Favre Helped Make Sapp Household NameJuly 7th, 2013
While Bucs fans knew how special of a defensive tackle Warren Sapp was in 1997, casual fans likely had no idea what kind of a player Sapp was, or perhaps never heard of him but less saw him.
That all changed when the Bucs traveled to Green Bay to face the Packers in an NFC semifinal game. That day, Packers quarterback Brett Favre and Sapp had a memorable duel before a national audience.
Quickly, even casual fans knew all about Sapp while he sacked Favre three times and forced two fumbles.
Also late in the game, Sapp and Favre got into memorable jawing sessions where it was easy to see both players were having fun, as if they were playing backyard football. Two of the game’s greatest going mano y mano with a great deal at stake, including significant bragging rights.
Sapp reminisced to Joe and other media about the day every NFL fan finally knew his name.
“One of those nice cold days in Green Bay where two country boys went at it,” Sapp said earlier this spring. “We had a good time that afternoon. It was fun. No other game was on [TV] at the time. That’s where you get ingrained in America’s [mindset]. He and I were going back and forth on each other. It was high theater. At one point he goes to the sideline and I am dog-tired and it is third-and-18 and I turned and I’m getting ready to go off and I’m not even looking at the clock but he is, he’s the quarterback, naturally. So it was flipping from third quarter to fourth and he yells at me, ‘Hey, where are you going?’ And I said to myself, ‘It can’t be no one but him.’
“So I go over to chase him and he is going over plays with [Packers coach] Mike Holmgren and he tells Mike, ‘Hold on,’ and he comes back to me. So we have one of those silly moments where he goes, ‘What’s up?’ and I say, ‘Just one more quarter. You come on down here. I will be ready once you finish up with Mike.’ It was one of those silly kind of things. Funny, man. We got caught up in the moment, me and him.”
Of course, the Packers won, but it was Sapp who planted his flag in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field that day. It was a warning to all other opponents: If you were going to tangle with the Bucs defense in future seasons, you had to figure out a way to stop Sapp.
Not many teams did.