The strangest compliment in football.

The stadium scene.
Feb. 2 2005 6:57 PM

Who's Your War Daddy?

The strangest compliment in football.

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For everything coaches say about the toughness that war daddydom requires, they never cite the tough guys who aren't good at football. Former Georgia head coach Jim Donnan says he's coached five war daddies in his career (he calls them "WDs" for short). All of them—Lawrence Taylor, Tony Casillas, Keith Jackson, Champ Bailey, and Richard Seymour—had or are currently having great NFL careers. The one war daddy that Bill Curry mentioned who wasn't a standout pro was Ted Roof, who once made 25 tackles in a single game while covered in blood pouring from an open wound. The lesson: If you're not an All-Pro and you want to be a war daddy, you'd better make sure to get soaked in your own blood.

There will be at least one war daddy in the Super Bowl—in true war daddy fashion, the Patriots' Richard Seymour is going to tough out a knee injury and play in Sunday's game. But is there anything out there for guys like Seymour—who's won two Super Bowls and been a war daddy in college and the pros—to aspire to? Bill Curry suggests that even a Grade A war daddy can reach a higher level. "If you talked about the highest compliment, you'd have to say a sophisticated war daddy," Curry says, "somebody who can go on the field and perform like that and come off the field and act like a gentleman."

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Special thanks to Jesse Sheidlower of theOxford English Dictionary.