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American Football: Who is the greatest NFL player of All Time?

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posted on Oct, 30 2005 @ 04:05 PM
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This one, I would think, will be quite interesting. It would be easier to break it down by position, and even that would be difficult, but throw all of the positions from the gridiron into the pot, and tell us who you think is the greatest NFLer of all time.

I have to go with Jim Brown. Not only did he lead the league in rushing 8 out of 9 years that he played, and hold the record for career rushing yards until Payton broke it, he retired at the prime of his career. He played in 9 probowls in 9 years. He was a great pass catcher, and returned kickoffs.

He won MVP honors in 4 of his 9 seasons, including his rookie year. IMHO, no other running back can compete with him as far as being the greatest ever.

Whgo else could be greatest?




posted on Oct, 30 2005 @ 05:05 PM
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I might be a little biased here but what about that guy:



posted on Oct, 30 2005 @ 08:05 PM
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I certainly think that Joe can be argued for, but I'd still put Brown a. of him, all-time.



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 12:11 PM
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I'm a Niners fan, and I'm not completely convinced Montana was the greatest NINERS quarterback ever.

I've seen a lot of great players, and I'll qualify my opinion by saying I never saw Gale Sayers, but really: Who else could it be, but Jim Brown? He was not as statistically dominant as Ruth and Wilt--i.e., his numbers don't look utterly ridiculous--but he consistently dominated his contemporaries nonetheless.

When ESPN did their Top 50 Sports Figures of the Century, there were so damn many things they got wrong, but I don't think they got this one or baseball wrong. They had Brown way a. of any other football player (except Thorpe, if you limit him to being "a football player"), and in 4th place overall. They had Ruth 6 spots a. of the nearest baseball player (Mays), and in second place overall (behind Jordan, which I disagree with, but I think a GOOD case could be made for putting Ali or Zaharias a. of Ruth).

On a cold record, there seems no comparison to be made between Brown's dominance and Ruth's. But for nine years at least, it was a fair comparison, I think, except Brown didn't have the oh-my-god-can-you-believe-THAT?!! stats Ruth and Wilt had. But I've talked to thousands of people who watched Brown, and as a child (I was born in 1953) I literally talked to thousands who watched Ruth. The two groups spoke in equally hushed terms of reverence and awe. And the only player those who watched all of Brown's career through adult eyes ever seem to compare him with is Sayers.

Sayers did not play long enough to be fairly appraised. He, like Herb Score, Pete Reiser, Tony Conigliaro and Smokey Joe Wood in baseball, will forevermore remain one of those "how great would he have been IF...?" players. No such speculation is needed with Jim Brown, who gets my vote going away for the greatest NFL player of all time.

Baseball History Nut



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 03:26 PM
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You have to think about longevity and accomplishments as well. I have nothing against Brown, except his performance in The Dirty Dozen. Just kidding, he did well. Sayers is another that I have heard nothing but good things as well but like Brown, short career. These guys remind me of Barry Sanders, best RB I have seen but yet again, short career.



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 05:48 PM
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lets not forget that Jim was also a tremendous lacrosse player and actually preffered that sport to football while he was at Syracuse



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 08:18 PM
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I disagree that, in the context of pro football, a career of nine very full seasons is "too short."

The greatest running back I have ever seen, hands down, was Earl Campbell. Yeah, he couldn't catch a pass to save his life, but so what? He had my high school quarterback, Dan Pastorini, who could throw the ball 3 light years, but certainly was no great NFL quarterback, and he carried that team into the AFC title game at least twice, losing once in large part due to blind zebras. God knows how many former linebackers and strong safeties are wracked with permanent pain because they had Campbell run full speed into them. And, of course, Campbell himself is tragically wracked-up, too, from all those high-speed truck wrecks.

But CAMPBELL is someone who, despite his phenomenal peak, may be dismissed from this pool of candidates due to an insufficiently long career. BROWN is not. Nine years as a star running back, getting a zillion carries per game, is akin to how many years in Major League Baseball? Maybe 15? 17?

Most baseball historians I know feel, as do I, that Lefty Grove is the greatest pitcher ever, not counting active pitchers. He pitched 17 years, winning a mind-boggling 9 E.R.A. titles in the hitter-friendly 1920's and 1930's, all the while pitching in hitters' parks. He won his four E.R.A. titles after his 35th birthday, as a left-handed pitcher in Fenway Park. (Read that last sentence a few times.)

Joe DiMaggio is regarded by many, though not me, as the greatest of MLB's five legendary center fielders (Cobb, Speaker, Joe D., Mays and Mantle, in that chronological order). Joe D. played 13 years.

Sandy Koufax pitched only 12 years, during 3 of which he played only part time, and during 6 of which he was a mediocre pitcher. Yet, on the basis of his last 6 years, ESPN selected him as the ONLY pitcher worthy of inclusion in their Top 50 Sports Figures of the Century. (Never mind that his E.R.A. in spacious Dodger Stadium was a full run better than on the road....)

If Joe D. and Koufax can be considered as the greatest ever, how can Brown be disqualified from the same distinction in his sport on the ground he didn't play "long enough?" I'd like to hear the thoughts of linebackers and safeties who had to tackle Brown, if they heard it suggested Brown had too short a career.

Baseball History Nut



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 07:29 AM
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I think it is shockingly enough the running back for the only undefeated team in the NFL Larry Csonka!!!!!



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 09:27 AM
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It was made clear that this was not a "position by position" vote, which makes it very interesting in itself. (And yet, most of the initial posts have talked about running backs.)

Some posts mentioned raw skill; some, records; other, longevity and/or championships.

When ALL of these are taken together, and you consider a broader view than only running backs (or even QBs), one name stands out to me as the most logical selection.

Jerry Rice.

'nuff said.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:15 AM
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I don't think Jerry Rice would've been nearly as dominate if the rules hadn't changed in 1977.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 12:28 PM
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Depends upon how you ask the question, doesn't it? Or at least how you interpret the question. Jim Brown was the most dominant and most punishing runner of his era. But was he a better PLAYER than Walter Payton? I don't think so. Payton could run, catch, block and throw. Remember when He and Roland Harper both had 1,000 yard rushing seasons for the Bears? A lot of that was because they blocked like animals for each other. If Payton couldn't run around you, he'd run over you. And had that vicious straight arm. And through all the years of giving out and receiving punishment, he missed what, maybe a game due to injury.

And let's think about the other side of the ball. I'm thinking of a player that throughout his career was the most feared defender on the field, never coasted on a play, and always gave maximum effort. His team could be down 3 touchdowns (and frequently was) with minutes to go, and he'd still be in high gear levelling everything in his path. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to play in a playoff game because his teams always sucked. Of course, I'm referring to the legendary number 51, Dick Butkus.

There you have it. Best ever offense, Walter Payton. Best ever defense, Dick Butkus. They brought it every play in every game.

[Edit You mean I can't say "Dick Butkus"?]


[Edited on 11/1/05 by yeahright]



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 04:49 PM
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Originally posted by truenorth
These guys remind me of Barry Sanders, best RB I have seen but yet again, short career.


Barry actually played for 10 years, a year longer than Brown.

yeahright, you can't say Dick

And I certainly would consider Butkis, Rice or Payton for the "best ever". As far as Payton vs. Brown goes, though, dont' forget that Brown also was good at catching the ball, and blocking. They just ran a ot more, and more so with 1 back, back in the '50s.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:34 PM
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jeff cohen



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 03:39 PM
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Originally posted by GracieJiuJitsu
jeff cohen


WTF?



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 03:52 PM
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Why are we forgetting defensive standouts?

LT was amazing. Same position, Singeltary. Then my fav, hardest hitting DB EVER, he had hands too, Ronny Lott.



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 06:40 PM
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Originally posted by redwolf
I don't think Jerry Rice would've been nearly as dominate if the rules hadn't changed in 1977.




I don't think you can disqualify a player because of rule changes. Each team was still playing under the same rules. Jerry Rice just happened to be the best in his time. It's like saying Patrick Roy wouldn't have been as good if he wasn't allowed to wear a helmet. Maybe i'm wrong, but i'm saying Jerry Rice.



posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 02:13 PM
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Originally posted by Karlsberg
Maybe i'm wrong, but i'm saying Jerry Rice.


I could argue that and I'm a Niners fan. Look at the Hall of Fame QB's that he had throwing to him. Not to mention an excellent 2nd reciever in John Taylor. Good tight end with Brent Jones. The RB's were decent recievers out of the back field, Rathman and Craig.



posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 04:41 AM
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I can't say who the Greatest player ever is because i have only been a fan of NFL for the last 21 years so i never saw the NFL before that so the greatest players may differ to others who say Jim Brown and OJ Simpson etc

QB Joe Montana
RB Walter Payton
WR Jerry Rice
TE Ozzie Newsome
OL Larry Allen
K Adam Vinatieri
DLRandy White
LB LT
DB Neon Deon

The greatest overall has to be Jerry Rice

[Edited on 11/4/05 by AdyBaby]



posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 10:36 AM
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Awwright! Bronko (if I can say that) Nagurski.
The Greatest Player of All Time. He was born in Canada, but we won't hold that against him.


Nagurski was the prototype player for the old days of leather helmet college football. Remember, back in those days tackles were 175 to 190 pounds which meant the 6-2, 228-pound Bronk was bigger than just about everyone else.

Nagurski played for the Chicago Bears from 1930 to 1937 and then in 1943 taking them to three NFL titles. He had taken off six years to wrestle professionally because the money was better.

In a game at Wrigley Field, Nagurski once broke a defensive player's shoulder, knocked another out, then ran into the brick wall and cracked it on a game winning touchdown run. HE CRACKED A BRICK WALL!!
In the pros he played running back and linebacker running for 4,031 yards in his Hall of Fame career.

Today, they give the Bronko Nagurski award to the best collegiate defensive player. :party-smiley-018:



posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 05:56 PM
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Nagurski, great name from the past! Didn't he play for Illinois in college?



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