody else worked as hard for his sacks. When New York Giants defensive end
Mike Strahan set an NFL record of 22.5 sacks in 2001, Sapp joined critics who claimed Strahan’s last sack was tainted because Brett Favre fell down for him in the closing minutes of a 34-25 Packer victory.
Strahan pointed out that to get near Mark Gastineau’s record of 22 sacks, he had to record three and a half sacks against the Eagles the week before.
Sapp retorted: “Oh, yeah, your whipping boy, Jon Runyan. I forgot. I don’t have one. They won’t give me one guy that will go one on one with me for four quarters twice a year so I can whoop the hell outta him for eight sacks.”
Strahan told Sapp he rarely saw one-on-one blocking and said, “But when it comes to getting to the quarterback, I’m good. I’m sorry. I can’t help it.”
Sapp replied: “Oh, no, I’ve never said that you wasn’t good. But what I want you to admit to all of America is that [the final sack] was a gimme.”

Seldom do you see a head coach go after an opposing player after a game. But that’s what Packers coach Mike Sherman did in 2002 after Sapp nailed tackle Chad Clifton about 20 yards from the play. Cornerback Brian Kelly had intercepted a Favre pass and Clifton wasn’t prepared for Sapp’s hit. He suffered a broken pelvis and spent three nights in a Tampa hospital.
Sherman confronted Sapp on the field and accused him of hurting Clifton with a cheap shot. The league ruled the hit legal and Sapp said, “I can count the number of personal fouls I’ve had in my career on two fingers. I don’t play that way. I know what a clean shot is. Front is front, back is back. I hit him right in the mouth.”

Before a game against Minnesota in 2001, Sapp was holding a conference call with Twin Cities reporters when Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss unexpectedly joined the interview.
Moss, pretending to be a reporter, obnoxiously yelled into the speaker phone, “Mr. Sapp, Mr. Sapp…how are you going to stop Randy Moss?”
Sapp, irritated, barked, “We’re not concentrating on Randy Moss. He’s part of the team we want to stop.”
Moss and some 10 reporters began laughing. “Hey, Dawg, it’s me,” Moss said.
Sapp laughed, too, and said, “That boy is crazy.”

Sapp seldom is stumped for an answer. Here’s some instant Sapp:
On why he decided to live in San Francisco instead of Oakland after switching teams: “Why would I not live in the city? It’s like New York instead of New Jersey. It’s a reverse commute, too. The best part is the food. There’s a sushi spot in the Castro I like. I want to be treated like every other customer. It’s why I go to sushi restaurants. They don’t care who I am.”
On why Sapp would make a horrible head coach: “You’ve got to be a politician and a dictator, a capitalist and a communist all at the same time. You have to be all those things, then deal with scouts who may or may not agree with you, 20 assistant coaches, all sorts of things. I don’t know how they deal with it.”
Sapp, on the NFL rule he’d most like to change: “The celebration rule. It’s bad enough they make us run around with our helmet on all the time. That takes away our marketability because fans can’t see our faces. There are only about 10 guys in the league who the average fan can identify in street clothes. People only know most guys in helmets and with numbers. They wanted me [and several other Buccaneers] to do a Wheaties box after the Super Bowl, but they wanted our helmets on. Forget it.”


Excerpted from 300 Pounds of Attitude by Rand, Jonathan Copyright © 2006 by Rand, Jonathan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


Steve Sabol of NFL Films once answered the door to see his friend, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Tim “Rosso” Rossovich, standing there literally on fire. After Sabol knocked Rossovich to the ground and put out the fire, Rosso stood up and —without missing a beat—said, “Sorry, I must have the wrong apartment.”
Pro football has been filled with players like this—loose cannons, rebels, and
trash talkers. Some players are more likeable than others, and some might even be certifiably crazy . . . yet what perfectly sane athlete signs up to get belted around by 300-pound behemoths for three hours every Sunday?

In 300 Pounds of Attitude, author Jonathan Rand takes us into the huddle, onto the sidelines, and behind the scenes to reveal the most offbeatstories from the NFL.
These include:
• Why Dick Butkus claims his reputation for meanness—which includes biting a referee’s finger—was blown way out of proportion.
• How dumping Gatorade on a winning coach became a postseason tradition.
• Who “He Hate Me” was, and exactly why “He” hated him.

From sideline spats to touchdown celebrations to draft day tales,300 Pounds of Attitude reveals the true stories of the most entertaining figures that have played the game of professional football.

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