Ratto: NFL Network Names Rice No. 1 ... So?

November 12, 2010, 7:19 pm
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The NFL Network, which is comprised largely of people whom you would be afraid to sit next to in a tavern for fear that they would suddenly feel the urge to speak, managed to blow days and even weeks of work by making a list of the Top 100 players in the history of the league.

In other words, they sat around a table and blew a day B.S.ing with each other and passing it off as a shift. Hurray, workplace productivity!

49er fans will love the list, because they got three spots -- Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott -- in the top 11.

Raider fans will hate it because their first mention comes at No. 56, Gene Upshaw.

But we must caution you -- the list, like most lists, has no bearing on reality. Its a myth. How do they know Joe Montana was better than John Unitas? Or Sammy Baugh? They dont. Nobody does. Different eras. Different rules. Different circumstances. Hell, different jobs. Unitas had to call his own plays. Baugh played like six positions. How do you quantify that?

And how is Ronnie Lott better than Night Train Lane? I dont know. You dont know. And frankly, how do you slot players from different positions anyway?

In truth, this list is no more valid than one you could do in your rec room with three of your liquored-up friends, and if one of them was in the AV club at school, he could compile clips of great plays like they did at the NFL Network. In short, their list is as arbitrary and silly as everyone elses, because the very nature of making a list of the best anything is arbitrary and silly. Plus, it is heavily skewed against older players because in many cases, they dont have good enough video on them

We approve of arbitrary and silly, dont get us wrong. If you can blow a day making a list of the top Mongolian brain surgeons and get paid for it, well played. We salute you.

But just so we understand each other, the NFL Networks opinions is no better than yours, and frankly, most of the people on their list are the ones on yours. We just know that all they wanted you to do was pay attention to them, and to start arguments in your own homes. That way, they dont have to cover the liquor, or the damage to the furniture. They are you, only youre paying them to learn stuff you already know.

Especially Jerry Rice. You cant really start a good argument there; you can try, but youll end up having to go back to the store for more beer, and thats no way to spend an evening. Trust us, weve tried.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.