When linebacker Junior Seau is inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, you’ll hear a lot of people using the term, “the late, great Junior Seau.” But just how great was Junior as a football player?
According to “NFL Career Approximate Value” stat, Seau ranks 23rd on the list of the all-time most valuable NFL players.
One of the most difficult things to do in sports analysis is to compare players from different eras. This is especially troublesome in the NFL. The game of professional football has changed more than any other major North American professional sport, from the strategy to the speed and size of the players on the field.
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NFL Career Approximate Value is one stat that does a pretty good job of approximating the value players have across generations. In a nutshell, it measures the impact a player had on his team each season dating back to 1950 and weighs them for an entire career.
The top player on the list is Peyton Manning. Number two is Jerry Rice. So, it would appear to be fairly accurate, or at least not completely off-the-rails.
The guys just ahead of Seau on the list are Emmitt Smith, LaDainian Tomlinson and Walter Payton. The guys right behind him on the list are Marvin Harrison, Mike Singletary and … Joe Montana.
Yes, Seau was (statistically, at least) better than Joe Montana. I’ll bet most people knew he was good but had no idea he was THAT good.