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Who are the top 5 greatest 4-3 MLB’s of all-time?


Jetsfan80
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Who is the # 1 greatest 4-3 MLB of all-time?  

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  1. 1. Who is the # 1 greatest 4-3 MLB of all-time?

    • Ray Lewis, BAL (1996-2012)
    • Mike Singletary, CHI (1981-1992)
    • Brian Urlacher, CHI (2000-2012)
    • Zach Thomas, MIA/DAL (1996-2008)
      0
    • Bobby Wagner, SEA/LAR (2012-present)
      0
    • Jack Lambert, PIT (1974-1984)
      0
    • Nick Buoniconti, BOS/MIA (1962-1976)
      0
    • Hardy Nickerson, PIT/TB/JAX/GB (1987-2002)
      0
    • Ray Nitschke, GB (1958-1972)
    • Bill George, CHI/LAR (1952-1966)
      0
    • Joe Schmidt, DET (1953-1965)
      0
    • Sam Huff, NYG/WAS (1956-1969)
    • Willie Lanier, KC (1967-1977)
      0
    • Ken Norton Jr., SF (1988-2000)
      0
    • Dick Butkus, CHI (1965-1973)
    • London Fletcher, STL/BUF/WAS (1998-2013)
      0
    • Jeremiah Trotter, PHI/WAS/TB (1998-2009)
      0
    • Jon Beason, CAR/NYG (2007-2015)
      0
    • Lee Roy Jordan, DAL (1963-1976)
      0
    • OTHER (Specify in thread)
      0
  2. 2. Who is the # 2 greatest 4-3 MLB of all-time?

    • Ray Lewis, BAL (1996-2012)
    • Mike Singletary, CHI (1981-1992)
    • Brian Urlacher, CHI (2000-2012)
      0
    • Zach Thomas, MIA/DAL (1996-2008)
    • Bobby Wagner, SEA/LAR (2012-present)
      0
    • Jack Lambert, PIT (1974-1984)
    • Nick Buoniconti, BOS/MIA (1962-1976)
      0
    • Hardy Nickerson, PIT/TB/JAX/GB (1987-2002)
      0
    • Ray Nitschke, GB (1958-1972)
    • Bill George, CHI/LAR (1952-1966)
      0
    • Joe Schmidt, DET (1953-1965)
      0
    • Sam Huff, NYG/WAS (1956-1969)
    • Willie Lanier, KC (1967-1977)
    • Ken Norton Jr., SF (1988-2000)
      0
    • Dick Butkus, CHI (1965-1973)
    • London Fletcher, STL/BUF/WAS (1998-2013)
      0
    • Jeremiah Trotter, PHI/WAS/TB (1998-2009)
      0
    • Jon Beason, CAR/NYG (2007-2015)
      0
    • Lee Roy Jordan, DAL (1963-1976)
      0
    • OTHER (Specify in thread)
      0
  3. 3. Who is the # 3 greatest 4-3 MLB of all-time?

    • Ray Lewis, BAL (1996-2012)
    • Mike Singletary, CHI (1981-1992)
    • Brian Urlacher, CHI (2000-2012)
    • Zach Thomas, MIA/DAL (1996-2008)
      0
    • Bobby Wagner, SEA/LAR (2012-present)
    • Jack Lambert, PIT (1974-1984)
    • Nick Buoniconti, BOS/MIA (1962-1976)
      0
    • Hardy Nickerson, PIT/TB/JAX/GB (1987-2002)
      0
    • Ray Nitschke, GB (1958-1972)
    • Bill George, CHI/LAR (1952-1966)
      0
    • Joe Schmidt, DET (1953-1965)
    • Sam Huff, NYG/WAS (1956-1969)
    • Willie Lanier, KC (1967-1977)
    • Ken Norton Jr., SF (1988-2000)
      0
    • Dick Butkus, CHI (1965-1973)
    • London Fletcher, STL/BUF/WAS (1998-2013)
      0
    • Jeremiah Trotter, PHI/WAS/TB (1998-2009)
      0
    • Jon Beason, CAR/NYG (2007-2015)
    • Lee Roy Jordan, DAL (1963-1976)
    • OTHER (Specify in thread)
  4. 4. Who is the # 4 greatest 4-3 MLB of all-time?

    • Ray Lewis, BAL (1996-2012)
    • Mike Singletary, CHI (1981-1992)
    • Brian Urlacher, CHI (2000-2012)
    • Zach Thomas, MIA/DAL (1996-2008)
      0
    • Bobby Wagner, SEA/LAR (2012-present)
    • Jack Lambert, PIT (1974-1984)
    • Nick Buoniconti, BOS/MIA (1962-1976)
    • Hardy Nickerson, PIT/TB/JAX/GB (1987-2002)
      0
    • Ray Nitschke, GB (1958-1972)
    • Bill George, CHI/LAR (1952-1966)
    • Joe Schmidt, DET (1953-1965)
      0
    • Sam Huff, NYG/WAS (1956-1969)
      0
    • Willie Lanier, KC (1967-1977)
    • Ken Norton Jr., SF (1988-2000)
    • Dick Butkus, CHI (1965-1973)
    • London Fletcher, STL/BUF/WAS (1998-2013)
      0
    • Jeremiah Trotter, PHI/WAS/TB (1998-2009)
      0
    • Jon Beason, CAR/NYG (2007-2015)
      0
    • Lee Roy Jordan, DAL (1963-1976)
    • OTHER (Specify in thread)
      0
  5. 5. Who is the # 5 greatest 4-3 MLB of all-time?

    • Ray Lewis, BAL (1996-2012)
    • Mike Singletary, CHI (1981-1992)
    • Brian Urlacher, CHI (2000-2012)
    • Zach Thomas, MIA/DAL (1996-2008)
    • Bobby Wagner, SEA/LAR (2012-present)
    • Jack Lambert, PIT (1974-1984)
    • Nick Buoniconti, BOS/MIA (1962-1976)
    • Hardy Nickerson, PIT/TB/JAX/GB (1987-2002)
      0
    • Ray Nitschke, GB (1958-1972)
    • Bill George, CHI/LAR (1952-1966)
      0
    • Joe Schmidt, DET (1953-1965)
      0
    • Sam Huff, NYG/WAS (1956-1969)
    • Willie Lanier, KC (1967-1977)
    • Ken Norton Jr., SF (1988-2000)
    • Dick Butkus, CHI (1965-1973)
    • London Fletcher, STL/BUF/WAS (1998-2013)
    • Jeremiah Trotter, PHI/WAS/TB (1998-2009)
      0
    • Jon Beason, CAR/NYG (2007-2015)
      0
    • Lee Roy Jordan, DAL (1963-1976)
      0
    • OTHER (Specify in thread)


Recommended Posts

Leading up to the start of the season, I'll be posting a thread once every day or so devoted to determine the top 5 all-time at each position, as voted on by JN.

I am using football-reference.com's AV (Approximate Value) metric to help compare across eras.  The "Peak AV Average" means the average "score" for each player's among their top 5 performing years in the league, to help establish which players had the high peaks and which players were more of the "compilers" over a long career.  Utilizing a "peak AV" also allows for players with careers shortened by injury to be included.

Also note that AV only goes back so far, so some players from the earliest days in NFL history (primarily the 30s, 40s and early 50s) are, unfortunately, excluded.

 

Yesterday, JN voted on Centers:

 

 

 

Today, we vote on 4-3 Middle Linebackers!

Below are the candidates and their resumes, ranked in the order weighted by AV/Peak AV:

 

1.  Ray Lewis, BAL (1996-2012)

  • Career AV:  224
  • Peak AV Average:  17
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  7
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  12

2.  Mike Singletary, CHI (1981-1992)

  • Career AV:  159
  • Peak AV Average:  17
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  7
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  10

3.  Brian Urlacher, CHI (2000-2012)

  • Career AV:  152
  • Peak AV Average:  17
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  4
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  8

4.  Zach Thomas, MIA/DAL (1996-2008)

  • Career AV:  148
  • Peak AV Average:  16
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  5
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  7

5.  Bobby Wagner, SEA/LAR (2012-present)

  • Career AV:  137
  • Peak AV Average:  16
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  6
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  8

6.  Jack Lambert, PIT (1974-1984)

  • Career AV:  137
  • Peak AV Average:  16
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  6
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  9

7.  Nick Buoniconti, BOS/MIA (1962-1976)

  • Career AV:  139
  • Peak AV Average:  14
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  5
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  8

8.  Hardy Nickerson, PIT/TB/JAX/GB (1987-2002)

  • Career AV:  131
  • Peak AV Average:  14
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  2
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  5

9.  Ray Nitschke, GB (1958-1972)

  • Career AV:  120
  • Peak AV Average:  14
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  2
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  1

10.  Bill George, CHI/LAR (1952-1966)

  • Career AV:  68*
  • Peak AV Average:  14
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  7
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  8

* AV is only calculated in the football-reference.com database beginning with the 1960 season

11.  Joe Schmidt, DET (1953-1965)

  • Career AV:  61*
  • Peak AV Average:  14
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  8
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  10

* AV is only calculated in the football-reference.com database beginning with the 1960 season

12.  Sam Huff, NYG/WAS (1956-1969)

  • Career AV:  76*
  • Peak AV Average:  12
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  2
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  5

* AV is only calculated in the football-reference.com database beginning with the 1960 season

13.  Willie Lanier, KC (1967-1977)

  • Career AV:  105
  • Peak AV Average:  13
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  3
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  8

14.  Ken Norton Jr., SF (1988-2000)

  • Career AV:  103
  • Peak AV Average:  13
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  1
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  3

15.  Dick Butkus, CHI (1965-1973)

  • Career AV:  99
  • Peak AV Average:  13
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  5
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  8 

16.  London Fletcher, STL/BUF/WAS (1998-2013)

  • Career AV:  138
  • Peak AV Average:  11
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  0
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  4

17.  Jeremiah Trotter, PHI/WAS/TB (1998-2009)

  • Career AV:  84
  • Peak AV Average:  12
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  1
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  4

18.  Jon Beason, CAR/NYG (2007-2015)

  • Career AV:  61
  • Peak AV Average:  13
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  1
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  3

19.  Lee Roy Jordan, DAL (1963-1976)

  • Career AV:  120
  • Peak AV Average:  11
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  0
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  5

 

Just missed the cut:  Bill Bergey, Mike Curtis, Mike Peterson, Dan Conners, Al Wilson, Jessie Tuggle

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4 hours ago, UntouchableCrew said:

Ray Lewis is pretty easily the best I've ever seen. I'm not sure who else would even be in the conversation.

Evidently, 10 JN posters disagree and have someone else at # 1.

I'm surprised to see 2 of the # 1 votes going to Urlacher given that he and Lewis were contemporaries.  The votes for Butkus and Singletary make more sense, given that they both played in a different era.

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One name who should be on that list is Sam Mills who played for both the Saints and Panthers. He was short but made alot of plays and was the heart and soul of the Saints defense.

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6 hours ago, AL047 said:

One name who should be on that list is Sam Mills who played for both the Saints and Panthers. He was short but made alot of plays and was the heart and soul of the Saints defense.

Mills was a 3-4 ILB.  I believe he’ll be on that poll.

Ray Lewis will make a 2nd appearance there as well.

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Sam Mills deserves to be there over Ken Norton Jr. & J. Trotter. 
 

id throw in Andy Katzenmoyer,

BUT ONLY for his OSU playing days, sadly ineffective and injured in the NFL, but was he INCREDIBLE @ Ohio St. 

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1 hour ago, 92ShaunEllis92 said:

Sam Mills deserves to be there over Ken Norton Jr. & J. Trotter. 
 

id throw in Andy Katzenmoyer,

BUT ONLY for his OSU playing days, sadly ineffective and injured in the NFL, but was he INCREDIBLE @ Ohio St. 

Also Tommy Nobis should be included 

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9 hours ago, JoeFan said:

How Butkus could be rated so low by your list destroys all of its credibility.  What is the organization that provided those ratings?

Pro-Football-reference.com.  

Butkus is hurt by having a relatively short career.  True, his style of play contributed to that, but all of his contemporaries on the list played at least 2 years longer.  

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6 hours ago, Jetsfan80 said:

Pro-Football-reference.com.  

Butkus is hurt by having a relatively short career.  True, his style of play contributed to that, but all of his contemporaries on the list played at least 2 years longer.  

Arguing with your source, not with you.  Butkus was on the all-decades team for the 1960s *and* the 1970s!   He was also ranked in the top 10  *players* of all time, let alone linebackers, by the NFL  Network.   I don’t who does the research for Pro-Football-reference dot.com, but they have no credibility with me, whatsoever.  I suspect young computer guys with a severe case of recency bias.  If they were baseball guys, they would probably rank Babe Ruth as the 9th best right fielder.

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5 hours ago, Hael said:

Butkus is often considered the greatest defensive player in NFL history (up there with LT).  I don't think anyone else is close.

Agree. No one who actually saw Butkus play could have any doubt.

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7 minutes ago, JoeFan said:

Arguing with your source, not with you.  Butkus was on the all-decades team for the 1960s *and* the 1970s!   He was also ranked in the top 10  *players* of all time, let alone linebackers, by the NFL  Network.   I don’t who does the research for Pro-Football-reference dot.com, but they have no credibility with me, whatsoever.  I suspect young computer guys with a severe case of recency bias.  If they were baseball guys, they would probably rank Babe Ruth as the 9th best right fielder.


Right, I was letting you know why his overall number was low.  Having a 9-year career impacted their metric. 

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