Win the chip and talk your noise. Those are the rules.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White is doing just that, saying on the NFL Network's Good Morning Football that he believes he's the best linebacker in football (h/t Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times):
"I mean I respect all those guys, even the guys that's not that much older than me. Man, right now, as in just finishing that year, man I got to put myself No. 1 and there's not no cockiness about it. Put on the tape...
"... And I feel like teams don't even run toss sweeps against us no more because they know I'm going to track it down. I just feel like I bring more to the game than just playmaking ability. I feel like I'm exciting to watch because of the energy and passion I play with."
White believes the defense in general deserves more credit for being dominant:
White has more than backed up the talk. The 22-year-old linebacker finished the 2020 season with 140 tackles, nine sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He was twice named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week this season and was dominant in the postseason, registering 38 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries in three games.
That included 12 tackles and an interception in the Super Bowl. In just his second season, White has firmly established himself as a defensive star.
"Brady won the MVP and that's all well and good, but what @DevinWhite__40 did on Sunday night in the Super Bowl was legendary. The crazy thing? He's just 22-years-old, and just getting started." @PSchrags takes us through the best of Devin White's Super Bowl highlight reel. https://t.co/E4q08RdAy3
There's a pretty strong argument that White—or another player on the team's defense—should have been awarded the Super Bowl LV MVP after the 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Tom Brady ultimately got the award because, well, he's Tom Brady, but it was the defense that was truly impressive against the NFL's best offense.
Yes, the Chiefs were without two starting left tackles. But Tampa's front seven completely dominated that game. You play the guys in front of you, and the Bucs did so in impressive fashion.
In White, they have a star for the future, as well as a player who can already make a strong claim to be one of the best linebackers in football.