There are few people I like watching play football more than Aqib Talib. Here are just a couple of reasons why.
1. His name is Aqib Talib.
2. Aqib Talib is one of the most athletically talented football players in the NFL.
3. Aqib Talib thinks he’s the greatest player in football.
4. Aqib Talib plays football like he can make every great play in the world, and sometimes this doesn’t end well for him.
5. His name is Aqib Talib.
I was reminded of these five things when I saw Aqib Talib make the game-winning play against Roddy White and the Atlanta Falcons a few weeks ago. Aqib Talib, being the overconfident guy that he is, made that boss face you saw up above. Man it was glorious.
Then on Sunday, Bill Belicheck decided to tell the world that Aqib Talib could handle the ultimate challenge, shadowing the 6-foot-7, 265-pound unfairness of a tight end in Jimmy Graham. What kind of insane person decides to put a cornerback on Jimmy Graham? Belicheck does. So what does Aqib Talib go out there and do? Per the Boston Globe, he proved him right.
The official stat sheet says Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib didn’t have much of an impact in Sunday’s 30-27 win over the Saints. He didn’t record a tackle or make any big plays, and the only numbers he compiled were one pass defended and one punt return for minus-11 yards on a trick return that was botched by Julian Edelman.
But anyone who watched the game knows that Talib was downright dominant while matching up against star tight end Jimmy Graham until leaving with a hip injury in the third quarter. Graham, who entered the game with 37 catches, 593 yards, and six touchdowns, was shut out Sunday, held without a catch (on six targets) for the first time since Week 8 of 2010, his rookie season.
Graham, the Saints’ dynamic 6-foot-7-inch tight end and the NFL’s leading receiver entering the day, was initiated into an impressive club on Sunday. He was neutralized by Talib — much like Stevie Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Julio Jones, and A.J. Green were earlier in the season.
Maybe the football gods weren’t going to let Aqib Talib go away totally unscathed, because in the 2nd half he suffered a strained hip flexor. Damn him and his cockiness, I guess they said. But you know what, I imagine Aqib Talib looked at the box score in the locker room and saw that #80 for the Saints finished the game with 0 catches, gingerly propped up his leg opposite his hip flexor, and made that boss face from up above. Because the man’s name is Aqib Talib.
Here is your Monday morning reading, enjoy.
Canadian gov’t to push cable providers to unbundle channels – Reuters
Instant Classic: the cop who cheered the grand slam – Hardball Talk
Cavaliers still searching for small forward to replace that guy who left town – Pro Basketball Talk
6 Ways To Master The Art Of The First Date – Thought Catalog
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”