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Most Dominant NFL Player Ever


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The first two NFL players that came to mind are Barry Sanders and LT.

They both transcended the game.

 

Unfortunately I didn't get to watch OJ, or most of the early greats, like Jim Brown play, apart from some highlights.  

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1 hour ago, Mr. WEO said:

 

Brady has had to compete agaisnt far better athletes all over the field, not just other QBs.  Yet he has dominated for many years, still well ahead of the field (in QB terms) at age 44 a year ago.

 

Ruth faced a bunch of ham and Eggers most of the time. He looks like he was taking BP in those old films.  A far superior athlete in Barry Bonds had to subsequently  get jacked on steroids to hit more HRs than Ruth because he was regularly facing far better starters and closers (didn't really exist in Ruth's day) than existed in Ruth's day. Ruth doesn't get 30 HR facing pitchers of Bonds's heyday.  Curt Schilling, Pedro, Glavine, Maddux, Smoltz (on one team!), Clemens......Randy Johnson would have destroyed Ruth.  

 

Well yes, the training is significantly better now.  Take Babe's natural intangibles combined with the level of training now...then you never know.  

 

These guys hit towering shots and didn't have baseballs wound as tight or wood from the bat not as strong.  Not to mention spit balls, scuffed up baseballs and larger strike zones.  

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3 minutes ago, Bad Things said:

The first two NFL players that came to mind are Barry Sanders and LT.

They both transcended the game.

 

Unfortunately I didn't get to watch OJ, or most of the early greats, like Jim Brown play, apart from some highlights.  

I’m also too young to have seen them, but the talent around them was much weaker than todays game. The talent of today is just far superior. The training, the diets, the genetics. Some of these pro athletes are basically knowingly or unknowingly participating in selective genetics within their bloodlines. Back in the day, sports were much more casual but today it’s a fierce competition from birth to the end of your career. 

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25 minutes ago, eSJayDee said:

I saw OJ play.  He was definitely the best RB at the time, but he wasn't head over shoulders better than a few others.  Jim Brown was before my time, but from what I understand, he was like a man amongst boys.  Just dominant.  Statistically at least, there was a receiver before the proliferation of the forward pass who far exceeded the output of any others.  I think it was Don Hudson of GB, but again, that was before my time.

 

I'll add Walter Payton was IMO the best player of his era.  He might not have exceeded others excessively statistically speaking, but he was great at everything - running, catching, blocking, punting.  Anything.

 

I also saw OJ play and thought he was the most magnificent athlete to ever trot onto a gridiron.  The way you describe Jim Brown - "a man amongst boys" - that's what I saw in OJ.  An amazing combination of speed, strength, agility and vision.  He didn't just make good plays more often than other backs.  Sometimes he did things no one else could do.    

 

Walter Payton was a stud, too.  Using league-leading yards versus #2 player yards as my metric for dominance, here are the modern era top four RB seasons:

 

1.  OJ, 1973: 1.75 (75% more yards than the #2 guy)

2.  Jim Brown, 1963: 1.70

3.  OJ, 1975: 1975: 1.46

4.  Walter Peyton: 1977: 1.45

 

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Before I even read the first post my mind went straight to Jim Brown.

 

One big point to remember with Ruth…he played 30 years before Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier.  A bit easier to be dominant when the competition is systematically watered down.

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1 minute ago, Son of a K-Gun said:

Before I even read the first post my mind went straight to Jim Brown.

 

One big point to remember with Ruth…he played 30 years before Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier.  A bit easier to be dominant when the competition is systematically watered down.


Brown, Ruth, and Robinson were all great in their own rights, but I’m just under the perception that past players didn’t have surrounding talent around them they players do today. Would all 3 of these players make a pro squad today? Probably, but I’m not sold on them having the high standings today that they created years ago. Just like players today, will likely be no match for players 30 years from now. 

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I thought about defensive players - Bruce, Reggie, Taylor.   But I don't think offenses feared them as much as defenses feared OJ and Brown.

 

I remember games when Pro Bowl linebackers were instructed to spy on OJ the entire game.  This was on top of the rest of the defense being instructed to stop OJ at all costs.  But they couldn't stop him.   

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2 minutes ago, IronMaidenBills said:


Brown, Ruth, and Robinson were all great in their own rights, but I’m just under the perception that past players didn’t have surrounding talent around them they players do today. Would all 3 of these players make a pro squad today? Probably, but I’m not sold on them having the high standings today that they created years ago. Just like players today, will likely be no match for players 30 years from now. 

 

You're right: standards are higher today.  Rules are different, too.  It's not entirely fair to compare athletes from different eras.  It's just offseason entertainment.

 

But I do need to make a counterargument that Royale kind of mentions.  If Babe Ruth played today - or Jim Brown or OJ - wouldn't they also benefit from today's strength training, coaching, diets, medicine, and so on? 

 

I don't know enough baseball to have a strong opinion about Ruth, but if OJ and Jim Brown had all the modern benefits, they'd run all over these pass-first defenses.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, IronMaidenBills said:

Allen with BB and they likely win more than 7 SBs. 

BB with Allen last year and we likely win a super bowl. 

Well we definitely win that KC game that's for damn sure.   Strange that after all the great work McD does as a HC, the guys ONE apparent weakness is game calling with everything on the line.

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50 minutes ago, RoyBatty is alive said:

Comparing any athlete from nearly 100 years ago to more modern athletes is, frankly a worthless meaningless activity.  Any pro athlete , in almost any sport from the  1920s would get destroyed by current athletes and it wouldn't even be close.  Randy Johnson would have destroyed Ruth, I bet Sandy Koufax in his prime would have as well.


well then Ruth can’t be the standard for total dominance if the game he played is all but unrecognizable today.  

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1 hour ago, 4merper4mer said:

Very different sports.  Ruth transformed baseball and in a way all of sports.  Sports position in society pre-Ruth was not the same as it was once he came along.  In that way he will never have a peer no matter how much the Pats fans regulars and others would like to say it.  
 

I’d say Ruth benefits from being “the first”, but he also was a major outlier from everyone else.  The fact that his anomalous nature holds up after a century is telling.  I’m not sure anyone modern sports can ever reach that.  Candidates are easier to find in sports outside of football and I feel Gretzky is by far the closest.  The hoops arguments are tougher due to the different positions,  I could see Russell, Jordan and some others making a case but all are debatable.  In football you’d have to consider Brown, Brady, LT and Rice IMO but the singular nature of their roles makes it tough to compare them to Ruth.

 

Others:  Joe Louis, Don Bradman, Bobby Jones, Mark Spitz.

 

Pele could be considered if soccer qualifies as a sport as could and Glenn Howard if curling is a sport.

I agree about Gretzky, of the 4 major North American sports the separation he put between himself and his contemporaries is by far the largest.

 

arguments can be made for the GOAT in baseball basketball and football, but in the NHL there really isn’t any good faith arguments beyond Gretzky.

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34 minutes ago, Royale with Cheese said:

 

Well yes, the training is significantly better now.  Take Babe's natural intangibles combined with the level of training now...then you never know.  

 

These guys hit towering shots and didn't have baseballs wound as tight or wood from the bat not as strong.  Not to mention spit balls, scuffed up baseballs and larger strike zones.  


Ruths intangibles didn’t include staying in shape.  Batters face an army of fresh arms on the mound every game:starter, middle inning guy, setup guy, closer.  Safe to assume any heat Ruth faced in the first 4-5 innings was doused by the last few innings. 

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Jerry Rice. I don't think his stats will ever be eclipsed by another receiver, and he did it in an era when defenders could actually play defense.

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