There are two different kinds of goats in this world. Good goats, and ba-a-ad goats.
The Greatest Of All Time, or GOAT as the young people say, requires careful decision making when you’re tying the names of athletes to the coveted place at the top of their sport. Statistics, clutchness, explosiveness and that characteristic you just can’t quite put into words are all factors when deciding just who is the GOAT of a sport. So, without further ado, here are the GOATs of America’s four major sports.
Peanuts and cracker jacks, the seventh inning stretch and the hope of catching a home run or foul ball all help make a day at the ballpark so exclusively magical. For long-time Detroit Tiger centerfielder Ty Cobb, a day at the park is just another day in the office. Cobb led the Tigers to three straight AL Championship pennants from the outfield, beating out the average fielding percentage and blowing out the average outfielder’s range factor. Cobb might not have the home run numbers of a Ruth, Mantle or Bonds, but his numerous doubles and triples won games. And I’m not the only one who puts Cobb at the top of the list. New York Yankees managers George Weiss and Casey Stengel both nominated Ty Cobb to go down in the books as the best to ever play, even after they watched Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle.
Although Goldberg was an impenetrable force in front of the net for the Mighty Ducks, he’s unfortunately not the GOAT for the NHL. As the least-disputable name on this list, it’s no surprise to hockey fans that I’m listing Wayne Gretzky as the GOAT on ice. He’s the all-time points leader in the NHL, and it’s not even close. Even if you just took Gretzky’s 1,963 assists, he’d still be 76 points ahead of Mark Messier, who holds the runner-up spot on the all-time points list. That’s not to mention Gretzky’s 894 goals, 93 more than Gordie Howe, who claims the second most goals of all time. Gretzky’s total of 2,857 points is 44 percent more than second-place Messier’s. That’s like saying a baseball player hit 335 more home runs than Barry Bonds’s record of 762, or a QB beating Brett Favre’s 71,838 passing yards record by another 31,000 yards. I don’t know if I could even throw for that many yards in Madden ’07.
To put Gretzky in comparison with another hockey great, let’s look at points per game. Gretzky established an astounding track of 1.92 points per game across 1,487 regular season games in his 20-year career. Sidney Crosby, through the 2016-17 season, averaged 1.19 points. Gretzky is the only player to have had a season with 200 points or more, and he did it four times. He had nine 50-goal seasons, and it only took him 424 games to reach the 1,000 point mark, something only 11 other players have done in the history of the NHL (96 years). Yeah, the guy’s pretty good.
Hey LeBron fans: sorry. MJ’s the best. I mean, doesn’t the name Michael Jordan just have a certain…ring to it? Or maybe even…six rings? The fact is that when MJ was playing, he was the best in the world, and there was no doubt about it, and for more reasons than his two three-peat championship titles. For each of his six titles, Jordan was named Finals MVP. He won the season MVP award five times, and there’s debate about whether or not he should’ve won more. He was named to 10 All-NBA first teams and nine All-Defensive first team selections. He also won an incredible 10 scoring titles and, over the course of his career, set an NBA record of 30.1 points-per-game. Jordan was the true “complete package” and it showed in stats, championships and athletic swagger.
Last but not least, the NFL. After recent developments, and by recent developments I mean the last Super Bowl, the GOAT of the NFL is Tom Brady. Brady has lead New England to 5* Super Bowl victories. He also racked up seven AFC Championships, two NFL MVP awards and four Super Bowl MVP awards. A Super Bowl, an AFC Championship and a Super Bowl MVP all came from 39-year-old Brady, too.
Although his regular season stats are great but not the best, his postseason stats make up for it and then some. In the playoffs, Brady leads the NFL in all of the following categories: passing yards, pass completions, touchdown passes and wins. For specifically Super Bowls, Brady leads in the following: appearances (seven), wins (five), MVP Awards (four), completions, completions in a single game (43), passing yards, passing yards in a single game (466), and touchdown passes (15). Phew. That’s a long list.
So there you have it. Agree with me, disagree with me, you do you. I’ll leave you with one last bit of writing: some people say young goats look weird, but I would never do that, especially to a kid.
*see, Spygate; see, Deflategate