Derrick Brooks “shocked” Warren Sapp not on NFL’s all-time team

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For the second consecutive week, the unveiling of players on the NFL’s all-time team has led to criticism about leaving more recent players out.

Last week it was the lack of 21st Century running backs. This week, when linebackers and defensive linemen were unveiled, one of the players who made the list is unhappy about a player who didn’t make it.

Former Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks, who was selected to the all-time team, said he was in no mood to celebrate after seeing former defensive tackle Warren Sapp left off.

“I was shocked, to be honest with you, that my teammate Warren Sapp wasn’t on this list. You talk about somebody that I watched dominate a game,” Brooks said. “I’ve literally watched him take over games. He set the standard for the three-technique during the mid-90s to early 2000s. I was extremely shocked.”

Brooks said he would gladly take only a half-mention on the list if it could make room for he and Sapp to be co-members of the all-time team.

“I wish I could carve up a little half of me to help him be on this team,” Brooks said. “I was extremely shocked to see him not on this list.”

The early returns on the list do suggest that the most recent era of players may have been given short shrift by the selection committee. No active players have been announced among the four position groups named so far (running backs, linebackers, defensive ends and defensive tackles), and only one player who played at all in this decade (Ray Lewis, who played from 1996 to 2012) has been named.

At Sapp’s defensive tackle position, six of the seven players selected played in the 1970s. Perhaps Sapp was overlooked in favor of those earlier players because many of the selectors of the all-time team got involved in pro football around the time of the 1970 AFL-NFL merger and consider that the greatest era of pro football history. It’s impossible to eliminate human bias when selecting a fundamentally subjective list like this, and in the minds of the voters, more recent players may have a hard time living up to the memories of great players from years past.

49 responses to “Derrick Brooks “shocked” Warren Sapp not on NFL’s all-time team

  1. As the league transitioned into the wide open passing league it is today Warren was killing QBs at an unprecedented rate. He’s probably not the best person in history, but he certainly deserves to be on this list.

  2. It’s a no-win situation for the committee charged with making the selections. One of them, PFT’s own Peter King, made the case from the start that he hoped to avoid a bias in favor of modern era players. Perhaps it has gone a little too far in the other direction, but when you see the film of someone (I had never heard of) like Bill Hewitt out their tackling without a helmet, how can you compare to a guy like Sapp, Howie Long, etc?

  3. Hard to say if he didn’t make the list because these lists are junk, after seeing the RB list last week why would you think differently, or is it because he’s a scum bag.

  4. Well, it’s guaranteed that there will be at least one active player on the all-time list (Tom Brady).

  5. I’m not surprised at all that Sapp didn’t make the cut. We’re not talking all pro or all decade here, we’re talking all time. And there are some incredible defensive players he’s competing against.

  6. I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and surmise Mr. Sapp didn’t suck up to the right people somewhere sometime. Oh well, such is life. Yawn.

  7. Sapp was an absolute beast and all these people talking hate would have gladly accepted him to their team in his prime

  8. Must keep the perspective its only 100 guys, not all on defense.
    Second it wasnt always a passing league with great defenders, not just pass rushers.

  9. These type of lists are so difficult, because I think in football more than any other sport, is difficult to compare era’s. Add into the fact that we love to romanticize our hero’s and the players we loved in the past, this type of thing will occur. Warren Sapp was a great player, and look we would probably not be talking about him and remembering how great he was if he did make the list.

  10. I just looked at the list and saw that Derrick Thomas isn’t on it. That is crazy. He was dominant during his career. When I think of scary defensive players, he always pops in my head.

  11. So, to those acting outraged that Sapp didn’t make it, who do you take off the list? I will admit that I don’t know as much about some of the older players, including some of them at DT, but who gets pulled if you think Sapp belongs?

    There are going to be a lot of deserving players at nearly every position that you could argue belong on the list. Take it for what it is, and move along.

  12. There was more talk and highlights of Warren Sapp on NFL Network than Bob Lilly and Randy White combined. The producers are a bunch of clowns, it’s pathetic actually.

  13. The crying about who didn’t make the list is pathetic, especially from the people who are under the misimpression that the choices were made by the three hosts. There are over 300 people in the Hall of Fame; obviously there will be HOF-level players who won’t make this top 100 list. And that’s especially the case when you consider that the selection committee took special care to include players from the early NFL era, many of whom were overlooked by the HOF because it didn’t start making picks until 1963 and has never been good at looking to the past.

    This top-100 pick is not a ticket to heaven. If your favorite players don’t make the cut, they don’t actually lose anything. If they’re Hall of Famers, that’s going to be what people point to, and that HOF status isn’t lessened if the guy didn’t make this top-100 players list.

    This show is entertainment, and it’s been great to watch so far. Seeing great film and listening to the panelists and old players tell stories has been downright exhilarating. Kudos to the NFL for this production.

  14. It smells to me like it’s a 1 man selection committee named Belichik. Belichik always favors nostalgia. Listen to him talk about Lawrence Taylor or any old time coach.

  15. Ok the vote was done by 50 people and not just bill and chris. It’s fun to have debate but there are going to be some all timers who dont make the cut and just cause we didnt see set players from the 30s and 40s doesnt mean we should ignore them either

  16. Can’t make exceptions for inferior eras to the exclusion of modern players. If you’re going to make the argument that comparing eras is difficult, then each period should be represented.

  17. Sapp is one of the few players that made the NFL’s All Decade Team for both the 90’s and 00’s. He belongs on the list.

    This is a player that was often triple teamed by opposing teams and he would still get to the QB. And for all the love that Aaron Donald gets, Sapp actually got it done when it was playoff time, something Donald has yet to do.

    The numbers don’t lie, Sapp was the best DT of the past 20 years, at least. First ballot hall of famer too. He was a complete turd off the field, though, and that is a big reason why a lot of people have commented that Sapp doesn’t belong on the list. Those people are wrong, but when you don’t have a lot of supporters off the field, this is what happens.

  18. The best comment that I’ve seen that i agree with is that each era should have been represented, maybe by decade. Players in earlier eras should not be short changed because there is not as much film on them. Sapp would be on my list, so would Adrian Peterson. How do you discount Aaron Donald & JJ Watt, they are great & proven players too.

  19. Let’s cut the crap, a large % of the players on that list would be average in today’s nfl. There are certain players that are timeless(LT, Brown, Payton, Montana) but most couldn’t cut it in today’s league. So therefore the list comes off somewhat disingenuous and overly respective of the past. Sapp should be on the list, but I have imagine him being so rapaciously unlikeable has something to do with it.

  20. Won’t catch me saying nice things about the Bucs or Warren Sapp very often, but on this I agree with Brooks.

  21. I do not think there should be any surprises when someone is left off. I think this because obviously all these men were selected from players over 100 years to be finalists. Once they get to that point, there are going to be varying opinions. This is like the voting for the HOF, where there are always worthy people that have to wait to get the nod, there were bound to be worthy people left off.
    I read Judy Batista article where only 6 of the choices were unanimous. I would think that points to the fact that there was lots of discussion on the nominees.
    Plus the modern day nominees were seen on television all the time, where I think alot of bias comes in.People are unfamiliar with the ones who weren’t. Therefore they feel those like Sapp got slighted. I feel because someone like Belichick was on the panel enabled those that may not have gotten the time get a fair chance.

  22. The “players from the past would suck now” argument is so flawed and ignorant. You can only judge how good a player was in his era v the players he’s competing against.

    Otherwise,I’ll say the top 100 NFL players ever haven’t been born yet. In 100 years, Brady couldn’t hold the jock of half the NFL QB’s…

  23. sapp probably eroded any chance with his years of idiotic commentary post retirement. just sick of him. LT was an equivalent dirt bag of a human being, but atleast disappeared back into the gutter after his playing days.

  24. I’m “Shocked” Derrick Brooks is on the list. Good player, but come on. Certainly not a top ten in league history.

  25. Sapp was an incredible player and a deserving HOFer, but Brooks deeming his exclusion “shocking” brings into question his knowledge of NFL history at least to some degree in my mind. Also, it shouldn’t matter but Sapp being a generally abysmal and unapologetic human being likely didn’t help his case as these decisions were indeed made by inherently overly subjective humans and not machines.

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