Uncle Finster's recent post got me thinking about the ageless debate/discussion on "greatness". There are so many variables in determining who is among the greatest ever and each variable can even claim its own champion. Some of the factors we use to judge greatness include, lifetime stats, championships, influence on "changing the game", awards and honors, respect of peers and coaches, doing something better than anyone else. My simple definition of greateness is :doing what you want to do, while everyone knows what you are doing and can do nothing to stop you. See Also Marino 3rd and 7, Payton 1st and 10, Reggie White 3rd down rush, etc etc..
So, with each passing year, players get closer, or further, from greatness. An injury during the twighlight of one's career could suddenly put the brakes on a trip to Canton. On the other side of the street, some players with historically sound numbers are only 1 or 2 superbowl stops from solidifying their name in hsitory.
Let's explore who may be in position in 2009 to solidify their place in history. You might be surprised at some.
Randy Moss: will enter the TOP 10 in receptions this year. He needs 41 to pass Keenan McCardell at #10. He needs 10 TDs to pass Marcus Allen as the #3 All-Time leader in TDs. (Moss has 136 and is chasing TO and LT both with 141)
TO: With 141 TDs, he'll compete with LT to be the fist to pass Marcus Allen at #3, who has 145. TO is chasing Issac Bruce to take over #5 All-Time in Receptions. TO has 951 and Bruce has 1003.
Marvin Harrison: There is no denying how good Marvin has been. I really thought he was more of a product of Peyton than simply an all-time great player but one stat changed my mind. Harrison is #9 All-Time in TDs! With 128 and only 8 away from Moss at #6.
Tony Gonzalez: With 916 receptions, Tony is in 9th place All-Time, Andre Reed and TO are tied at #6 with 951 and surely Gonzo will surpass Reed. This is an amazing accomplishment for a TE.
E James: The HOF may be slipping from Edge. He'll need a swan song this year, but the question is where? With 80 rushing TDs, he can get to 14th All-Time with 7 scores. He is currently 11th all time with 11,760 yards and can topple Eric Dickerson at #6 with 1,139 yards. One good year can make Edge a lock for Canton.
Jamal Lewis: Quiety Jamal is creaping into notariaty. With 1,129 yards he would pass OJ as the 18th All-Time rusher. Not too shaby. He would crack the Top 20 with 537 yards.
LT: LT is 1,500 yards away from catching Eric Dickerson at #6. It may take him 2 years, but make no mistake that if he's still playing in 3 years from now, he'll be closing in on Barry at #3.
Fred Taylor: Fred is an interesting player. Regarded by his peers as the best, most complete runner in that last decade, he has been lost in Jacksonville and in the infirmary. If Fred can muster 1,042 yards, he'll pass Jim Brown and be a TOP 10 All-Time rusher. If this is his greatest feat, ...then congrats Fred!
Peyton Manning: If Miami can't win the SB, then let's root for Indy, so Peyton can retire and leave whatever records Marino still owns. He needs just 10 TDs to take over 3rd place over Tarkenton. I seemed like yesterday when Danny was in that position. With 3,697 yards he'll move in to 4th place All-Time.
Kerry Collins: Yes, Kerry Collins is steadily moving from obsurity to respectability. With 138 completions he will move into the TOP 10, passing Dan Fouts! With 250 he passes Joe Montana !?! Hmmm. with 3,158 yards he'll also pass Montanta and move into the TOP 10 in yards. If Kerry can have two good years and win a Superbowl, he'll actually do enough to have a HOF resume! That is craziness.
Jason Taylor: Jason is 9 Sacks from breaking the TOP 10. From what I read, he has plans on playing 3 years, so the real benchmark would be 18 sacks. Then, he would be 6th All-Time, passing D Thomas, Ricky Jackson, Leslie Oneal, LT, Richard Dent, and John Randle.
Kevin Carter: Still wants to play but is currently unemployed. Kevin is in the TOP 20 and with 6 more sacks can move into 16th All Time.
Darren Sharper: A great Safety for a long time, Darren could be toying with greatness if he can secure a starting job. He is 18th AllTime with 54 picks and only needs 5 more to move into 9th Place, passing several HOFers on the way.
Carney, Stover, and Elam: Are all log jammed at #4, #5, and #6 All-Time Scoring. With 100 points each, they'll be 3,4, and 5 by years end. Jason Hanson is stuck at #7 and Adam Vinaterri is climbing from #15. 118 points get him to #12.