As someone who played in the NFL in the 1980s and early 1990s, Hall of Famer and Patriots legend Andre Tippett is not a fan of the pass-happy offensive explosion that has occurred throughout the league over the last decade.
That might be because he was a linebacker.
“I’m going to be a little biased,” Tippett said on The DA Show. “Things have changed. I laugh because I can look at some of my highlights and I see some of the hits, and it’s amazing things I was able to do back then. I’m watching players now defensively, players are actually out there running free and then they hesitate before they do something. It shouldn’t be that way. The game isn’t built that way, and it’s not supposed to be played that way.
“I understand safety and I understand the things that are being changed,” Tippett continued. “But a lot of it seems to be geared toward the offensive guys scoring and getting into the end zone.”
Tippett, 58, was an All-American at Iowa and a second-round draft pick in 1982. The game was much different then. Defensive players were allowed to go low, high, or helmet-to-helmet. Now they can’t – and if they do, it’s a penalty or a fine. Or both.
“It’s amazing. It’s amazing,” he said. “But that’s a defensive guy being a defensive guy, and I think something’s wrong about that. But what am I going to do?”
Tippett, five-time Pro Bowler, finished his career with 100.0 sacks. He sacked 37 different quarterbacks, including John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly.
Just don’t ask which quarterback Tippett enjoyed sacking the most.
“It’s like having your children and you don’t want to say who’s your favorite,” Tippett joked. “I played against some great guys. Elway, I was able to sack. Marino, I was able to sack. Marino had that great release. Elway, people don’t realize how quick and elusive that guy was. Jim Kelly was probably as tough as any linebacker that I know – as a quarterback. Guys like those guys, you take your hat off. Anytime you got an opportunity to get near them or affect their ability to complete a pass, that was my job. I was very honored to be able to play against those guys.”