The Jack Tatum award is named after a former Oakland Raiders safety that was known as the “Assassin”. It is given annually to the best defensive back in college football, and Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry is the only two-time recipient of the award. Berry runs fiercely at opponents searching out the point of contact. He lives for collisions. There is one thing No. 29 runs from, however, and in fact won’t even touch: Horses.
Berry suffers from equinophobia or the fear of horses. Last season while mic’d up for an NFL films documentary his fears were revealed. As he approached the Chiefs’ sideline, mascot horse Warpaint and rider Susie appeared. Seated next to LB Justin Houston he said, “I don’t deal with horses, straight up, he might come over here and throw a tantrum.”
No. 29 has been a huge part of Kansas City’s turnaround. The first round, 5th overall pick out of Tennessee has been to the Pro Bowl in both of the seasons he’s played for the Chiefs. Berry was lost for the year early in the first game of 2011 with a torn ACL.
In his professional career the defensive back has 218 tackles (184 solo) along with three sacks and one forced fumble. Berry has defended 26 passes and has six interceptions returned for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Ironically, none of those picks have come against the Denver Broncos.
I’ve stated in previous articles that Kansas City’s pick-six prevalence this season, and Denver QB Peyton Manning‘s susceptibility to throwing them, could be the difference in Sunday night’s game. If Berry gets his hands on the ball and there are eleven Broncos chasing him, I can assure you one thing: They won’t catch him.
My prediction remains the same: Chiefs by four courtesy of an Eric Berry pick-six.
Troy Alan is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TRantMedia.