Characters In the Backfield
Arian Foster gets the start, but Lion King-loving Ben Tate lands the SportsIllustrated spotlight
Arian Foster will start against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday and get as much action as his beaten-up hamstring allows. But Foster's backup, Ben Tate, is hardly fading away.
Tate's even receiving some play in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, getting spotlighted in the magazine's Pop Culture Grid. This is the feature where the sports bible asks four athletes a series of non-sports questions and compares their answers. As usual, Tate — the guy who teammate Antonio Smith's dubbed Big Head Ben in an attempt to keep a tailback who's run for 301 yards in his first three career NFL games humble — comes across as quite the character.
Tate reveals everything from the name of his fantasy football team ("Tate's Terrors" — no ego there) to his opinion on what the next '80s film remake should be ("Scarface" — what, did you really think he was going to say Dirty Dancing?)to his favorite Modern Family character ("Never watched it" — this might cause some angst with those suffering from White People Problems, which is pretty much anyone who's a fan of Modern Family). He also says that the athlete who deserves a roast is Texans all-everything receiver Andre Johnson.
But Tate's most interesting response comes when the 23-year-old is asked to complete the sentence "TheLion King 3D is. . ." Tate's answer? "Awesome, when I watch it."
It's not a surprise really that a second-year NFL player loves The Lion King. Everyone in the CultureMap office under the age of 28 seems to think that The Lion King is one of cinema's greatest masterpieces. It's a generational thing. But in a grid that also includes 16-year-old pro golfer Lexi Thompson, Detroit Red Wings forward Danny Cleary and Arizona Diamondbacks ace Ian Kennedy, the Texans tailback comes across as the biggest personality of the bunch (though Kennedy gives Tate a run for it).
It's Foster's status as the Texans' most out-there-character that could be challenged by his fellow tailback.
When SI asked all four if Brad Pitt makes a believable general manager in the movie Moneyball, Thompson, Cleary and Kennedy all give serious, predictable answers. Tate? He shoots back: "I'd prefer Angelina Jolie."
Foster had better watch out. Not about his starting job. That's his as long as his hamstring lets him be last year's difference maker. No, it's Foster's status as the Texans' most out-there-character that could be challenged by his fellow tailback.
Of course, Foster isn't going to give anything up easily. One of his tweets this week? "I'll tap dance for you now. But lend me your ear later Van Gogh, I promise it'll be worth your time." No context or relevance provided. That's Arian being Arian.