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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sapp recalls his running-at-the-mouth rivalry with Packers' Favre

If you’re not burned out on Brett Favre stories, Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had an interesting column with excerpts from Warren Sapp’s autobiography “Sapp Attack”. Sapp and Favre used to trash talk each other back when Tampa and Green Bay were in the same division and played each other twice per season. Link to the article follows.

Sapp recalls his running-at-the-mouth rivalry with Packers' Favre

By Bob Wolfley of the Journal Sentinel
July 28, 2012
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp says in his autobiography, "Sapp Attack," that his rivalry with Packers Brett Favre, which both players fostered and which football fans giddily embraced, began in the last game of the 1999 season, a game Tampa Bay won, 29-10.
Sapp said early in the contest he hit Favre, forcing him to fumble.
"That ball was bouncing around on the ground, and I held him down on the ground so he couldn't grab it," Sapp writes in the book which he wrote with David Fisher and is to be published next month. "There was nothing he could do but watch it bounce away from him. And maybe while I was holding him down I pushed his helmet down into the turf a little bit too. OK, maybe I pushed him a lot."
According to Sapp, Favre was angry he lost the ball and tried to put his hands on Sapp, who slapped them away.
"After I took a few steps he screamed at me, ‘Hey, big boy, how much you weigh? The program says 276.’ I stopped and turned around to face him. ‘That was when I checked into camp last July. I weighed 307 last Thursday. Why do you want to know?’
"This is on the field, you understand, with the entire stadium standing and screaming, thinking we were going to go at it," Sapp says. "Favre smiled at me and boasted, ‘ ’Cause I think I can outrun you,’ he said. ‘Oh, don't worry none,’ I told him, ‘You're gonna get a real good chance to try.’ "
Sapp recalls hitting Favre so hard once in that game Favre’s "shadow decided to retire." Favre was face down on the field and turned to look up. Sapp grinned and said: ‘Who you think it is?’ Favre replied: 'You got to love it, big boy.’ "
Sapp recalls another game against the Packers when he was walking to the sideline before the end of the third quarter.
"I heard someone shout after me, ‘That's right Sapp, go take a blow.’ Excuse me? I turned around, and he had this big grin on his face. I said, ‘You talking to me?’ He got right up in my face. ‘Where you going, fat boy? We're just getting started.’ "
Sapp says he could not understand at first why Favre talked so much to him because he "wasn’t used to being challenged on the field, especially by a quarterback. Quarterbacks are the piñatas of sports; far as I’m concerned their only job is to be hit.
"Most offensive players don't do much talking," Sapp writes. "I don't know why, maybe they're not smart enough. But the fact is that Favre started this dialogue between us."
Sapp says he realized then Favre "was just like me" because he liked to compete, have fun and banter.
Packers center Frank Winters did not like Favre trash talking Sapp, according to Sapp.
He says Winters "practically ordered Favre" to stop talking because Winters had to block Sapp.
"I absolutely know he said that because Favre told me he did," Sapp writes. "Naturally I had to share that information with (Winters). . . . from that moment on I always made it a point of saying something loud to Favre. Knowing how angry it made Winters made it even more fun."
Sapp claims "it was Favre's wife (Deana) who finally made him stop talking to me because she was afraid he was just getting my engines going, that eventually he was going to get hurt. In my memory I believe that was about the time I started complimenting Brett about that lovely dress he was wearing."
Sapp says the "biggest penalty that I know for absolute certain the officials missed" took place in a game against the Packers. At the end of the first half, Brad Culpepper chased down Favre on a second a long as Green Bay was Green Bay was trying to move into field goal range. Culpepper stopped Favre short of the first-down marker and the two tumbled out of bounds.
"But next thing I knew the Packers called a timeout and reserve quarterback Doug Pederson was jogging into the game," Sapp writes. Pederson threw an incomplete pass and the Packers had to punt.
Sapp asked Culpepper what happened that forced Favre out of the game. Culpepper "had this devious little smile" and said he had ripped off one of Favre shoes. When the play was over he walked over and flipped it into the stands. The officials didn’t see it and Favre had to leave the game to get a new shoe.
Sapp reports he sacked Favre 11 times in his career "more than any other quarterback as well as the most times he was sacked by a single player."
Winters, according to Sapp, was the best center he faced in term of his ability to draw defensive lineman offside.
"He'd move the ball, he'd fake snap it, he'd spin the ball, everything just barely legal," Sapp says. "Every single time he snapped the ball he would do the same move, maybe raise his head an instant before he actually snapped it, and eventually we would notice it and start looking for it. But late in a game, when five yards really mattered, he'd make that same move - only the ball would still be sitting there. Whistle! Flag! Where you going so fast Sapp? And Frankie would stand there smiling as innocent as Jack the Ripper."
Sapp admits he hated playing football in cold weather.
"The warmer it was the happier I was," he says. "A man works in the good Lord’s sun. That’s the way it is supposed to be."
He says "when the schedule was published I’d look at it, and if we were playing Green Bay or Chicago in December I’d be dreading it for months."
He recalls a game at Lambeau Field when the temperature was the coldest he ever played in, minus-11 with the wind chill.
"Before the game started I went up to the referee and handed him four hot pockets," Sapp writes. "I told him, ‘We got to work together today because it is cold out here. Keep these in your pockets, and when I ask you for one, you hand it over. If you’re busy just tell me to wait, but when I need my hand, I need my hands. This way you’re going to be half warm, and I’m going to be half warm. ‘Warren,’ he said thankfully, ‘We have a deal.’ And it worked just fine."
Sapp recalls another game at Lambeau when the Buccaneers’ charter plane was late and he was unsatisfied with the cold box lunch provided after the game. So he walked into the parking lot where he found a Packers fan outside an RV. Sapp told him he was hungry.
"He opened a pack of brats, pulled out a cooler and a six pack, and set up some chairs," Sapp says. "It didn’t bother him that I played for the Bucs. He was a football fan. And, fortunately, a bratwurst fan."
Sapp alerted some of his teammates to the treasure he had discovered and "they came a-running." Sapp said the fan would not take any money from him for his food.
In 2007, Sapp was playing for the Oakland Raiders. In the 13th game of the season, the Raiders played the Packers. Sapp writes he decided to retire from football after a particular play in that game when he was up against Daryn Colledge.
"I had to look up his name," Sapp says about Colledge. "I came off the ball at the snap. Man, this young fellow jumped on my chest, grabbed me, shook me, and hitched up with me. Meanwhile, Favre did his little fake to the running back, dropped back, and cocked his arm. I was in full lock-up mode. I couldn't get this kid off me. I watched Favre let it go, and Greg Jennings caught it for an 80-yard touchdown. The kid was still holding me. Finally I said to him, 'Would you let me go now, young fella?' He did.
"That was the one play that let me know it was time," Sapp writes. "I knew the play. I had the snap count. I had a good get-off, and I had no move for an inexperienced kid."
(Photo credits: Top, Journal Sentinel, Nov. 24, 2002 at Tampa Bay; Middle, Journal Sentinel, Nov. 12, 2000 at Tampa Bay; Lower, Journal Sentinel, Nov. 16, 2003 at Tampa Bay.)!page=1&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst

1 comment:

  1. Good article, Dan. I enjoy reads like this.