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When ranking greatest quarterbacks, do you use All-Time or Super Bowl Era?


Ranking greatest quarterbacks  

19 members have voted

  1. 1. Which do you prefer?

    • All-Time
      12
    • Super Bowl Era
      7


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Greatest of "All Time". 

I can't justify not including guys like Graham and Baugh because of when they played. Now I can weigh era's differently (IE Brady and Graham both have finals records of 7-3, but it's pretty obvious that a Super Bowl in a 32 team league, in the salary cap era, in the modern playoff format, with two seperate head coaches and across two decades is more impressive than Graham having a 10 year run in two much smaller leagues, without a salary cap, with the same coach and same core group of guys), but you have to at least consider people. So what are you going to kneecap Unitas and Starr because their accomplishments fall in the middle of an arbitrary cut off?

If you don't, eventually someday somebody is going to say "oh well Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were 50 years ago, we can't consider them"

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i basically go by black and white vs color era in just about every sport. like guys like george mikan were legends of their time but would be obliterated by modern players. feel the same with dinosaurs like otto. i just dont see how people with such low volume or efficiency are even comparable to contemporary greats. give them their own category, they should still go in the hall based on their accomplishments relative to their era, but when talking about who the greatest is, give me a break

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We have to remember the past QBs were not afforded the protection that modern signal callers enjoy.   Plus the rules today favor the passing game.  Just because a QB played years ago doesn't mean they were not elite in their day.  

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1 hour ago, Pugger said:

We have to remember the past QBs were not afforded the protection that modern signal callers enjoy.   Plus the rules today favor the passing game.  Just because a QB played years ago doesn't mean they were not elite in their day.  

While I totally agree with you. The counter argument (I know since I've gone round and round arguing in favor of Otto Graham) is back in the day a good amount of players weren't "professionals" as some worked other jobs during the week, some played two ways on D and O and were no where near as highly trained and conditioned and fine tuned to their position as today's players. The numbers Graham put up in a deadball, heavy run era were insane. But put him in todays game with the modern day players on D and he'd probably be mediocre at best, backup in all likelihood. Even Jim Brown who was a man playing amongst boys. In todays game..he'd be great but not GOAT great. Put Brady with his modern training and understanding of the game in Grahams era... even with the rule differences, and lack of protections I think he absolutely destroys defenses. It's a round and round kind of debate with so many exponentials and no right answer.

Edited by Shockwave
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2 hours ago, Shockwave said:

While I totally agree with you. The counter argument (I know since I've gone round and round arguing in favor of Otto Graham) is back in the day a good amount of players weren't "professionals" as some worked other jobs during the week, some played two ways on D and O and were no where near as highly trained and conditioned and fine tuned to their position as today's players. The numbers Graham put up in a deadball, heavy run era were insane. But put him in todays game with the modern day players on D and he'd probably be mediocre at best, backup in all likelihood. Even Jim Brown who was a man playing amongst boys. In todays game..he'd be great but not GOAT great. Put Brady with his modern training and understanding of the game in Grahams era... even with the rule differences, and lack of protections I think he absolutely destroys defenses. It's a round and round kind of debate with so many exponentials and no right answer.

I think a more useful concept is to give Otto Graham all the advantages the modern guys have and see how he does. In other words, Otto doesn't have to work a 2nd job, gets all of the nutrition and training, the ability to watch hours of digitized film etc and I think he'd do just fine. Then flip it around and take the modern guys- remove the advanced nutrition & training, no film study, no PEDs, working a 2nd job and trying to pass with the fat footballs of yesteryear... and they'd suck.

Humans haven't evolved all that much over 50 years, but the technology, equipment, training, film, shoes, nutrition, medication has. That's the biggest difference.

cool Ted Talk here that talks about all the advances in sport performance are tied to non-human factors

https://www.ted.com/talks/david_epstein_are_athletes_really_getting_faster_better_stronger#t-863475

 

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44 minutes ago, Shanedorf said:

I think a more useful concept is to give Otto Graham all the advantages the modern guys have and see how he does. In other words, Otto doesn't have to work a 2nd job, gets all of the nutrition and training, the ability to watch hours of digitized film etc and I think he'd do just fine. Then flip it around and take the modern guys- remove the advanced nutrition & training, no film study, no PEDs, working a 2nd job and trying to pass with the fat footballs of yesteryear... and they'd suck.

Humans haven't evolved all that much over 50 years, but the technology, equipment, training, film, shoes, nutrition, medication has. That's the biggest difference.

cool Ted Talk here that talks about all the advances in sport performance are tied to non-human factors

https://www.ted.com/talks/david_epstein_are_athletes_really_getting_faster_better_stronger#t-863475

 

but then that involves a hell of a lot of projection. its almost like looking at a college player and wondering how they'll translate to the pros. i dont think its a given.

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It's difficult enough to compare a QB that played in the 90s to a QB that's playing today, so if I can limit the scope to things that I was alive for most of, then that's great.

I have no real frame of reference for Johnny Unitas vs. Otto Graham debates.

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8 hours ago, Shanedorf said:

I think a more useful concept is to give Otto Graham all the advantages the modern guys have and see how he does. In other words, Otto doesn't have to work a 2nd job, gets all of the nutrition and training, the ability to watch hours of digitized film etc and I think he'd do just fine. Then flip it around and take the modern guys- remove the advanced nutrition & training, no film study, no PEDs, working a 2nd job and trying to pass with the fat footballs of yesteryear... and they'd suck.

Humans haven't evolved all that much over 50 years, but the technology, equipment, training, film, shoes, nutrition, medication has. That's the biggest difference.

cool Ted Talk here that talks about all the advances in sport performance are tied to non-human factors

https://www.ted.com/talks/david_epstein_are_athletes_really_getting_faster_better_stronger#t-863475

 

I don't know why people never use this rationale when comparing older players to today. Folks usually just the simple logic of just transporting that person from a previous era to this one with all of their previous experiences from that era to spotlight to today. But it shouldn't be thought of in that manner since you're essentially blaming the player on the time they were born. While I do think there would be a diminishing returns effect since we are able to just scout better players now, I still think that a lot of guys from decades ago would be good players if they were 22 years old now with all the contemporary advantages of everyone else playing today. Like Adrian Peterson wouldn't have had a superior six pack in 1950, and Tom Brady wouldn't have access to avocado ice cream. 

Edited by TecmoSuperJoe
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41 minutes ago, TecmoSuperJoe said:

 

I don't know why people never use this rationale when comparing older players to today. Folks usually just the simple logic of just transporting that person from a previous era to this one with all of their previous experiences from that era to spotlight to today. But it shouldn't be thought of in that manner since you're essentially blaming the player on the time they were born. While I do think there would be a diminishing returns effect since we are able to just scout better players now, I still think that a lot of guys from decades ago would be good players if they were 22 years old now with all the contemporary advantages of everyone else playing today. Like Adrian Peterson wouldn't have had a superior six pack in 1950, and Tom Brady wouldn't have access to avocado ice cream. 

That's why I think it's useless to compare.  When you have to start imagining so many things it's gets so subjective it's pitiful.  It's hard enough to compare two guys in the same era on separate teams with separate supporting casts, much less guys 50+ years apart and having to imagine how they'd do if they didn't smoke cigarettes at halftime and maybe followed some semblance of a diet.

The best you could do is compare how they each stack up with their peers, but that's got it's own problems.

I like pre and post superbowl era standing on their own, although NFL in the 70s is very much different than NFL in 2020, it still makes more sense to me to start with superbowl era when ranking guys today. Personally, I go with tiers and groups of guys roughly the same level and don't worry about whether a guy is number 6 or number 7.  

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Perhaps when we are looking at past players we should compare them to their contemporaries and not modern players.   If they are dominating their peers you have to give them higher rankings.  The fact that players like Unitas and Graham are still spoken of highly today speaks volumes of their talent and their impact on the game during their era.  This is true no matter what position we are discussing.

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Ranking players who played in different eras creates so much grey area that it's not even fair to judge. Because at that point you are creating a hypothetical situation similar to "who would win...Tyson or Ali?".

Rank QBs based on their peers at the time.  Not just because they played the same position.

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Eh you can compare resumes and what they did vs the competition of their day but that's about it. This about how different the NFL is just in terms of officiating in as little as 20 years (the beginning of Tom Brady's career) versus now. Feels like an entirely different league. Guys like Derek Carr or Kirk Cousins put up waaaay better numbers than a Steve McNair did but anyone who has seen McNair play knows he was the superior player.

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