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The 5 O’Clock Club: If Lombardi’s Packers play Belichick’s Patriots, who wins?

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

Prior to the Saints game, I was reading an article and comments on the Canal Street Chronicles website, and I red the following exchange between two Saints fans that intrigued me a bit.

First the question was posed:

If a team of the greatest players from the 60’s played a team of the greatest players from the 2010’s, who would win? Modern players may have speed & conditioning advantages, but are they truly manly men like the players from the 60’s? So which team is Batman & which team is Superman?

I immediately thought of how much bigger, faster, more athletic modern players are, and the scheme advantages they have, and thought: “Pffft! No contest. Today’s players win hands-down.”

But the second comment put a different spin on things:

Try this on for size as a hypothetical. The biggest mistake that people always make when comparing eras is they don’t account for modern advances in equipment, training, nutrition, and of course, drugs. Oh sure, they consider it when giving an advantage to modern players but they NEVER consider players from BOTH eras having access to the same conditions.

In other words, if we’re gonna play in the 1960’s it wouldn’t just be under the rules of the time. Modern day players wouldn’t have access to all of their modern “conveniences”. Instead of playing the game immediately, we’d bring them back for a year. They would train under 1960’s conditions for 1960’s wages without being able to spend thousands or hundreds of thousands on their modern “conveniences”. They wouldn’t be as big or as fast without their “supplements” which won’t be as readily available in the 1960’s as they are now. Nor, would they know who to get them from or where to go.

And vice versa, we wouldn’t just bring Jim Brown, Gale Sayers, Deacon Jones, Buck Buchanan, Lance Alworth, Paul Warfield, Unitas, Starr, Jurgensen, and all the rest of the guys into the modern era to play a game. Same thing. We’d have them wait a year so they could train under modern conditions with all of today’s modern “supplements”.

Yeah, uh huh. It’s easy for media hacks and fans today to talk trash about players’ abilities. But, what about the 2.0 versions of Jim Brown and Gales Sayers. Hmmmm? Bigger, stronger, and faster. And the same with all those killers on defense. And HOFers on offense. Bigger, stronger, faster. And NOW we play that game.

That’s a hypothetical worth considering.

So, what do you think?

If we could time-machine the best players of this decade to the past, and have them play in the same conditions as the players from that era — same rules, same training, same pay, same everything — who would win?

Would it make any difference if we time-traveled the 60’s era players forward to the modern day and gave them the chance to benefit from modern training techniques and equipment, and time to learn today’s rules and schemes?

Bill-in-Bangkok recommends - Listen to an interesting interview about Lombardi and George Allen: The greatness of Lombardi, Allen through the eyes of Larry Brown

Were the players from the past really tougher? Would today’s quarterbacks and receivers survive in 1960’s rules that didn’t provide them with today’s protection? Could offensive linemen thrive in a game where grabbing the opponents jersey would get them a flag on every play?

Are today’s players simply better athletes? Could the plodders of the past keep up with the lightning quick men that play today’s game? Would the sophistication of modern offenses and defenses befuddle the players from the past, or does talent trump all that?

The question at the top of the article talks about Lombardi’s Packers and Belichick’s Patriots, but it could be any teams you like, or simply a collection of “all stars” from each era. Put them on an even playing field under the hypothetical posed by BewareofDog in the comment above, and who wins?


The best of the 60s vs the best of today under the circumstances described: who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    The 60’s players
    (55 votes)
  • 52%
    the modern players
    (62 votes)
117 votes total Vote Now


The best of the 1980s vs the best of today under the circumstances described: who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    1980s players
    (61 votes)
  • 42%
    the modern players
    (45 votes)
106 votes total Vote Now


Last question: The best of the 60s vs the best of the 80s under the circumstances described: who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    (32 votes)
  • 69%
    (73 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now