At halftime of tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game, ESPN honored its top 11 greatest college football players of all-time as part of the 150th anniversary of the sport.
The list was loaded with guys who were extremely skilled and accomplished college players: that much isn’t up for debate. What is being questioned is the composition of the list.
Nine of the 11 players are running backs–only Dick Butkus (linebacker) and Roger Staubach (quarterback) played a different position. Also, the most recent player on the list is Barry Sanders, who finished his college career in 1988.
Top 11 college football players of all-time honored at halftime of @CFBPlayoff title game:
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) January 14, 2020
Again, all of these men were legendary college football players. However, the fact his list is not more modernized and diversified position-wise is drawing criticism.
Of course all those players were great, but it’s hard to believe not a single player from the past 3 decades of college football cracks the 20. Manning sneaks in at #21, then Marshall Faulk at #36. These lists are just dumb.
— Tony Fratto (@TonyFratto) January 14, 2020
Love to honor the top 9 halfbacks ever and Dick Butkus
— Luke Zimmermann (@lukezim) January 14, 2020
There’s not a single top 10 CFB player in like the last 40 seasons? 😂
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) January 14, 2020
That Top 11 college football list was … something.
— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) January 14, 2020
Can’t say we disagree with these takes. Even measuring by impact and resume as opposed to just sheer raw talent, there’s no way that top 11 should stop more than 30 years ago.
Not when we got to watch Ricky Williams, Cam Newton, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Peyton Manning, Eddie George, Tim Tebow and others during that time frame.
ESPN’s full top 150 list can be found here.