Baseball and football are somewhat different from basketball in that most of the great basketball players came along in the last 50 to 60 years and we have many of them in color and on video.
Look at baseball. You can see Babe Ruth trotting around the bases in that rapid way old film showed. Lou Gehrig’s famous speech is in black-and-white. Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio?
Only in black-and-white.
Football is much the same.
Red Grange was called the Galloping Ghost and his films are indeed ghost-like. The NFL developed a history of archiving games and so we we see guys like YA Tittle and various other greats but even so, the film is grainy and aged and the equipment and fields are clearly from another era so we don’t always appreciate the athletes and athleticism.
It’s not so hard with Jim Brown.
On the one hand, the legendary running back is ensconced in old-fashioned, bulky equipment and the fields are all outdoors, all grass and there’s lots of dirt and mud. It’s not nearly as clean as the modern game is.
But watch the man work in these Top Five plays. You’ll see an athlete who is almost impossible to knock down, who has immense speed and power and who can maneuver in tight spots like few running backs have ever been able to do.
Then you get to #1.
He should be trapped on the sideline but he escapes, well, pretty much the entire team then darts down the sideline.
We count seven guys who either should have or could have caught him. It should be impossible with the sideline penning him in but somehow he pulls it off. It’s one of the most amazing plays we’ve ever seen in any sport.