Sunday, April 14, 2013

Greatest Player of All-Time Tournament: Final Four

It's now almost mid-April, so I'd say it's time to wrap this thing up.

The Louisville Cardinals defeated the Michigan Wolverines last Monday night for the NCAA tournament's championship, and we're now a couple of days away from revealing our champion. Will it be the Final Four's favorite (Jerry Rice), or will the No. 2 seed (Barry Sanders) steal the show?

Here are the four remaining teams, as three No. 1 seeds and one No. 2 seed made it to the Big Show this afternoon. Prior to revealing the match-ups, I'll remind you all once again how to cast your votes:

1. Leave your picks in the comments section below this article (you can do so anonymously if you would like).

2. Leave your picks on our Facebook or Tumblr page.

3. Tweet us your picks @AllOutBlitz1

4. Email us your picks at

5. Or you may even send us a text message at 443-988-8597.

Semifinal 1

1 Jerry Rice vs. 1 Lawrence Taylor

Rice: By far the greatest wide receiver this game has ever seen. His numbers are incomparable to the rest of the wideouts both current and past. With 22,895 career yards, Rice is nearly 7,000 ahead of the second-place Terrell Owens. Going to 13 Pro Bowls and named to 10 First-Team All Pro squads over his 21 seasons, there's no doubt Rice's records will stand for years to come. Have I mentioned that the Hall of Famer has 208 total touchdowns and won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers.
Taylor: Despite what LT does with his personal time, he's certainly the best linebacker of all-time, arguably even overall defender. He talked the talk and walked the walk during his prime with the New York Giants in the 1980s. With seven seasons of double-digit sack totals (132.5 throughout his 13-year career), the 10-time Pro Bowler was a feared man on the field. Chasing down ball carriers from behind and knocking off quarterback's heads, Taylor surely wreaked havoc all over the football field. Perhaps he is best-remembered for ending Washington quarterback Joe Theismann's career after he suffered a broken leg. FYI: if you're the least bit squeamish, I don't advise looking up the footage of the LT/Theismann play on Youtube. It's ugly.

Semifinal 2

1 Jim Brown vs. 2 Barry Sanders

Brown: The bruising 6'2"/232 pound fullback was unstoppable, especially when you consider most defensive ends and tackles were about Jim's size back in his day. There were no 260-270 pound defensive ends to put him in his place. This led to an unstoppable force in what we call today "Jim Brown." He played just nine seasons with the Cleveland Browns, but he was selected to a Pro Bowl each of those seasons and broke 1,000 yards in all but two of those seasons, for a grand total of 12,323 yards and 106 TDs in a career that lasted less than a decade. His 5.2 yards per carry is eye-popping. It's clear that Jim Brown was football in the 1950s and '60s. The only season of his career that he did not lead the league in rushing yardage was when he ran for 996 and 13 TDs in 1962. The three-time MVP won a championship in 1964 and his nine-year reign will forever go down as one of the most dominating runs this league has seen.
Sanders: In our humble opinion, we'd say Sanders is the greatest running back of all-time. Though historians would likely argue against that statement and say it's between Payton and Brown and stat geeks would say it's Emmitt Smith (solely based on his all-time yards and TD numbers). But, looking at the bigger picture: Is there really anyone who can compare? Barry has the best highlight reel-worthy runs, played behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league at the time, meaning he had little talent around him. Not to mention he's likely run for the most negative yardage in NFL history, but still managed 15,000+ yards for his career. You add together that he played just 10 seasons and walked away from the game completely healthy, and you have the recipe for greatest production ever, right? Sanders made the Pro Bowl all 10 of his seasons and ran for under 1,300 yards just once. With a YPC average of 5.0 for his career, you give him two or three more seasons and he probably could have come close to 20,000 yards...which shatters Smith's record. Rant over.

- - - - -

Sanders upset the top quarterback in the tournament––Joe Montana––in the Elite 8 in order to get a match-up with Brown. Though it isn't likely, we could end up seeing a defender make it to the championship round. But I do believe that in order for that to happen all the voters would have to be Giants fans.

It appears as though we'll end up seeing a Jerry Rice vs. Barry Sanders championship. Wouldn't that be something?

Note: We do not own the above images. No copyright infringement intended.

1 comment:

Tell us what you think!