Have you ever wondered what the best 53 man football team would look like? If so, here is Part I of the five part series of the greatest team ever assembled.
Before you read this, just keep one thing in mind. Hang in there with me on the concept. We are going outside the box on this one. There is a reason for the title and the years. But first I need to tell you some basics.
Before I go any further I must say this. The concept/idea for this post is not wholly mine. Rather it is a twist on it. All the credit for the idea and inspiration behind this endeavor should go to Bill Simmons. I am an avid consumer of all things Simmons since the early summer of 2010. It was then when I bought his second book; The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy. It was in this book, in the very final chapters that he unleashed this idea to assemble the greatest basketball team ever. Why would any of us spend time thinking about this? Well let me list a couple of criteria necessary for us fans to assemble an all-time team.
- Ever see the movies Independence Day and Space Jam? Good, and if you haven’t, leave now. We don’t need you questioning our reasoning for doing this…… Now imagine that aliens came to our Earth and went Independence Day on us. With the survival of humanity hanging in the balance, we challenge them to a football game Space Jam style. Win and the aliens leave us in peace, lose and well, I think you know what happens if we lose.
- Guess what, the aliens are really freaking good at football! We can’t just run out the 2015 Denver Broncos, we get the ability to choose any player we want. Nothing against 39 year old Peyton Manning, but I’m not going to war with a quarterback just hoping he “manages” the game with the fate of civilization at stake.
- Hang in there with me. Not only to we get to choose whomever we want, but it just so happens that we can have whoever we want from whenever we want….that’s right, we have a TIME MACHINE!!!
- Why do we need a time machine? Well one, no one ever turns down the prospect of using a time machine. And two, and this is essential, it’ll will helps us get the very best version of the player that we want. For example; I want Randy Moss. Cool. But which Randy Moss? Absolute athletically prime 4.20 forty Randy Moss from 1998; you know no one is keeping up with him on a fly route and he’s not quite the head case yet. What about 2003 Moss? Still in his absolute prime but with the knowledge and experience of playing in the league 6 years, but he also can’t keep himself out of trouble. Hitting parking officers with his car, a possible team cancer and getting high every day. Still don’t like those versions, what about 2007 Moss? Humbled by the disastrous Raiders experience, not as athletically gifted as the previous two versions but as we saw, has plenty of jet fuel in the tank. He did set the NFL record for receiving touchdowns that year, just saying.
- Almost done. Now, why the name? The name is from Simmons’ chapter in his book, The Wine Cellar. He explains it as such; “Ask any wine connoisseur for their ten favorite Bordeaux of the last seventy-five years and they wouldn’t say, “Mouton-Rothschild, Lafite, Haut-Brion, Latour….” They would give you precise vintages. The ’59 Mouton Rothschild. The ’53 Lafite. The ’82 Haut-Brion…” And that is exactly what the last bullet point was talking about. I get it, you want Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson, but what versions of each? Do you want game-manager 2001 Tom Brady or 2007 Brady with a chip the size of the Grand Canyon on his shoulder? It has been my job to scour the internet and collaborate with the BTL staff to come up with the best 53 man team possible. Because you know, not like the future of humanity is at stake or anything.
- Now on to the years, 1995-2015. Tagging along with Simmons point, to keep my credibility I am only choosing players from the years I actually watched the game. As much as I might want 1984 Dan Marino on this team or 1963 Jim Brown, I have to keep to players I actually watched. Don’t worry, Part II of this Wine Cellar team will have an in memoriam tribute. Just like the Oscars honor the people who died within the last year, so will we with players who would’ve been no doubters if the era guidelines were bigger. I might even play a somber tribute video of these players before the game, eh well, maybe. I don’t want to get too sentimental before we play the biggest Super Bowl the North has ever seen.
- Last but not least, we are going to pick the best possible players who FIT with each other. I cannot stress that enough. There will be people left of the team for various reasons, but this is my team, and I have final say. Mad about it, leave a scathing comment or couple of comments, I’ll appreciate it, believe me.
So there it is. The criteria needed to assemble a team to save mankind. It has been more than fun researching, debating and assembling this team since that moment on the toilet reading Simmons’ Wine Cellar team. Yes, you read that right, I came up with this idea on the jon. I knew I couldn’t lead with this so I stuck it here. Now that I have you reeled in, enjoy the 5 part series of THE NFL WINE CELLAR TEAM 1995-2015.
Part II: In Memoriam 3/2/16