Warren Sapp’s Attention Grab

I’m a Ravens fan and even I could see exactly what Warren Sapp was doing when he seemingly slammed the Steelers defense on “Inside the NFL”: trying to make a name for himself as a commentator.

Sapp announced, “I have three things:  Old, slow, and it’s over.”

The 2002 Super Bowl Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense had six starters of at least 28 years old and Ronde Barber at age 27. This was probably the closest they got to having all their players in their prime, but let’s not forget that Troy Polamalu won Defensive Player of the Year last year at 29 years old and that this Steelers defense just appeared in its third Super Bowl, two more Super Bowl appearances for most of this unit than Sapp ever got. I wonder if Sapp is just envious he never got back.

More from Sapp: “James Harrison told us that he was 70-to-75 percent. It looked more like 40 percent to me if you are looking at the ballgame I was looking at.  And Hines Ward, Mercedes Sapp can cover Hines Ward right now.  You have to be kidding me. . . .  Mercedes is my 13-year-old daughter.  She will cover Hines Ward in a heartbeat.  And Troy Polamalu, Ed Dickson runs this crossing route.  Troy Polamalu is trying to grab him to have a pass interference and he can’t even get close enough to grab him.  [It] looked like he was dragging a wagon behind him.  Touchdown Baltimore.  Pittsburgh Steelers done.” I’m sure he’ll spin the last line as “they looked done” after the Steelers return to the playoffs this season.

We also see this constantly with ESPN analysts. It’s as though their producers tell them to go on the air and say something crazy. Sure, it doesn’t make sense for Skip Bayless to say he’d start Vince Young over Michael Vick when Vince Young has done horrible in games against good defenses, benched himself and walked out on the team (or – as Vince claims – walked out on his coach). But, I’m sure it creates lots of water cooler talk, tweets and anticipation for what stupid thing he will say next.

I firmly believe that the Steelers are Super Bowl contenders who don’t have quite the depth at safety as the Ravens do, but likely have more dynamic players in their linebacking corps. It was just week 1. Troy has even expressed that the loss would be beneficial to them.

I will give Sapp points for creativity. He didn’t take a strong opinion, while seeming to take a strong opinion. By crediting much of their struggles to two of their best defensive players playing hurt, he gave himself outs for when the Steelers defense returns to form this week. He’s playing both sides of the coin.

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