Plenty of former players of the game who become broadcasters of the game don’t know the current players of the game as well as they could or should. The latest example comes from former NFL cornerback Deion Sanders, who now provides analysis for NFL Network.
The Hall of Fame defensive back recently made a comment that new Texans defensive back Tyrann Mathieu is “the best safety in the game.” That observation sparked a Twitter exchange between Sanders and, unbeknownst to him, a current player of the game.
It started when Titans safety Kevin Byard, a first-team Associated Press All-Pro safety who co-led the league in interceptions, asked this question in response to Sanders’ observation, via TheBigLead.com: “How do you make this statement and not include the two first team AP All Pro safeties?”
“You’re looking at who writers tell [you] who’s the best I know who players and former players feel is the best,” Sanders said. “I rest my case. You continue to be a fan and I will continue being the man.”
That last sentence is priceless for its obliviousness. “You continue to be a fan and I will continue being the man.” Yes, Deion is the man (or as Tim McCarver would say a real man). Deion is the man who gets paid plenty of money by the NFL to talk about football and who doesn’t realize he’s talking to the player who not only was named one of the best safeties in football by the primary postseason football awards process but who, along with Lions cornerback Darius Slay, led football in the primary statistic of relevance to the position Deion played.
Byard also played in two playoff games, which should have made Deion even more likely to realize that Byard isn’t a fan.
Byard noticed the gaffe. “And if you didn’t know, I am a CURRENT player who watches a ton of film so trust me, I know who’s balling and who is not.”
That appears to be the last word. I don’t know for sure, because Deion long ago blocked the PFT Twitter account in retaliation for some other time when we had pointed out something dumb he had said or done.