Bob Sanders: Iowa Hawkeyes Football Player of the Decade

B.Senior Analyst IDecember 25, 2009

The legend of Bob Sanders continues to thrive in Iowa.

It has been six years since Sanders last played for the Hawkeyes, but his bone-crunching tackles epitomized smash-mouth football and left fans with a long-lasting impression. 

The Hitman is quite possibly the best strong safety to step foot on the field of Kinnick Stadium and one of the hardest hitting defensive backs to ever play in the Big Ten.

Sanders' hard-hitting, hard-working style earned him first team All-Big Ten three years in a row (2001, 2002, 2003).

His speed and agility made him nearly impossible for opposing players to avoid and helped him capture 348 tackles during his career at Iowa, seventh highest in Iowa history. 

He spotted plays quickly and was extremely difficult for teams to block. His 25 tackles against the Indiana Hoosiers in 2001 sits as the fourth-best single game total ever at Iowa.

Sanders put a fear deep into the soul of his opponents with the way he played football for the Hawks.

Rumors online claim that Bob's spleen is considered a concealed weapon in 38 states.  Those rumors might not be far from the truth. 

"If you hit somebody hard enough, they will give up," Sanders told ESPN . "Every time I hit somebody, the goal is to knock myself out. I know that if I hit somebody hard enough that I can feel it, it's hurting them 10 times worse."

Coach Kirk Ferentz is convinced he has never seen another player with the energy level of Sanders.

"Bob just doesn't know how to down-tempo," Ferentz was once quoted as saying. "That's how he's built. It's part of the package."

Bob's energy and intensity inspired his teammates to work harder, just like his dad Marion inspired him. At a time when Iowa football needed a spark from within, Sanders provided a volcano-like eruption of inspiration to the entire program and state of Iowa. 

Without a doubt, the legend of Bob Sanders will live on for decades to come. No other player this decade has had more of an overall impact on the team and fan base than Sanders.

Maybe the University of Iowa should start to consider the idea of retiring the number 33.