In his new autobiography, "Sapp Attack: My Story," former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp goes off on a number of subjects. The book doesn't come out until August 21, but it's already gained some traction -- and a bit of controversy -- because the always-outspoken Sapp (now an analyst on the NFL Network) gets some pretty prominent people in his sights in the book -- former teammates like Trent Dilfer and Keyshawn Johnson, former Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, and others.
Sapp went on Wednesday's "Dan Patrick Show" to talk about the book, and as always, he was sufficiently incendiary in his delivery.
On Sapp pleading with Trent Dilfer to "stop throwing pick-sixes": "I ripped Trent Dilfer? What did I say about Trent Dilfer that you would consider a rip? Because when I rip, I really rip. When you leave the University of Miami -- that great place, Quarterback U, and your [NFL] quarterback throws four touchdowns and 18 picks, what are you going to say? It was what was being said at the front of the room by [Tony] Dungy. If we don't turn the ball over ... and it wasn't 'we,' it was him. It was that simple. When you're playing Buc Ball, the last thing you can do is turn it over."
On Keyshawn Johnson: "Listen, man -- it ain't no secret that me and Keyshawn didn't get along. It was more about his professionalism. When somebody follows you around the Pro Bowl for three or four days, and says, 'Listen, let's unite and we'll win the championship. I've got the offense, you've got the defense.' And you hear about him flying across the country for [former New York Jets head coach] Bill Parcells' OTAs ... but he won't come to Tony Dungy's offseason conditioning? Last time I checked, Florida's a lot nicer in the summer than New York."
The most controversial comments in the book will undoubtedly be about former Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, the coaching genius who furthered the Tampa-2 scheme that took the NFL by storm in the first decade of the new millennium. Kiffin is about as well-regarded, professionally and personally, as any coach can be, so stuff like this might go down a bit hard in some quarters:
On Monte Kiffin: "There was a certain game we were playing in the Trans-World dome in St. Louis -- the 1999 NFC championship game. It was third-and-12, and we called our famous 'check-with-me' blitz, and I'm pissed, I'm like, 'Just line up the four guys to rush, please?' We barely get a chance to go after the quarterback -- let's get one right here. [Kurt Warner] will throw a slant, we'll tackle him, they'll try a long field goal or punt or something like that. Kurt Warner sees the blitz and calls timeout. Now, there's a rule Monte Kiffin has. If we have this 'check-with-me' blitz on, and the quarterback audibles, we have to check to [Tampa-2]. There's nothing else we can do but check to 2, because he sees the blitz. The only reason I know this now is because Kurt Warner works with me [at the NFL Network], and I had a feeling he was changing the play.
"So, he goes over and pleads with Mike Martz, and Dick Vermeil sends Ricky Proehl on the takeoff instead of the hitch. If he goes with the hitch, and we pick it off or it goes back the other way, the game is over. [Linebacker Derrick] Brooks is going to the sideline, and I'm not going to the sideline. I tell Brooks, 'You tell [Kiffin] we've gotta go to [Cover-2], right?' and Brooks says, 'Yeah, yeah, I'll tell him.' He goes over to the sideline, comes back, and says, 'We're blitzing again.' Ricky Proehl catches the ball [for a touchdown], we lose 11-6, I lose my shot at the Super Bowl."
On the Jeremy Shockey "snitch" story that reportedly almost cost Sapp his NFL Network gig: "You'd have to ask the people who sat down and decided if I had a job or not, Dan. I regret that I put it out there with that word. That's the one thing -- I apologize to the man for calling him a snitch, because that's the wrong connotation at any point, at any time. It wasn't about [that Shockey wasn't the 'snitch'] -- it was about the connotation of the word and what it means."
On his financial situation: "I'll be all right. Damn -- your momma never told you to believe none of what you read?"
On whether he would let his son play football: "He loves lacrosse, Dan!"
And there you have it.
I'll say this about Sapp -- I've interviewed him before, and he's one of the quickest people, from an intellectual perspective, I've ever talked to. He comes to every interview at game speed, and if you're not keeping up, he'll simply pass you by. He's a very, very smart guy.
The only problem I have with the "rip jobs," alleged or otherwise, is when he takes off on Kiffin. Whether Sapp agrees with Kiffin's strategy or not, he's talking about one of the game's great strategists, and a coach who has influenced an entire generation of coaches -- everyone from Pete Carroll to Mike Tomlin to Raheem Morris to Leslie Frazier. Kiffin may have cost Sapp a shot at one Super Bowl (at least in his mind), but Sapp conveniently forgets that it was the same Kiffin defense that beat the living crap out of the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVI and forced five picks from quarterback Rich Gannon.
Going off on Kiffin seems gratuitous and unfair in retrospect, but it's Sapp's book, and we're just waiting to read it.