The idea was the create a list of the 4 best players that ever played in the NFL and make a fictional Mount Rushmore with their images. No one is actually going to carve this so don't you worry about that. This list has and always was going to create some controversy because everyone who is a sports fan has their own ideas about who the "best" is and selecting the 4 best when there are 13 different positions in the combined offensive and defensive line, is not going to be an easy task. Plus, who cares who the best Center is?
So when you look at that image and if you are an NFL fan you likely immediately know who all of the players are but let's get into the nitty gritty here.
20 years with the New England Patriots, went to 9 super bowls with them and won 6 of them. This is certainly a very impressive resume and makes a very good case for him being the best QB of all time. However, we need to remember that the supporting cast of a QB can make or break their greatness and I think that the management of the Pats deserves as much recognition as Brady does. Although Brady is quite old (for a football player in the NFL) it will be very interesting to see how well he does with Tampa Bay. If he can bring the Bucs out of the ashed and help them rise to greatness, it will be kind of hard to dispute his greatness.
Fun fact: Brady was the 199th draft pick in the year 2000. It was starting to look like he wasn't even going to be drafted at all. Imagine if that had happened?
People tend to not think about defensive players when they consider the "Greats" but everyone knows that a fantastic defense can wear down an excellent offense. It makes for boring games, but it wins games and even Super Bowls (yawn.) L.T. won two Super Bowls, was Defensive Player of the Year four times, had an extremely impressive 133 sacks in his career including 20 and a half in a single season. It isn't often that a defensive player wins the league MVP, it is extremely rare, but L.T. pulled that off.
Fun Fact: Despite his obvious achievements on the field, most people remember him for his stupid hanging lightning bolt earring.
This is the one that sparked the most controversy because running backs are a difficult player position to compare. If you look at the highlight reels of almost any of the running back greats, they all look so fantastic that you could really pick any of them and say they were the greatest and also be wrong and right at the same time.
In his 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears, Payton only missed ONE game and that was the coaches decision that Payton himself protested. He won so many awards that one award that is given out each year to outstanding offensive players is called "Walter Payton Man of the Year Award." It's kind of like a runners up trophy for MVP and is no small feat.
Many people think that Barry Sanders, Marcus Allen, Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown, or John Riggins would have been better choices for this fake Rushmore.
Fun Fact: I HATED Walter in the 80's because i was a Raiders fan and therefore favored Marcus Allen :)
Jerry Rice and Joe Montana as a duo were unstoppable. They are rated as the best WR-QB duo in all of history so it should come as no surprise that at least one of them would make NFL Mount Rushmore. Joe would makes some incredible "thread the needle" passes to Jerry who seemed to have gloves covered in glue. The man could catch anything.
In his 16 seasons with the Niners, Rice managed to rack up nearly every receiving record that existed and his records stand to this day. When you consider that his stats were waning towards the end of his career and the fact that he retired 14 years ago, it is a true sign of his greatness that almost all of his records remain intact.
Once again though, similar to Brady, would Jerry have been as good if Joe Montana wasn't on his team? There is no way to know.
Fun Fact: In a Sega Genesis game entitled Joe Montana Football you could pass the ball to Jerry Rice at basically any time and strange angles and he would still catch it.
So there's the list. Do you agree with it? I suspect that most fans would probably have at least one issue with it except for maybe Lawrence Taylor. It is kind of undeniable that he is the greatest overall defensive player of all time.
I have my own issues with the list but at the same time, I don't really care since this monument isn't really going to be made anyway.