Growing up, my dad always used to talk to me about the Greats of his day. Namath being one of them. When looking back at their statistics, what they accomplished in their careers, etc - they seem mediocre at best!
However it was a different time period back then. Players were more normal sized and were your average every day people making your typical every day people salary. Now, through the expansion of colleges, we have 300+ pound linemen, 240 lb backers and quarterbacks who can bench 220 lbs 30 times and wing a ball 90+ yards while running the 40 in 4.5 sec flat.
Players strenghts and skills have only gotten better. They're physical condition of their bodies have gotten bigger and stronger, and their mental abilities have gotten better. The players of yesterday could not survive in my opinion on modern football! The game consistantly gets bigger and faster.
There is talk about Tebow possibly being what changes football yet again. With his own physically blessed abilities, and his determination like none other, he has a chance. And then I begin to think, will the greats of today be nothing more than your average players, or one day be mediocre? I can only imagine that to happen.
No one will ever question how good they were for their time, nor do I question how good the greats were before them for their time. But the question will then be, could they survive in the modern football of tomorrow?!? I would venture to say I would doubt it.
After we look at players abilities, we begin to expect as a society what we get. We no longer accept what was given before, as that becomes unacceptable. I don't want a QB that throws for 10 touchdowns, 1500 yards and runs for 13 in a season. I would rather have one that throws for 4000 yards, 20+ touchdowns and 500 yards rushing!
So, my question would be, will Peyton Manning one day be looked at as "was a Great QB of his time"? (I didn't want to type Elway there LOL )