Photo by Marshall Goff – Ultiphotos
As the old mantra reads, “Offense sells tickets, defense wins games.” Joe “Smash” Anderson embodies this saying better than perhaps anyone in the league.
Anderson may not light up the stat sheets – he tallied a solid eight defenses on the season – but his impact is still felt on the field each week.
Anderson has been a consistent defensive force for the Rumble this season, keeping New York in games by shutting down their opponents’ best players. His signature blue collar style of play has made him one of the best defenders in the game.
Though Anderson won the Week 10 Innova Pulsar Throw of the Week, it is his preventative defense that has impressed head coach Anthony Nuñez the most.
“What I have seen from Smash all season is shut down defense,” Nuñez said.
“There is a lot of hype for the guy who goes out and gets a block, but rarely does anyone talk about the guy who’s man doesn’t even get thrown to because he is completely shut down. That’s what Joe brings defensively every time he is out there and that’s why he is the best defender in the East, maybe even the league.”
Defense has always been Anderson’s specialty. He began playing ultimate at Beacon High School in New York City at the age of 14. He joined the New York Club team, PoNY, in 2007, and became a starting D-line player in 2009. He would eventually captain the squad in 2011.
Anderson credits his success defensively to his positioning. “I work hard to maintain good positioning throughout the point. I watch a lot of film,” he said.
One of Anderson’s more notable games came in a Week 2 double-overtime win over the Philadelphia Spinners. Anderson collected three defenses that day, to go along with one goal scored to help the Rumble defeat the Spinners 24-23.
Still, Anderson’s main objective each week is not to get the most defenses, but rather prevent the most throws.
“My goal is for the people I defend to get looked off,” Anderson said.
“It’s not flashy. I look to quietly take an impact player out of the game. If I defend someone and they get fewer touches and points than their average, then I have impacted the game in a big way.”