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NFL: Who is the GOAT?

Divisional Round - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints
Divisional Round - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints
Ross Bennellick

Following on from Tom Brady's great performance in the Buccaneers playoff victory vs the Saints at the weekend (one which finally settled the Brady vs Brees debate for Louisiana natives), we try to answer that age-old question of who is the greatest NFL player of all time?

Of course, it's entirely subjective: you'll get a different answer from practically every football fan you speak to, but there are three runaway candidates for the title of 'GOAT.'

These are (in descending order):

#3 LB Lawrence Taylor (New York Giants)

Lawrence Taylor receives award at Super Bowl LIV
Lawrence Taylor receives award at Super Bowl LIV

The New York Giants plucked for a defensive talent, Lawrence Taylor with their first-round pick (2nd overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft, and boy, did they make the right choice: the intimidating linebacker would go on to lead the franchise for 13 outstanding seasons, a period in which the Giants would make the playoffs six times and win the Super Bowl twice (hard to imagine now, I know).

In a storied career, Taylor would go on to register 132 sacks (putting him 2nd on the all-time list at the time he decided to hang up the cleats), and 9 interceptions. Such form saw L.T named to x10 Pro Bowls (x9 All-Pro) and also helped him to Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1981, 1982, and 1986.

People seem to forget that half the battle in the NFL is on the defensive side, and Lawrence Taylor is arguably the most dominant defensive talent to ever suit up.

Peep the video below for further evidence of why NY's number 56 might just be the GOAT:

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#2 QB Tom Brady (New England Patriots & Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots
AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots

When you hear the word 'GOAT' mentioned, you tend to think of one of two things: 1) a bearded, horned member of the Bovidae family; or 2) Tom Brady.

The former Patriot has thrown for 79,204 career yards (currently 2nd all time; Drew Brees is 1st). He is the most winningest player in the history of the NFL: 6 Super Bowl rings (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017, and 2019) and named MVP on four separate occasions (2002, 2004, 2015, and 2017). Going solely on honors, Brady is number one on practically every list.

Currently operating in the pocket for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (where he has had an outstanding year), and having just made it to his first-ever NFC Conference championship (AFC Champion x9!), was Brady to go on to win an unprecedented 7th Super Bowl with Tampa, let's just say I don't think articles such as this will be in much demand in a few years.

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The only real question left for Brady to answer is, 'who was the true key to the Pats' success, coach Belichick or Brady?' If the former Michigan Wolverine shows the world he can do it without his former coach and leads Tampa to the city's 2nd Lombardi trophy, the discussion is over, and Brady has to be considered the GOAT.

Also Read: What is Tom Brady’s contract breakdown?


#1 WR Jerry Rice (San Francisco 49ers (mostly); also: Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, and Denver Broncos)

San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers
San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers

As good as Brady has been and still is, there is one man who stands in the way of his being considered the very best to ever do it, and that man is Jerry Rice.

Rice spent most of his incredible career with the San Francisco 49ers who took him in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft with the 16th pick overall. It would prove to be the greatest pick of all time.

In a glittering 20-year career, 'Flash 80' would go on to break practically every record ever set by a wide receiver in the NFL: most receptions (1,549); most touchdowns (208); most receiving yards (22,895); most yards from scrimmage (23,340) ... the list goes on and on. There has never and will never be another receiver like Jerry Rice.

It's not just the individual records that earn Rice top-spot on our list of GOATS either, mind you: Flash 80 has 3 Super Bowl rings to his name too, and was named the MVP at Super Bowl XXlll (49ers vs Bengals).

See the man in action for yourself before you pass judgment on me. I'm telling you, Jerry Rice is the GOAT!

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Agree, or disagree with my picks? Have your say in the comments section below:


Also Checkout: Joe Montana Super Bowl Wins


Edited by Ashwin

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