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who is considered the best NFL player of all time? (1 Viewer)

Sinrman

Footballguy
Overall, that's a tough call. Some say Montana, some may say like Bart Starr. I think when all is said and done, we may indeed be saying Tom Brady. The man just knows how to win...

 

Holy Schneikes

Footballguy
I don't think basketball and baseball are any easier than football.You could easily make a case for a couple of different guys over Jordan. Wilt comes to mind.Baseball has a ton of guys that you could make a case for as well. Williams, Bonds, etc.I think your choices are fine, but I think it's NEVER easy to come up with a "best ever".Even Gretsky, who is probably closest to "a lock" has a couple of competitors.

 

Chubbs

Footballguy
No Brainer best in any sport, Michael Jordan. No one took over a game like him in any sport..EVERFootball.....Jerry

 
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redman

Footballguy
Jerry Rice isn't a no brainer. It's Jim Brown.

Rice certainly warrants consideration, but Brown was truly a man among boys when everyone knew that the Browns would be running the ball. Who else played on his offensive teams that was of any note? Certainly nobody like Montana, Young, Craig, etc.

Brown's one of the few guys from his era who I know would be a star today too.

 

mad sweeney

Footballguy
I don't think basketball and baseball are any easier than football.

You could easily make a case for a couple of different guys over Jordan. Wilt comes to mind.

Baseball has a ton of guys that you could make a case for as well. Williams, Bonds, etc.

I think your choices are fine, but I think it's NEVER easy to come up with a "best ever".

Even Gretsky, who is probably closest to "a lock" has a couple of competitors.
No way. There are some great, great heroes in hockey legend but no one comes close to the Great One for the #1 spot. He was bigger to hockey than Jordan was to basketball.
 

gman8343

What would Lemmy do?
I don't think basketball and baseball are any easier than football.

You could easily make a case for a couple of different guys over Jordan.  Wilt comes to mind.

Baseball has a ton of guys that you could make a case for as well.  Williams, Bonds, etc.

I think your choices are fine, but I think it's NEVER easy to come up with a "best ever".

Even Gretsky, who is probably closest to "a lock" has a couple of competitors.
No way. There are some great, great heroes in hockey legend but no one comes close to the Great One for the #1 spot. He was bigger to hockey than Jordan was to basketball.
Gordy Howe, Bobby Orr and Lemiux have all been argued against the Great One. I like Gretzky, but there are decent arguments for all of them.
 

Koya

Footballguy
Overall, that's a tough call. Some say Montana, some may say like Bart Starr. I think when all is said and done, we may indeed be saying Tom Brady. The man just knows how to win...
Um, you mention these names and not Johnny Unitas? the man epitomized what the modern QB is. threw tds in 47 consecutive games - when you didnt have the pass offenses of today. called his plays, ran his team and defined the nfl second only to lombardi.lombardi is probably the closest thing to Jordan or Ruth in football. It is very much a coaches game.

 

Mr. Mojo

Footballguy
I agree with Rice. If Brown completed his career, we would probably be saying him.Tom Brady is a long way from being considered even one of the best QB ever - obviuosly a fishing trip.

 

MarshallRob

Footballguy
I think if you polled every football writer (or broadcasters or Hall of Famers) you would end up with Jim Brown as the number one vote getter but I don't know that he gets a majority of the votes. Others receiving votes would likely include: Rice, LT, Montana, Payton, Unitas, Baugh, and Hutson.

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
I don't think basketball and baseball are any easier than football.

You could easily make a case for a couple of different guys over Jordan.  Wilt comes to mind.

Baseball has a ton of guys that you could make a case for as well.  Williams, Bonds, etc.

I think your choices are fine, but I think it's NEVER easy to come up with a "best ever".

Even Gretsky, who is probably closest to "a lock" has a couple of competitors.
No way. There are some great, great heroes in hockey legend but no one comes close to the Great One for the #1 spot. He was bigger to hockey than Jordan was to basketball.
Gordy Howe, Bobby Orr and Lemiux have all been argued against the Great One. I like Gretzky, but there are decent arguments for all of them.
I respectfully disagree that there is an argument for those guys over Gretzky.First, consider the awards.

The Hart Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team since 1924 (LINK). Gretzky won it 9 times (the most ever). Howe won it 6 times (second only to Gretzky). Lemeiux and Orr each won it 3 times. Other than Gretzky & Howe, no one has won it more than 4 times.

The Lester B. Pearson Trophy has been awarded to the NHL's outstanding player as selected by the members of the NHL Player's Association since 1971 (LINK). Gretzky won it 5 times (the most ever). Lemeiux won it 4 times (second only to Gretzky). Orr won once, but the award did not exist for all of his career... he may have won another if it did. Howe played before the award's inception.

The Conn Smythe Trophy has been awarded to the most valuable player for his team in the playoffs since 1965 (LINK). Gretzky, Lemeiux, and Orr each won 2 times. Howe played before the award's inception. The only player to win more than 2 is Patrick Roy, who won 3 times.

The Art Ross Trophy has been awarded to the player who leads the league in scoring points at the end of the regular season since 1948 (LINK). Gretzky won it 10 times (the most ever). Lemeiux & Howe each won it 6 times (second only to Gretzky). Orr won once.

The James Norris Trophy has been awarded to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position since 1954 (LINK). Orr won it 8 times (the most ever). Orr is the only defenseman in our group, so Gretzky, Lemeiux, and Howe never won it.

The Calder Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the NHL since 1933 (LINK). Lemeiux and Orr won it. Howe (Howie Meeker) and Gretzky (Ray Bourque) did not.

Not that these matter as much, but still:

The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the player judged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability since 1925 (LINK). Gretzky won it 5 times. Lemeiux, Howe, and Orr never won.

The Bill Masterton Trophy has been awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey since 1968 (LINK). Lemeiux won once. Gretzky and Orr never won. Howe played before the award's inception.

Now, check the points:

Gretzky: 894 goals (1st all time), 1963 assists (1st), 2857 points (1st).

Lemeiux: 683 goals (8th), 1018 assists (10th), 1701 points (7th).

Howe: 801 goals (2nd), 1049 assists (7th), 1850 points (3rd).

Orr: 270 goals, 645 assists (50th), 915 points (80th).

First, I would say Lemeiux was a better player than Howe. Howe played almost twice as many NHL games as Lemeiux (1767 to 889), which to me makes Lemeiux's accomplishments more impressive. That said, I think Gretzky's accomplishments are obviously greater than both of them.

Second, note that Gretzky is not only first all time in goals, assists, and points, but by large, sometimes incredible, margins. Gretzky has the most goals with 894, 12% more than Howe in second at 801. Gretzky has the most assists with 1963, 57% more than Ron Francis in second with 1249. :shock: Gretzky has the most points with 2863, 52% more than Mark Messier in second with 1887. :shock: Gretzky has more career assists than any other player has career points. It's like he was playing a different game than everyone else.

As for Stanley Cups, Gretzky and Howe each played on 4 winners, compared to 2 each for Orr and Lemeiux. But looking a bit deeper, the league had only 6 teams in each of the seasons Howe won with Detroit. When Orr won with Boston, the league had 12 and 14 teams. When Gretzky won his 4, the league had 21 teams. When Lemeiux won his 2, the league had 21 and 22 teams. It would seem that it was easier for Howe in particular, but also for Orr.

Gretzky dominated in all scoring categories. He won as many or more Cups as the others. He dominated Lemieux and Howe in the awards, though to be fair to Howe, some of them were not available to him. It is harder to compare Gretzky to Orr, since hockey statistics do not lend themselves to comparing offensive and defensive players. I think Orr is clearly the best defenseman in history, but I am very comfortable in saying Gretzky is the best player of all time.

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
I think if you polled every football writer (or broadcasters or Hall of Famers) you would end up with Jim Brown as the number one vote getter but I don't know that he gets a majority of the votes. Others receiving votes would likely include: Rice, LT, Montana, Payton, Unitas, Baugh, and Hutson.
:goodposting: I personally rank Payton above Brown, but I would have a hard time choosing between Payton, Rice, Unitas, and Taylor. I guess those would be in my top tier, with Montana and Jim Brown in the next. I confess that I don't know enough about Hutson and his era to know exactly where to rank him.

 

Orange Crush

Footballguy
The man who changed the way the game is played would be my pick..........L. Taylor
Heck, if you're going to use that criteria you have to say Hutson. His play single-handedly convinced teams to pass the ball.
 

Trig2U

Footballguy
I know we're all in awe of Jordan, having seen him do his thing often during the previous decade, but with all due respect to MJ; the most dominant player in the history of pro basketball without a doubt is Wilt Chamberlain. I know he's from a previous era, but so are Jim Brown, Babe Ruth etc; etc.; and Wilt's accomplishments put him up there with those legends in Pro Sports Valhalla. I assume everybody knows that Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 freakin' pts in a single game, but guys, he *averaged* over 50 points and 25 rebounds per game that season. He was a four time NBA MVP. Seven straight NBA scoring titles. Eleven straight rebounding titles. Chamberlain finished with 24,000 career rebounds and averaged over 20 rebounds and over 30 pts per game for his *entire* 14 season career! Not only that, but he was a great passer with quick instincts, and in '68 he turned around and lead the NBA in *assists*, while still putting in 24 pts a game! They didn't keep track of blocked shots back then, but believe me Chamberlain rejected as many shots as anybody ever and could take over a game on defense. Legendary for his size, strength and agilty, Chamberlain was 7'1" and though he started his career at about 270 lbs, in his prime his weight was closer to 300 lbs of muscle. An incredible all-around athlete, Chamberlain was also a track and field star at Kansas, he was a martial arts student, and just for kicks, after he retired from the NBA, he played as a professional volley ball player. There was not an ounce of fat on the guy, and while there's no way to measure it now, based on evidence from various storys you could make a case that Chamberlian was physically stronger than Shaq or anybody else to have played in the NBA. There are several stories of Chamberlain grabbing the ball simutaneously with an opposing NBA center, lifting the guy up and shaking him like a rag doll while he was still clinging to the ball. Pat Powers, an Olympic volleyball player who hung out with Chamberlain in the late 70's, witnessed two incredible examples of Chamberlain's strength. Powers claims that in an argument over a card game Chamberlain once picked up a 225 man and *tossed* him over a volleyball net. Powers also says he witnessed Wilt reach over a chain link fence and, with one arm, hoist over the top of the fence a 240 body builder. And this would have been when Chamberlain was nearly 40 years old! In any case Chamberlain was certainly quicker, more agile and could shoot the ball better than Shaq. A bigger than life personality, intelligent, a ferocious competitor and possessed with a serious mean streak, Chamberlain was dominant in an era when there were some *real* centers all across the board in the NBA; dudes like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell; Nate Thurmond; Bob Lanier; Willis Reed; etc. etc; and no pushover teams.I'm old enough to have seen Chamberlain play (I always rooted against him as a kid) and I also saw Jordan many, many times, and IMHO basketball is a big man's game and Wilt Chamberlain is The Classic NBA big man. In fact, and I know this sounds very Old School, but I'd also rate Kareem ahead of Michael, and Oscar Robertson would have to be right there too.

 

Trig2U

Footballguy
OK, I made my case about Wilt Chamberlain, but regarding NFL football, while you've gotta consider Jim Brown, LT, Walter Payton, Unitas, and maybe a handful of other candidates, for my money you can take your pick from between Montana and Rice. In a way you can't really separate them and they're both equally deserving.

 

Trig2U

Footballguy
No Brainer best in any sport, Michael Jordan. No one took over a game like him in any sport..EVER

Football.....Jerry
Sorry, Chubbs but you are very wrong about MJ. (Please see my little synopsis on a guy you might have heard of named Wilt Chamberlain). I might agree with you about Rice though. We'll all be long gone before anybody comes close to achieving what #80 has in the NFL.

 
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MarshallRob

Footballguy
football is a lil' tougher than the other sports:

baseball- ruth

basketball - jordan

hockey- gretzky

football - ?
Joe Montana.No question.

:popcorn:
If you're calling someone the greatest player of all time, then you have to consider how that person would have fared in the two-way player era. Would Joe have done well if he played back then?
 

midtown luchas

Footballguy
original purpose of this thread was to confirm that "experts" generally say jim brown.i think the nature of football and its positions make it a hard call...

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
I know we're all in awe of Jordan, having seen him do his thing often during the previous decade, but with all due respect to MJ; the most dominant player in the history of pro basketball without a doubt is Wilt Chamberlain.

I know he's from a previous era, but so are Jim Brown, Babe Ruth etc; etc.; and Wilt's accomplishments put him up there with those legends in Pro Sports Valhalla.

I assume everybody knows that Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 freakin' pts in a single game, but guys, he *averaged* over 50 points and 25 rebounds per game that season.

He was a four time NBA MVP. Seven straight NBA scoring titles. Eleven straight rebounding titles. Chamberlain finished with 24,000 career rebounds and averaged over 20 rebounds and over 30 pts per game for his *entire* 14 season career!

Not only that, but he was a great passer with quick instincts, and in '68 he turned around and lead the NBA in *assists*, while still putting in 24 pts a game! They didn't keep track of blocked shots back then, but believe me Chamberlain rejected as many shots as anybody ever and could take over a game on defense.     

Legendary for his size, strength and agilty, Chamberlain was 7'1" and though he started his career at about 270 lbs, in his prime his weight was closer to 300 lbs of muscle.

An incredible all-around athlete, Chamberlain was also a track and field star at Kansas, he was a martial arts student, and just for kicks, after he retired from the NBA, he played as a professional volley ball player.

There was not an ounce of fat on the guy, and while there's no way to measure it now, based on evidence from various storys you could make a case that Chamberlian was physically stronger than Shaq or anybody else to have played in the NBA. There are several stories of Chamberlain grabbing the ball simutaneously with an opposing NBA center, lifting the guy up and shaking him like a rag doll while he was still clinging to the ball. Pat Powers, an Olympic volleyball player who hung out with Chamberlain in the late 70's, witnessed two incredible examples of Chamberlain's strength. Powers claims that in an argument over a card game Chamberlain once picked up a 225 man and *tossed* him over a volleyball net. Powers also says he witnessed Wilt reach over a chain link fence and, with one arm, hoist over the top of the fence a 240 body builder. And this would have been when Chamberlain was nearly 40 years old! In any case Chamberlain was certainly quicker, more agile and could shoot the ball better than Shaq.

A bigger than life personality, intelligent, a ferocious competitor and possessed with a serious mean streak, Chamberlain was dominant in an era when there were some *real* centers all across the board in the NBA; dudes like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell; Nate Thurmond; Bob Lanier; Willis Reed; etc. etc; and no pushover teams.

I'm old enough to have seen Chamberlain play (I always rooted against him as a kid) and I also saw Jordan many, many times, and IMHO basketball is a big man's game and Wilt Chamberlain is The Classic NBA big man. In fact, and I know this sounds very Old School, but I'd also rate Kareem ahead of Michael, and Oscar Robertson would have to be right there too.
I must respectfully disagree. Let's break it down.First, let's take a look at the awards.

Wilt won the won the MVP 4 times, 1960 and 1966-1968. However, there were only 8 teams in 1960, 9 teams in 1966, 10 teams in 1967, and 12 teams in 1968. Jordan won 5 MVP awards, in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998. There were 23, 27, 27, 29, and 29 teams in the league in those respective seasons. So Jordan won one more MVP and it seems that it was more difficult to win in his career than in Wilt's. Also, IMO Jordan should have won in 1989 (Magic), 1993 (Barkley), and 1997 (Malone). I don't know enough to know how many times Wilt was screwed, but I doubt it was enough to catch Jordan here. Edge: Jordan.

Both won ROY, though, again, Jordan had much more competition than Wilt. Wash.

Jordan won 6 Finals MVP awards. Wilt won that award once. Both played in 6 Finals. Edge: Jordan.

Jordan was an All Star in all 14 seasons that he began unretired. (He played in 1995 but was not an All Star since he was retired until the final 17 games of the season.) He was All Star MVP 3 times. Wilt was an All Star in 13 of 14 seasons, missing only in 1970 when he played only 12 games. He was All Star MVP once. All Star MVP isn't very important, so we can call this a wash.

Wilt made 1st team All NBA 7 times and 2nd team All NBA 3 times. Surprisingly, he did not make either 1st or 2nd team in 1969-1971 or 1973. Jordan made 1st team All NBA 10 times and 2nd team All NBA once. Edge: Jordan.

Jordan made 1st team All Defense 9 times. Wilt made it once, but apparently this award did not begin until 1969, so it existed for only the last 5 seasons of Wilt's career. Throw out 1970 for Wilt since he played only 12 games, and he only won this award 1 out of 4 possible seasons. Throw out Jordan's 1986 (18 games) and 1995 (17 games) seasons, and he won 9 of 13. I expect Wilt would have made at least 2nd team a number of times earlier in his career had the award existed, but we just don't know for sure. I reluctantly call this a wash, but in truth I think it should be an edge to Jordan.

OK, so big edge to Jordan overall so far. Let's move on to statistics.

Their career regular season scoring averages are virtually identical. Jordan edges Wilt 30.12 to 30.07. This is a wash. But Jordan scored 33.4 points per game in his playoff career, compared to Wilt's 22.5. Given that both of them played enough postseason games to add up to roughly 2 full NBA seasons, that's enough for an edge to Jordan in scoring.

As we might expect, the rest of the traditional statistics are split along positional lines. Wilt dominates in rebounding (22.9 to 6.2) and FG% (.540 to .497). However, it should be noted that Jordan rebounded and shot well for a guard. Blocks aren't available for Wilt... no doubt he would dominate there as well. Jordan had more assists (5.3 to 4.4) and shot much better from the line (.835 to .511). Jordan is 2nd all time in steals, so no doubt he would dominate that category if numbers were available for Wilt. Overall, I'd say these traditional statistics collectively favor Wilt, since he was the best rebounder of all time and was also a suprisingly good assist man. But, again, the differences here are largely positional.

Moving beyond the traditional stats, Player Efficiency Rating is a rating developed by John Hollinger, author of Pro Basketball Forecast. In Mr. Hollinger's words, "The PER sums up all a player's positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player's performance." Please see the article Calculating PER for more information. Jordan's PER is 27.9, which is second all time to Shaq (whose rating will presumably drop as he finishes his career). Wilt's is 26.2, fourth all time.

Overall, I'd call statistics a wash.

How about titles? Both played in the Finals 6 times. Jordan won all 6. Wilt won 2. Edge: Jordan.

Sorry, I just don't see a case for Wilt over Jordan. Both were dominant players who are among the few best of all time. But Jordan was better and was, in fact, the greatest basketball player of all time.

 
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jwvdcw

Footballguy
I'd say these guys have some claim or will day have some claim to that title:Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Walter Payton, Lawrence Taylor, Ray Lewis...I'm sure I"m leaving out a few.

 

Trig2U

Footballguy
I'll tell ya what, Just Win, you make some nice arguments for MJ and you back 'em up with facts, not just opinion. I appreciate that.I could counter with the theory that Wilt Chamberlain's accomplishments are actually *more* meaningful precisely because they occurred when there were fewer franchises, ie before expansion. Let's face it, there are a lot of guys on the 30 NBA rosters right now who wouldn't even have been in the league in the late 60's-early 70's; and there were virtually no gimme games when there were only 8-14 teams in the league. I don't know if Wilt got screwed out of any MVPs, but like he said, "nobody roots for Goliath", and when he did win the award it was against competition the likes of Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jerry West, Rick Barry, Wes Unseld, etc. And more to the point, Wilt had to go head to head against the Russells, Nate Thurmonds and Kareems of the world not just once or twice a year, but one after the other all season long. Unseld, Willis Reed, Walt Bellamy, Bob Lanier... Wilt Chamberlain didn't get too many nights off. Meanwhile for a good chunk of Michael Jordan's career the next best #2 guard in the league was generally considered to be Mitch Richmond. A good player yes, but c'mon... and plenty of other nights MJ was abusing the likes of a Bryant Stith, Gary Grant, Pooh Richardson, etc. Also, yes, Michael was a good rebounder for a guard, (though not a particularly outstanding assist man), but there is no way Jordan could have ever lead the NBA in rebounding. Wilt did lead the league in assists. He was a *great* playmaker at center, as well as the greatest rebounder to ever play the game, and was certainly the better all around athlete. Purely as a physical presence Wilt dominated a basketball game in a way that Jordan simply couldn't. Hell, Chamberlain not only swatted shots out of the air, he could and would block *dunk* shots, (usually knocking the thwarted dunker on his ### at the same time). The NBA actually widened the lanes and changed the rules to slow Chamberlain down. In fact, they even changed the rules on free throws because Chamberlain was leaping out and *dunking* the ball from the line instead of shooting it! In any case, I'm afraid I can't see much value in any "efficiancy rating" that ranks Shaqille O'Neal ahead of not only Jordan but Wilt, Kareem, Bird, and Oscar Robertson (who BTW averaged a triple-double for his entire career!). Shaq is a very powerful man and is obviously a great player, but he's got several missing facets to his game. Just ask Ben Wallace.But here's my real point. To my mind Chamberlain is at the top of the list. You say it's Jordan. Fine. Even if I disagree with your final conclusion, certainly I could have no problem with somebody making the legitimate case for Michael Jordan. Wilt? Jordan? Jordan? Wilt? It's just one of those fun arguments that you can have at a bar with nobody having the Final Word. I think somebody could also make a pretty good case for Kareem Abdul Jabbar or Bill Russell; and Oscar Roberston had every bit as much talent as those other guys as well. I'm just saying that now days it's a common but myopic assumption to simply anoint Jordan as the "no brainer" choice for title of Greatest Basketball Player Ever. It ain't necessarily so. Although Michael Jordan is clearly the best *marketed* basketball player of all time, his outright claim to greatest is *very* debatable, and this debate is generally acknowledged by people who know the history of the game prior to say the Bird/Magic era. I would obviously include you in that category, Just Win. You know your stuff, and thanks again for your well considered arguments.But uh...what the hell, this was about football, right?

 
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