The stars were out again for this week’s edition of the BetUS Unfiltered podcast, as Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl winner Charles Woodson joined Warren Sapp, Brian Jones, and Kenyon Rasheed to discuss his Hall of Fame candidacy, the recent AFC and NFC championship games, his new Woodson Bourbon Whiskey and more.
A nine-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro selection during an 18-year career with the Raiders and Packers, Woodson is one of 15 finalists for the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. He said he’ll be “waiting and ready when [the announcement] comes,” and later reflected on the career that will soon be enshrined in Canton.
“I’ve had the highest of the highs in this game, I’ve had the lowest of the lows,” Woodson said. “But it’s all about how you bounce back — from either of those positions. And I felt like throughout my career, I bounced back each and every time, no matter what happened. I bounced back and took care of business, and that’s where I’m sitting where I’m at right now.”
TODAY’S TOP TALENT
When asked about a current defensive back he admires, Woodson called out Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, a two-time Pro Bowl selection out of Baylor.
“I like instinctive football players,” Woodson said. “[We talk about] guys getting their head around, and this dude will turn around and locate the football. And that’s all you can ask.
“If you’re coaching a guy,” Woodson continued, “you say, ‘Hey, there’s only one ball on the football field and it’s the most important thing between the white lines. And if you can’t ever locate it, you can’t play for me.’ And if you watch … when that ball is in the air, nobody in the league turns and locates the ball better than Xavien Howard.”
BRADY OR RODGERS?
The former Green Bay star also weighed in on the Packers’ loss to Warren’s Tampa Bay Bucs in the NFC Championship Game and how Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady matched up in the duel.
“As far as who gives you the most issues, you always look at somebody who is mobile, like Aaron Rodgers,” Woodson said. “For a defensive back, whether you’re playing against a [No.] 1 wide receiver or the third, when protection breaks down and that quarterback is able to break out of the pocket and scramble and throw on the run, he’s always the most dangerous. Because now you’ve got your back turned, you’re running around trying to keep up with the receivers.
“But on the flip side of that, when you’ve got a guy like Brady who’s played 20 years, he’s got the most playoff games of anybody in the history of football, right?” Woodson continued. “He knows football and he knows where to go with the ball. And the way you’ve got to beat him is you’ve got to get to him.
“So if you look at that game, the first half, [Tampa Bay] was able to get some things done against Green Bay, but in the second half, they started putting the pressure on and Brady started throwing the ball blind a little bit,” he concluded. “But if you don’t capitalize on the other side when you’re getting the turnovers, that’s where you lose the game.”
Later, in Unleashed, Woodson spoke about his relationship with Brady as teammates at Michigan and whether he suspected Brady’s career might pan out as it has.
“When we got in, they had two quarterbacks ahead of him, and those guys were going to play, Brian Griese being one of them,” Woodson recalled. “So he was third, I think, on the depth chart, and he was never going to see the field. But when you talk about, ‘Did a guy have talent?’ or ‘Did he have—’ all of those things that you want, he was a prototypical 6-4, 6-5 guy and he was competitive.
“So the competitiveness that you see from him on the field, he always had that,” Woodson continued. “But did anybody ever see 14 championship games, 10 Super Bowls? That’s impossible.”
The guys also weighed in on several prop bets, including the odds of a defensive or special teams score in the game.
“I’m going to say no,” Sapp said. “Because they’re all depending on their quarterback and their offense to score. I ain’t seen one of them return a punt. I’ve seen them all fair catch everything and it doesn’t even look like nobody wants to return a kickoff no more. They just look at the ball like, ‘That ain’t for me.’”
WOODSON LIKES THE BUCS
Woodson gave his advice for the Super Bowl, with Kansas City currently holding a -3.5 line with about a week left until kickoff: Take the points.
“Here’s going to be the most important thing of the game: If Tampa Bay can hold Kansas City to no more than two explosive plays per half — I’m talking about 30, 40 yards down the field — if they can hold them to just those big plays, then they’ve got a chance,” Woodson said. “Because Kansas City’s defense is just OK. They’re going to make some plays, but you can move the ball on Kansas City. So if you can stop Kansas City from hitting those big plays, we can keep this game tight.
“And look,” Woodson added, “If you give me Brady — I don’t care if he’s 43 or 23, if you give me the ball late in the game, I’m gonna ride with ol’ 12.”
Later, in 99 Seconds with Warren Sapp, the big man couldn’t help but agree with Woodson. You really need to hear the whole speech, but trust that it concluded with some clear advice:
“When you tune in on Feb. 7 at 6:30 at Raymond James Stadium — my house — bet on the Bucs, baby,” Sapp said. “Plus-3 ain’t enough to hold us, baby. Bet the house. The Bucs are getting it all, baby. Go with the Bucs.”
To hear that and much more, including Woodson’s thoughts on moral clauses keeping players out of the Hall of Fame (spoiler alert: he thinks Terrell Owens is a first-ballot Hall of Famer), Sapp’s approach to facing backups in a big game, and the fellas’ insight on baseball’s juiced ball era, be sure to check out the full episode below.