It's very easy to get caught up in the hype of the more popular players on your favorite NFL team. The play-makers, the starters, the franchise QB, the long-tenured veterans, the leaders on and off the field, the guys who get the accolades, awards, popularity, fan recognition, fame, and big contracts. There's usually good reason to love these players and it's why their names and jerseys are so popular.
Yet there exists a different kind of player that isn't so well-recognized, but definitely deserves to be. This is the type of player I have a soft spot for. This is what's known as the unsung hero.
And there's no better unsung hero on the Eagles other than Safety and Special Teams Ace Colt Anderson.
Colt's not a player that all fans might appreciate. He doesn't score touchdowns. He's not a skill player. He's not some incredible physical specimen that dominates the game. Instead, he's just a hard-working player that busts his tail every time he's on the field. He does it without getting all those accolades or attention or big contracts. And that's exactly why he should be a player that everyone appreciates.
Anderson compares to a modern day Vince Papale. While he hasn't had a moment that's made him a franchise legend like Papale, he's made plenty of great plays on STs in his time here. Not only does PFF rank him as their top ST performer in the NFL (in terms of kickoff coverage), but he also finished the clear leader in Eagles ST points (excluding K Alex Henery).
The reckless abandon with which Anderson plays with amazes me. Here you have a guy who isn't making the big money that superstars make but still sacrifices his body and goes full out on every play. He's consistently one of the first players to get down field and make a tackle in both punt and kickoff coverage. Beyond ST play, Anderson even stepped up when injuries ravaged the Safety positions last year. He didn't light the field up like some superstar, but filled in adequately to the best of his ability and proved himself a viable back up option.
It's really a shame Colt hasn't made a Pro Bowl yet. He was on pace for a Pro Bowl year in 2011 before an ACL injury derailed his season. He honestly deserved a nod at the spot this year but was snubbed. There's no doubt in my mind Colt is the best ST player in the league and I can't wait until we get to see him do it again in 2013.
So here's to you, Colt. You may not get the love you deserve, but your hard effort certainly does not go unnoticed here.