As Deion Sanders took over Super Bowl radio row, it’s easy to see how he has Colorado football buzzing

PHOENIX. Moments after Emmitt Smith passed, booing his name, “Time-prim-mm! Let’s take time!” Michael Strahan jumped up on stage to give him a hug and remark that even at 55, he must be getting up (“You’re excited!”).

Before long, former NFL quarterback Adam “Pacman” Jones emotionally explained that the way this NFL legend played and behaved actually changed Pacman’s life (“Do what makes you happy. If you want to dress brightly, dress brightly. Your chain, put on your chain.”)

By then, LeShawn “Shady” McCoy had informed him about the high school recruits and tried to arrange for the boy to travel to a game in Colorado.

Deion Sanders – Prime’s own coach – got into the Super Bowl radio on Thursday, and in the huge but crowded convention center ballroom, it was like the circus you can imagine.

Expected requests for selfies, autographs, questions, videos, spinning heads and tense necks. That many of them are descended from great football players – current and former players – may not be true. He is a star for the stars.

Prime was there to promote Oikos Yogurt, his new Colorado Buffaloes program and, of course, himself. “I hate being away from my [players] but I have to, because I am also a businessman,” he said. Unfortunately, men can give very few interviews, even Deion Sanders.

Sanders has never coached an FBS-level football game since this is his first season as Colorado head coach, but here, at the start of something potentially big, he is college football’s biggest star. Not the most successful. Nick Saban, his advertising partner Aflac and others, has all the titles. But Prime is Prime, a sensation that simply pulls everything into its orbit.

Deion Sanders was a popular figure on the Super Bowl LVII radio show on February 9, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Deion Sanders was a popular figure on the Super Bowl LVII radio show on February 9, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Just trying to move from one media place to another was a chore. His publicist fought a losing battle. He seemed to know everyone and everyone wanted to talk. Old friends. Old teammates. This guy’s mom. That guy’s child.

He told the story of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for Sports Illustrated, talked about leadership on a podcast, and read a Bible verse on TikTok. Whether he had a microphone in his hand, or an arm around an acquaintance, it hardly mattered. It was casually authentic, with a personal camera crew in tow.

Whether any of this will lead to Power Five victories remains to be seen, but it was definitely something. If you want to know how he just seems to be recruiting, well, it’s one thing for fans to get excited about the chance to talk to a Hall of Famer or a Division I head coach, and quite another when it’s the Pro Football Hall. Famers who behave like this.

You can only imagine the reaction when he enters a talent camp or visits his home.

What are your expectations for this season? “We’re going to win,” Prime said. When will the Buffs win the championship? “Some years.”

Doubt it at your own risk. He achieved immediate success in Jackson State, achieving recruit levels that had not been seen since the 1970s. He has gone 23-3 in his last two seasons. He found funding for the FCS program. He changed everything.

And then he left, drawing unfair criticism from those who didn’t listen to him along the way. Sanders’ goal has always been to get to a major conference. He has interviewed in Arkansas and TCU. To ask him to limit himself was to ask him not to be himself.

Pacman, among other things, told Prime that he supported moving to the top tier, but he never thought it would be Colorado.

“People asked me, I said: “He won’t go there for anything. It’s too cold,” said Pacman, the host of the TikTok show.

“These are not blisters,” Sanders explained. “If it’s around 30 in Atlanta or Dallas, then it’s cold. If it’s 30 in Colorado, you’ve got a hoodie. There is no wind. It is beautiful.

“I was there three to four weeks before I saw the police,” he said of life in Boulder.

The group of people laughed. Others hung on his every word. He soon left elsewhere with “Prime. Prime,” it rings. Maybe someone pointed a camera at his face. Maybe his old Cowboys teammate Darren Woodson is waving at him. Almost everyone wanted to ask about CU, how they can help.

“I love to exercise,” he explained. “I love it. It’s not a job, it’s my life… I love challenging young men to be men.

“I have real relationships because I sit in the cafeteria and eat with them,” Sanders said. “I take them aside, not only because they are in trouble, but also to say:“ You are doing a good job. How is your mother? How is your sister? How is your little brother?”

These are the connections that powered him, from poverty in Fort Myers to incredible fame in the state of Florida to a guy who played in both the NFL and MLB. From pioneering HBCU trainer to Pac-12. This is what attracts many.

Crowds gathered around him, demands piled up, schedules faltered with every unscheduled visit. Prime said his thoughts returned to Boulder, where a talented staff of assistants and a few dedicated children were working to “build a dynasty.”

“I can hear the weights rattling,” he said. “I can hear the boys running. I hear guys just moaning just trying to get it. The guys are trying to get into the line in time for preparation. I’m feeling it. I hear it.”

Then he went to what was next.

Deion Sanders – Coach Prime – at full strength.


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