Crabcake47

Are We Living In the Greatest All-Around Era In Sports History?

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This is a topic I thought about a little bit ago.

 

Think about it.  Keeping personal feelings out of it, we are living in an era that has, quite possibly:

  • The best QB of all time (Brady)
  • The greatest basketball player of all time (LeBron)
  • Two of the greatest, if not the two greatest, soccer players of all time (Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo)
  • The greatest pure NHL goal scorer of all time (Ovechkin)
  • The best 3-point shooter of all time (Curry)
  • The most athletic and complete near/actual/whatever 7-footer of all time (Durant)
  • One of the most all-around baseball players in a long time (Trout)
  • Countless other players that could very likely qualify for top-5 or top-10 at their position (Rodgers, Crosby, McDavid (if he keeps going like he is), Kershaw, so many many more that I'm forgetting)

 

And this is just individual players.  This isn't even mentioning some of the historic dynasties we've seen over the last 10 years (Patriots (ugh), Blackhawks, Penguins (double ugh), Warriors, SF Giants, etc).  So what do you guys think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Stupid discussion? Discuss.

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13 minutes ago, Crabcake47 said:

This is a topic I thought about a little bit ago.

 

Think about it.  Keeping personal feelings out of it, we are living in an era that has, quite possibly:

  • The best QB of all time (Brady)
  • The greatest basketball player of all time (LeBron)
  • Two of the greatest, if not the two greatest, soccer players of all time (Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo)
  • The greatest pure NHL goal scorer of all time (Ovechkin)
  • The best 3-point shooter of all time (Curry)
  • The most athletic and complete near/actual/whatever 7-footer of all time (Durant)
  • One of the most all-around baseball players in a long time (Trout)
  • Countless other players that could very likely qualify for top-5 or top-10 at their position (Rodgers, Crosby, McDavid (if he keeps going like he is), Kershaw, so many many more that I'm forgetting)

 

And this is just individual players.  This isn't even mentioning some of the historic dynasties we've seen over the last 10 years (Patriots (ugh), Blackhawks, Penguins (double ugh), Warriors, SF Giants, etc).  So what do you guys think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Stupid discussion? Discuss.

 

Short answer:  No.

 

Longer answer:

What?  No reference to Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua while you're at it?

 

Every one of your superlatives is debatable at best, and most are outright dubious.  I could easily argue that neither Brady, James, Messi, Ronaldo, Ovechkin, or any of the others you list aren't "the greatest of all-time."  Greatest of All Time is a myth, regardless of sport, regardless of league.

 

And before there was a Patriots 'dynasty,' there were others in football; as in every other sport.  For example, when the Patriots win five straight league titles as part of a run where they appear in ten straight Super Bowls?  They might be on a par with the 1946-55 Cleveland Browns.  When the Golden State Warriors win eight straight NBA titles as the Boston Celtics did in the 1960's?  Talk to me.  When the Penguins or Blackhawks match the dominance that the Montreal Canadiens had?  Make the argument.

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7 minutes ago, Mac the Knife said:

 

Short answer:  No.

 

Longer answer:

What?  No reference to Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua while you're at it?

 

Every one of your superlatives is debatable at best, and most are outright dubious.  I could easily argue that neither Brady, James, Messi, Ronaldo, Ovechkin, or any of the others you list aren't "the greatest of all-time."  Greatest of All Time is a myth, regardless of sport, regardless of league.

 

And before there was a Patriots 'dynasty,' there were others in football; as in every other sport.  For example, when the Patriots win five straight league titles as part of a run where they appear in ten straight Super Bowls?  They might be on a par with the 1946-55 Cleveland Browns.  When the Golden State Warriors win eight straight NBA titles as the Boston Celtics did in the 1960's?  Talk to me.  When the Penguins or Blackhawks match the dominance that the Montreal Canadiens had?  Make the argument.

No reference was made to them because I only listed players from sports I watch. If you’d like to add them feel free. 

 

I also qualified every every single one of those superlatives by saying “quite possibly”. I never even said that I believed that this was the best era. I was simply trying to get a discussion started. For the record, I don’t think that James, Messi, Ronaldo, or Ovechkin actually are the best in the categories I put them.

 

I do think you’re 100% right about those other dynasties, although I never said that they matched the dominance of those other dynasties. I simply said that they are our era’s dynasties. 

 

EDIT: Slowly realizing this was a bad idea 😂

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Alot of this is loosely based on opinions....so its hard to be definitive.

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17 minutes ago, AstroBull21 said:

Alot of this is loosely based on opinions....so its hard to be definitive.

 

Exactly.  In fact, there's no way to be definitive, because there's no quantitative standard that can be universally applied in any sports situation.

 

Tom Brady is the best quarterback of all time based on... what?  Winning 5 NFL titles over however many years?

Otto Graham won 5 straight.  Joe Montana came within a missed field goal of winning three straight and five overall.  Bart Starr won 5 NFL titles.

 

LeBron James is the best basketball player of all time based on... what?

He has three championship rings.  Half as many as Michael Jordan, and about a third of what Bob Cousy and Bill Russell have.  By that logic, Bob Cousy and Bill Russell are each three times the player James is.  And using that standard, Wilt Chamberlain was only slightly above dog :censored:...

 

If you want to use career statistics comparisons instead?  I can point to the rule changes that made a lot of those superlatives possible.  For example I'd really liked to have seen either (1) Terry Bradshaw play his entire career under the post-1978 defensive line blocking restriction rules, or (2) Joe Montana, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Brett Favre and Tom Brady play under the pre-1978 rules.

 

Crosby's good, but hell he's not even the best Pittsburgh Penguin of all time, let alone make any GOAT list league-wide.  Same with McDavid in Edmonton; there he doesn't even make the starting shift.

 

Messi and Ronaldo?  See Pele and Chinaglia, with a little Cruyff mixed in.

 

And there's not a single player in Major League Baseball today that could hold the jock of a Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Walter Johnson or Bob Feller.  Not one.

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30 minutes ago, Crabcake47 said:

EDIT: Slowly realizing this was a bad idea 😂

 

Nah, Crab.  It's not a bad idea at all.  Hopefully it helps drive the notion of "GOAT" out of your mind, and encourages you to do likewise to others who make such claims.  Times and circumstances change.  Games evolve.  It makes it virtually impossible to make direct comparisons.  Even in boxing, which has operated under essentially the same rules for 150 years, can't be applied objectively, because of advances in weight training, conditioning methodology, boxing glove design, ring rope craft, and other factors that seem minor but could've been serious factors.

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Not the greatest era but maybe a more competitive area especially with expansion lending to a larger amount of players being able to compete. Great topic to debate though.

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Impossible to say.  You can't properly evaluate eras until many years after the fact.  Perhaps we are in the greatest era of one or two leagues, but all-around is an impossible parameter to gauge.

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24 minutes ago, Mac the Knife said:

 

Nah, Crab.  It's not a bad idea at all.  Hopefully it helps drive the notion of "GOAT" out of your mind, and encourages you to do likewise to others who make such claims.  Times and circumstances change.  Games evolve.  It makes it virtually impossible to make direct comparisons.  Even in boxing, which has operated under essentially the same rules for 150 years, can't be applied objectively, because of advances in weight training, conditioning methodology, boxing glove design, ring rope craft, and other factors that seem minor but could've been serious factors.

Well said. 

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I would personally say no.

 

Just about every single hit in the NHL and NFL is scrutinized as illegal.  When two humans collide, the head is often impossible to completely avoid, especially when wearing shoulder pads, yet contact to the head is illegal.  Both sports are nearly unwatchable for me.

 

Baseball has made some very questionable rule changes in recent years, but at the end of the day it's still baseball and I love it.  I wouldn't say we are in any sort of golden age though.

 

If you ask me, the NBA has the best argument of the big 4 leagues of being in it's golden age.  I think the technical fouls and other rules really take away the raw emotion that was once on display though.

 

I realize I'm talking out of my ass here, but I don't think the golden age of a sport is measured by how great the athletes are.  If the rules change to benefit the passing game, the best QBs of all time are obviously going to emerge from that era. I think the golden age has to do with whatever era you prefer because of the nature of the game, not what players were  "better".

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On 5/11/2018 at 4:56 PM, Wings said:

Not the greatest era but maybe a more competitive area especially with expansion lending to a larger amount of players being able to compete. Great topic to debate though.

 

See, even that is a specious argument.

 

Which produces the greater competition:  having a league of 30 or 32 teams, in which the player talent is perceived as "thinned out" among them, or having a league of just 8 or 10 teams, in which only the elite of that elite even make it onto a player roster?  I've actually heard so-called sports experts trot out both arguments in an effort to make their case about one subject or another, not realizing that by doing so they were contradicting themselves in the process.

 

It's another reason I say "Greatest of All Time" proclamations are pointless.

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"Golden age" is so subjective.  

 

To me, the golden age of NBA is around the '92 Dream Team, with the NBC Saturday GoTW and McDonalds commercials promoting Bird, Jordan, Barkley, Magic, etc.  Is today's era more competitive?  Are there even better players (including a better Jordan)?  Yep.  But they're also exposed so much by games being on 50 channels, Twitter telling us all the bad things everyone does, and message boards like this.  I could certainly see why a lot of people would vote for this era, if their criteria is simply the athleticism, competitiveness, and overall talent level.

 

As for talent pool being spread too thin - that's an argument I used to make myself, but the more I think of it, the talent pool is actually larger than ever, in every sport.

 

MLB: can now pull great players from Asia, and the Latin America pool is bigger than it's ever been, and certainly bigger than it was back in the days of 26 teams.  More and more Cubans seem to be coming over too.

NHL: it's a world league, with the American talent pool being as deep as ever, then the scandinavian, Russian, and Eastern Euro pool being deep too.  Back in the day, it was what - Canada and the few Russians that were able to come over?

NBA: this is the biggest difference, as the Dream Team paved the way for the sport to take off in Europe, with many of the league's best players coming from there.  I've been in Serbia, and can say that they take basketball very seriously, as does the rest of Europe.  

NFL: yeah... OK, maybe not here.  The talent pool might actually decrease in NFL.  

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LeBron James in his current form would have run over those Celtics teams, and everyone knows that. Jordan too. And, for example, there were 9 teams in 1963 and limited player movement. You really can't say those Celtics were better because they had so many advantages that teams today can't.

 

Today's NBA is matched only by the late 80s/early 90s for collection of overall talent. And the on-court product is significantly smarter and better. Pace and space has changed the game for the better, and it's much more aesthetically pleasing than it was during the Bird/Magic/Jordan era.

 

BBTV rightly points out that the leagues have become world leagues, with talent coming from all over. Europeans have changed NBA basketball for the better and, in general, it's a really great time to be a basketball fan. Certainly better than in the league's post-Jordan nadir.

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Regardless of the actual events that happen on the field/playing surface this is the best time to be a sport fan ever. All the information is at our fingertips. Every game is televised and we can stream them all. We can talk to other fans and/or rival fans about what's going to happen in the game before the game and then about what's happening in the game in real-time as the game is happening and then after the game about what just happened in the game. I think we forget that you had to go to great lengths to do that in a time that wasn't that long ago. 

 

I love the NHL and this is really a great time to be a hockey fan because the sport has gotten really skillful and fast, but mostly because I can watch The Senators play the Coyotes on a random Tuesday. I don't, but I like that I have the option. You know what you don't hear anymore regarding the NHL? "ESPN doesn't care about hockey!!!". You know why? Because we don't need ESPN and it's way better now than even when ESPN had the NHL! The collective coverage of the internet combined with the ability to actually watch ALL the games is incredible. 30 years ago my dad was my age, a huge hockey fan, living in Cincinnati. Basically me right now (except he had a kid). If he wanted to talk hockey with another person he would have to stumble upon them, ask strangers if they liked hockey until he eventually found one and then would have to call them to have a conversation about hockey. What a nightmare. I probably watched more hockey in the last couple weeks than he'd get to watch in a season.

 

 

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I think the NHL is on a real path to sucking right now if everyone is going to do what the Knights did and copy the Penguins' extreme dump-and-chase where the game consists of nothing but north-south sprints and indiscriminate shot-chucking on the shortest shifts possible. The Jets forced the Knights to try to score off the cycle the other night and it was like watching people who had never played hockey before. A chilling vision of things to come?

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On 5/11/2018 at 12:53 PM, Crabcake47 said:

 

  • The best QB of all time (Brady)
  • The greatest basketball player of all time (LeBron)

 

Nope.

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14 minutes ago, CRichardson said:

Nope.

 

On 5/11/2018 at 4:21 PM, Crabcake47 said:

I also qualified every every single one of those superlatives by saying “quite possibly”.

 

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I also want to note that baseball is in a terrible state of affairs right now. Too many teams try to tank at once, and the emphasis on walks, strikeouts, and home runs has made the games very ugly. I loved it when the A's did it, but I prefer balance.

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