Just how, specifically, is Sanders such a terror? Let his opponents count the ways:
"His legs go in 14 different directions at one time," says New England Patriot nosetackle Tim Goad. "Then he stops, but usually you don't."
"It's the ankle flexion," says Fox TV's Jerry Glanville, the former Houston Oiler and Atlanta Falcon coach known for his obsession with stopping the run. "It's like his ankles are ball joints, and the foot stays flat as the leg leans over laterally. We could lock his leg in a vise, and you and I together couldn't bend his ankle enough to sprain it."
Others say it's the strength of Sanders's tree-trunk legs. In the weight room at his alma mater, Oklahoma State, Sanders used to squat 600 pounds. And on the field the powerful thrust of those legs, like the uncoiling of huge steel springs, resembles the motion of the weightlifting squat.
"He's a 280-pound man who was cut off at the knees and had his shoes put back on," says Tampa Bay Buc defensive coordinator Floyd Peters. "People who hit him around those thunder thighs just bounce off."
"You can hit him up top, but he'll just pivot and make you slide right off him," adds Armstrong, who's 6'4", 260.
Then there is the pure speed and the quickness. "He's like a Walt Disney deer bounding through the forest," Peters says.
"He has the most unusual ability to stop and start that I've ever seen," says Dan Henning, former offensive coordinator at Detroit and now concluding his first year as coach at Boston College. "He's running full speed, he stops, he goes in another direction. It's like everybody else is a full second behind."
"More than all his other great qualities," says Bill coach Marv Levy, "his unique balance leaps out at me."
Says Armstrong, "His being short actually adds to his package, because he's more difficult to find in the piles and more difficult to draw a bead on."