True, Harrison may no longer be an active participant on the football field, but it cannot be denied that the soapbox he stands on over the NFL has never been as tall.
I am by no means a New England Patriots apologist, far from it, but even I stopped to question what has caused the vendetta Harrison, now an analyst for NBC’s flagship Sunday Night Football, has against his former team.
When asked in early November about his thoughts regarding the New England defense scheme in 2011, Harrison told Boston Herald reporter Karen Guregian: “I hate it, I don’t like it all. That scheme doesn’t work for me.” Harrison continued by stating, “If I’m the defensive coordinator, I’ve got to make these guys” and then speculated Tom Brady’s doubt in his defensive counterparts.
Harrison’s condemnation of his former defensive squad was commonplace on the NBC broadcast, often surprising his on-air colleagues with his harsh words.
For every football player who had to endure the catcalls of fans in the stands who always knew better after the whistle blew, you know why this qualifies Rodney Harrison for this list.
For every NFL player who had to handle questions about a former teammate-turned dreadful broadcaster questioning the character of their locker room, they know why he makes this list.
When you consider the constant state of turnover and parity in the National Football League, it is evident that players who leave the gridiron for the greener pastures of retirement quickly lose the intimate connection with their former team’s heartbeat. Players swap teams these days more often than ever before, characters are introduced and removed, and the environment their alumni once flourished in is now almost completely different.
Contrary to whatever neat motto franchises may spout during ring ceremonies and jersey retirement parties, Rodney Harrison is no longer a Patriot in the definitive sense. He does not spend hours, days, weeks and months alongside these players. How in the world does he think he can cast the sort of intimate judgment that he does on any NFL team, much less his former teammates.
Troy Aikman continues to be reserved when analyzing his former Cowboy teams; Phil Simms seems to only recall Parcells stories rather than Giants memories; only steadfast NFL historians could tell you who Dan Dierdorf played for as a professional; and for the volumes upon volumes of football knowledge Ron Jaworski has absorbed, it takes many people an extra second thought to remember that he was perhaps history’s greatest Eagle.
Why, you ask? Perhaps they don’t because they have moved on.