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Part 1 - Stats Numbers Don't Lie

So often on Fan Nation we see the classic "his stats were better then his stats so he's better" argument. If that's all we use for our arguments then what is the point of a Throwdown? Often times we do not consider the many other variables that allowed one athlete to excel over another. A fine example is Dan Marino.

So he didn't win the Super Bowl, does that make Dan Marino any less gifted then Joe Montana, John Elway or Brett Favre? Based on stats and even accomplishments there is a clear answer to that. But what about the other "question mark" variables? For example, the team he played for? The fan support in Miami? The stress in his home life, etc... We could just assume that "stats are numbers and numbers don't lie." But we all know that's not true. (I admit, I have used this line before)

Most of us would say that Dan Marino is among the top 10 QBs of all time; probably top 5 and maybe even top 3. We base that not strictly on stats, but because of the supporting cast he had in Miami (or lack thereof), his personal accomplishments and because he's such a likable guy. 

If we base our arguments solely on stats we lose the human touch in our arguments about this athletes we admire, follow and scrounge the internet for interesting tid bits on. If we based everything strictly on numbers Dan Marino might not be a top 3, 5 or even 10 QB in our books. In fact, he would probably be remembered as "what could have been but never was."  

That being said, we must consider that all arguments are winnable on Fan Nation. Whether it's Pele vs. Beckenbauer (I actually won this TD with Beckenbauer), Montana vs. Unitas and even Jordan vs. Kareem. It's winable but certainly very difficult. This interconnects nicely with part 2 of my blog--the Greatest Sports Debate Ever.

Part 2 - The Greatest Sports Debate Ever

A bold title? I should hope so! If you've read this far you probably think 1 of 2 things: 1) stats are a good way to outline a TD but not the only material needed to win one; and / or 2) this guy is a fool. Numbers DON'T lie and if he thinks that he knows what "the greatest sports debate ever" is then he's even more of an idiot than I had thought. Whatever you think I thank you for reading this far.

If we look at the reverse of what I have just said about stats and numbers in sports and assume that they DO, in fact, prove that one athlete is unquestionably better then another we discover this:

- Jordan is the best basketball player ever
- Gretzky is the best hockey player ever
- _____ is the best ______ player ever

Fair enough. If numbers don't lie then you are right. Those athlete's are the best for now and probably for a long time. But if that is the case, then answer me this: Who is the greatest athlete of all time? 

Stop and think about that for a minute number boy..................... After typing 20 periods what have you come up with? A blank. No wait Jordan! No wait Ali! No wait Tiger! No wait Montana! And the list goes on and on and on. How will numbers save you now?! They simply can't. 

When arguing the greatest athlete of all time you MUST include factors outside of numbers. For example, Michael Jordan dealing with the loss of his father. Wayne Gretzky coping with a crushing trade from Edmonton to Los Angeles. How about Ali beating Forman in Zaire? There's always Jesse Owens metaphorically slapping H-i-t-l-e-r in the face at the Summer Olympics in 1936. And the list can continue.

Numbers may not lie but they certainly don't tell the whole story. Other factors and variables are key to determining who or what is better in a TD. Don't forget the persons teammates, the era he played in, the political problems she had to deal with or the personal struggles they overcame. This builds character and character, to me is just as important as numbers. 

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