Blog Entry

New Tourney: Most OVERRATED ATHLETES of All Time!

Posted on: July 29, 2009 6:31 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2009 6:36 pm

They've been praised. Fans were crazed. Perhaps trophies were raised... but were they really that good?


Being a participant in - and having such fun with - the tournament brackets run by folks like Section and Ifweonlyknew, I thought we might take a page from both of their books and combine the "absurd" side of things with the "hardcore sports" side. 

Post your nominations here for which athletes you believe are the most overrated of all time. I know that it will be tempting for Giants fans to nominate Tony Romo & Emmitt Smith, or for Celtics fans to throw Patrick Ewing on the list. 

A good example might be why we always seem to find Cal Ripken Jr's name (no offense intended to anyone) in the top five of most "Top 10 Greatest MLB Shortstops in History" lists -  who is obviously put on a pedestal as the "Ironman" while sporting a career batting average of .276, and an average of about .260 the final 10 years of his career - that at the same time leaves off players like Pee Wee Reese & Nomar Garciaparra.

I'll let this stew for a while before setting the brackets.

You don't necessarily have to provide reasons for your choices, but I would suggest you do.

You already know one name that'll be on my list - I'll post my nominations in the near future.


Since: May 4, 2009
Posted on: August 7, 2009 2:42 pm

New Tourney: Most OVERRATED ATHLETES of All Time!

May I add Vlad Putin and Barry Obama to this list?    As  50's + chick, I know what more-than-middle-aged guys look like, and neither of these look bad.  But they should keep it to the beach or the bedroom.  Greenwich Village and The Castro of San Francisco may disagree though.  In that case, maybe the target audience was different than I thought.

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: August 7, 2009 11:49 am

New Tourney: Most OVERRATED ATHLETES of All Time!

I will give this a shot sport by sport.

NBA- Easy choice here, Lebron James. He came along at a time that the NBA was starving for a new marketable superstar. Kobe's public image was taking a hit and Jordan was recently off the radar. James has benefitted not only in the public eye due to marketing campaigns by NBA and Nike but also on the court where he is the beneficiary of some very favorable calls.

MLB- Tough choice here but I would have to go with Ozzie Smith. As dazzling as he was in the field, he was atrocious at the plate. His back flips and the ability to turn a mundane play into a spectacular one was uncanny. How this guy is immortalized in Cooperstown is beyond me. I will also agree that Ripken deserves some attention here but he carried the O's early in his career.

NFL- I'm going to throw an unpopular choice out here, Barry Sanders. As a pure athlete he belongs nowhere near this list. He was unbelievable and his moves will probably never be matched. Growing up a Lions fan (no pity required), he killed more drives than any player I have eve seen. I don't know the stats but he must lead the NFL in carries that resulted in a loss. And don't try pinning this one on his O-Line. They were an above average group but Barry needed guys blocked for a protracted amount of time. Also, ever see B Sanders get tackled? More often than not he dove into the turf when cornered or ran out of bounds but never fought for the extra yard.

NHL- Sidney Crosby. He still has time to turn it around but the marketing that exalts him is nauseating. He is a talented player, just not up to the NHL's (and referees) lofty opinion of him.


Soccer- I will have to agree with CF that it has to be Beckham. A black cloud follows this guy like germs follow my 2-year-old.

NASCAR- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. I wasn't given a college degree because my father was smart so why is this guy annoited a great racer because his father was one of the best. It pains me to watch Junior drive because he shows none of the brashness or talent of his father. Junior accepts losing. Dale would have sold Junior to a monastery if it would have helped him win.

I also have to recognize the ignorance of the comment about Lance Armstrong being on this list. If that guy isn't an athlete, who is?


Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: August 7, 2009 10:11 am

New Tourney: Most OVERRATED ATHLETES of All Time!

1. Can they be overrated if they never accomplished anything? Ryan Leaf & Brian Bosworth were "highly touted" coming out of college, but were never considered great pros because they accomplished nothing. Can you be an overrated athlete if you suck as a pro and everyone agrees that you suck?I have to concur with that, but I guess the argument could be made they were overrated coming out of college. I was thinking you meant athletes who are still overrated or are still given too much attention today however. When it comes to putting people like Tom Brady, Tiger Woods or Lance Armstrong on the list I have to hope the voting will eventually get them off the list. Sorry BigBlu but none of these guys could any more do what Armstrong has done than Armstrong could play NFL quarterback or pro golf. And Armstrong has also run a respectable marathon. What an aerobic engine!
If you want a couple more off-the-wall choices...
Apolo Ohno - Dancing is not an Olympic event and short-track speed skating like most X-games is questionable as one!
Tony Hawk - It's called the X-games because it is Xtremely reminiscent circus clowning.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: August 6, 2009 9:15 pm
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Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: August 6, 2009 12:42 am

New Tourney: Most OVERRATED ATHLETES of All Time!


This guy swung the bat like a disabled girl scout.  How in the world did he ever make the HOF with an anemic .262 BA and .337OBP with 28 career HRs?  Because he could do back flips?  Lets put Mary lou retton and Kari Strugg in the HOF as well, they could probably hit better than ozzie.

Yeah, he had some defensive skills, but come on, he only scored more than 85 runs in a season twice in his whole career.  More than 55RBI ONCE!!   SLG% for his career .328.   This guy brought nothing to the game but a glove and some SBs.

Ozzie was a very average baseball player, charisma should not get you in the HOF.

Since: Jan 18, 2008
Posted on: August 5, 2009 11:46 pm

New Tourney: Most OVERRATED ATHLETES of All Time!

Thanks for all the great entries. What to do about some of them though...

Two things to contemplate:

1. Can they be overrated if they never accomplished anything? Ryan Leaf & Brian Bosworth were "highly touted" coming out of college, but were never considered great pros because they accomplished nothing. Can you be an overrated athlete if you suck as a pro and everyone agrees that you suck?

2. I'm going to have a hard time putting guys like Tom Brady and Tiger Woods on the list, yet I don't want to go too far off the reservation and dismiss your nominees and throw my own in their place (I may as well not have asked for your opinions then, right?) so I'll give this a few more days just to flesh it out.

In the end, I'll accept the fact that everyone has their own definition of "overrated" and include all entries on the list.

Here's mine.

Cal Ripken JR.  - Good solid ballplayer. The new "Ironman". And if I were starting my own all-time fantasy baseball 12-team league he wouldn't warrant being selected by anyone as their starting shortstop.

Doug Flutie - Despite a Heisman and an impressive CFL career... I don't know, but the ol' saying "Those who can't do, teach" comes to mind. He went to the USFL because he couldn't get drafted by the NFL, and even then wasn't selected until the 11th round. OK, he won the Grey cup 3 times (and MVP) but he was nothing more than a scrappy player who could never be more than mediocre on any significant pro level.

Shaq - Does this one need explaining? With his size and strength he should be the NBA's all-time leading scorer by now. His 50% free throw shooting and lack of an outside game means I equate him with putting a 600-lbs man between the pipes and calling him a goalie.

Sugar Ray Leonard - I watched his fights live, and I've watched them again on ESPN Classics. As a friend of mine would say, "he's all bulls**t and snowflakes". He could punch and he was certainly athletic, but he stole more judges points by displaying fancy footwork and dancing around than by actually boxing with his opponent. Muhammad Ali was flashy, but the man could FIGHT! He won by knocking guys out and outsmarting them. SRL beat them by clowning around and fighting the "best" well after their primes (Marvin Hagler & Roberto Duran were both too old by the time SRL agreed to fight them) - he refused to give Wilfred Benitez a rematch, and made Tommy Hearns wait almost a decade before fighting him a second time - and again, Hearns was on the downside by that time.

Lance Armstrong - it's riding a bike for crying out loud. You don't need two of them to do that.

Check back in a week or so for the brackets. Thanks again and keep 'em coming!

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: August 5, 2009 7:00 pm
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Since: May 4, 2009
Posted on: August 5, 2009 11:27 am

New Tourney: Most OVERRATED ATHLETES of All Time!

I'll join Chickfighter's courageous choice of a player from her alma mater and nominate Calvin Johnson , from my alma mater.  He's supposed to be one of the greatest receivers ever, but he can't handle pressure.  It's one thing to catch TD passes when your team is up by two or three touchdowns, or down by a lot more (Detroit Lions!) but he can't do it in the clutch. 
Next, I nominate Bo Jackson .  Right now, somewhere in obscurity, Bo knows...when you hurt yourself you should go to the doctor, not rub a mustard poultice on a dislocated hip and then play on it anyway.  And just like Deion, he had to try to do two pro sports at once.  They aren't a bunch of college kids at that level, dude.  DUH!! 
Finally, I nominate Chris Webber .  Famous for the "gimme one more timeout" play that gave away the National Championship to UNC in 1993, he also managed to grace UM that year with the loss of its whole season by taking bribes from a booster.  He never achieved the super-stardom in the NBA he was supposed to and has faded already to a dusty memory.

Since: May 10, 2009
Posted on: August 2, 2009 2:53 pm

New Tourney: Most OVERRATED ATHLETES of All Time!

As a Packers fan, I have to say Brett Favre. He did put the Packers back on the map and won a super bowl, in the second half of his career he struggled. For every great play that he made, he would also throw a gut wrenching interception in the playoffs. 
Another overrated athlete I'd have to say is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. In his last 100 starts, he only has 1 win to show for it which was off a fuel mileage gamble. He has already missed the chase 2x in 5 years and will probably also miss it again.  In 56 starts at Hendrick Motorsports, the best team in NASCAR, he has just 1 win, 11 top 5s, and 19 top tens. Carl Edwards had 19 top 5s alone last year. Considering all the hype he gets, he is vastly overrated.

Since: Apr 5, 2009
Posted on: August 2, 2009 12:07 pm

New Tourney: Most OVERRATED ATHLETES of All Time!

Ok, Let's open up a real can of what ever.  I'm probably going to get blasted for this one, no I'm certain I will.  I don't care to hear how great some people think he is.  If he was playing for some other team he would be just above average.  He plays great because of the system he is in, peroid.

It's Tom Brady.  That's right, get mad, let me have it.  I'm a Spartan Fan, but you know I'm right.  Put Tom Brady on any mid-level NFL team and see just how good he really is.


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