In case you missed this morning's episode of Bet & Breakfast, Donnavan Smooth, Reed Wallach, and myself had a fun discussion about who we'd place on our NFL's Mount Rushmore.
You can download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, or watch the full video below.
The conversation got me thinking. If an NFL Mount Rushmore was set to be carved in an actual mountain somewhere, who would the NFL decide to use? I decided to set some odds.
Odds to be Used in NFL Mount Rushmore
Tom Brady -1000
As much as it pains me to say it as a noted Tom Brady hater, he has to be the one choice that is all but a guarantee to be on the NFL's Mount Rushmore. Played deep into his '40s, has just about every career passing record imaginable, has more playoff wins than 28 other NFL franchises, has more Super Bowl wins than any other franchise. He's deserving of the status of GOAT, and there's no way he'd be left off Mount Rushmore.
Jerry Rice -500
The other player who is all but a guarantee to be on it is Jerry Rice. No receiver played at as high of a level as Rice for as long as Rice, and he was the consensus GOAT before Tom Brady decided to dominate the league for 20-straight years.
Lawrence Taylor -120
Donnavan and myself both had Lawrence Taylor on our Mount Rushmore. When i think of defense, I think of Lawrence Taylor. Nobody was as destructive on the defensive side of the football than Taylor. He was mean, he was nasty, he was fast, he was big, he was an all-around beast that changed the linebacker position forever.
Walter Payton +120
This is a player that wasn't named on any of our Mount Rushmore's but I think he'd be up there if one was actually built. Not only is he considered one of the best running backs of all-time, but he's known as one of the best human beings to ever play the sport. So much so, that the "Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award" is now given out on an annual basis to honor a player's charity and volunteer work off the field. You know you're a good guy when the "Man of the Year" award gets named after you.
Joe Montana +200
Before Tom Brady and Peyton Manning came along, Joe Montana was widely considered the best quarterback of all-time. He led the 49ers to multiple Super Bowls during his day, and was a big reason for Jerry Rice's success. If it was an old man who was stuck in the past deciding who would be put on Mount Rushmore, it could certainly be Joe Montana.
Vince Lombardi +350
If a coach was going to be put on Mount Rushmore, it'd probably be Vince Lombardi. I mean, the championship trophy is named after the guy. All-time legendary coach with all-time audio clips. When you think old-school football, you think Vince Lombardi.
Jim Brown +500
Donnavan brought up Jim Brown on his NFL Mount Rushmore. Which is just as old school of a pick as Lombardi is. He was a three-time NFL MVP, won the NFL Championship before the Super Bowl was a thing, lead the league in rushing yards eight different times, and is wildly regarded as one of the best running backs of all-time.
Not only that, but as Donnavan pointed out, he was (and is) an important figure in the Civil Rights Movement in America. If you're including off-the-field achievements in your Mount Rushmore picks, there's no question that Jim Brown deserves to be on it.
Barry Sanders +725
My final pick was Barry Sanders. He had a short career, only playing for 10 seasons, and he retired, arguably, right in his prime. With that being said, he has, in my opinion, the best highlight type for any NFL player ever. What he could do on the football field, with very little help from the abysmal Detroit Lions, is unbelievable. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry in his 1997 MVP season. That's unheard of.
Deion Sanders +800
The dark horse on the list is Deion Sanders. Arguably the greatest cornerback of all-time, and a pop culture icon. He was one of the first players to bring "swagger" to their game. He talked a big game, but back it up immensely. Six-time All-Pro, two Super Bowls, all-decade team as both a cornerback and a punt returner, etc etc. He was the complete package.
Peyton Manning +1500
Back in the day, the Manning vs. Brady debate was a highly contested argument. I was personally on the side of Manning, but after Brady went on to win multiple Super Bowls and continue to play at an MVP-level years after Manning retired, the debate became moot. With that being said, I don't think anybody oozes football like Peyton Manning, and he at least deserves a spot on this list. Every kid playing pick-up football at the school yard yells "OMAHA!" before snapping the ball because of him.