Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Page 2 Quickie: September 6, 2005


 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
RICE.  RULES.

Greatest of All Time?

Era comparisons are tough.
So are positions.
So are offensive schemes.

ESPN.com experts ranked Jerry Rice No. 2 all-time, behind Brown and ahead of Montana. It's hard to disaggregate Rice from Montana (and Young).

Would Rice have been G.O.A.T. if he hadn't been playing with those QBs? Or in Walsh's innovative offense?

That's the wrong question.
The better one is this:

Would any of those guys have been who they were if not for Jerry Rice? Amazingly, he was the one who made that O go (as a receiver!)

He was, without argument, the greatest WR of all time. He's a living superlative: Hardest worker. Best route-runner. Most prolific stats.

So I'll take Rice over Brown, joining ESPN Era fans in a generation gap that undervalues Brown because we never came close to seeing him play.

The best argument for Rice's being No. 1 is that he didn't walk away at his peak, like Brown. Instead of "What If?," Rice gave us "What Is."

In the final analysis, comparisons of Brown and Rice are fun but maddeningly theoretical. Let's leave it with this:

Rice was the ESPN Era's best football player, but, far more important, he was as close to perfect as a football player can be.

More on Bonds
Why shouldn't SF use Barry in some limited role, like pinch-hitter? Forget his likelihood to get on base; he turns a noncontender into must-see.

Katrina Update
Latest: The NFL has moved Week 2's Saints-Giants game to 7:30 on Monday on ABC (with the game moving to ESPN when MNF starts at 9).

National interest in Katrina has turned the Saints into the league's must-see team, but make no mistake: It has nothing to do with the product on the field.

(And if you haven't made a contribution to relief yet, consider doing it during the game broadcast.)

Meanwhile, if you missed Monday's Quickie, you missed my argument blasting the NFL for even considering playing the entire Saints home schedule at the opponents' place.

Upshot: Fans in the region have so little to cling to right now, can't the NFL support a historically strong fan base by keeping the team in the region? (See Q It Up for more).

Open: Agassi-Blake!
Superlative of the Day: The quarters match between Andre and James will be the pairing of the U.S. Open, if not of tennis in 2005.

Agassi is merely the oldest men's player in the field to make it to the U.S. Open quarters. (Andre's the reigning old man of tennis, period.)

Blake, tennis' feel-good story of the year, is only the second wild card ever to make it to the quarters.



Who to root for? Andre has the age sympathy, but Blake's story is simply too good to root against. But for the casual fan, there is no downside.

MLB Wrap
Schilling shelled: It's gone from excusable "just getting back into starting" anomaly to his regular MO. Playoff stopper? Hardly.

King Felix Watch: Lack of IP is no reason Hernandez can't (or shouldn't) win AL Rookie of the Year (Mon: 7 IP, 0 R, 5 K, 4 H)

Wild Card: The best-case scenario in the NL is if the Nats earn it; DC beats FLA for 3rd W in a row, now 1.5 games behind HOU for WC (HOU plays PHI).

CFB: Who's NOT No. 1?
OKLA's title hopes are shot. VA Tech nearly joined the Sooners. Add Miami to the list after Monday night's ugly loss to FSU.

And yet: Expect your laugh of the week when the rankings come out. Inevitably, inertia-driven rep-loving voters won't punish Oklahoma nearly enough.

It's very simple: They were Preseason No. 8 for no reason other than rep. But with actual evidence, they're not even close to Top 25-worthy.

If I were a voter, I wouldn't have OU anywhere in my Top 25. And any voter who doesn't drop 'em from 8 to oblivion doesn't deserve the job.

Pot/Kettle? Never: I picked Louisville as Rosy, but after UL eked out a win over Kentucky, right now they don't deserve that lofty call.

NFL Preview: NFC
Division Picks:
E: Eagles; N: Vikings;
S: Panthers; W: Seahawks;
WC: Bucs (S), Cards (W)
NFC Champs: PHI over CAR

Superlatives:
Overrated: Falcons
Vick still allergic to West Coast O
Underrated: Cards
Arizona is the new San Diego.
Disappointment: Lions
Detroit is the old Arizona.
X-factor: Saints
Are they "America's Team"?

This week's Preview Schedule:
Wednesday: AFC Preview
Thursday: Playoff/SB picks
(Hint: Champs PLAY on Thurs.)

Miss Monday's DQ?
Miss Monday's Quickie?
Here's a recap:

*Saints must play locally.
*New Vocab: "Soonered." Ha ha.
*Heisman Watch: Wk 1 edition!
*MLB Wrap: Colon for AL Cy?
*And much, much more!

Click here to read it in full.