He may be the dean of Ball So Hard University but Terrell Suggs has a doctorate in trash talk. Suggs’ personality and willingness to debate has made him an easy target for desperate ratings grabs by ESPN’s First Take.
The show, which originated as Cold Pizza, a morning sports program, has now developed into being the laughing stock of ESPN’s programming lineup. Host Skip Bayless has allowed his journalistic integrity to become clouded by his infatuation with quarterback Tim Tebow and other ridiculous opinions. He has a strong distaste for the Baltimore Ravens – especially quarterback Joe Flacco – but, much like a train wreck, viewers can’t look away and the show does very well.
As recently as a week ago, the show actually had a segment about Tebow possibly leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl - a topic the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” should be embarrassed to even put on their screens, even on ESPNU.
Prior to winning a Super Bowl of his own, Suggs joined me and former Super Bowl Champion Brad Jackson on the Purple and Black Attack. I asked him about his relationship with Skip and why he continues to provide them with ratings.
“I know Skip [Bayless] has got a little man crush on the boy 12 [Tom Brady] up there in Foxboro. He’s got a little man crush for another team in our division,” Suggs said. “We’re just the team that everybody loves to hate, but that’s alright, we like it like that.”
Suggs was then asked why he continues to appear on the show and debate Bayless.
“I can’t pinpoint the exact moment of when it started,” he said. “Every time he attacks my quarterback, I attack his. His was Timothy Tebow for a while and then the [Peyton] Manning trade happened. I was like ‘wow, you haven’t spoken anything about Tim Tebow,’ when the Jets started tanking, he was campaigning to get him in there. But the Jets knew something we didn’t because they still didn’t play him. Mark Sanchez played horrible, terrible, but they would not put Tim Tebow in. They put the number three guy in [Greg McElroy]. I was like, okay, what’s going on?”
In his battle with Bayless, Suggs got the last laugh as not only did the Ravens win the Super Bowl, but Flacco was named the Most Valuable Player. Before complaining about a no-call on Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith on the 49ers’ final offensive play, Bayless took to Twitter and admit that he was wrong about Flacco by tweeting, “Congratulations to Joe Flacco. I was sure wrong about you today.”
(Meanwhile, Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley said that Flacco wouldn’t go to a Super Bowl “in his lifetime,” but still has a pulse and hasn’t owned up to being wrong.)
Now that Suggs and Bayless can no longer debate about Flacco, that didn’t stop the host from attacking Suggs himself. The former Defensive Player of the Year made Bayless eat his words.
Skip: “I have one question for you Terrell Suggs, exactly how much credit do you deserve for the Super Bowl victory because I’m looking at my stat sheet here and unless my eyes are going bad, you only had one tackle and one assist.”
Cohost Stephen A. Smith: “Ridiculous question.”
Suggs: What you get credit for in games, that’s not my job. I will say this, first and foremost, congrats to the San Francisco 49ers, they played a hell of a game. But Skip, I’ve got to ask you, since you’ve never won anything in your life, do you know what a game plan is? Just in case you don’t, a game plan is a plan a team comes up with to stop an opponent. The reason the San Francisco 49ers are in the Super Bowl this year and not last year is because of who?
Bayless: Colin Kaepernick, and your job was to keep him from going outside, right?
Suggs: A quarterback that can both beat you with his feet and as well as his arm, we had to address that. I would have loved to have went out there and had four and five sacks and been the game MVP, but it’s not a guarantee that we would have won the game, Skip.
Suggs then clearly showed that he did his homework and began to take Bayless’ foot and feed it to him.
Suggs: Ask Jason Pierre-Paul how many sacks did he have last year in the Super Bowl? None, but he won the game. Ask Clay Matthews in the Super Bowl before, how many sacks did he have in the game? But he won the game.
Bayless: Oh, so you’re studying the stats?
Smith: (to Bayless) Don’t mock him, let him speak.
Suggs: The Super Bowl, it’s about winning or losing. Ask Darnell Dockett if he’d like to trade in his three sacks that he had in the Super Bowl in 2008 for a Super Bowl ring. I would have loved to turn it lose and go out there and kick butt but the kid was special, the kid had the ability to beat us with his feet, so we had to be very cautious on the pass rush and we had to make him make every throw, and we did so.
Skip, I’ve won every award a football player can win. I’ve been player of the year in every level that I’ve played the sport in. I’ve been to Pro Bowls, I’ve been All-Pro and I’ve been Defensive Player of the Year. The only thing I didn’t have on my resume was Super Bowl Champion, but guess what? As of February 3rd, 2013, that changed.
Are you going to tell me that Torrey Smith wasn’t a factor because he didn’t score a touchdown? Are you going to tell me that Ed Dickson wasn’t a factor because he only had two catches? Are you going to tell me our offensive line wasn’t a factor for only giving up two sacks?
Bayless realized that Suggs was burying him so he dug deep into his bag of tricks and came out looking even worse. On the screen, ESPN played video of Suggs attacking Kaepernick during handoffs where Suggs’ assignment was to always cover the quarterback. Bayless then buried himself with the following statement, which just made Suggs laugh.
Bayless: I saw that your assignment was chiefly to go hit Colin Kaepernick when he handed off the ball.
Suggs: I’m not going to break down football to you Skip, he’s a runner, he’s running the option.
Bayless is a known “troll,” but in this instance he really let his ignorance to the game of football shine through.