Can Darrelle Revis be an all-time great? (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Sure, it's not a reach to figure out that Rex Ryan probably thinks former Pitt star Darrelle Revis is a great player. But all-time great?
Hall of Famers Joe Namath and Don Maynard are generally regarded as the greatest players in New York Jets history. In 10 years or so, they will have to make room on the pedestal for Darrelle Revis, according to Rex Ryan, who believes his All-Pro cornerback will go down as the best of the best.
"One day we're gonna say that this is the best Jet in the history of the New York Jet franchise, I believe that," the Jets' coach told the NFL Network in an interview for its top-100 countdown, a comment that likely will create a backlash among old-school Jets fans. "And I think we're gonna also see him in Canton one day."
Ryan wasn't alone, though. Former Pitt great Curtis Martin chimed in with similar thoughts.
Martin thinks that Revis could end up the greatest of all-time in franchise history as well ... or maybe even one of the best players in the history of the NFL.
"As far as the best Jet ever, it's hands down," said Martin, qualifying it by saying Revis needs to stay healthy and continue performing at his current level for at least five or six more years. "Myself, Namath, Maynard, I don't think we were nearly as good at our positions as he is at his position. That's my honest opinion."
Martin believes Revis can be an all-timer -- in league history, not just with the Jets.
"It's too early to make this statement, but hypothetically, if he goes the next five years at the level he has displayed, when they do a top-100 of all-time -- not just this year -- he'll be in the top-five discussion," Martin said.
Not everyone is as sold, though. Hall of Fame receiver, Don Maynard isn't so sure Revis could shut him down:
"Oh, yeah," Maynard said. "It doesn't matter if it was him or anyone else. I had a guy named Namath throwing me the ball. If he goes left, I go right. If he goes right, I go left -- the ball would be there. And I've never been caught from behind. That's why my book is called, 'You Can't Catch Sunshine.' (Revis) is like Deion Sanders. I would've loved to have played against those guys."
Now I've got as much respect for the older generation as anybody, but the fact is that today we simply have better athletes. If Maynard played today could he have been as good as Revis? Sure. But to take the Maynard of old and face him off against Revis (or other stars from today, for that matter) would be a mismatch. The same way that asking Bill Russell to guard Shaquille O'Neal would be a mismatch. Shaq had about five inches and100 pounds on Russell - today's athletes are just bigger, faster, and better.