By: Bob George/BosSports.net
January 22, 2004

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About this show Warren Sapp did the other day. Degrading? Upsetting? Hardly.

You know what it was? Poetic. Simply and totally poetic.

Warren Sapp knows how to flap his yap.

Face of Sapp needs a good, hard slap.

Opinion of Sapp is full of nothing but crap.

We might recall an article this column did about a year ago, and an entry that went something like this: Bill Callahan's biggest nightmare: Stopping Warren Sapp. Jon Gruden's biggest nightmare: Shutting up Warren Sapp.

Oh, rapture, rapture. Lovely poetry, no? Myself, I will stick with Deacon Jones and his thoughtful and comforting style: "Blue is a violet, and red is a rose; If you don't believe me, I'm gonna break your nose!"

This article will unfortunately travel down roads where we don't often go. This might venture into the wretched realm of "lowering one's self to their level". This article might even cross into the horrid "dignifying this with a response" area. Worse of all, this article makes the rancid assumption that you "care about what he thinks".

Whatever the opposite of "rapture" is, we've just stepped hip deep into it. To our faithful readers, our apologies.

We have to save face somehow, so we'll just leave things at this: If, in any way, you the Patriot fan were offended by Sapp's interview on ESPN Wednesday night, we will make you feel good again. This piece will debunk and dismiss any slop that came out of Sapp's mouth, proving that he is more of a Sapp than he is a former defensive behemoth who can dominate games and help his team win Vinces.

Here we go. Piece by piece, let's put big Warren back in his place.

"I think this defensive line of Carolina will dominate the front five of New England."

Dominate? If Tennessee's line didn't dominate, Carolina's won't. As a unit, Carolina's line doesn't quite rate with Jevon Kearse, Albert Haynesworth, Kevin Carter and Robaire Smith. Damien Woody was lifted early in that game, so Russ Hochstein got lots of time against this unit. Will Carolina's line be tough? Certainly. But dominate? Don't plan on it.

"I don\'t even think it\'s a fair matchup."

Sapp loves to be colorful. Fair or unfair has nothing to do with this Super Bowl in any way, shape or form. If it does, it likely involves only Bill Belichick and any coaching advantage he has.

"I don\'t see how they\'re getting it done"

So doesn't 1,758 other "experts" across the country. Pray that they never figure the Patriot way out. This is more of a disbelieving attitude that mirrors what Oakland, Pittsburgh and some Tennessee players exuded because they were ashamed to admit that a team with such little sustained positive history as the Patriots took them in the playoffs. It's a pride thing, but it's also an ignorance thing.

Face it, the nation may never be convinced of the greatness of the Patriots because they simply don't want to be. If the Tampa Bay Devil Rays win the next six AL pennants, how will Red Sox and Yankee fans take it?

"…because I think Russ Hochstein started for them in the AFC Championship game"

You think. We know.

"…and I\'ve seen Russ Hochstein block, and he couldn\'t block either one of you two fellas."

This is just plain stupid. My sister could block Tony Kornheiser. Michael Wilbon is a big guy, but get real. It makes for good theater. It is without substance and it is, well, just plain stupid.

"I've already whooped up on (the Patriots) every time they've seen me\"

And you were blocked by whom? Sale Isaia? Derrick Fletcher? Max Lane? Tony Carter? Harold Shaw? In 2000, this was the season opener and Belichick's first game as head coach. And if you think a five-point loss (21-16) counts as a "whoopin'", you probably think that weighing 303 pounds means that your Atkins diet is a rousing success.

\"I say the day they beat me is the day I retire because I'm no longer able to play this game like I should."

Who's to say that that day hasn't already arrived? How'd Tampa Bay do in its title defense, big guy? Is this a TV gig audition? You look better on NFL Access than you did against the Panther offensive line.

(on Tom Brady's unworthiness of being league MVP) "Peyton Manning and Steve McNair absolutely define what an MVP is…Peyton Manning with his numbers and Steve with how he carries his team."

That's logic for you. With a 7-9 record, how could wins possibly be important to Sapp? You might want to canvass all the media and player folk who voted Manning as MVP and see if they wouldn't rethink their choice if they could cast it again. This is like trying to talk to Wilt Chamberlain fans and throw Bill Russell in their face. They won't understand or pay you any heed, even if you bring up "eleven titles in thirteen years". Some people, like Sapp, just don't get it.

"Tom Brady manages the game unbelievable, (he) throws one of the best out balls I've ever seen and does a great job for his team over and over and over again. But he's not the MVP of the league."

Then maybe Brady never ought to try and be league MVP. Super Bowl MVP suits him just fine. Load that guy up with all the "team cars" he can handle. You take the awards and honors, and leave the rings and Vinces to Brady.

\"That's in college (referring to Brady's win-loss total)…(In College they) give you a chance to win the Heisman because you lead your team to 30 some straight wins or something like that. But in the NFL, no. You've got to put up some numbers and you've got to be the most dominant guy at your position (to win the MVP) and those two beat him out.\"

That's in college? Who did Brady beat back on February 3, 2002, the University of St. Louis Rams? Brady's 20-5 college record has nothing to do with this discussion whatsoever. This was a totally stupid and pointless response. The latter remark about the numbers and leadership has merit, but like we said before, if these are the lone determinants for league MVP, then Brady should just kiss off this award for life and focus only on Vinces and getting into Canton some day.

The only, and we do mean only, thing that Sapp said which has any merit at all is that Hochstein versus Kris Jenkins is the key matchup in this game. With Damien Woody out for the season, it will be a test for the former Nebraska Cornhusker. But if the Patriots were able to survive a tough night against Tennessee, they will survive against Carolina. It will be tough, make no mistake, but it is not something that will do in the Patriots as badly as Sapp suggests.

Even if Hochstein finds himself overmatched, there are all sorts of things to counteract this. Jenkins can be double-teamed. Multiple wideout sets can prevent blitzing. Quick and traditional screens can help. Brady hits hot reads as good as anyone in the league. Kevin Faulk can see what he can do on right end and right tackle runs (as opposed to Antowain Smith, who is more of an up the gut runner).

All in all, this is just Sapp being Sapp. He was fined by the league and threatened with suspensions if he continued to dance through the opposing team's warm-ups. Ask Mike Sherman what he thinks of Sapp. He is perceived by some as a dirty player, by others as a relentless taunter who may no longer be able to back up what he barks. His shtick has gotten old, and his act is totally classless.

His team did win it all in 2002, but they won mostly because of Derrick Brooks, Greg Spires, Simeon Rice, Dwight Smith, Ronde Barber and John Lynch. Sapp had one sack and two tackles in last year's Super Bowl. Oakland managed to deal effectively with Sapp despite having a backup center in there.

Brady really said it best when he said, "He'll get a good view from wherever he's sitting!" View he will, and play he won't.

Brady and his team will play, and Sapp can go right on disbelieving what he sees. Fine with us, because if he begins to believe, that does not mean that he will understand.

Which explains why all he has time for these days is to be a real Sapp.


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