(honorable mention but not quite there: Franco Harris, Eric Dickerson, Curtis [love ya to death] Martin, Priest Holmes, and the guy who killed his wife and got away with it because of dumb racist cops and a stupid DA).
If one ignores the vast difference between the NFL in the 60's and today, Jim Brown wins hands down. There has never been a dominant performer like him in the league. If we accept the notion that the NFL from the 80's on is a vastly superior league, then... I'd pick Marshall for my team over Barry. Barry is the absolute greatest joy to watch that I've ever seen, but Marshall was far more productive.
Another guy I liked as an unlikely hero was John Riggins. I don't think he had the career numbers to be on Ricky's list, but the man was fun to watch!
Posts: 448 | Registered: Dec 2005
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I think Barry Sanders would have been the undisputed best ever if he had ever run behind an offensive line. Considering the teams he played for, and the fact that he's still #3 on the all-time rushing list, I think I'd put him at the top. I am also partial to the kind of plays where your jaw just drops at the sheer magnificence of movement. If you were to decide which of these men embarrassed the most would-be tacklers, Sanders takes the cake.
I think Payton had a more complete skill set, but also played on a physical running team, with a defense that carried them to the Super Bowl. I'm not sure Payton walks away as the career rushing leader if he played for the Lions, but I think the Bears could have won with Sanders.
Posts: 1445 | Registered: May 2004
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I agree about Barry having an o-line (he'd have 20K at least with Dallas' line in the 90's). But he wasn't great catching the ball and he got hit for a loss or for 1-2 yards quite often.
Posts: 19145 | Registered: Jan 2004
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I'd like to add it''s hard to say how good Barry or Earl would have been with a line, or Walter for that matter (for all of his career), or Sayers if he hadn't blown out his knees, or Bo's hip. And I have to admit OJ Jr. was my nickname on the fields when I was a kid (A nickname I wore proudly on five all star teams) and he was my hero. I was watching when he broke 2,000 yards in a single season, and someday when he finds the real killers, on whatever golf course they are hiding on, he will be vindicated.
And Ricky, thanks for the assist; I think I'd reached my thread starting limit for the month. And speaking of turning on a dime; Tony D could do that with the best of them. A Cowboys fan back then, Texans now that the dreadful Oilers are gone and the Cowboys are no longer saints like Roger Staubach and Tom Landry, I still can't rank Emmitt wiht those guys. A great runner, but a cog in a perfect three pronged attack.
And Terrel Davis was pretty good for a few years. Anybody mentioned Czonka? I saw Riggins. If you mention Riggins you gotta mention Czonka.
Best receiver not in the hall; Lynn Swann. And I hate the Steelers. Best receiver ever; Jerry Rice. End of story. I will be shocked if anyobdy even mentions a competitor. Though there were others I loved. Largent for one Wayne Cherbet, Drew Pearson(actually whooped his teams ass in softball game once, shook his hand after hitting a doule. He was playing short. I think I told him I loved him after that catch against Minnesota "The Hail Mary" in a manly way, Pete), Tony "Thrill" Hill, Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, John Stalworth, Moss, Carter, Golden Richards, Willie Gualt (talk about fast) Sharp, The Marks in Miami Duper and Clayton, Don Beebee(tough), Michael "Yes sir officer come in, yes that's my coke" Irving. The reason I'm a Texan fan now)(Keyshawn and Owens; I ain't seen enough yet) Caspar "The Ghost to the Post". Who am I leaving out? Gotta be some that Starr, Broadway willie Joe, Slinging Sammy Hargaugh, and Fran Tarkenton threw to that I'm forgetting?
Man, whatever happened to all the great nick-names? And that's just football; What about baseball; "The Splendid Splinter", "Stan the Man", "The Iron Horse", "Joltin Joe", "The Mick", "The Babe", "Shoeless Joe", "Yogi" (or was that his real name?) Whatta we got now; "Barry Balco Bonds"?
quote:Originally posted by KnightEnder: A Cowboys fan back then, Texans now that the dreadful Oilers are gone and the Cowboys are no longer saints like Roger Staubach and Tom Landry, I still can't rank Emmitt wiht those guys. A great runner, but a cog in a perfect three pronged attack.
And Terrel Davis was pretty good for a few years.
Emmit doesn't get credit for what he did because he had a good team around him, but Davis gets credit for what he did behind that O-line?
Posts: 3719 | Registered: Jul 2004
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The thing about Emmitt vs Barry. If you look at the sum of their careers, Barry played on a team with a better overall record than Emmitt... His line was never all that horrendous. Emmitt's lines were both horrendous and brilliant.
Sanders is still better as an individual runner.
I'm a bit different than many fans, because I count longevity and a full career as part of the path to "greatness", which means Jim Brown and Bo Jackson don't cut it. Doesn't matter how great they "could have been". The best running back ever may not have even played the game if you don't look at overall numbers.
Priest Holmes is the most underrated back of all time. He might even be the best ever period.
And Jim Thorpe is my old-school choice. That was a dominant player.
Posts: 340 | Registered: Mar 2003
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Barry's teams were not better than Emmit's. Barry's teams, from 1989-1998, averaged 7.8 victories per season. Emmit's teams, even factoring the two Arizona years (which, we should ALL agree right now, never actually happened), averaged 8.3. Without the Zona years, it's 9.6.
As for Thorpe - That's like nominating some Roman guy as best soccer player. Thorpe was dominant, but he played in a different universe.
As for Brown - 9 years should be enough. I agree that Bo doesn't make the cut because of longevity, but when you play for 9 years and dominate throughout, you the man.
And if you count longevity to the exclusion of Jim Brown, how exactly does Priest even make it into the discussion? The man has five years as a starter, and his sixth could very well be his last.
"As for Thorpe - That's like nominating some Roman guy as best soccer player. Thorpe was dominant, but he played in a different universe."
THis is one of the things I love about baseball. Even with the change from the dead ball, to the live ball and small parks, to the ridiculously juiced ball of the early 30's, to the ridiculously high mounds of the 60's, to the steroid and bandbox induced boom of the 90's, baseball is the same sport, and its reasonable to compare players as long as you take into account the minor variations in the game. We CAN look at Ty Cobb, and Tris Speaker, and Walter Johnson, and say "Yup. Among the best ever, and would dominate the game if they played in this era," and we can make arguments about whether or not Rocket is better then Johnson, or Pedro is better then Koufax. The game has continuity, other major sports don't. A football player from 1920 wouldn't recognize today's game in any meaningful way, and the three point line fundamentally altered the game of basketball.
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