This week a journalist called me to ask where Triple Crown champ American Pharoah would be on my all time list of great horses.
His call came a couple of days after Alabama won another national football title and every other sportscast it seemed wondered if Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, with 5 championships, was better than legendary coach Bear Bryant with 6 titles in a revered career.
We both laughed over our cultural need to immediately size up accomplishments. Great you won, but are you the best ever? At least close to the best? It’s just growing more difficult to assertain when to tweet GOAT. That would be “greatest of all time” which I have only recently learned, asking why would anyone want to be called a goat which used to be associated with failure or damaging mistake. Perhaps goat lovers lobbied to change this.
Still it doesn’t explain why so many athletes, or situations, need to rapidly be called the greatest. Holly Holm defeated Ronda Rousey, the greatest upset ever. No, going with Vegas odds, a true unbiased barometer, Matt Serra over Georges St. Pierre and Chris Weidman over Anderson Silva.
We get so caught up in the moment, other moments are easily dismissed. But they are fun to debate, these lists or qualifications should be just that, a source of friendly discussion. It doesn’t matter otherwise.
This weekend TJ Dillashaw will defend is UFC bantamweight crown for a third time against former champ Dominick Cruz. The winner will inevitably generate talk of where they land on a list.
After beating Renan Barao, considered the division greatest on former lists, not once but twice, another Dillashaw win over a former champ could put him at the top of the new list of best ever in the weight class.
Cruz who could top a list already of terrible breaks with multiple knee surgeries and other injuries, would certainly be near the top of any greatest comeback lists in this just his second fight since 2011 .
The best thing about the speculation of a list is the reality of how they come about. It takes a great performance to even garner the talk. We’ll all have to wait and see.
And then discuss.
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