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Comparing teams from different eras

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by FrontSeven, Dec 29, 2007.

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  1. FrontSeven

    FrontSeven Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I do not attempt to *seriously* compare this team to other dynasties from other eras because I believe it's basically a useless exercise.

    But I have thought about it since I hit my first comparison that could not be solved: Ali vs. Marciano. I did not like a comparison that could not be solved. I like to solve things like that, but I was stumped and frustrated that the fight could not take place because that was the only real way to settle it. And if Ali had won there would have been a rematch which he might have lost, and then what do you conclude? A rubber match! Forget about it - it's not worth trying to figure out.

    I have also thought about this problem in terms of the NFL and all I want to do is make a singular point about it (although there are many). It's about the impact of free agency on this era.

    Free Agency did make it harder to keep a team together (point for the Pats), but for certain teams it also made it more difficult to build the team in the first place (point for the Dolphins). In the old days you could not just go sign players like you can today. In fact, today there is a large advantage to a team like the Pats or Colts attracting free agents who are proven performers, guys who have a high probabability of fitting in, guys who are in the prime of their careers, and in some cases starving for a ring.

    But the real issue about free agency gets a bit more complicated. It can be abused as well as used, and so the reality is that it's not an advantage or disadvantage until it's applied. How can you say how it would be applied to teams that didn't have to apply it? It's like wondeing how a guitarist from 200 years ago would handle learning to shred on an electric guitar.

    To me the old teams and the old guitarists were the best of their eras, and there is no way to compare them to teams and guitar styles from today. It's a useless, and even derogatory comparison that favors the modern ones who have more options available. To me the question is "why do it"? There is nothing to be gained except in the spirit of respecting the other eras for what they were, and not trying to detract from what they did.
     
  2. wizwor

    wizwor On the Game Day Roster

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    No offense to you, but this is one of the more inane discussions in professional sports. Athletes get bigger, smarter, and better each generation. They train longer and harder. Dynasties of the past would be destroyed by their counterparts of the modern era. Frankly, I think most of todays playoff teams would beat yesteryear's best.
     
  3. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This is absolutely true. For example, the great Unitas teams probably would not make the playoffs today. Last year we had three teams who could have easily beaten almost all the past teams. Certainly, the patriots and the cols of this era are the best teams ever.

     
  4. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This is one of the most enduring myths of the sports world, but it's simply not true. We see evidence of this all the time. Michael Jordan in his prime would still be the best player in the NBA today, as would Larry Bird or Magic Johnson. Kevin McHale would still be unstoppable. The Celtics, Lakers and 76ers of the '80's would be far and away the best teams in today's NBA. Nolan Ryan would still be a strikeout king. Ronnie Lott would still be a Hall of Fame player. Or, to put it another way.... Imagine the players back then on the same diet and exercise routines that today's players use.

    People like to overlook the obvious when it comes to players that bridge eras. If they can do it, so can others. Football, admittedly, is the sport where physical changes have been the most radical, but a 'Mean' Joe Green, for example (6'4", 270) could still play in the game today if he went through the workout programs.
     
  5. gomezcat

    gomezcat It's SIR Moderator to you Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with you. I think one way that you can compare teams from different eras is to compare what they did to their peers. In that way, you can say that the Pats' offence of this year compares favourably to the 49ers of Joe Montana. If they get a ring, then the comparison will be even more valid.
     
  6. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't care about basketball or baseball. BTW, I do agree with your basketball examples. The game has changed much less than the rest, AND individual skill is much more important than in the other games. I disagree with regard to Ryan. Much more is now required of pitchers than ever.

    I note that you have few football examples. I do agree that Joe Green and Ronnie Lott would be starters and stars today (and ditto for guys like Haynes and Tippett). However, my opinion is that many of the past greats of the past would not be. But, in the end, that is NOT the point. We are talking about comparing whole teams. There are few sets of coaches and players whose defenses might have been able to prepare for today's incredible offenses, but that is really doubtful. I have always believed that the 1985 Bears were such a team. But offenses are really no comparison. Announcers joke about what being "open" means today. The requirements for QB and receivers are amazing, most critically in basing plays on the reading of defenses and the very small areas where balls can be thrown effectively. The differences are much more than physical conditioning. It is also mental conditioning. Offensive linemen are now required to be the smartest players on the field (other than the QB). IMHO, the patriots and the colts of this decade are by far the best offensive teams to have ever played the game.

    If you look at games of over 20 years ago, you will see lots of catches made with the receivers open by 10 yards. Today, those are ALL considered major breadowns by the defense. IMHO, there are very few QB's and receivers from the past who would be successful today. Again, that is not the point. Certainly, whole teams (or whole offenses) would not be effective. And before seeing responses, I do believe that there were exceptions. My examples are guys like Montana, Young, Aikman, Rice, and Winslow. We must truly reflect on what it means when we can consider Moss a nobody a year ago, and now one of the two best of all-time. Partly it means that today's game is so much better that being a superstar in today's game automatically means that you are among the best ever.

     
  7. Cassanova792

    Cassanova792 Practice Squad Player

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    No matter the sport, each generation will eventually hit an overall skill plateu. It is a fact athletes in general in a more modern generation are bigger, stronger, faster etc not to mention in the NFL training, gameplanning,scouting, playcalling is much better more efficient and refined because of technological advances.

    Skill plateus differ from each sport. Do you think a physical skill plateu would be the same as say a tennis player to an NFL player? Of course not. Its the same thing with basketball, its a sport of which was more popular than the NFL for a longer period of time prior to the 90's. Thus it garnered more interest for potential players/athletes around the world which creates a broader and more diverse talent pool. Again the basketball physical plateu is much different than the NFL and thus could have very well peaked in the Jordan era or even the Bird/Magic generation.

    Case in point the modern generation NFL are superior in overall skill in comparison to previous generations. As each generation passes, the sport grows in more popularity, it becomes more refined through the process of trial and error, this creates more money and thus creates a vastlly more diverse and larger talent pool to recruit from. If you have a hard time trying to figure out what i am trying to say, try matchuping up the 1926 Canton Bulldogs to the 85 bears... who would win? I know your answer, but the comparison in this case is much more broade because of the extreme gap in generations (1926-1985).

    We could be very well be witnessing the NFL skill plateu in the Brady/Manning era. So enjoy it.
     
  8. the taildragger

    the taildragger Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    word for the day is "Evolution"....the inverse of nostalgia.

    if you have two equally dominant teams from different eras, go with the modern one every time.
     
  9. wizwor

    wizwor On the Game Day Roster

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    The examples you cite are not relevant. There have been no more recent 'dynasties' in each case. I agree that dynasties endure and are special, but each new dynasty that emerges is more special than the ones that preceded it. I think, for instance, that Jordan's Bulls would have beaten Birds Celtics and that Bird's Celtics would have beaten Havlicek's Celtics.

    If you are going to say that given the nutrition, training, and...you're not talking about the same teams. If you put the Patriots team that will walk onto the field tonight on the same field with the Steelers dynasty's best team or the Cowboys dynasty's best team, it would not even be a contest.
     
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