Last weekend, the 2013 enshrinees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame were announced. Among the fifteen finalists confirmed last month were Michael Strahan and Warren Sapp, an oddity in that two former defensive ends with sports media experience following their retirement – Fox Sports and NFL Network, respectively – had made the ballot in their first year of eligibility.
So when one of these made it in and one did not, Yahoo!’s Shutdown Corner reminded us of the bitter feud these two players had when they were playing for the Giants and Buccaneers (Sapp was not active for the Raiders’ home loss to the Giants in 2005). It reached its peak when Strahan set the current single-season sack record in 2001, with a sack on Packers quarterback Brett Favre that Sapp referred to as “belly weak.”
Quoth Strahan the following summer: “Warren Sapp is a jackass… He’ll see me to my face and he’ll be nice, but Warren is a jackass.”
Four years later, the two crossed paths and appeared to have buried the hatchet.
That is until Wednesday morning, when Sapp recovered his hatchet and proceeded to take Strahan to the woodshed.
Appearing on “The Sports Page with Tom Jones and Rick Stroud” on Tampa Bay’s sports radio leader WDAE-AM, the Bucs’ flagship radio station, Sapp was asked if the thought had ever crossed his mind that he would be denied entry to Canton this year.
“Absolutely,” Sapp replied, before painting a vivid picture for the listeners.
“Say if I rewind this [to] Saturday, 12 o’clock, me and you sitting and I say, ‘You know, it breaks down, whatever, whatever, and then, you have Michael Strahan and me… The menace and the media darling’… Come on, madness or ‘Good Morning America’?”
“You know what, Warren,” co-host Tom Jones said, “I think it came down to ‘belly weak’. I think that was the difference.”
Well, what a difference a couple of days makes.
Strahan, who was made aware of Sapp’s comments about 48 hours after the fact, tweeted this to Sapp on Friday morning: “You never cease to amaze me! Enjoy your moment. You don’t need to take a shot at me to justify yourself to other people. #Class”
Several hours later, Sapp replied, “We [stopped] competing 5+ years ago! #AllTheBest”
Strahan: “I only competed against myself. Don’t let people make you get at me to justify your [Hall of Fame] selection. Enjoy it because [you] earned it.”
Sapp: “[You] got my [number!]”
Strahan: ‘You have my [number] too. I’m a grown man and handle myself like one. Respect me and I respect you!”
Sapp: “Tell us why you really mad, son?”
Strahan: “I congratulate you on the [Hall of Fame]. You were a [Hall of Fame] player, no doubt. Enjoy it, and hopefully, I will join [you] in Canton one day! Congrats.”
Both Sapp and Strahan had special careers, with a Super Bowl ring in their possession, to boot (okay, so Sapp lost his, boo hoo). My only reasoning for Sapp not being a first-ballot Hall of Famer was for his finger-pointing during the Bountygate issue with the Saints last year.
So with the Super Bowl taking place in East Rutherford, New Jersey next year, only a one-year wait for Strahan to Canton will be worth it.
By the way, among the possible finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2014: Former head coach Tony Dungy, and former Chargers and Patriots safety Rodney Harrison – both of whom happen to be employees of NBC Sports. You think the Peacock Network isn’t going to go over the top in promoting the Hall of Fame announcement than Fox, the network that will be carrying that, as well as Super Bowl XLVIII? (And as if you needed to be reminded, Harrison was on the other end of that David Tyree catch in Super Bowl XLII, which helped the Giants defeat the Patriots. Yeah, I bet he’ll be sick of Super Bowl Media Week by Tuesday.)
Anyway, here’s the podcast of Warren Sapp’s appearance on WDAE-AM on February 6. And below are tweets as well as Twitter reaction by the likes of Chad Johnson.
(And for the record, Warren: Strahan is the co-host of a show called “Live!” – though it actually does follow “Good Morning America” on many television stations, so you were close.)