Sunday, August 05, 2007

Votes Are In: Greatest Syracuse Football Players

The votes are in for the Greatest Syracuse Football player of all time. 32 voters decided to cast their ballots. I have a feeling that all the voters struggled like I did. There are six or seven guys who clearly make the top of the list, but sifting through the remaining great players to find the final three or four was tough.

The Top 10 Syracuse Football Players of all time are:

1. Jim Brown
2. Marvin Harrison
3. Ernie Davis
4. Donovan McNabb
5. Larry Csonka
6. Art Monk
7. John Mackey
8. Jim Ringo
9. Joe Morris
10. Floyd Little

For the record, my top 10 were as follows: Ernie Davis, Jim Brown, Marvin Harrison, Donovan McNabb, John Mackey, Jim Ringo, Vic Hanson, Larry Csonka, Art Monk, and Tim Green. But I think the top 10 that you the readers came up with is quite fine.

I am fairly confident that Davis or Brown is the greatest Syracuse football player of all time. Brown, of course, became a legend in the NFL, and easily could be voted the greatest NFL player of all time. I went with Davis for two reasons. First, Davis helped the Orangemen to a National Championship; yes, it is a team game, but when you are getting down to fine details between two great players, I think that deserves some consideration. Second, and more importantly, Davis was impressive enough to convince the Heisman voters to award him the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first African American to win that honor. Brown was not able to accomplish that. It was ‘only’ five years between Brown’s senior season and Davis winning the Heisman, and Davis was able to get voters past their prejudices.

I think if this vote were done again in 2008, we may see a different result at the top. Why? In 2008, ‘The Express’ will be released in theaters, detailing the life of Ernie Davis, and bringing exposure to a gentleman many people in this country do not know about.

The voting breakdown was as follows:

Jim Brown was on all 32 ballots, with 16 first places, 13 second places, and 1 third place. That’s pretty dominant results.

Marvin Harrison was on 28 ballots, with 4 first place votes, 1 second, and 11 third place votes. What is the justification for the four voters who left Marvelous Marvin off their ballot?

Ernie Davis was on only 22 ballots, with 9 first places, 5 second places, 4 third places, and 4 fourth places. That accounts for all the votes for Davis. Twenty two voters put him in their top 4, and ten left him completely off the ballot. That is a huge discrepancy, and I am guessing in part caused by younger fans having no idea who Ernie Davis was.

Donovan McNabb was on 23 ballots, with 2 first places, 6 second places, 6 third places, and 6 fourth places. That accounts for all but two votes for McNabb. The other nine voters left him off their ballots. I cannot explain that. 2/3 of the voters thought he is a top 4 candidate, and the rest did not vote for him.

Larry Csonka was on 26 ballots, with 0 first places, 2 second places, and 5 third places. Zonk’s votes were scattered all over the board, and that makes sense.

Art Monk was on 26 ballots, with 0 first places, 5 second places, and 3 third places. Like Csonka, Monk’s voters were scattered all over the board.

John Mackey was where the voting started to significantly get divided. Mackey was on only 14 ballots, with 3 second places.

Jim Ringo was on 11 ballots, with 2 fourth places.

Joe Morris was on 14 ballots, with 2 fourth places.

Floyd Little, rounding out the top 10, was on 9 ballots, with 2 fourth places.

The only other player to receive a #1 vote was Jake McBride, star halfback / quarterback from 1922-1924. That was the only vote McBride received on 32 ballots.

Players like Tim Green, Don McPherson, Keith Bullock, Vic Hanson, Gary Anderson, Jim Nance, Darryl Johnston, Joe Ehrman, Rob Moore, Marvin Graves, Donovin Darius, Roland Williams, Tebucky Jones, and Kevin Johnson rounded out the top 25. All were great college players for Syracuse, and made the voting tough.

Many other great players like Mike Charles, Roger Davis, Tommy Myers, John Brown, Al Bemiller, Jim Ridlon, Rob Burnett, Kevin Mitchell, and Terry Wooden, were outside the top 25. And that is to name only a few. Considering that Syracuse Football has been around for over 110 years, and that in modern football there are at least 24 prominent players each season (your starting 11 on offense, starting 11 on defense, kicker, and punter), there are a lot of talented players to choose from.

The polls will continue to remain open at Rankopedia, so please feel free to vote if you have not. I will check in again in a few months and see if the results have changed.

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