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Who's the MJ of Football?

Who's the MJ of Football?  

94 members have voted

  1. 1. Who's the MJ of Football?

    • Tom Brady
      56
    • Jerry Rice
      19
    • Other (explain)
      20


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Posted (edited)
On 5/20/2020 at 8:25 PM, DannyB said:

He has the best case of any player currently in the NFL (and possibly ever), but still falls WELL short of MJ when it comes to the level of mainstream pop culture icon he is, the cult and fanbase that surrounded him, and continues to do so today.

 

On 5/20/2020 at 9:28 PM, ET80 said:

I think this illustrates how no NFL player will ever catch up to MJ. Brady is probably the closest thing we'll see to MJ, and he doesn't even get close.

Agreed.

The answer is there is no MJ of football. Manning was the closest to the individual success angle, Brady the closest from the winning angle, and Vick from the excitement (and also marketability) angle.

That said Manning/Brady also felt more like a Magic/Bird type of thing. Sure the rings pull Tom ahead in the debate, but he never really outshined Manning in popularity or as the face of the league while both played. You’re not seeing Brady on Papa Johns commercials. Also if there were an NFL space jam it would’ve been with Manning and not Brady.

So considering all that I think Mahomes has the greatest chance of being the Jordan of the league. As the league is now even more QB centric than the early parts of Manning/Brady. He does no look passes and generates excitement, he’s like if you combined Big Ben with Peyton Manning. I think the Mahomes points have been explained and are obvious so I will leave it at that.

 

Now onto my controversial take...

The above all said my dark horse pick would be Lamar Jackson for many of the same reasons as the Mike Vick experience was the closest we saw to “the Jordan experience”.

The league is at a precipice where more and more collegiate schemes are being used and running/athletic QBs are becoming more valued. Similarly reminiscent to the slashing guards becoming more valued from the late 70s until Steph Curry transformed the league into a deep range league.

IFF Lamar can be durable enough (for long enough) and if he can continue to make dazzling plays... and if the Ravens can establish a dynasty with him, he’s also got a shot. Especially since Jordan while remembered highly as a basketball Demi-god and loved by all... was kind of equally hated at the time of it all as well. People didn’t like his style of play, it was deemed different and selfish compared to the way Bird and Magic won. The old heads tried to disregard it before they had to roll over and ultimately admit his greatness.

The NFL is a passers league and if Lamar is able to break past the glass ceiling allotted to “running” QBs and have huge team success, it could establish a trend of “is Grant Hill, Jerry Stackhouse, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, etc” the next Michael Jordan. You even have the notion of how Michael Jordan gained acclaim from first surpassing another above the rim amazing hooper with a sort of what if story (what if he played in the NBA the entire time instead of the ABA first) Julius Erving as the greatest slasher... and that has seemingly happened with Lamar surpassing the previous blueprint of Michael Vick.

It takes a lot to establish a global icon in sports. What separated Jordan was that you didn’t have to understand the game of basketball to understand him dunking over 7 footers or breaking guys ankles or gracefully staying in the air for 30 seconds doing ballerina moves in the air with his feet and the ball... was amazing athleticism.

Just as I don’t need to understand or watch tennis to understand how Roger Federer/Serena Williams were amazing because of some of the highlights they made. Brady and Manning and their cerebral capability isn’t going to make them a global icon no matter how much the NFL markets them and their game. They aren’t going to make a random kid from Vietnam or Argentina or Germany who doesn’t know anything about the sport suddenly want to pick up a football and be like Mike.

So IFFFF there will ever be another Michael Jordan it will have to be someone with a terrific combination between athletic prowess (where people can’t understand how he did what he did to other highly trained professionals), team success (because greatness in any sport is realized by being a winner), and cultural impact for the sport. Jordan was in a very unique space where he did all of those things and created a slashing guard dynasty that lasted for 30 years (until Steph).

 My answer trying not to be a homer might be Patrick Mahomes, but my real answer is Lamar Jackson. But in either case it would be extremely unlikely as it would require AT LEAST 3-4 rings to get there. Mahomes has the obvious leg up as it stands.

Edited by diamondbull424

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@diamondbull424

I think an almost bigger issue is that, due to the nature of the sport (where it's played, how it's played, nature of the fandom, number of players, just...soooo many factors I can't even put a finger on them all), there is a literally unbridgeable gap between how popular a single football player can get compared to a basketball player.

I was trying to formulate this thought the other day, and finally did today: Jordan wasn't just an instantly recognizable spokesman and partner for many of the biggest corporations in America during his time: he WAS a corporation; he WAS the product, the business, the company. He didn't market the products, the companies paid him for the rights to market Michael Jordan™, the product. He wasn't paid to convince people to buy Nike shoes. Nike paid for the rights to sell JORDANS.

HE WAS HIS OWN BRAND, AND FOR A DECADE IT WAS THE BIGGEST BRAND IN AMERICA

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MJ was the GOAT of his sport and must watch TV Everytime he was on. I don't think he ever went to a game 7 in the finals crazy.

I think had Vick had Andy Reid his whole career he may have made those heights.

Saquoun Barkley is must see TV at rb but it's an undervalued position.

Russel Wilson kinda brings that to the table because of his unique skill set and his ability to win games and lift the team. He's carried an under talented Seahawks team now for a handful of years.

Patrick Mahomes is a good one but it's too early.

Tom Brady just wasn't must watch TV he dinked and dunked with talented teams around him specifically defense and a great coach. That Falcons comeback was must watch and one for the ages.

I could watch Megatron and prime Fitzgerald all day.

Aaron Rodgers in a Hail Mary situation??

Peyton imo was as dominant in his sport as Jordan Regular season he just doesn't have the post season success. Manning Guaranteed his teams 10 wins a year he guarantees a top 5 offense he's a coach on the field. He was even a bit of an a hole sometimes and a perfectionist.

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, DannyB said:

@diamondbull424

I think an almost bigger issue is that, due to the nature of the sport (where it's played, how it's played, nature of the fandom, number of players, just...soooo many factors I can't even put a finger on them all), there is a literally unbridgeable gap between how popular a single football player can get compared to a basketball player.

I was trying to formulate this thought the other day, and finally did today: Jordan wasn't just an instantly recognizable spokesman and partner for many of the biggest corporations in America during his time: he WAS a corporation; he WAS the product, the business, the company. He didn't market the products, the companies paid him for the rights to market Michael Jordan™, the product. He wasn't paid to convince people to buy Nike shoes. Nike paid for the rights to sell JORDANS.

HE WAS HIS OWN BRAND, AND FOR A DECADE IT WAS THE BIGGEST BRAND IN AMERICA

I agree which is why Jackson is who I would pick. I don’t ACTUALLY think he will get there. FWIW I think he will win the Ravens probably one ring, MAYBE two in his tenure. Whereas Jordan status would require likely double that.

But the NBA became a global brand under Jordan because his game was exciting enough to make kids in all parts of the world watch the Olympics and dream of doing what he could do.

Social media and internet has bridged the gap some as to where amazing athleticism and athletic displays can be viewed in other countries without necessarily the need for an “Olympics” to put it on the map, but Space Jam perfectly captures how Jordan was seen. Many of those players in that movie were great in their own right, but Jordan essentially, with the help of some scrubs that he was able to motivate into realizing some of their potential... could beat (largely by himself) 5 of the NBAs best and could nearly dunk from half court. No level of hyperbole was enough.

Vick has almost a similar mythical legend to him in a way. Deion Sanders also has some of those legends to him. Things like he could run a 4.4 40 yard dash backwards. The 80s/90s were a sort of corny time where communication was widespread enough to hear a rumor, but there wasn’t a google to verify such things in seconds. Or sports scientists to detail the possibilities of human achievement to squash any “legends” before they took too big a foothold. It was a time where parents told their kids “you can be whatever you want to be” and you could almost conceive after listening to R.Kelly that you COULD fly.

So while Lamar Jackson is who I would pick for this pole, similar to @ET80 Mike Vick realizing his potential, never having the dog incident, and winning 3-4 rings is the real answer to the question. As he has legends that exist from that time period and was largely viewed by a generation that still could believe in such “legends”. With Lamar Jackson even if he achieves the unlikely notion of having a Tom Brady/Joe Montana level of success in the NFL, had those amazing highlight reel plays throughout his career, and changed the game... he would still not be able to capture the same level of imagination/hyperbole that Michael Jordan brought to the table... and that imagination/belief that putting on a pair of sneakers could TRANSFORM you into a deadly assassin on the basketball court is what made Michael Jordan a brand all his own.

With Vick there were things such as he could toss a ball 100 yards, he could run a sub 4.2 forty, etc... heck I’m sure someone could’ve said he could toss a football through a brick wall and you might’ve stopped to wonder... is that really possible?!? I mean, it’s brick... so naturally the best way to try would’ve likely been to throw on a pair of Mike Vick’s and go to a buddies house with a brick wall and try it yourself. These mythical qualities would’ve been needed to create a football version of Michael Jordan.

Edited by diamondbull424

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33 minutes ago, diamondbull424 said:

With Vick there were things such as he could toss a ball 100 yards, he could run a sub 4.2 forty, etc... heck I’m sure someone could’ve said he could toss a football through a brick wall and you might’ve stopped to wonder... is that really possible?!? I mean, it’s brick... so naturally the best way to try would’ve likely been to throw on a pair of Mike Vick’s and go to a buddies house with a brick wall and try it yourself. These mythical qualities would’ve been needed to create a football version of Michael Jordan.

See why I put Vick in the same sentence as Jordan isn't because of resume career achievement yada yada. It was the newness effect when he played. He was must watch TV simply because we haven't seen a guy like him before prior to that time. He was electric. Gave me the same feelings as Jordan in terms of must watch just never lived up to it and the stretches were far between. That Redskins Eagles game was total dominance he had that type of ability just didn't have a guy like Reid in Atlanta. 

Jackson has it tough to reach that level becowe have seen it before he'd have to dominate and I just don't see it in the postseason regular season yes.

 

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1 hour ago, diamondbull424 said:

The answer is there is no MJ of football. Manning was the closest to the individual success angle, Brady the closest from the winning angle, and Vick from the excitement (and also marketability) angle.

I got way more excited watching Manning than Vick it's just so next level. Yeah Vick would break long runs and make crazy moves and was electric but Peyton always just fascinated me lol.

You have 11 guys trying to stop Peyton and in 25 seconds of a play clock he'd read their Laundry, audible a bunch and do dummy calls, and 95 percent of the time he'd make the right call and make Magic happen. And him and Marvin Harrison were so fun to watch together it's like the perfect route and the perfect pass in a tight window was the norm lol. 

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3 hours ago, DannyB said:

@diamondbull424

I think an almost bigger issue is that, due to the nature of the sport (where it's played, how it's played, nature of the fandom, number of players, just...soooo many factors I can't even put a finger on them all), there is a literally unbridgeable gap between how popular a single football player can get compared to a basketball player.

I was trying to formulate this thought the other day, and finally did today: Jordan wasn't just an instantly recognizable spokesman and partner for many of the biggest corporations in America during his time: he WAS a corporation; he WAS the product, the business, the company. He didn't market the products, the companies paid him for the rights to market Michael Jordan™, the product. He wasn't paid to convince people to buy Nike shoes. Nike paid for the rights to sell JORDANS.

HE WAS HIS OWN BRAND, AND FOR A DECADE IT WAS THE BIGGEST BRAND IN AMERICA

And Air Jordans remains one of the biggest shoe brands not just in America but worldwide, you got global icons all over the world showing off their Jordan kicks. That level of popularity and influence is just not going to be touched by ANY football player.

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Basketball was already a global sport before Jordan, and wasn't the NBA kind of experiencing a popularity boom with Magic/Bird?  Pro sports in general seem to have really taken off in popularity in the 80's/90's, maybe satellite TV broadcasts and cable becoming more widespread helped this?  Jordan was probably vital in making the NBA more global.  Football is still not a global sport.  People outside the US maybe have heard of Tom Brady, but I doubt they'd recognize him.  Whereas Michael Jordan they could recognize, and could probably recognize some other basketball players too.

There's too many variables to try and match in this equation.  You can match some with some players but certainly not all.  From a marketing perspective maybe Bo Jackson could have been closest before he got hurt?  He was a pop culture icon in the US and a legend on tecmo bowl.  If any of the football video games named after players had become the dominant franchise instead of Madden then it would probably be them.  Some NFL players stayed famous after football, like OJ (before the murders) and Jim Brown.  Jordan was one of the better players on both offense and defense, so even if you say hey Tom Brady he played offense you're still only talking half the equation.  Are we gonna go back in time to when players played both sides of the ball?  Maybe it's Sammy Baugh.  Brady has the six championships, but he's also lost three times in the super bowl.  So if it's undefeated in championships as the requirement maybe Joe Montana is the answer.  If we're talking about most exciting players to watch, you have to include people like Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, OJ Simpson, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis, LT, Ed Reed, Deion Sanders, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Jim Brown.  If they have to have a "hey this guy is going to take over the game" quality like Jordan, I feel like Favre or Elway in their primes could kind of do that, for defense LT, Ray Lewis, Reggie could do that.  The Greatest Game ever played helped surge the popularity of the NFL, maybe it's Johnny Unitas

I think it's actually hard to find a comparable MJ in any sport really.  You have someone like Gretzky who wasn't nearly as marketable but was way more dominant than Jordan in his sport.  Bjorn Borg dominated and made tennis much more popular, after he retired the popularity of the sport died in the US and (at least I think I read) it wasn't until recently we had as many recreational tennis players in the US as we did back then.  Pele in soccer was probably the only name a lot of Americans recognized until we hosted the world cup in '94, most Americans know about Babe Ruth.  

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17 hours ago, Trubiskytime said:

Bingo!!!!!!! Well said.

I think it would have to be an extremely athletic QB who was a dual threat & incredibly exciting to watch. He’d have to take over games and be impossible to stop. He’d basically have to have a superman affect on people.. (as well as win a bunch of rings). And then he’d have to have a marketable personality to be loved worldwide....

I don’t think this will ever happen..

Agreed.

If there is ever gonna be a Michael Jordan of the NFL it will have to be an athletic duel threat QB who is not only the best runner in the league but also the best passer.  Will that ever happen?  I don't know.  But it will have to be that sort of player.  Then he will have to win a lot of rings.

I remember watching some old clips of Randall Cunningham in 1990 and people were comparing him to Michael Jordan.  He had that excitement factor like Michael Vick where if he started winning Super Bowl he could have become the Michael Jordan of the NFL.

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4 hours ago, VanS said:

Agreed.

If there is ever gonna be a Michael Jordan of the NFL it will have to be an athletic duel threat QB who is not only the best runner in the league but also the best passer.  Will that ever happen?  I don't know.  But it will have to be that sort of player.  Then he will have to win a lot of rings.

I remember watching some old clips of Randall Cunningham in 1990 and people were comparing him to Michael Jordan.  He had that excitement factor like Michael Vick where if he started winning Super Bowl he could have become the Michael Jordan of the NFL.

Randall!!!! Man I forgot about him! That’s actually a great name to bring up. Totally agree! Man he was fun to watch! Such a likable guy too. Yeah I would have loved to see him win a Super Bowl. I thought they could do it in those Reggie White years. I always pulled for them when Buddy left the Bears to coach in Philly. 
I still can’t believe that 98 Vikings team didn’t win that game vs the Falcons. That was such a disappointment. We got robbed from seeing that Broncos Vikings matchup.

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13 hours ago, VanS said:

Agreed.

If there is ever gonna be a Michael Jordan of the NFL it will have to be an athletic duel threat QB who is not only the best runner in the league but also the best passer.  Will that ever happen?  I don't know.  But it will have to be that sort of player.  Then he will have to win a lot of rings.

I remember watching some old clips of Randall Cunningham in 1990 and people were comparing him to Michael Jordan.  He had that excitement factor like Michael Vick where if he started winning Super Bowl he could have become the Michael Jordan of the NFL.

In retrospect everyone loves Jordan but I remember growing up at the time and while many respected Jordan, many also hated him... very similar to the reaction with LeBron James... only worse because Jordan was more lethal. He destroyed the heart or so many fans/teams. 

It wasn’t until Jordan retired that people could dispense with some of the hate and realize the giant chasm the sport had without his greatness... and could truly appreciate it... then he returned and the perception changed entirely. It was as a man who takes for granted his amazing wife, only for her to leave, and then return for him to truly appreciate her.

I think this part of Jordan’s reaction was mainly forgotten by many as time went on. Only comparison I could think that comes somewhat close was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with regard to wrestling.

So being automatically loved isn’t a requirement. In fact, it would actually inhibit the comparison. You need someone that is great and a bit controversial, then that person has to change the perceptions of everyone over time through their tireless work ethic and dominance.

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How was Peyton Manning similar to Micheal ? Look at his Denver Tenur two Superbowls in 4 years would have made a 3rd afc title game at minimum had it not been for idiot Rahim Moore? He changed the culture as soon as he stepped foot in the building attracted free agents like DeMarcus Ware, TJ ward, Emmanuel Sanders, Talib. I live in Jersey there were Peyton Manning Jerseys everywhere lol people would assume I was a Denver fan just Because we got Peyton it sucked tbh.

Oh and with the Colts he was only good for 12 wins a year and a first round bye every year lol. I think Polian is one of the most overrated GM's ever had he surrounded Pegroowith a good defense and more than a one dimensional offense  I think Peyton is easily on Jordans level.

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1 hour ago, thebestever6 said:

I think Peyton is easily on Jordans level.

Hell no, Brady over Manning easily and Brady isn't even on Jordan's level.

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