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prough91
12-11-2007, 01:11 AM
Tom Brady drops back to pass. Itís third and seven and a must make down. If the Pats can score before halftime they can change the momentum, and, maybe, the outcome of the game. Around the end of the line a man in red suddenly appears arms flailing and spit flying. Just before Brady can make the throw, heís tackled. Not a bone crushing tackle, it wouldnít even make the top fifty on Sportscenter, but it was a game changing tackle. Goosebumps spread up and down my arms and I have a feeling I havenít felt in almost six years. The man making the tackle wears a different number, but there was something uncanny in how much he looked like number 58. Not in physique, or size, or even color, but there was something about him. People sometimes look at me like Iím nuts when I tell them Jared Allen reminds me of Derrick Thomas. On the face of it, it looks like they might be right. It does make a person seem a little screwy when they compare a 6í3Ē, 230 pound linebacker whoís pure speed with a 6í6Ē, 265 pound defensive end who looks like heís running in quicksand. When you break it down, itís hard to tell who is better just by looking at their stats. D.T. had ten sacks his rookie year; Allen had nine. Of course, Derrick blew up for twenty sacks in his second year, but after that the most he ever had was 14.5. Through his second year, Derrick had three forced fumbles (which really surprised me, considering his patented ďKC StripĒ); Allen has seven. Which are more important, fumbles or sacks? I would take the fumbles. If you force the quarterback to fumble, the balls on the ground and you have a chance to get it. Of course, if you want to go with sexy, youíve got to take the sack. Their style of play is nothing alike. Derrick would beat you with speed and quickness. Everyone in the NFL said that he had the quickest first step in all of football during his prime. Jared pummels and spins and pushes, he does everything he can do to get to that football. He realizes he isnít going to beat you with his feet, so heíll just beat you. Two very different football players, yet I compare them. I can, though, I have the right. Iím a fan.

Being a fan is kind of funny. I would not pay $85 dollars to put my best friendís name on my back, but Iíll gladly hand over that same $85 to buy someoneís jersey that I never met, and quite honestly, might not even like if I ever met them in person. Thatís what is great about being a fan. We donít have to think, we donít have to rationalize; we just have to feel. How else would Barry Bonds get standing ovations in Candlestick? How else would Dale Earnhardt still be selling t-shirts after being dead for over five years? How else could anyone still watch Randy Moss? How? Because we love them. Theyíre like our kids. Theyíll mess up and fool around, but at the end of the day we still love them. Let me give you an example of how blind and loyal this love can be. I feel like I know you all, and am comfortable telling you thisÖ.Iím a Royals fan. No, no, not the British royals (my life couldnít be so easy), Iím talking about the Kansas City Royals. Yeah, those Royals. The owner of the worst record in baseball. The team on pace to set the worst record ever known in MLB. But you know what? I still love them. I get up everyday and put on my Royals cap. I come home from work every night and watch them play. I even stay up late to watch their high(low?)lights. Why, you may ask? Why do I torture myself everyday? Why do I put myself out there for ridicule day after day after day? Because I love them. Thatís how silly and unlogical a fanís love is. Thatís how I can compare D.T. to Jarred Allen.

When D.T. died, it was like a part of me died too. Some people have a difficult time understanding how the death of Derrick Thomas could affect me so much. ďHeís just a football player,Ē they say, ďYouíve never even met him.Ē Thatís true. I never did get to meet D.T., But I watched him every Sunday for years. I lived and died with him a hundred times. I hurt when he hurt, cried when he cried, and rejoiced when he rejoiced. So hell, yeah, it hurt when he died. It might have been easier to take if he had been sixty, or seventy or even fifty, but he was thirty-three. Iím thirty-three. He was taken too young. It wasnít fair. Now, itís been six years. Iíve healed a little. Iíve decided it was time to find someone else to live and die with. When you watch Jared Allen play, you can see it. He wants the ball, he needs the ball; a lot like Derrick. When a big play needs to happen, Jared comes around the end dragging a tackle and gets the sack; a lot like Derrick. Am I pushing a little? Is it kind of naÔve to think that Jared can be the next Derrick Thomas? Maybe, but thatís how being a fan works. You believe. You hope. You pray. I want Jared to play at the same level as Derrick. I need him to. I bet sometimes I might even exaggerate a little of what he does in my head. I probably donít see the times he gets knocked on his butt. Donít want to. You see, in my head, he is as good as D.T. because I need that, and I really doubt anyone else is going to make me see other wise.

You can compare the stats all you want. You can break down hour after hour of game film to decide whoís better. Iím sure if you went into any sports bar and started debating about who was better, D.T. or Allen, it would go on forever, at least until a fist fight broke out. Thatís the best thing about being a fan. Thereís hardly ever a consensus. Oh sure, youíll have your Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, Jim Browns, that everyone knows was some of the all-time greats. When youíre a fan, however, you can find all kinds of ways to make an average player look like a once in a life time player. ďHe never had any defensive helpÖhe never had a quarterback to get him the ballÖhe was playing out of position.Ē Youíre smiling. Youíve heard them, hell, youíve probably even uttered a few excuses for your favorite player. Thatís what itís about. Thatís what makes it great to be a fan.

Itís funny, looking back, how much I took D.T. for granted. I thought he would be around forever. Yeah, I knew he was slowing down and he was losing a step or two, but I thought he would go out different. I thought he would get sent out in style. It was going to be a grand circus, celebrations in every city. Letís be honest, who didnít like to watch him play? He played like a little kid. You could see the joy on his face everytime he took the field. He was going to be young forever. ThenÖhe was gone. Iím never going to get to see him come around the end and smear a quarterback who doesnít even know he is in the same zipcode. Iím never going to get to see him call a safety, and then get it. What player has ever done that before, and done it when it counted? Iíve seen one, D.T. Iím done mourning. Thereís a new man in K.C. Heíll be great. Heís already shown flashes of how much of an impact player he can be. Heís not D.T., not yet, but itís fun watching him evolve. Itís fun watching him play with the heart and drive that made D.T. great. There will never be another D.T., not for me or any other Chiefís fan. Any Chief fan would give their left arm to see Derrick come around the end of the line just one more time. Just once. But, now, thereís another man flying around the end of the line. He gets sacks in bunches. He can change the flow of a game. Iím going to watch him every Sunday. Iím going to live and die with him a hundred times. I going to hurt when he hurts, cry when he cries, and rejoice when he rejoices. Jared Allenís good. Jared Allen will beat you down. Yeah, Iím going to watch number 69. Iím going to appreciate him while I have him. You know why? Because sometimes while youíre watching Jared play and they need a stop; Jared will come around the end and make the big play. If you look real close when heís getting off the quarterback and the lightís just right, youíll see a shadowy 58 flicker across his uniform.

Chiefster
12-11-2007, 01:19 AM
Classic indeed bud; good job! :)

hermhater
12-11-2007, 02:37 AM
I feel for you, that you never got to meet that man.

D.T. is as awesome a player as you will ever see in the NFL.

Since he D.T. is, sadly, gone we will embrace Jared and enjoy his talents on the field!!!

Nice breakdown man!

Chiefster
12-11-2007, 03:31 AM
I feel for you, that you never got to meet that man.

D.T. is as awesome a player as you will ever see in the NFL.

Since he D.T. is, sadly, gone we will embrace Jared and enjoy his talents on the field!!!

Nice breakdown man!

...And I appreciate the fact that he has cleaned up his act off the field.

hermhater
12-11-2007, 04:00 AM
...And I appreciate the fact that he has cleaned up his act off the field.

Since this thread is moving so fast I will quote you Chiefster!

I don't want to have another member quoting during my reply!

Jared has become a monster-among-monsters in the NFL!!!

:yahoo: