My Chief Concerns: Tamba Hali Should Be Your Favorite Chief


Did you know that Kansas City Chief Tamba Hali could not read or write English as an eleven (11) year old fifth grader?  Despite such he ended up graduating college (Penn State) eleven (11) years later and in less than four (4) years at the age of twenty-two (22).  (It took me four and a half (4.5) years to graduate college and it is still debatable whether or not I have mastered the English language).

Prior to that time, Tamba had to avoid death every day in his war torn country of Liberia.  As an eight (8) year old he remembers that if “you would look at someone wrong, they would shoot you,” Tamba says. “It was unimaginable, the horror. You would see bodies everywhere, all the time.”  During Liberia’s civil war 1 out of 17 people were killed, or 250,000 of Liberia’s total population.  (Per Anthony Bourdain’s T.V. show on Liberia now playing on the Travel Channel).  If you want to enjoy a good read about Tamba and his personal life Sportingnews has an excellent 2006 article about him here.  It is a must read, especially where it discusses Tamba’s first experience in high school football.

More after the jump….

If Tamba’s personal history is not enough to endear you to him, his work ethic is.  The reason that Tamba Hali should be your favorite Chief is that he gives 100% every play, every game.  When Tamba Hali was initially drafted by the Chiefs many pundits opined he was taken too high due to his lack of top end speed (4.75 40 time in 2006).  As a devout Kansas City Chiefs fan, you have witnessed Tamba get many pressures during a game, but just miss the sack.   That may be due to his lack of speed.  We can argue that if he was a tad bit faster he may be the best pass rusher in the league.  However, what he lacks in speed he makes up for it with consistency.  He is always consistent and isn’t that the most important aspect of a teammate?  His persistence and hard work is what makes him great.

What really puts him over the top for me and another reason he should be your favorite Chief is that he is not a complainer.  He is selfless.  How many NFL divas do you hear complain about scheme changes?  How about Aaron Kampman, Andre Carter, Albert Haynesworth just to name a few.  Many a NFL DE who had to make the switch to a 3-4 OLB complained, openly or not, but not Tamba.  Not only did Hali not complain, he embraced the switch and arguably thrived in it.  It will be exciting to see him with a year of experience under his belt and with Romeo Crennel’s guidance.

So this year, if you’re debating whose Jersey you should buy, who’s autograph you should covet, or even who you should be pulling for this coming season, Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones, Eric Berry, Brandon Flowers, and Brian Waters should all take a back seat to Tamba Hali.  Tamba is a class act and they are few and far between in the NFL these days.  Players like Tamba Hali should be revered and respected not only for their play, but for their character.