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    Default A Football Life: Barry Sanders




    Anyone else watch this when it was on NFL network a few days back? I taped it and watched it recently. What was interesting to me was really getting to see "inside" Sanders head a little bit.

    I think so many of us were very upset about the timing and the manner in which Sanders left the team. I know I was angry for a number of years, but have slowly reversed my feeling on it. Watching the special helped that feeling even more. Sanders was a very different, very interesting guy. The attention, the awards, the accolades, they really didn't mean squat to him. He really just didn't care about that.

    Honestly, I would have a loved to see him play a few more years. I would have loved to see him hold the all time rushing record. And part of me thought something must have been really wrong to have Sanders leave when the record was so close for him to get. But he just didn't seem to care about the record.

    It was really an enlightening special to watch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRamage View Post
    Anyone else watch this when it was on NFL network a few days back? I taped it and watched it recently. What was interesting to me was really getting to see "inside" Sanders head a little bit.

    I think so many of us were very upset about the timing and the manner in which Sanders left the team. I know I was angry for a number of years, but have slowly reversed my feeling on it. Watching the special helped that feeling even more. Sanders was a very different, very interesting guy. The attention, the awards, the accolades, they really didn't mean squat to him. He really just didn't care about that.

    Honestly, I would have a loved to see him play a few more years. I would have loved to see him hold the all time rushing record. And part of me thought something must have been really wrong to have Sanders leave when the record was so close for him to get. But he just didn't seem to care about the record.

    It was really an enlightening special to watch.
    I suspect I am in the minority, but it really didn't bother me how he retired. I obviously was disappointed he retired, but felt that was purely his decision (obviously), and further felt the specifics of it were not nearly as relevant or damning or damaging as the Detroit sports media made it out to be.

    I was at least 10x more disappointed with people (fans, people in the media) who were dismissive of him or his career after the fact than I ever was with the manner in which he retired.

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    I was very disappointed Sanders left the way he did at the time. Now that I understand the ineptitude of the Lions organization, I am much more forgiving of Sanders and respect him for deciding not to put up with the Lions goofiness anymore.

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    Did the show just end with no explanation after 48 minutes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesgoblu02 View Post
    Did the show just end with no explanation after 48 minutes?
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    Does anyone have a link to watch the full show online? I keep finding 6-8 minute segments but I'd like to watch it all the way through and in order. Haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRamage View Post
    Anyone else watch this when it was on NFL network a few days back? I taped it and watched it recently. What was interesting to me was really getting to see "inside" Sanders head a little bit.

    I think so many of us were very upset about the timing and the manner in which Sanders left the team. I know I was angry for a number of years, but have slowly reversed my feeling on it. Watching the special helped that feeling even more. Sanders was a very different, very interesting guy. The attention, the awards, the accolades, they really didn't mean squat to him. He really just didn't care about that.

    Honestly, I would have a loved to see him play a few more years. I would have loved to see him hold the all time rushing record. And part of me thought something must have been really wrong to have Sanders leave when the record was so close for him to get. But he just didn't seem to care about the record.

    It was really an enlightening special to watch.
    I never got the "I am pissed at Barry!' or the 'We deserved more/better' arguments with his retirement. I wanted to see more, but I was nowhere near pissed about it and he was the reason I started watching football when we drafted him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euphdude View Post
    I was very disappointed Sanders left the way he did at the time. Now that I understand the ineptitude of the Lions organization, I am much more forgiving of Sanders and respect him for deciding not to put up with the Lions goofiness anymore.
    But based on the program, Sanders wasn't so much fed up with them as just not looking forward to another rebuilding process. It wasn't that he thought they were inept or goofy or anything, just saw the writing on the walls that it would be another 3-5 years of rebuilding and didn't want to go through with that.

    I still think he left the Lions a little high and dry by quitting just a day or so before training camp was to open. But the more I hear about him, his attitude and way of doing things, this doesn't seem that out of character and certainly wasn't intended to be malicious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRamage View Post
    I still think he left the Lions a little high and dry by quitting just a day or so before training camp was to open.
    Had he not left them high and dry and retired at season's end rather than training camp beginning, would it really have changed anything?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRamage View Post
    Anyone else watch this when it was on NFL network a few days back? I taped it and watched it recently. What was interesting to me was really getting to see "inside" Sanders head a little bit.

    I think so many of us were very upset about the timing and the manner in which Sanders left the team. I know I was angry for a number of years, but have slowly reversed my feeling on it. Watching the special helped that feeling even more. Sanders was a very different, very interesting guy. The attention, the awards, the accolades, they really didn't mean squat to him. He really just didn't care about that.

    Honestly, I would have a loved to see him play a few more years. I would have loved to see him hold the all time rushing record. And part of me thought something must have been really wrong to have Sanders leave when the record was so close for him to get. But he just didn't seem to care about the record.

    It was really an enlightening special to watch.
    I agree. It was mostly stuff I already knew about but I found it very cool to watch it all again. I loved the way they showed so many highlights of his game against the Jets to go over 2000 yards. And the way he didn't dance/prance around after scoring is legendary. (for any fans who never saw his humble side)

    I wish they would have mentioned the one time he spiked the ball, in Minnesota, after a huge Lions comeback. It's the only time I ever remember him spiking the ball.

    And the year he had over 2000 yards rushing? I had totally forgotten he only had something like 54 yards total yards after the first two games.......
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    The greatest football player there ever was IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bigglesworth View Post
    Had he not left them high and dry and retired at season's end rather than training camp beginning, would it really have changed anything?
    It would have saved some fans money on season tickets. I still say the Lions should have offered refunds. This was one of the reasons I never bought my season tickets until after the exhibition season. The other reason was having to buy tickets for those exhibition games, they should be free for season ticket holders, IMO.

    I admit, I was quite upset when he quit. Not jersey burning mad like some people I saw, just more like bummed out he wasn't going to get the all time rushing record. And when Emmitt was interviewed on this show, he wouldn't admit that Barry could have had enough yards that Smith would never have caught him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bigglesworth View Post
    Had he not left them high and dry and retired at season's end rather than training camp beginning, would it really have changed anything?
    Not in the sense of losing the best RB in the game who isn't replaceable. But if the team had know going into the off season that they would need to replace their RB it's likely they would have been able to get someone better than Greg Hill or Ron Rivers as their running backs. Remember, the Lions where the best team in the NFC half way through the season. Then Batch broke his thumb and everything fell apart. I always wonder how things may have been different that year if Sanders was still on the team or if we'd had time to find a good RB instead of using backups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sports_Freak View Post
    It would have saved some fans money on season tickets.
    Fair enough. Hadn't thought of that.

    EDIT: I owned Lion season tickets for 3 seasons. It was after college and before I was married. I bought them solely because of Sanders.
    Last edited by Mr. Bigglesworth; 12-12-2012 at 08:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRamage View Post
    Not in the sense of losing the best RB in the game who isn't replaceable. But if the team had know going into the off season that they would need to replace their RB it's likely they would have been able to get someone better than Greg Hill or Ron Rivers as their running backs. Remember, the Lions where the best team in the NFC half way through the season. Then Batch broke his thumb and everything fell apart. I always wonder how things may have been different that year if Sanders was still on the team or if we'd had time to find a good RB instead of using backups.
    I don't think having time to find a good RB would have changed that season much. I think they were screwed because he retired rather than when he retired. JMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bigglesworth View Post
    I don't think having time to find a good RB would have changed that season much. I think they were screwed because he retired rather than when he retired. JMO.
    Well, I agree in part. I mean, unless you had the option for AP, there's not really anyone who could come in and replace Sanders. Still, what we ended up replacing him with was much worse.

    It's not unlike any place of employment. You might be a superb employee who's head and shoulders about just about anyone in your field. If you decided to retire it's going to be very hard to find anyone near your caliber to replace you. That still doesn't mean that if you up and quit the day before a major new project is about to start; a project that you were going to be a key player in. You should still give your employer notice. Give them time to adjust and plan for your departure.

    Sanders has said many times that he had a strong feeling that he wasn't coming back. But he never said boo about it to his team until the day before Training Camp opened. That wasn't a good move. It may not have made a HUGE difference in how the Lions approached 1999, but I think it would have made some difference.

    Who knows... maybe the Lions would have gotten an RB that made 'em just good enough that we didn't end up with the Millen era. Then we don't end up with the 0-16 year. That's some history I'd rather we didn't have hanging on the team.

    I understand things much better now. I was very disappointed and upset when Sanders left. I was angry with him for a while. I've long since gotten over that and I really appreciate being able to root for him as long as I was able too. But I still think the timing of his retirement was a bad thing. I don't hate him over it... I just think he should have given more notice.

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    I understand one oughtn't quit the day before a major project. I just think the actual harm to the Lions that came about because of the timing of his retirement has been overstated by the media and fans in general.

    Continuing your analogy, if you aren't going to have a successful project without this great employee independent of whether he quit 6 months before it started or the day before it started, then the timing of his action wasn't that significant. Regrettable and unprofessional? Absolutely. Significant? I doubt it, but that is just my opinion.

    Trying to hang the Millen era on him is strained and is an example of exactly of the type of overstatement I have been talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRamage View Post
    Not in the sense of losing the best RB in the game who isn't replaceable. But if the team had know going into the off season that they would need to replace their RB it's likely they would have been able to get someone better than Greg Hill or Ron Rivers as their running backs. Remember, the Lions where the best team in the NFC half way through the season. Then Batch broke his thumb and everything fell apart. I always wonder how things may have been different that year if Sanders was still on the team or if we'd had time to find a good RB instead of using backups.
    James Stewart did an adequate job. I remember having discussions with friends ALL the time about him. They all called him garbage....he was not garbage....he was just not Barry Sanders....no one is.....even AP or Foster or MJD....are they all garbage?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bigglesworth View Post
    Continuing your analogy, if you aren't going to have a successful project without this great employee independent of whether he quit 6 months before it started or the day before it started, then the timing of his action wasn't that significant. Regrettable and unprofessional? Absolutely. Significant? I doubt it, but that is just my opinion.
    Okay, first of all I think half my problem is the regrettable and unprofessional part of it.

    But I think there is some level of significance to it... at least more than what you're stating. I think you are correct in your extension of my analogy. But I still see a problem here. If I'm planning to start a major project that will be, in large part, centered around you and your exceptional skills, but then find out you're leaving 4 months before the project starts, I have time to try to find a substitute(s) or modify my project, or complete scrap the idea.

    Now, to be sure the Lions couldn't scrap the season, but they could have modified much of what they did that off season to prepare. Look, we're mostly in agreement here. We agree it was unprofessional regarding the timing. And we agree that even given two years notice it would have been impossible to replace Sanders. I think the only disagreement is on how the Lions could have used the extra time to better prepare for life without Sanders. I think it would have helped a bit more than you seem to think it would have helped.

    Trying to hang the Millen era on him is strained and is an example of exactly of the type of overstatement I have been talking about.
    Yeah that was supposed to be said in a somewhat joking voice. I didn't convey that well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John_Brian_K View Post
    James Stewart did an adequate job. I remember having discussions with friends ALL the time about him. They all called him garbage....he was not garbage....he was just not Barry Sanders....no one is.....even AP or Foster or MJD....are they all garbage?
    Agree with all of this. Stewart wasn't garbage, it just wasn't the guy we were used to and happened to be a on a team that didn't do very well.

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    A little off subject, but this Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona is the closest resemblance to Barry Sanders since Barry Sanders. He's only a soph, so he's got another year to go. Wow.
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    Just to clarify, he's not nearly as talented as Barry, but he's got some similarities that I haven't seen since Barry.
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    For anyone who didn't see it, here is a YouTube link to the full episode:

    A Football Life - Barry Sanders [HD] - YouTube

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    Watched it and had a couple of thoughts:

    a. I am a Michigan fan / grad. If my son won the Heisman (he won't) for Ohio State and gave it to me, there is no way I would place it behind my Michgan helmet on the mantle. You'd better believe that trophy would be front and center, certainly not behind some meaningless helmet.

    b. How stubborn and myopic would a high school coach have to be to not play Sanders at running back because he didn't move the pile enough? The answer is very.

    c. Kevin Glover summed up my position really well when he said (paraphrase) how any Lions fan could be angry at Sanders after everything he produced on the field is beyond him.

    d. I found Emmitt Smith more likeable with his comments than I expected. I chuckled when he said (paraphrase) if you know Barry, you know he doesn't want a retirement party.

    e. I never knew the retirement fax to the Wichita newspaper was sent to his childhood friend.
    Last edited by Mr. Bigglesworth; 12-17-2012 at 07:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bigglesworth View Post
    Watched it and had a couple of thoughts:

    a. I am a Michigan fan / grad. If my son won the Heisman (he won't) for Ohio State and gave it to me, there is no way I would place it behind my Michgan helmet on the mantle. You'd better believe that trophy would be front and center, certainly not behind some meaningless helmet.
    I agree... but what I do think it highlights is how humble and 'down play personal accomplishments' the family was. Now, I think the family may have gone too far with this myself. But it does help to understand Barry and his attitude and how he played. Personal fame really wasn't that important to him. Records really didn't mean that much to him.

    d. I found Emmitt Smith more likeable with his comments than I expected. I chuckled when he said (paraphrase) if you know Barry, you know he doesn't want a retirement party.
    I did as well...

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRamage View Post
    I agree... but what I do think it highlights is how humble and 'down play personal accomplishments' the family was. Now, I think the family may have gone too far with this myself. But it does help to understand Barry and his attitude and how he played. Personal fame really wasn't that important to him. Records really didn't mean that much to him.
    I think that particular thing had more to do with his father being an OU fan and demonstrating he was the alpha male in his house than anything. I half-expected to see a piece of black electrical tape covering the word 'State' in 'Oklahoma State University' on the trophy.

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    I have no problem with Sanders. In the NFL when a team doesn't want a player they drop them without issue or concern of loyalty. Sanders gave the Lions many great years and felt it was time to retire. I can't fault him for that regardless the time or regardless of reason. The Lions blew a great opportunity with one of the great players in NFL history - that's on the Lions.

    And to this day, it's even more awesome when I think that I saw every one of his run plays at home live. It kind of gives you the chills, really. So many great memories.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTroppens View Post
    I have no problem with Sanders. In the NFL when a team doesn't want a player they drop them without issue or concern of loyalty. Sanders gave the Lions many great years and felt it was time to retire. I can't fault him for that regardless the time or regardless of reason. The Lions blew a great opportunity with one of the great players in NFL history - that's on the Lions.

    And to this day, it's even more awesome when I think that I saw every one of his run plays at home live. It kind of gives you the chills, really. So many great memories.
    Yes, his runs still thrill me. He could even turn a 2 yard loss into a very exciting play.

    I've read somewhere, years ago, the Sanders had more runs for loss than any RB in history? Does anyone know if this is true?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTroppens View Post
    I have no problem with Sanders. In the NFL when a team doesn't want a player they drop them without issue or concern of loyalty. Sanders gave the Lions many great years and felt it was time to retire. I can't fault him for that regardless the time or regardless of reason. The Lions blew a great opportunity with one of the great players in NFL history - that's on the Lions.

    And to this day, it's even more awesome when I think that I saw every one of his run plays at home live. It kind of gives you the chills, really. So many great memories.
    Barry wanted to retire healthy. Closely related to why he had so many of those runs for loss. And you can't blame a guy for that. He was surely the saner one in a world where most guys are willing to do things that take years off of their life expectancies and future mobility for what in the end, is still just someone else's entertainment.
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