In the crowd-pleasing sports-talk of game of "Who Would You Rather Have?'' there might not be a more perfect match-up than this.
Gerald McCoy vs. Ndamukong Suh.
Both are defensive tackles. Both went to, what were at the time, Big 12 schools. Both were college All-Americans. Both are 6 feet 4 and 300 pounds.
And they were taken on back-to-back picks in the 2010 draft, both going to lousy football teams.
It's like they're the same guy.
Since then, their careers have been eerily similar.
Both have made five Pro Bowls. Suh has had 50-1/2 sacks. McCoy has had 46-1/2.
And they've continued to play on teams with no playoff success. Suh, 30, has never been on a team that has won a postseason game. McCoy, 29, has never even been to the postseason.
As their teams meet today in Miami, who would you rather have?
Sorry, as tempting as it might be, you can't say neither.
But the truth is, as good as they have been at times, their careers have not been overwhelming successes. Their teams, for the most part, haven't been very good. Their careers, for the most part, haven't been Hall-of-Fame worthy.
And both have as many detractors as supporters, especially in the cities where they play.
The knock on Suh is he is too mean. He steps on heads, stomps on chests. He has been suspended and fined and was once voted the dirtiest player in the league by his fellow players.
The knock on McCoy is he isn't mean enough. He helps opponents up off the ground. Just the other day McCoy was nominated for the NFL's Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, given to the player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
During his time in Tampa Bay, McCoy has put up with as many critics as fans. Those critics compare him to Warren Sapp, which is incredibly unfair because Sapp might be the best player to ever play the position. Then again, McCoy was a third overall pick and those same critics ask if he has played up to the level you would expect from a third overall pick.
Meantime, Suh is on his second team. Drafted by the Lions with the second overall pick, he is now in his third season with the Dolphins after signing a six-year, $114 million contract that made him the highest-paid defensive player in the history of the NFL. But there's lots of talk that the Dolphins are going to cut ties with Suh after this season even though they would take a major salary cap hit just to do so.
The reason? He hasn't helped the Dolphins turn into a special defense on the field and he can be a bit of an enigma off of it.
And it's for that reason right there — Suh's supposed aloofness off the field and an undisciplined behavior on the field— that the answer to question "Who would you rather have?'' is an easy one.
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Give me McCoy.
First off, that junk about him helping up players. Are you serious?
What a player does in the moments right after the whistle has absolutely no bearing on what happens in the moments before the whistle. To suggest he is too nice or, even worse, soft are accusations that are ludicrous. He plays hard, but he plays clean.
McCoy has been a sensational football player on a defense surrounded by mediocrity. Is he another Sapp? No. But name someone who is.
If you listed 100 things that have gone wrong with the Bucs over the past decade, "Gerald McCoy'' would not be on that list. If you listed three things that have been right about the Bucs over the past decade, "Gerald McCoy'' most definitely would appear on that list.
Off the field, McCoy has been a leader, a high-character man, a voice of reason and leadership in the locker room.
And, yeah, he's a nice guy.
A nice guy who is really good at football.
Who isn't good with that?
Contact Tom Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @tomwjones