Originally posted on February 2, 2009 by Sportslifer
SportsLifer Rewind: I posted this blog two years ago, after the Steelers won their sixth Super Bowl by beating the Arizona Cardinals. Who knew that Super Bowl XLV would pit the Steelers against the Packers.
Not to rain on Pittsburgh’s parade (hey, we all love a parade), but to claim the Steelers are the best team in NFL history is a bit over the top.
Granted, the Steelers have now win six Super Bowls, more than any other franchise — the Cowboys and the 49ers have each won five. So if you want to give Pittsburgh the nod as the best team in the Super Bowl era, well who’s to argue. No disputing the fact that they are a model franchise, classy and competitive.
But the best all-time? Not. That’s like claiming the team that has won the most World Series since baseball adopted its playoff format in 1969 is the best ever. (That team happens to be the Yankees with six (now seven) championships, but they won 20 more before 1969).
The Steelers were formed in 1933, and were NFL doormats for more than 40 years, never winning so much as a conference championship. Five years after shifting to the AFC Central in 1970, the Steelers won their first Super Bowl.
You can’t ignore history.
Packers Have Most Titles
So who is the best? Counting three Super Bowls, the Green Bay Packers have won 12 NFL, including the first two Super Bowls, since the formation of the NFL in 1920, the Packers have actually won 12 titles.
Green Bay is the only NFL team to win three straight championships (1929-31) and (1965-67), the latter including the first two Super Bowls.
The Chicago Bears also supersede the Steelers with nine NFL titles, including Super Bowl XX. And the New York Giants have seven championships, including three Super Bowls.
The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers rank behind the Steelers with five Super Bowl wins apiece
Another team that’s sometimes forgotten in the haze of football history is the Cleveland Browns. The Browns won four straight championships in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) before that league was disbanded in 1950. The Browns then proceeded to make six straight appearances in the NFL championship game, winning in 1950, 1954 and 1955.
Cleveland won another championship in 1964, but has never been to the Super Bowl.
Cleaning out the Notebook
Among the dozen or more “experts” in the booth for Super Bowl XLIII, it’s hard to believe NBC would include Matt Millen. Yes, the same Matt Millen, the general manager who set the Detroit Lions back years. Heck, I wouldn’t trust this guy to pick my fantasy football team.
Jennifer Hudson’s emotional rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was moving, best since Whitney Houston at Super Bowl XXV.
Finally, why didn’t the refs review Kurt Warner’s last play? Fumble or incomplete pass? Close call. But at the very least the play deserved review.
According to the NFL head of officials, the play was reviewed and upheld. For what, 20 seconds?
Rules state that if Warner’s arm is moving in a forward motion with the ball still in his hand when it comes out, the play should be ruled an incomplete pass, not a fumble.
Oh, and one more thing.
After the play, the Steelers were called for a personal foul, so if the play had been reversed, and with the 15-yard penalty yardage marked off, the Cardinals would have had the ball on the Pittsburgh 30 with about seven seconds remaining.
Certainly time enough for a miracle.
Jim Brown faces Green Bay in his final game, the 1965 NFL Championship
What’s the best team in football history? Who’s the greatest all-time hitter ever? The best boxer pound for pound?
You can spark some lively debates with any one of those questions about sports, or thousands of others like them.
But when it comes to the question of who is the best running back in football ever, the answer is easy.
Jim Brown of course.
There are certain, well shall we say, certainties in life.
Water is wet. Fire is hot.
And Jim Brown is the best runner in football history.
Nine Years with Browns
Drafted sixth overall in the 1957 draft, Brown played nine years, all with the Cleveland Browns, and led the NFL in rushing eight times. Playing 12 and later 14-game schedules, he rushed for 1,000 yards every year but two, his rookie year of 1957 when he led the NFL with 942 yards, and 1962, when he lost five yards on his final carry of the season and finished with 996.
The following year, Brown set an NFL record with 1,863 yards rushing in 14 games. He finished his career with 12,312 yards gained rushing yards, which still ranks eighth all-time today.
In his career, he scored 126 touchdowns in just 118 games, averaging 104 yards per game, the only rusher in NFL history to average over 100 yards per game for a career. Brown still holds the career record for yards per carry (5.2).
For comparison’s sake, Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, finished with 18,355 yards — but he played in 226 games in his career, more than 100 more than Brown.
Before Brown, the NFL career rushing leader had been Joe Perry of the San Francisco 49ers, but Brown surpassed Perry’s 8,378 career yards in 1963, on his way to 12,312. Buffalo’s OJ Simpson broke Brown’s season record, rushing for 2,003 yards in 1973, and Walter Payton surpassed the career record during the 1984 season.
Four-Time NFL MVP
Brown was Rookie of the Year in 1957 and MVP in 1957, 1958, 1963 and 1965. Every year he played, Brown was voted into the Pro Bowl. He never missed a game in nine seasons, and earned an NFL title in 1964 when the Browns blanked the Colts, 27-0.
:”For mercurial speed, airy nimbleness and explosive violence in one package of undisputed evil, there is no other like Mr. Brown,” the noted sports columnist Red Smith once wrote.
Or as Sam Huff, former Giants linebacker, once described trying to tackle Jim Brown: “All you do, is grab hold, hang on and wait for help.”
In the summer of 1966, Brown stunned the sports world with the announcement that he was retiring from football to pursue an acting career. He entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
In 2002, Brown was named by The Sporting News as the greatest professional football player ever. Brown was every bit as good a lacrosse player, with the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame stating that he was “widely considered to be the greatest lacrosse player ever.” Sportswriter Bert Sugar named Brown #1 in his book The Greatest Athletes of All Time.