Deion Sanders Dealing With Delusions of Grandeur With ‘Different Scales’ Statement

    No stranger to controversy, Deion Sanders may have gone too far while speaking at the Big 12 Media Days, putting himself on a pedestal.

    The cornerback position is home to some of the most outwardly confident athletes in the world, and it’s only right that one of the best to ever do it is also one of the most confident humans to exist. But is Deion Sanders confident or arrogant?

    When the Colorado head coach took the stand at the Big 12 Media Days, it was clear he was no longer straddling the line.

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    At Florida State, Sanders built the “Prime Time” persona as a brand to sell, and boy did it. Yet, the longer you wear a mask, the more difficult it is to take off. And now, it seems as though there is no more persona — Deion Luwynn Sanders and Prime Time are the same man.

    Sanders’ time on stage at Media Days had plenty of positive moments. He praised fellow coaches in the conference, gave a raving endorsement of Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark, tabbed safety-turned-linebacker Trevor Woods as the next Brian Urlacher, and even called two-way star Travis Hunter the “best receiver in college football, and he’s the best cornerback in college football.”

    If that’s all that was said, this piece would read quite differently, but Sanders couldn’t help himself.

    First, he spoke about the team’s willingness to give freshmen playing time, which was innocent enough … until it wasn’t.

    “We played a total of 20 freshmen last season, including seven walk-ons,” Sanders said. “So if you’re a freshman and you walk on, you have an opportunity to play. Academically, 2024, second-highest GPA for the football team ever, 2023, highest GPA for the football team ever. That’s AP. That means After Prime.”

    Patting yourself on the back, especially for the work the staff has done to ensure academic success, shouldn’t be torn down completely. Although, it’s fair to criticize the “After Prime” comment for being tacky, at the very least.

    The second-year Colorado HC then lauded the school’s application rate rising by 20% during his tenure … right before stating, “Economic impact, it’s crazy. I don’t even want to get into that. Exposure as well.” Again, confidence is necessary to get to where Sanders is now. But arrogance? Not as a coach. 

    When questioned if he had time to reflect on his impact as a coach since his time at Jackson State, Prime Time responded, “So I don’t have time, even though my arms can reach back to pat myself on the back, I don’t have time for that. You don’t like it anyway. Every once in a while, I do it because I know you all ain’t going to do it. ”

    It’s important to note that Sanders was widely commended for his success in the SWAC and for shining a spotlight on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) during his tenure at JSU. And when the Buffaloes rocketed to a 3-0 start to begin the 2023 campaign, his squad was all any national outlet could talk about … then they fell flat on their face, going 1-8 down the stretch, but more on that later.

    Not sold on the arrogance over confidence aspect yet? Coach Prime was then asked about the hiring of defensive coordinator Robert Livingston, to which he said, “We needed a defensive coordinator, and I’m a pro, man. That’s nothing against college coaches but I’m a pro. Coach Livingston was recommended to me by a few pros that we’re all familiar with and I trust.”

    Sanders certainly respects his fellow collegiate coaches, but there’s no mistaking what he meant by that comment: NFL coaches mean more — hence why he has 16 coaches and staff members with NFL experience in his program.

    Following that was perhaps the quote of the day: “I’m judged on a different scale. My wins are totally different than your wins.” A media member posed the question of whether Sanders felt he was judged differently than other coaches, and he answered in typical Prime Time fashion.

    “I can’t win nine games and our GPA suffers. Our GPA can’t be high and we lose another eight games. We can’t not go and grab high school players, and you’ve got a bunch of guys in the portal, out of the portal getting incarcerated. My wins are different. We have to win in every area. That’s the way we’re judged.”

    “I’m cool with that. Because we come at it a little different. So the expectation is greater. But it’s not just football. It’s been like that all my life. I’ve always had a greater expectation for myself. The expectation you have for me would never outweigh the expectation I have for myself.”

    Being your own worst critic can be difficult, and Sanders’ personal standards are far above those of your typical athlete. However, his closing remarks don’t align with that premise.

    “So, really, I don’t care how you see me. It’s never going to be enough. Nothing I do is ever going to be enough. I’m cool with that. I understand that that is life, and that’s how life is going to be. But I plan on being a tremendous blessing to as many people I can bless, especially those probably 120 young men that put on this CU helmet and go out and play for our school and our program.

    “To sum it all up, man, I just want to be known as a great dad. I think I’ve got three sons here today. And I just want to be a great dad to them. That’s it.”

    While a great sentiment, Sanders clearly loves the media’s attention — beyond simply drumming up conversations to boost his program’s social reach or even to land brand deals.

    It’s one thing to anoint yourself as the best coach in college football — which he did in a September appearance on “60 Minutes” last year — and it’s another to demean players on X and defend yourself by saying you were “bored” or go on the Rich Eisen Show to discuss a racist-stereotype-perpetuating recruiting philosophy of targeting QBs with both parents and a 3.5+ GPA while pivoting to athletes with a single mother and is on free lunch for the defensive line.

    Prime Time has always been brash, high-stepping into the end zone, walking out of pre-draft interviews with teams below his expected draft range, and even throwing water on an interviewer while in the MLB. Yet, as a coach, personality should take a back seat.

    Sanders got away with it in the FCS, thanks to his ability to recruit higher-level athletes — and bringing in two of his sons in QB Shedeur and safety Shilo — but it didn’t fly in Year 1 at Colorado.

    Just 10 scholarship players from Colorado’s 2022 roster were on the team in 2023. A jaw-dropping 86 new players formed the roster, with 53 coming from the transfer portal — the most any team has ever added in a single offseason.

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    After finishing with a 4-8 record, Sanders sought yet another shake-up. According to CBS, 61% of the high school recruits and transfers who signed with the Buffaloes last season are no longer on the roster. In fact, transfers have made up 78.3% of his two recruiting classes in Boulder.

    That decision didn’t go all too well in his inaugural season, and it’s unlikely to be any different in 2024. FanDuel set Colorado’s win total at 5.5 and gave the Buffaloes the sixth-longest odds to win the Big 12 Championship, ahead of only Cincinnati, Baylor, Houston, Arizona State, and BYU. Additionally, in the conference’s official preseason poll, Sanders’ squad was picked to finish 11th of 16 teams.

    Unfortunately for Colorado, the grandiose persona Sanders embodies may not translate into wins at the FBS level. Will Coach Prime’s confidence ultimately uplift the Buffaloes, or will his arrogance lead to their downfall? The odds favor the latter.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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