Calvin Johnson wasn't even bothered last week by the Lions' terrible season. He was all grins and giggles while being interviewed after yet another loss. A home loss in prime time, no less. That interview defined this era as well as any other. Many of the past greats wouldn't even have done that interview, considering the circumstances. I absolutely guarantee an early '70s Dolphin wouldn't have dared to step in front of a microphone.
As dlockz posted, Jerry Rice is above Johnson and Jim Brown is unquestionably superior to Adrian Petersen.
Also, regarding Dan Marino, the pass defense rules and application of them had already been softened considerably by 1984. Anybody who doesn't believe that is out of his mind, or snuggling up to a Marino pillow. The game was pure and brutal until 1974, when the first wave of changes coddling the offense and particularly the passing game was adopted. The Dolphins were largely responsible, after Curtis Johnson and Tim Foley made a habit of eliminating wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. As a kid I absolutely loved it. I remember screaming in mischievous glee as the opposing quarterback dropped back with nobody to throw to. There were 2-3 man patterns in those days and the Dolphins reduced it to 1. It prompted the so-called Isaac Curtis Rule.
This is a brief description of the changes in 1974. Notice that every one favored the offense and specifically the passing game , including reduction of penalty yardage. Previously a 15 yard holding penalty could all but end a possession before it started:
"roll-blocking and cutting of wide receivers was eliminated; the extent of downfield contact a defender could have with an eligible receiver was restricted; the penalties for offensive holding, illegal use of the hands, and tripping were reduced from 15 to 10 yards..."
There were further changes aiding the passing game in 1977 and notably in 1978:
"The NFL continued a trend toward opening up the game. Rules changes permitted a defender to maintain contact with a receiver within five yards of the line of scrimmage, but restricted contact beyond that point. The pass-blocking rule was interpreted to permit the extending of arms and open hands."
Sorry, but Dan Marino was already playing in a dumbed up league, compared to what I witnessed earlier. Not even debatable. I think they had the correct balance in the '80s and '90s but it was hardly the brutal sport of the '60s and early '70s. The posters who rip Joe Namath, now that's comedic. Candidates for the corn field. They look at those stats and think it was today's rules and style of play, with worthless dump off passes and crossing patterns. Namath was a true downfield gunslinger. His lifetime 14.7 yards per completion is seven tenths higher than the best season Marino ever had (1984), and more than 2 yards beyond Marino's lifetime average. By Marino's era it was already an underneath league with heavy benefit of a doubt to the passer, compared to only 10 or 15 years earlier.
I remember Namath, I watched Namath.....please don't even attempt to put Namath in the same sentence as Marino, let alone try to force feed us anything that would indicate Namath in any way did anything better then Marino.
Namath was a very gifted player, but he was inconsistent, and no where as dominant as Marino. Every defense that played Miami knew one thing about their offense, stop Marino, you stop the Offense, yet VERY VERY rarely did any defense stop or even slow down Marino. Namath relied on the running game, no running game, very rarely was there much offense.
There is nothing more dangerous in team sports, then a team that refuses to quit, is united as one, and whose confidence is so high, they believe they can play with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
According to doogie, your great athletic accomplishment isn't valid unless you are also a candidate for the nobel prize.
Awsi, recognize great athletes when they are present. Don't ignore facts, which you are so clearly doing.
Athletes now are bigger, stronger, faster, and plain ol' better than they used to be. This is evident in almost every single sport on the planet. Specific evidence can be seen if you only look at track and field athletes. It's pretty simple, actually. It's downright ignorant to think otherwise.
As for rice he wasnt the biggest , the strongest or fastest but again he was the best. Johnson has him beat in all three of those categories
the real fact is that all athletes are as I said, bigger, faster, and stronger than previous athletes.
as for Jerry rice, he was great and his receiving record has just been broken. that qualifies for more than most here are giving credit for. who cares if Johnson was smiling, he just accomplished something huge.
I'm beginning to think that a majority of posters on here don't really know much about what makes up the psyche of a high level athlete.
Greatness is measured over time not a few seasons and both of these guys were the greatest over an extended time. Rice has almost 200 receiving tds he averaged like 9.5 a yearf for almost 19 years lol.