Forgotten Player of the Moment – PHILLIPPI SPARKS
(by BILL BARNWELL)
Growing up a fan of the Giants in the mid-nineties was a tough gig. Now, I understand that a lot of teams run through cold spells and don’t really have much to offer in the way of success. That’s okay. I could’ve easily fallen for a crappy team. Those Giants, however, were doubly unfortunate – not only did they suck, but they managed to be the blandest suck that ever sucked. While Rippa, I’m sure, will be happy to wax nostalgic about the halcyon days of Rodney Hampton gaining eight yards on three downs before the Giants so mercifully punted, there was a lot to utterly despise.
After the retirement of Phil Simms, the Giants wavered between the three-headed quarterback hydra of Dave Brown (mmm..supplemental draft), Kent Graham, and Danny Kanell – as if having a pasty quarterback with no arm strength would lead them to two Super Bowl victories or something. Oh – right. Sorry Ed. The Giants were also kind enough to grant this gathered mass of mediocrity with a group of receivers whose lack of competence absolutely boggles the mind. Chris Calloway – whose assassination I am sure Rippa is still plotting – technically led the group, but to describe him as a #1 receiver is to imply some sort of superiority or skill which I can only attempt to dissuade by mentioning his inability to perform anything related to football in what I would describe as a fashion suitable to that of a #1 receiver. In short, he was a #1 receiver like Todd Pinkston was last year. He wasn’t joined by much either – after the Giants let Ed McCaffrey go, they didn’t develop a reliable #2 receiver until drafting Ike Hilliard. I’m looking at you in anger, Thomas Lewis. With the Giants not doing much on offense, they were kept in games by that traditional Giant mode of attack – no, not rape – defense. And the pillar of the defensive backfield for those Giant teams was cornerback Phillippi Sparks.
Now, even at this very young age, I could generally tell whether a player was good or not – judging from performance, what the announcers thought of him (which obviously has been removed from my repertoire), and video game ratings. The latter played the biggest role. Somehow, I have never been able to figure out whether Phillippi Sparks was actually good or not. I am inclined to say yes, but I really have no evidence to offer you beyond the fact that I want to believe that he was good for a period of time. I suppose I could point to the ’93-’97 Giants, when Sparks was the team’s top corner (i.e. before the Jason-Sehorn-can-play era), the team finished 12th, 7th, 4th, 14th, and 27th (well, not every analysis is perfect) in passing yards against. Maybe something with that had to do with Phillippi Sparks. I’m not sure. I only really wrote this because I was happy that I could spell Phillippi right on the first try.
But OH my, what has Phillippi been doing since he left football? Well – first off – he is selling you Labrador puppies. For anywhere from $600-$800, YOU can own a legitimate offspring of Tahoe and Nomi Sparks. If you want to name it Conrad Hamilton, I imagine Mr. Sparks wouldn’t take too kindly to it. Second, Phillippi’s daughter, Jordin, is a bit of a princess. She was the featured vocalist at Pat Tillman’s Memorial Service at ASU (where Sparks and Tillman attended college), and her happiest moments were “…making my first CD and getting my braces off!”. Her album drops soon. Finally, Phillippi and his wife are now shilling “Tahitian Noni”, which is apparently a panacea. I’d advise you check out all the links and discover for yourself the marketing monolith that is Phillippi Sparks.
(All of these links are now dead)
Jordin Sparks is a diva
Phillippi Sparks sells Labrador puppies
I’m not even sure what relates to this but it’s a Philippi project