Who’s Better, Who’s Best in Football?: Setting the Record Straight on the Top 65 NFL Players of the Past 65 Years
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Such are the questions pondered by pro football writer Steve Silverman late at night (and during the day). As statistician Elliott Kalb did with baseball, basketball, and golf, Silverman now takes the next step with Who’s Better, Who’s Best in Football?. Taking the analytical methods he developed over his years as a senior editor at Pro Football Weekly, he applies them to an evaluation of players going back to the earliest days of the NFL. The result is a fascinating ranking of the best of the gridiron, from legendary old-timers like Dick Butkus to present-day superstars like Peyton Manning.
Throughout, Silverman discusses the many considerations that must be made when comparing modern players with players of past eras and players at different positions. Including biographical essays on those top 65 players and detailed statistics for their playing careers, Who’s Better, Who’s Best in Football? is a must-have for anyone who considers football to be more than just a game.
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career-high 18 sacks during the 1967 season, a shockingly high total for a middle linebacker. More than tackles, Butkus used his strength and athletic ability to take the ball away from his opponents. He forced 47 turnovers during his nine-year career, including 22 interceptions. He could mug you and take your lunch money but he could also dance once he made an interception. The NFL did not keep stats on forced fumbles during Butkus’s tenure but if they had, he would have led the league most
The move to Broadway was anything but a hit. Favre looked ordinary and rarely happy in a Jets uniform. The joie de vie that had been such a huge part of his persona during his best days in Green Bay was missing in New York. Favre rebounded with a brilliant season in Minnesota in 2009, but he could not sustain his abilities when he returned in 2010. He finally called it a career after a forgettable showing with the Vikings that season. Favre’s amazing confidence allowed him to execute throws
but he didn’t have much cartilage left in his knees and his speed had all but disappeared. He ran for 643 yards and averaged 4.1 yards in his final year and had to hang it up, realizing that there was nothing left in the tank. His career was short and explosive and it’s doubtful fans will see its like again. #21 JOHN HANNAH There was a joy in the way John Hannah played offensive line for the New England Patriots. Not the joy of a man who took his assignment, did it well and felt proud
or at least it was a bigger part of the picture than it has been in the last 25 years. Coaches will still get in front of microphones today and tell you they must run the ball and stop the run in order to win and do it with a straight face. Ask Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin how important running was in the Steelers’ last-minute drive to win Super Bowl XLIII. But when Brown played, a team that could run and stop the run had a great chance to win the title. Defenses were stacked to stop him.
he would be ready for the start of the season, and his conditioning and workout regimen at least gave him a puncher’s chance of being ready for the year. As the preseason moved along, few thought he would be ready, but Peterson was in the lineup for the opening game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and he ran for a very competent 84 yards and two touchdowns. Peterson was not at his best for that game, but he would find his top gear in Week Seven when he ran for 153 yards against the Arizona