There is a notion and idea in the sports world that in order to be a great player you need to win a championship. I have listened to discussions on sports radio and watched debates on various sports tv shows where this topic has been digested and dissected in each and every way imaginable.
I believe when discussing the issue of greatness, you have to take into account the athletes entire career. For instance no one in there right mind will argue that Eli Manning is a better quarterback than his older brother, Peyton, just because Eli has won more Superbowls. The same way no one will say Joe Flacco is greater than Dan Marino cause Marino never won a championship and Flacco has.
This idiotic way of thinking was brought back into the light recently because of the comments of former St. Loius Rams head coach, Mike Martz. When asked about whether Terrel Owens, known to most in the sports world as T.O., was deserving of being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame this is what Martz said “Surprised’ isn’t the word. You can’t print how I felt when T.O. leapfrogged those two. That’s just plain out-and-out ridiculous. If they big-timed it and did all that dumb stuff, they’d get in probably earlier. I think they’ll eventually get in. I don’t think that’s an issue, but it’s tragic that people think of them like that. If Marvin Harrison gets in, how could they not get in? You kind of start with that. Look at their production. More importantly, look at their yards per catch, and then look at it consistently over a long period of time. It’ll compare to anybody. In some cases, nobody comes close. I mean, nobody’s even come close to what Torry did.”
Well let’s just look at the numbers.
In 223 career games, Isaac Bruce posted 1,024 receptions (eighth all time) for 15,208 yards (fourth) and 91 touchdowns (11th) on his way to four Pro Bowl appearances.
Torry Holt was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and was named first-team All-Pro in 2003 and second-team in 2006. He finished his career with 920 catches for 13,382 yards and 74 touchdowns. Holt holds NFL records for most consecutive seasons with 90 catches and 1,300 receiving yards, marks he hit six straight times in the early 2000s.
Owens ranks second in receiving yards, with 15,934, and third in touchdown receptions, with 153. While playing for the 49ers in 2000, he set a record (at the time) for catches in a game, with 20 against the Chicago Bears.
Marvin Harrison had 1,102 receptions for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns, and he made the All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
I don’t discredit Martz for backing his former players, but when you look at the numbers and compare each receivers’ career there is no case to be made that Bruce and Holt should be inducted to the Hall before T.O.
Let’s do ourselves a favor the next time we find ourselves debating who’s better than who and who is the greatest of all time, let’s use some common sense and compare the athletes careers in their totality and not just wins or loses or championships.