Football fans love a good NFL rivalry because it adds an extra layer to games. Sure there are rivalries between teams, like the Bears-Packers and Giants-Cowboys that are well-known, but players sometimes get involved in rivalries of their own. One of the most memorable rivalries in recent times was a feud between CB Aqib Talib and WR Michael Crabtree when they were division rivals, as Talib was playing for the Broncos at the time and Crabtree was on the Raiders.
The history of the Aqib Talib and Michael Crabtree rivalry
The genesis of the Talib-Crabtree feud dates back to Week 17 of the 2016 season. In the Broncos’ 24-6 win over the Raiders, Talib went over to the Oakland sideline and yanked the chain that Crabtree was wearing, breaking the jewelry.
Talib was later seen laughing about the incident. Talib said he did it because Crabtree had ” just been wearing that chain all year, man, it’s just been growing on me.” Crabtree’s response was to say that he doesn’t like Talib, and he continued the criticism of the cornerback by calling him “fake” and saying he’s not tough.
He called the actual act of snatching his chain “childish.” When the teams met again in November 2017, Talib again grabbed Crabtree’s chain when he was blocking the defender on a play. This time, Crabtree wasn’t going to stand for it and the two got into a fight, leading to both players being ejected from the game.
The careers of Aqib Talib and Michael Crabtree
Talib, now with the Rams, is in his 12th season in the NFL, though he has been placed on injured reserve with injured ribs. The Buccaneers took him with the 20th overall pick in the 2008 draft. He has recorded 35 interceptions in his career, returning 10 of them for touchdowns, including one that he ran back 103 yards for the score.
Talib, a five-time Pro Bowler, has recorded 467 tackles in his 11-plus seasons with four teams. His 10 defensive touchdowns represent the most non-offensive touchdowns among active players and 18th on the all-time list.
Crabtree is in his 11th season in the league, although he has only played in two of the Cardinals’ first nine games this season. The 49ers took him with the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft. Crabtree has had a good career, but it has been hampered by injuries.
The receiver has 637 career receptions for 7,499 yards and 54 touchdowns. He only played in all 16 games in a season four times in his career, so his stats could have been even better if he was able to stay on the field more often.
Where does the feud stand now?
After the 2017 season, both players went to new teams, with Talib going to the Rams and Crabtree to the Ravens. With the teams leaving the division rivals, their rivalry died down.
When the Rams and Ravens held a joint practice in August 2018, it drew more media attention than a joint practice session typically would because Talib and Crabtree were both involved. The practice went off without an incident, and when asked about the rivalry afterward, Talib was quoted as saying it’s “dead” — which would make sense since the players were on teams in different conferences and were no longer playing each other twice a year.
Even with both players in the NFC West this season, Talib and Crabtree have not played against each other this year as neither of the games Crabtree has participated in have been against the Rams, and with Talib’s rib injury a potential season-ender, the former rivals likely won’t meet on the field this season.