PUEBLO, Colo. – Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman was barreling down the field on Nov. 9 following a punt from Dustin Colquitt in a Week 10 matchup against the Buffalo Bills with his team trailing 13-10 in the fourth quarter.
Bills punt returner Leodis McKelvin fielded the punt inside his own territory and tried to slip past Albert Wilson before Sherman was able to lunge toward McKelvin and use his right hand to punch the ball out of McKelvin’s hands and recover the loose football at the Buffalo 26-yard line.
Two plays later, and Sherman looked on while quarterback Alex Smith sprinted around the left side for an eight-yard touchdown to give the Chiefs a 17-13 lead with 8:59 remaining and propel Kansas City to its sixth win of the season.
The comeback may not have happened if not for the effort displayed by Sherman. It was a game-changing play by the 5-foot-10 fullback, who was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance.
It was a successful play because of Sherman’s effort and determination. It was also another example of how the Chiefs have wanted their players to perform all season long.
The Chiefs, especially on the offensive side of the ball, want to have a “bull-like” mentality on the playing field, says Sherman.
“That is the mentality we take into every game, practice and training camp,” Sherman said earlier this season. “Hard workers are going to give you bull-like behavior on the field and you are just going to try and grind it out and punch people in the mouth.”
The Chiefs began to embrace having a “bull-like” mentality last season when the coaching staff started issuing t-shirts of legendary bull Bodacious to offensive players for having a “bull-like” performance in a game. Then this past summer, the PBR gave the Chiefs Assistant Strength and Conditioning coach Travis Crittenden a massive Fathead of three-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker, which was placed inside the Chiefs weight room and training facility.
The close to 2,000-pound bucking beast has served as inspiration for the Chiefs, who enter this weekend’s matchup against the Arizona Cardinals at 7-5 and tied for the last AFC Wild Card spot.
Players such as Smith, running back Jamaal Charles, tight end Anthony Fasano and members of the offensive line have all earned T-shirts for their performances in the past two years.
“If you have a bull-like performance in a game, they pass out these t-shirts on Tuesday or Wednesday,” Sherman said. “It is just something we really take pride in. Guys get fired up and excited to get their t-shirts.
“Our team is really driven and hard workers and to be given that mental image to try and be that guy is huge. It is a phenomenal way our coaches have decided to use those t-shirts as motivation and guys are really using it and working hard to get it.”
What does it mean to have a bull-like behavior?
“It is probably trying to be that unbeatable force, someone that is going to be reckless out there and having fun hitting guys on other teams,” Sherman, who has earned multiple shirts, explained. “I am a fullback, so my job is to go run in there and knock someone’s head off and make sure they don’t touch Jamaal (Charles). I try to get (a shirt) every week if it is possible.”
Sherman attended his first Built Ford Tough Series event last year in Phoenix with his good friend and former Kansas City Royals first baseman Billy Butler, while other members of the Chiefs, including offensive lineman Eric Kush, attended the BFTS event in Kansas City, Missouri, at the Sprint Center.
“It is an awesome atmosphere and it is definitely something that if you haven’t done, I would definitely give it a try and go out there and watch,” Sherman said. “It is incredible to see those guys get on those 2,000-pound bulls and it is extremely tough. Those guys are tough as nails. I have seen those guys take some hits that I wouldn’t want to be a part of.”
Kush added, “Our motto is, ‘The bull don’t care.’ The bull doesn’t care what kind of day you had. The bull doesn’t care why you are sore. That bull is going to buck you off, so you we are going to use that mentality of we are the bulls and we don’t care what kind of day you had.”
Sherman said that once the Bushwacker Fathead went up in the weight room, players that were unfamiliar with the sport would YouTube video clips of the dominant bull and that it is inspiring to see riders that may only be 5-foot-7 and weigh 150 pounds trying to conquer the strongest bucking bulls in all of professional sports.
“They are going against a wild animal,” Sherman said in almost disbelief. “Just the toughness and the determination to stay on that bull as long as they can is inspirational in itself.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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