by Stal Herz - 02/03/2006
All Shaun Alexander has done since he was given a chance to go when Ricky Waters went down with a knee injury 5 years ago is dominate the NFL. Yet, there are still haters.
Go on and keep hating, because after Shaun scoops up his Super Bowl MVP trophy, he’ll be writing his own contract on the way to Disneyland, unless they do him like they did Jerry Rice when they gave it to Joe Montana.
While Priest Holmes and LT have had spectacular individual seasons, Alexander has played through injury and some bad Seahawk teams to stay at the top of his game. He is THE reason Seattle is in the Super Bowl.
Yet for everything he has done, you don’t hear his name mentioned as the top running back of all time. He hasn’t even receiving an invitation to the discussion.
Currently, he has 89 career rushing touchdowns, and while Emit Smith’s 155 are too far away to think about, Marcus Allen sits at # 2 with 123, and Sweetness at #3 at 110. He could catch Peyton next year.
And yet, all you hear about is Jerome Bettis’ homecoming. See, the Steelers fans bet heavy on their boys, so the line and public opinion goes with them. It’s the same reason the Raiders are favorites so many times. The nation influences.
Here’s the thing that nobody realizes about the Steelers. People are afraid to run on these guys, but the truth is that if you drop back and try to throw the ball, Troy and his merry band of bashers are going to be waiting for you.
Shaun will be patient enough to find the spots against the curtain.
Even coming out of Alabama, whose SEC opponents sport the fastest linebackers in the nation, he totaled over 3,500 yards and 49 TDS. He was taken as the fourth running back in the draft that year behind Jamal Lewis, Thomas Jones and Ron Dayne. He has outperformed all of them, with only Lewis coming close to matching accomplishments.
With all the talk of Kobe Bryant and the lists being compiled about the single greatest games of all time, how about Alexander’s 5 touchdowns in one HALF against the Minnesota Vikings on a Sunday Night game?
This seems very much like the career of Marshal Faulk, who toiled in what was a low media market at that time in Indianapolis and only gained respect once he changed over to the St. Louis Rams on their way to a Super Bowl. Alexander finds himself in pretty much the same situation only better. St. Louis got itself a deal with Faulk, but Alexander, coming of a record setting MVP season at the height of his career will, and should, demand much more.
At the end of next season, you’ll be hearing his name in Hall of Fame talk.
His 132 yards and two scores in the NFL title game with a concussion is proof enough that he is man enough to take any hit and keep moving. If Alexander leaves next year, Hasselbeck won’t have nearly the coverage that he does now.
The Steelers are hot, but anyone who watched this year knows that Seattle is the best team in the NFL. Nobody is handing them keys to the city, so they’re going to have to break down the door.
If you’re into props betting, which seems to be getting the more and more attention this year, here’s a few tastes of Alexander the grape (otter pops props).
At -155 for a touchdown to be the first score of the game, you might want to lay a little on this. Alexander loves to score and Holmgren runs big Shaun early. The Steelers will be looking to put a hurting on Alexander and make a statement, but a few quick moves and the end zone might bring a little early flavor to you Sunday.
At -210 for the team that scores first to win the game, you might be able to cash in on this one. If the Shaun goes in on the opening drive, the Seahawks will keep the Steelers guessing all day long. If you noticed, the Steelers usually get out to big leads and then hold them.
Not this time.
The props on whether Shaun’s first run will go for over 3 ½ yards is at -120. You know he’s going to bust out a big one with all the time he’s had. Don’t worry about that half a yard. He’ll get a first down on his first run.
There are over 10 more props that include just Alexander and what he will do against the Steelers. Holmgren sometimes falls in love with his passing game and moves away from Alexander, but he’ll get his 100 yards to be sure.
One thing for sure is that in the biggest game in his life, with the world watching, Shaun Alexander will do what he has done throughout his career when the spotlight shines: He’s going to take full advantage of it.
Alexander is a fine citizen in his community, performing countless charity works without the camera going, yet the NFL has refused to make him the face of the league, instead giving that honor to Peyton Manning and Brett Farve.
The news media chooses a player like Terrell Owners to waste their ink on instead of giving props to perhaps the greatest running back of his generation. Hey Shaun, like the Beatnuts, you get props over here.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Doc’s Sports Handicapping Service