The greatest column ever

By Staff
Justin Schuver, Sports Editor
Immediately after Vince Young capped off a terrific comeback and Texas defeated USC for the national championship Wednesday night, a thought went through my head.
"Well, good. Maybe this will calm down some of the nonsensical 'USC is the greatest collection of football talent ever assembled and would beat some NFL teams' junk that's been infesting ESPN the past few weeks."
That thought lasted about 10 seconds, once the cameras pulled away from Pasadena and focused on the ESPN College Gameday crew of Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler. It was Corso who first brought me back to earth.
Corso (who was a combined 73-83-6 in his NCAA coaching career): "Vince Young is the greatest college quarterback to ever play the game in a clutch situation."
Um, excuse me?
Corso, you and your ESPN colleagues just were forced to eat the biggest bowl of crow in history (See? I can make ridiculous hyperbole as well.) and now you're all ready to anoint Vince Young as the greatest clutch quarterback ever? Ever heard of Doug Flutie? Joe Montana? Roger Staubach?
I don't know what it is about Americans as a whole, but we seem to be constantly obsessed with trying to find not only the best, but the best ever. Maybe years of having a 24-7 sports landscape has jaded us to the point that we're no longer happy with having a champion, but now we want to see how that champion fits in the annals of history.
How would the 2004 Red Sox have done against the 1991 Twins? How would the 2004 Lightning have looked against the 1979 Canadiens? How about Jack Nicklaus in his prime against Tiger Woods?
After all, how else can you explain the series on Sportscenter in the weeks leading up to the Rose Bowl, where ESPN analysts pitted the 2005 USC team against previous NCAA national championship teams in a hypothetical "who would win?" matchup. Not surprisingly, the analysts picked USC in nearly all cases.
Any logical person can see there are at least three things wrong with these kinds of hypothetical matchups.
First, sports is and always has been about "what have you done for me lately?" The teams that are doing well are always going to be considered the best, at least until they fall. That sound you heard immediately after Wednesday's game was the sound of a million fans simultaneously jumping off the USC bandwagon.
Secondly, it's impossible to compare teams from different eras. USC is a good team, no doubt, but is it really possible to know how they'd do against say a Bryant-era Alabama team? Of course not. Today's players are more than likely stronger, faster, and more talented athletically, yet you can also make the argument that they don't have as much heart as players from decades ago. Who can really tell?
And that brings up the third reason why it's ridiculous to anoint a team or player as the best ever – it's subjective. Nobody's ever going to agree on such a broad all-encompassing statement like "X is the greatest team ever." I've already gotten my share of complaints from people who disagreed with my ordering of Hartselle's top 10 sports stories in 2005. I can only imagine what my e-mail in-box would look like if I'd tried to pick the greatest Hartselle sports story ever.
Would it have been too much for a sports talking head to have simply said, "Vince Young is a very good quarterback who played a great game and was a key part in a very good Texas team that beat a USC team that is also very good"?
That, for my money, would easily have been the most intelligent soundbite ever.

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Challenger Matthew Frost unseats longtime Morgan Commissioner Don Stisher

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Cheers to 50 years  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Scott Stadthagen confirmed to University of West Alabama Board of Trustees 

Editor's picks

Hartselle graduate creates product for amputees 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Tigers roar in Athens soccer win

Danville

Local family raises Autism awareness through dirt racing  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Three Hartselle students named National Merit finalists  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan chief deputy graduates from FBI National Academy

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle students collect food for good cause 

Falkville

Falkville to hold town-wide yard sale next month

At a Glance

Danville man dies after vehicle leaves Hudson Memorial Bridge 

Editor's picks

Clif Knight, former Hartselle mayor, Enquirer writer, dies at 88

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle Utilities reminds community April is safe digging month 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Teen powerhouse invited to compete in international strongman event

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Azaleas: An Alabama beauty 

Decatur

Master Gardeners plant sale returns in April

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan leaders honored at annual banquet

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Local students selected for 2024 Blackburn Institute Class

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle sophomore represents Civil Air Patrol in D.C.  

Editor's picks

Hartselle council hires architect for new fire station, library and event center

At a Glance

PowerGrid Services in Hartselle evacuated for bomb threat

Morgan County

20 under 40: Trey Chowning

Falkville

20 under 40: TJ Holmes

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

20 under 40: Spencer Bell

x