The definition found in the Oxford Dictionary for a feud is as states “A prolonged and bitter quarrel or dispute.”
This is what you can now categorise the state of the relationship between Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib and Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michale Crabtree. The first instance of their mutual hatred for each other was apparent in a week 17 game last season that the Broncos won. In that game, Talib after a play had been run with both himself and Crabtree on the sideline. Talib simply tore the chain off Crabtree’s neck, ran off and was seen by cameras laughing about it later on in the game. His reasoning for actions as stupid and juvenile as this was ““He just been wearing that chain all year, man, it’s just been growing on me,” Talib also said, “I said if he wears that chain in front of me, I’m going to snatch it off,”. “He wore it in front of me, so I had to snatch it off. He started crying to the ref. He didn’t say nothing to me though.” I know what you’re thinking? This is stupid, and you’re right it is stupid. But it didn’t stop the two from squaring off again last Sunday.
A Tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter says “Raiders’ WR Michael Crabtree taped his chain to himself before Sunday’s game, knowing he was facing the chain-snatching Broncos CB Aqib Talib. And Talib still got it.” So Crabtree knew Talib was going to go after his chain and decided to protect himself. However, it all started on a play where Crabtree was blocking Talib when he decided to fall from the realms of sanity straight into the pity of idiocy that Talib had called home in their game last season, and threw him to the ground. The two were wrestling after the play was over out of bounds, this then erupted into a full-scale brawl between both teams as well as Talib and Crabtree throwing punches at one another. Both they and Raiders guard Gabe Jackson were ejected from the game and have been suspended on appeal for 1 game. With Crabtree and Talib both in the same division meeting twice a year, unfortunately, expect this to continue happening in the near future.
This is one of the more crazier feuds in the NFL, with it all happening over a simple piece of jewellery. So I invite you to learn more about some of the other feuds that have happened in NFL history.
Buddy Ryan and Mike Ditka
This is one of the most recognisable feuds in all of sports, these two men despised each other. It started in 1982 when Mike Ditka was hired by legendary Chicago Bears owner George Halas. Buddy Ryan who had been defensive coordinator since 1978 was maddened by this, thinking that he should’ve been deserving of being the head coach. With players even pleading with Halas to make him head coach. However, it was Ditka who even as Head coach couldn’t fire Ryan, Halas knew of Ryan’s incredible ability so made Ditka keep him on as defensive coordinator. From there on out, it was fiery between the two, Ryan wouldn’t allow Ditka into the defensive meetings, Ryan and Ditka had a fight during a nationally televised game on Monday Night Football against the Dolphins in 1985, with both throwing punches at one another and having to be separated from each other by their players, as well as constant arguing, bickering dislike towards the other one for the entire time they were Chicago. Throughout all of this, they coached one of the greatest teams of all time, the 1985 Bears who had a historically impressive defence. Both were adored by their players so much, that when they annihilated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX 46-10, both men were carried off the field on the shoulders of their players. The first and currently only time this has happened in Super Bowl history. In the offseason after their Super Bowl victory, Buddy Ryan became the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. With each of them now playing against each other, it gave Buddy a platform to antagonise Ditka, he was spouting off about Chicago, left, right and centre.It’s quotes such as this from Ryan in 1988 before their Divisional round game, saying that the Eagles had home-field advantage in Chicago because he’s never lost a playoff game their, unlike Ditka. Ditka for 4 years kept his mouth shut on the topic, until 1989 when in an interview Ditka said “I’m the duck and it’s like water off a duck’s back” in reference to Ryan’s constant remarks. “He’s just jealous. You know what they say. Empty tin cans make the most noise, and he’s an empty tin can. This game is between the Bears and the Eagles, not Ditka and Ryan. We all know who would win that one. Ditka, hands down,”. I think this shows how much it meant for both coaches who really hated each other. But for all his talk Buddy Ryan never beat the Bears when Ditka was Head Coach. Ryan went 0-5 from 1986 till 1994 against the Bears till he won in a preseason game, as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 1995. To summarise this feud, long time Bears safety Shaun Gayle has a quote about Ditka and Ryan’s relationship saying “Maybe what we could do after the game is all the players circle our cars in the parking lot and we let the two of them go at it.” That is the level of hatred between these two NFL legends.
Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson
These two men I think have two things in common: the same initials and enormous egos. Jerry Jones the longtime owner of the Dallas Cowboys made Jimmy Johnson the head coach of his team in 1989. The Cowboys went 1-15 that season, but having made the historic Hersal Walker trade, they proceeded to improve to 7-9 the following year. It only took until the 1992 season, and the Cowboys had reached the top of the NFL mountain, winning Super Bowl XVII against the Buffalo Bills 52-17. This was astonishing and shocked the whole league, that team was considered one of the best of all time. Johnson led them to their second Super Bowl in as many seasons, again beating the Buffalo Bills this time 30-13. So you must be wondering where can the anger come from, what on earth could have caused this to become a feud? Well throughout his tenure under Jones, both men’s ego’s kept growing as they continued to experience this unprecedented success, both wanting complete control of the team. I think they wanted this because they could see the amount of talent they had, to be known after they were gone for having lead this Cowboys dynasty. However with this came, constant arguing, differences in almost everything from, scheme to free agent acquisitions to personnel decisions. With Jerry Jones famously said in 1997 after they won their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years under Johnson’s replacement Barry Switzer, that “500 coaches could have done what Jimmy had done”. The root of the feud was that Jones thought that Johnson took too much credit for building the teams that won all of those Super Bowls. Jones thought that by doing this Johnson was disloyal, too which Johnson replied by calling Jones a “rich asshole” just 3 years ago. Their relationship has since softened but at the time, it was a feud so rich in anger that Johnson resigned from the Cowboys to get away from Jones and his ego, possibly denying them multiple more Super Bowls. Former defensive back for the Cowboys, Darren Woodson thinks that Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones “Blew it”. He thinks that he should have more than 3 Super Bowl rings, all of which he earned with Dallas. He also said in an interview with Dallas Morning News “If they lived in the moment, we’d probably have four or five rings instead of the two we have with Jimmy. Their pride got in the way. Both of them realized that.” That shows how badly the players thought of the split between these two feuding legends.
Feuds have happened since the start of the NFL, and as the fight between Talib and Crabtree proves. They still rage on in the NFL. With Mike Evans being ejected for hitting Marshon Lattimore and AJ Green being suspended for fighting with Jalen Ramsey, unfortunately, expect to see more of these feuds growing in the near future.