There is no such thing as GOAT, also known as “The Greatest of All Time”. There is no such thing as the “Greatest player in the world” or “The best player at that specific position”. Today’s sports includes too many misconceptions and misinterpretations among league, player and team discussions. Around championship season where the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, and the World Series are played; analysts, writers, journalists, reporters, and fanatics always pull up the “GOAT” discussion.
But does is really make sense? Is there such thing as “Greatest of All Time?”
It was around February, Super Bowl time. Me and a couple of friends off the internet were discussing some random sports topics and came across this conversation. “Guys, if Brady wins tomorrow’s Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks, does this make him the Greatest of All Time?” I pondered deliberately and replied. “No”, I answered. I told him that there is a certain hierarchy among the “greatest of all times” but in reality how we, the fans of the NFL, really judge this topic. I stated that Peyton Manning will always be my GOAT, however I was retrospective. I missed some points after reminiscing his career. There is no criteria for a player to be considered the GOAT. My rubric of GOAT in terms of the NFL included MVPs, Super Bowls, Pro Bowls, All Pro selections, and the main component stats. I believed that stats were crucial part of this analysis because it signifies how well a player “dominates” or performs against a particular team. That is why I firmly believe that Peyton Manning was the GOAT because of his records, stats, and MVPS. Being the GOAT is only included to that position not a team. Thus, super bowl wins is a team effort rather than individual effort. For example, Brady is not GOAT compared to Manning because despite having more super bowl wins, it was a team effort rather than Brady doing it all by himself. Consequently, a delusional fan would state that Trent Dilfer is “tied” to Peyton Manning in terms of GOAT discussion. Plus, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlsberger is better that Peyton regarding the GOAT topic.
But I requestioned myself with this proposed question, “what if Manning played in the era where Joe Montana played?” “Heck, what if Montana played with the Denver Broncos in the 21st century?”
It was February 1st, a dusk scenery. The Patriots win Super Bowl 49 by a game winning pick by the unsung hero, Malcolm Butler. My legs were vibrating and my eyes glued to the screen. I was shocked by the play call, the overall environment, and the reactions of my family. Monday morning, I checked ESPN and bleacher report and there were articles titling – “Tom Brady GOAT”, “Greatest of All Time”, and “Move over Montana, Brady is the king”. All these entitlements were overwhelming. I remembered my question, thesis, and analysis. I stated, “after watching a mere decade of NFL football, my early decision of Peyton Manning being the GOAT has changed. After recent analytical posts about Tom Brady finally being the GOAT is also invalid. Joe Montana is not even the GOAT. The truth is, there is no such thing as “greatest of all time”.
This is my insight. The great sport of football has changed greatly in terms of rules, equipment, player tactics, game role, film, and technological advancement. Here is a question for you, “did Joe Montana play with the same equipment that today’s NFL plays with?” “Was Terry Bradshaw allowed to film other team’s practices?” “Did Dan Marino ever had headsets so play calling would be easier?” “Did John Elway ever play with he same rules as today’s NFL?” Imagine if Marino played in today’s NFL, where rules are “soft” and “leniant” and where the equipment sustains more injuries due to the technological advances. What if Montana played with headsets where he would receive a play call early and could potentially run a play faster instead of the time consuming west coast offense. In college football, both USC and Oregon run the “no huddle offense” where the offensive side receives the call way before they offensive line lines up, and from there adjusts. What if my fellow Chicago Bear Jim McMahon played in today’s NFL where chop blocks are called, more pass interferences, holdings, personal fouls were called by the refs. His stats would totally be punctured. The “golden/throwback/old” era of football was much harder for offenses to play in because there was a low frequency of flags being thrown and more leniency towards the defense. Heck, I remember during the 1970s to the 1990s where the offense was more run based than pass based. Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, Terrell Davis, Marshall Faulk and Curtis Martin. These guys took over the NFL. Now it is the quarterbacks and their favoritism of today’s rules that is now the king of the throne. I am 100% sure that if Manning, Rodgers, Brady, and Big Ben played in the old era of NFL football, their stats would be “below average” or even par to the 20th century standards. The game has changed people, and each generation of football has their own “greatest of all times” hence – G.O.T.G – Greatest of This Generation. In my opinion, my generation of Football, (21st century) GOTGs are Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and my personal favorite Peyton Manning. But then again each NFL fan, writer, analyst, journalists have their opinions.
Here is a link that depicts how the NFL has changed over the course of a century
Chicago’s Very Own – Ronak