Oct 20, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws a pass as he is hit by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (94) during the first half in the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s play a game.
Who’s the better all-time quarterback? Dan Marino, Brett Favre or Steve Young? How about Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana or John Elway? Good luck reaching a consensus. A quick google search reveals that respected analysts from around the country and across the globe have engaged in this exercise, each of them reaching different conclusions in some form or fashion, often dramatically so. What do you weight more? Super Bowls or MVP awards? Wins or quarterback rating? Signature wins or signature losses? Everybody will have a slightly different answer to these questions and with good reason, it’s a subjective exercise with subjective methodologies and as such, invariably subjective results.
Of course that’s just one position of 22 on a field, and that figure doesn’t include kickoff and punt coverage teams, punt returners, kick returner, field goal snappers, holders and kickers. All of whom are important cogs in the winning or losing of an NFL game.
The NFL is often referred to by players as “the ultimate team game” and yet those same players often, upon retiring into life as an analyst, fall into the same rhetorical traps that so many fans do, pitting this player against that player, comparing stats side-by-side as if somehow equivalent statistical totals represent equivalent ability.
This, we know, is an illusion. It’s a mirage created by sports culture which necessitates instant debate and firm, unequivocal conclusions based on limited evidence. But the NFL isn’t like other sports, and I’m going to tell you why.no comments