It is Monday, so it is my morning to mumble on random things around the Oakland Raiders and the NFL.
Was talking to Levi about a future project for TFDS based around the history of the Raiders, and that got me thinking about the history of football in general. I am a bit of a history geek, so I enjoy spending time researching the minutiae from around the NFL dating back to the beginnings.
In Major League Baseball they hold their heroes up in a near untouchable status. They hold certain numbers with a near sacred reverence: 755*, 56, 61*, 30, .400 and more. The names Cy Young, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio are spoken in whispered tones that are reserved for super human figures. Meanwhile, the NFL is continually trying to label current players as the “best ever.”
Within the past few years, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and even Ben Roethlisberger have been brought into the discussion as “best ever.” However, guys like Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, and Sammy Baugh all tend to get swept aside as the the new “bests ever” get discussed.
It is like the NFL reset their clocks at 1960 and the dawn of the AFL into the merger, forgetting the origins going back to 1920. For example the Cleveland Browns have yet to win a Super Bowl but they are the owners of four NFL Championships. The Arizona Chicago Cardinals have two NFL Championships. However, those are long sense forgotten. The long forgotten Akron Pros won the initial NFL Championship in 1920. The second was won by the Chicago Staleys (now known as the Bears.)
Next time someone mentions Jerry Rice as a no brainer for the greatest receiver of all time, give a thought to Green Bay Packer receiver Don Hutson who led the league in receiving 8 of his eleven years in the NFL. He also played defensive back and had 30 interceptions. He also kicked 172 extra points and 7 field goals.