Monday, April 29, 2013

Greatest Player of All-Time Tournament: Jerry Rice Comes out the Winner

We began this month-long, single-elimination tournament with 64 of the National Football League's best players of all-time. Now that we are approaching the end of April, we have officially ruled out 63 of those players and, thanks to you the voters, have come away with an official winner.

According to you guys, the "Greatest Player of All-Time" is San Francisco's wide receiver Jerry Rice.

There is absolutely no debate when it comes to the best receiver of all-time, Rice will win that one no matter who you're asking. Rice, now 50, is the all-time leader in receiving touchdowns (197) and total touchdowns (207). His 1,549 career receptions, and 22,895 receiving yards are both well ahead of the No. 2 all-time leader. The 13-time Pro Bowler and 12-time All Pro basically holds every possible receiving record in both the regular and postseason while winning three Super Bowls in his 20 years in the league.

The list of greatest players of all-time also had Rice at the top. It's really tough to argue against him.
However, the race for this title wasn't quite the landslide that he's use to. His opponent just beat out current Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for the Madden 25 cover, and is arguably the best running back the league has ever seen: Detroit Lions RB Barry Sanders.

In fact, if it were up to us, we'd argue for Sanders to be considered the Greatest Player of All-Time champion. Sure, Rice's list of accomplishments appears to be endless. But Sanders' list is quite as impressive as well, and he accomplished everything with much less than Jerry.

When you're in the league for 20+ years like Rice, of course there's a much better chance that you'll own a ton of records by the time you retire from the game. And with Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh calling the plays with Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana throwing you passes, things are much easier. Barry, on the other hand, was running behind a god-awful offensive line with quarterbacks such as Scott Mitchell, Rodney Peete, Erik Kramer and Andre Ware.

Sanders stepped away from the game at a very healthy 30 years old and hadn't even peaked in his performance yet. The third all-time leading rusher made the Pro Bowl in all 10 of his professional seasons with six All Pro selections. He averaged over 1,500 yards per season and 5.0 yards per carry, while turning in one of the most impressive highlight tapes available on the web.

We are in now way trying to diminish Rice's accomplishments, because he is clearly the most-decorated player in the history of the game. But we believe Sanders deserves the title simply because of what he did with what he was given.

The Fan Vote (the one that actually matters): Jerry Rice, 49ers HOF WR
All-Out Blitz's Vote: Barry Sanders, Lions HOF RB

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

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