Nate Newton played for many years on the same Offensive Line as Larry Allen. Nate Newton was a six time Pro Bowl Guard himself. He knows how good he was, and above all else he knows how great Larry Allen was. When Nate retired he went into broadcasting. He recently told a story about receiving a phone call from Warren Sapp about Larry Allen. He says Sapp told him he was not impressed and that Larry Allen would not even touch him, and he wanted Nate to tell Larry. Nate says he did and that he added some frosting to the pastry. He said Larry Allen just laughed and said, “For real?” Then he quietly said, “I got this.”
After the game Warren Sapp called Nate again and had another message for Larry Allen. “Tell him, he’s the man.” Now you understand why Sapp knew he needed four lunch pails. Larry Allen dominated him. I repeat, Warren Sapp is the greatest three technique Defensive Tackle in NFL History and he got dominated. No media member is ever going to know what it was like to face Larry Allen. No media member will ever have the respect for him that Nate Newton does, and Warren Sapp does, and basically every player who ever faced him does.
In the podcast where Nate was telling that story a Dallas media member, Jean Jacques Taylor, a man I consider a friend, was telling his own Larry Allen stories. The first one he told was about him wanting to ask Troy Aikman about Larry Allen. Troy Aikman was a guy who was always in a hurry and who had very little time for the media. Ironic given he now is in the media. Aikman intimated to Taylor that he was going somewhere or in a hurry, or not interested. Taylor asked him about how good Larry Allen was. Troy Aikman, yet another Hall of Fame player, stopped his journey to wherever he was headed and looked Taylor right in the eye and said, “He blocks people off the film.”
Taylor did not grasp the significance of this and asked Troy what he meant. See? The media cannot possibly fathom this. As good a writer as Taylor is, he can’t possibly know how unfathomable that is, but Troy did. He said Troy then explained to him that Larry Allen was taking NFL players and blocking them clear out of view of the cameras. In other words driving them right out of the frame. He explained how you can see this in Pop Warner, Junior High, High School, and on occasion in college, but not the NFL. Not where the best play the best. Yet Larry Allen was doing it.
In 2011 the NFL Network created a series about the 100 greatest players to ever play. Larry Allen was number 95. I personally think this was a joke. That he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame and on that top 100 list is not a joke, that ranking is. I’ll come back to that.
In that film segment Larry Allen is introduced by yet another Hall of Famer, John Randle of the Minnesota Vikings. Randle starts by talking about Larry’s incredible strength and he adds. “When a man can bench that much weight that man can launch you.” For the next several clips we see Larry Allen doing exactly that. He pushes people right out of the frame as Troy described. The best story John Randle tells was of a rookie Linebacker asking him “What can I do?” John Randle’s answer was classic. “Just do the best you can and try not to piss him off.”
John Randle, like Warren Sapp, was a great trash talker. In that film segment he gave the advice that you don’t trash talk Larry Allen. Like Sapp I bet he learned that the hard way when he forgot three of his lunch pails.
In the NFL top 100 is also a man I hold in very high regard, New England Patriots Hall of Fame Guard, John Hannah. They ranked John Hannah as number 24. Let me say this, when I die, the first thing I want to ask God is to let me see an entire football game of John Hannah going man to man against Randy “The Manster” White while both of them are at the very best of their careers. I only got to see that a few times in my life. To this day I will tell you the greatest football matchup I have ever seen is John Hannah versus Randy White. Pure football. Two Hall of Famers going at it and giving each other everything they could want and sometimes more. Hannah won some. White won some. It was the literal clash of the titans for me, a wide eyed kid who wanted to be on the stage where they were.