Does It Really Matter Who the GOAT is?

It’s one of the more interesting sports questions to ask someone: who is the greatest of all time? It doesn’t matter which sport, or which position, or which category you’re arguing, the debate of the greatest person in a certain sport always generates a great amount of debate.

Here’s my question, though: does it matter who the greatest of all time is? At the end of the day, is it really important who the greatest quarterback of all time is? Or the greatest MLB player of all time? Or the best point guard in NBA history?

The answer is no. When you think about it, the GOAT argument is one of the most tiring debates in sports.

Just recently, ESPN has been releasing their lists of the top 10 players of all time at each position in the NBA, and it has caused a lot of controversy. In the point guard list, Steph Curry was ranked fourth, and Isiah Thomas was fifth, causing a lot of the old school guys to question the rankings. Thomas is a two-time NBA champion, and while Steph Curry is playing at an all-time elite level right now; it may be too early to rank Curry over Thomas.

Then, in the small forward rankings, Kevin Durant was ranked fourth and Scottie Pippen sixth, causing even more controversy. Pippen was a six time champion and is a Hall of Famer, while Durant is still in his eight season in the league and has only one Finals appearance.

But does it really matter where these guys are ranked? If you were going to start an NBA team, and if you had any of the four guys listed on your team, you’d have a pretty good chance of winning the championship. All four guys are franchise players, and all four are either Hall of Famers or soon-to-be Hall of Famers.

This debate is most prominent in the greatest quarterback of all time debate. Heck, my friend Mitchel and I even made a list a year and a half ago trying to rank the top quarterbacks of all time. We tried to make it as scientific as possible, developing a points system to measure a quarterback’s worth. We took 20-25 guys, used the point system on all their stats, and determined who was the greatest QB of all time (here’s the link for a refresher: https://austinhough.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/top-10-greatest-quarterbacks-of-all-time-5-1/).

Immediately upon publishing, tons of people commented on my Facebook page about how Manning shouldn’t be number one, and instead it should’ve been Montana, Brady, or even Favre. In all honesty, the numbers told us that Manning was the greatest QB of all time, but if I had to pick one based on that “x-factor,” it’d probably be Montana.

My point is that it doesn’t matter whom you call the greatest of all time. The top 10 list Mitchel and I composed had 10 Hall of Fame quarterbacks, all of which had won Super Bowls and been MVPs in either the Super Bowl or the league overall. You could make an argument for John Elway to be the greatest QB of all time, and you’d have plenty of reasons to present your case.

For me, there’s only one GOAT argument that you can’t have, and that’s that Wayne Gretzky is the greatest NHL player of all time. No offense to the likes of Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr, but Gretzky is the greatest NHL player ever and there’s really no room for debate. There’s more room for debate on Michael Jordan being the best NBA player than Gretzky as the best NHL player.

Wayne-Gretzky-1
Wayne Gretzky is considered the greatest hockey player of all time, and there really isn’t much of a debate about it. Photo via value walk.com

I love the argument of who the GOAT is. It’s an argument you can always have because whomever you call the GOAT is always changing. Maybe somebody comes along and dethrones Gretzky as the best NHL player ever. Who knows which QB will emerge to put his name in the all-time debate? That’s the beauty of the GOAT debate. At the end of the day, though, it just doesn’t really matter whom you call the GOAT.

Thanks for reading. Make sure to check out the other blogs I’ve posted, and stay tuned as I go more in-depth on all the things going on in the sports world. This is Game of Sports.

 

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2 Replies to “Does It Really Matter Who the GOAT is?”

  1. Your last paragraph is the best of all. You almost have it figured out by then. It DOES matter. It matters to us old guys. It matters to the guys who played. It matters when we are having this discussion with people who have only seen one generation of players. Most importantly, it matters on a slow sports day, when our passion wants us to continue to talk sports, but the sports world is slow and not helping in the discussion. The actual stats, pretty much no one cares about. However, if you don’t have those stats to throw in your argument, then you are seen as not being a credible source, therefore you nullify your chance of ever winning. Regardless of how you do it, the bottom line in sports is winning, and I don’t mean just on the scoreboard. Hopefully, you win the right way, with honor and integrity. For many of us who are no longer able to still “compete” at the level we once did (or thought we did), the only thing we have left is discussions like “Who is the GOAT?” For most of us, we will never live long enough to sway our original answer from who we claim is the GOAT. That, my friend is just another benefit of sports. The discussion allows us to feel like we belong. It’s the one thing that we can still compete with/against others; the one thing that we have a “say” in the way things turn out from a sports standpoint.

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