Top Seasons, and a Rambling Diatribe

Posted by rich on January 9th, 2008

Leave it to ESPN to bring up a new debate that’s actually worthwhile, the 25 greatest individual seasons ever. Obviously Tom Brady’s 2007 makes the list for the best football seasons ever, but do you believe that they actually have found three seasons that they deemed better? I have no problem with Marino being number one, and if you remember how dominant Eric Dickerson was for the Rams that one year, then you would have to agree that he’s up there too. The one that bugs me is Peyton Manning last year being better than Brady this year. The explanation seems thin to me. Apparently the fact that Brady plays his games outside while Manning has perfect 72-degree conditions indoors doesn’t play.

Anyways, you can check out the lists at this link. I haven’t had a chance yet to delve deeply into the other seasons, but the golf one is going to be interesting to me. How many of the top 10 does Tiger own? Without having seen the list yet, I’m going to guess that at least four of them below to Eldrick.

Funny Tiger thought. Imagine if they’d never come up with the nickname “Tiger” for him. Would he be nearly the star he is if he went by Eldrick Woods? What about Rick Woods? Could you really get fired up to watch someone named Eldrick play every week like you do Tiger?

His talent would not be below what his standards are now. But, I don’t think he’d be nearly as big. It’s an interesting phenomenon. Think about it, Tom Cruise sounds like a star. If he went by Tom Smith, doesn’t that negate some of his Q-rating?

Maybe it’s because our society is so shallow, but I just believe this to be true. Take two mediocre quarterbacks, with nearly the same types of statistics. You’ve got Phil Rivers and Derek Anderson. Based on name alone, you’d go with Rivers, because it sounds better. But, if you look at stats, you’ve got to go with Anderson, even though his name is so pedestrian, but it would take a Brady-esque season for Anderson to get noticed.

And, another strange phenomenon is the geography of stardom. If Brady played for Cleveland, I don’t think he’d be quite as popular. But, he’s a Boston-based guy, so he’s bigger automatically. There aren’t many stars that overcome geography to become very big, you have to be absolutely top tier to crack the general public’s eye. Peyton Manning overcomes his city, as does Lebron James, but Manning has the whole family angle that helped push him over the top and Bron Bron had so much hype coming out of high school that he could have landed in Charlotte and been a big star.

Some guys get bigger reps simply because of where they play, too. If Derek Jeter played in Kansas City he would be a good player that you barely heard about. But, he’s in NYC, and that makes him a mega-star. If Vlad Guerrero played in New York, and spoke english, he’s be the biggest thing ever.

Don’t know how I got on this rant, apparently I’ve had too much caffeine.

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