Rickie Williams with no testing for weed? Could’ve been borderline HOF


I feel like we can apply the same to Josh Gordon


Eh, weed was the most harmless of the substances Gordon abused


yeah, josh gordon needs the far more specific alternate reality of “players in the NFL substance abuse program are not held to more rigorous standards than those not in it”


Yeah, weed was the least of it. He was also doing cocaine, lean, and pills (Xanax).


And abused alcohol too. I know it's not a banned substance but he's said he played basically ever game at Baylor drunk and/or cross faded on alcohol and drugs


I mean he already was very close 147 games 10009 yards 66 TDs 2606 receiving yards 8TDs The fact he only has 1 1st team all pro and 1 pro bowl really fucked up his HoF chances. But that's because the early 2000's were chock full of amazing RBs.


I'm just gonna list non HOF players, because obviously some of the HOFers like Marino would be better with the rule changes. QB- Doug Flutie, don't think his size would've been used against him as much as at was then. I think he'd be an awesome modern day QB. RB- Ronnie Harmon, one of the best pass catching RBs of all time. He'd be a legend in today's game with fantasy football. WR-Willie Gault, one of the greatest speedsters in NFL history stuck on extremely unimaginative run heavy offenses with poor QB play. TE-Ben Coats, this one feels dirty. IMO he should be a HOFer and I think he would be in today's game... Also fuck you guys who list LaDainian Tomlinson, he played in the modern era and I won't hear otherwise because that would mean I'm old and I refuse to accept it.


Honestly another player I’d add to your list would be Ricky Watters. With today’s offense utilizing RB’s a lot in the passing game, mans would be dominating.


Roger Craig too. He led the league in receptions in 1985 with 92 as a RB, and had over 1,000 yards rushing and receiving that year.


dont Forget Sterling sharpe, Cliff branch, and roger craig


Came here to second roger Craig. First player to have 1000 rushing and 1000 receiving yards in a season. He could’ve been a better CMC


Certainly a less injury prone cmc


I got to meet Willie Gault when he was practicing for the bobsled team in lake placid. Enormous hands. Very nice to take a picture with a random 10yr old.


If only Ronnie could catch when the ball hit him in the numbers. 😓


Thank you for mentioning Ben. I too think it’s criminal that he hasn’t sniffed the HOF. Patriot bias aside.


Larry Centers is another one that was a great player in his era, but he would've been one of the best FBs of all-time in today's game


I'd wonder if he'd actually be a fullback in today's game though? He is actually one of the first players that came to mind, but I don't think he'd be used the same and I'm not sure if that would be for the better.


Jamarcus. He'd have access to things like vape pens and high quality MDMA that was not as readily available back then


Jamarcus walked so Josh Gordon could run


Name checks out.


Also because he was in bad shape from not working out enough


He's still younger than some of the QBs still playing.




> high quality MDMA [...you rang?](https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/09/02/source-welker-took-molly-at-kentucky-derby/amp/)


Jerry Rice obliterated every single WR metric by a ridiculous margin in an era where 60% completion percentage was great and DBs were allowed to attempt murder mid play. Lord only knows what his numbers would be in the modern game.


In today’s league he would’ve killed zone concepts of teams with his route running


I mean look at what peak AB did in today's game Now do that way better


AB did most things as good as Jerry Rice except score TDs which Rice simply blew the top off of


Mostly saying that AB's big advantage was route running and it worked amazingly well in today's game Rice was even better at it, so I'd expect even more yards, catches, and TDs


Jerry rice is also just bigger and stronger too, not to say AB isn’t an elite athlete who could kick my ass in a fight, but Jerry is also generationally gifted in the same way that LBJ is


Bro tell me why my dumbass immediately thought Lyndon B Johnson when you said LBJ


Because it’s probably a more common person to be called LBJ if you’re not a basketball fan.


Ah, Le Bron James. I didn't even get it until you said basketball.


Lyndon B Johnson was gifted in *other* ways


Because LBJ is indeed Lyndon B. Johnson...Bronbron is the other nickname I'm p sure


>DBs were allowed to attempt murder mid play. WR: "Why uh, why do you have a steak knife?" DB: "What you gonna do about it?"


The scariest thing is that he maintained his insane production until he was 40, imagine how much better he’d be with modern NFL medicine and sports therapy.


Most people also don't remember that he missed basically the entire 97 season because he injured his knee on a dirty facemask tackle by Hall of Fame piece-of-shit Warren Sapp. So take his numbers, add another season of at least 100 catches, 1200 yards, and 12 TDs to those numbers, and just imagine what they could have been in today's game.


I think this is the reason he wouldn’t be as impressive today. He destroyed the league because the environment was so hard to thrive in for everyone else. You can only succeed so much as a wide receiver, it’s hard to imagine what a guy who could put up better stats than Jerry Rice would even look like.


Personally, I think we've already seen guys that could've broken Jerry's records, if they'd had consistent QB play all the time. Like, imagine if Megatron and Stafford had McVay and his roster building/playcalling from their first year together. Moss and Brady playing together for a decade. Larry Fitzgerald if he had consistent QB play. He broke many of Jerry's playoff records in 09 after all. They're all hypotheticals of course. Moss and Megatron may not have had the longevity required. Fitz though...idk maybe its that playoff run, or watching him torch my Rams twice a year, but I truly feel like he could've had a shot, given above average QB play year after year


You are forgetting how long Rices career was he had 1200 yards at age 40 no other reciever has had close to the same longevity.


Receptions after 40: Jerry Rice: A bunch Brett Favre: 1 That's it, that's the list.


I can only imagine Jerry Rice lining up against the absolute trash corners we've had recently. Jerry would easily put up 250 yards and 3 TDs every game against us


Kordell Stewart. Always gets talked about the same as guys like Tommy Maddox that were around before Ben. But a modern offense that did more RPOs and designed runs and he could have been legit


Good ole X


he was my favorite player as a kid


Sko Buffs!


Antwaan Randle-El, specifically on the Rams. The jet sweep bombs he would chuck to Kupp would wreck the NFL.


I like this answer


Wonder if he would have gotten a chance to just be a QB


Dan Marino is always the answer for this.


Dan Marino would be fucking bonkers in the modern NFL


Yeah for sure. The modern version of the ball makes it a lot easier to keep the laces out when you're holding for field goals.






Imagine him with these fast ass wr right now. And these tightends. He would dominate this league.


As someone who has a surface level knowledge of football and knows more about Dan Marino's film career than football, what would make him so great today?


There are 8 QB's who have thrown for 5,000 yards in a season. Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matt Stafford, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Patrick Mahomes, Jameis Winston have all done it since Drew Brees first did it in 2008. It's still a rare occurrence with how much the game has changed to assist the passing game. Dan Marino did it in 1984. A feat that would take 24 years and dozens of rule changes(both in qb protection and wr/cb interactions) to replicate. Even then, only 1 person has been able to do it more than once(Drew Brees). With today's favoring of the passing game and rules you have QB's whom you can't tell if they're good or not(2018 Big Ben, 2019 Jameis Winston) racking up yards. The majority of Dan Marino's records held their #1 spot for 20+ years. He's 6th in total passing yards, 7th in completions, 6th in passing touchdowns and the dude hasn't played in 20+ years. TL:DR he was putting up 2020 numbers 30+ years ago when nobody else was. It took a couple decades of rule changes and skilled players to match what he was doing back then.


Holy shit


He was basically Aaron Rodgers of the 80s. Just unbelievable passing ability. Top level arm talent. Beautiful spirals. Could fit it in any window. Could launch it a mile or float it with finesse. His stats aren't gonna blow young folks away (with the exception of 1984 which still holds up as an incredible year even nearly 40 years later) with the numbers 21st century qbs put up... but he was as elite as they came at the time and that arm could play in any era.


Don’t forget that his release was unnaturally quick, he could get rid of the ball quicker than anyone in today’s league


That's the main one. With his quick release in a modern scheme and in-pocket QB protection rules, he'd be a mauler.


It was unreal. Basically a flick of the wrist is all he needed to launch it on a rope 40 yards down field exactly where he wanted it.


quick release with a fucking howitzer for an arm


Dan Marino is the best passer ever. He put up 2021 numbers in an era where the rules were defense friendly. The only way defensive players ever slowed him down was by diving at his knees, which is banned today. Had this rule been in place, let alone all the other pro-offense rules, Marino would have won multiple rings.


Every time I watch Russell Wilson get sacked after holding the ball for several hours, I wonder whether Dan Marino is watching this game and yelling at the screen somewhere.


I came here to say this, but knew it had already been said. Dude would kill it with modern rules favoring the passing game.


Jerry Rice would have even better stats if that’s even possible


The west coast at the time was revolutionary now image him in modern schemes with so many different option routes based on the defense he’d be putting up 1600+ yards and 14+ tds without any vicious hits to worry about


>he’d be putting up 1600+ yards and 14+ tds Thats basically what he was putting up back then. He had 4 separate 1500+ seasons and 8 different seasons where he scored at least 13 tds.


You’re right, and I knew this, and it’s still just insane to read.


Hes a complete statistical outlier man. When his "off" seasons were like 1100-1300 yard and 9-12tds He put up an 1100 yard 9td season at age 39. 1200 and 7 tds at age 40. Just doesn't even really make sense.


It’s unreal, and it’s not like how in some modern offenses it’s manufactured touches or a slot WR racking up dink and dunk catches. There was a discussion here comparing Calvin Johnson’s and…Brandon Marshall’s (I think?) stats and I got digging into how it compared to other HOF players and Rice’s are just staggering, especially past 35 in an era where longevity was very uncommon.


Hes the closest thing to the football equivalent of Wayne Gretzky we have. Just someone whose numbers are so far beyond what anyone else was capable of doing before or since. His prime is now 30+ years old and no one has even sniffed his production. WRs with half his stats are getting into the HoF.


Agreed. People will quote a three-year stretch for a HOF-caliber WR and Rice had those numbers for 15 straight seasons


Rice had 2 HoF worthy careers if you split his seasons in half which is insane.


Michael Vick and Reggie Bush were just slightly ahead of their time. They'd have been utilized way better in today's NFL. They both still had solid careers though. Dan Mariono is a given. A lot of his records are just now getting broken, or were only broken fairly recently. 48 touchdowns in 84 shattered the previous record of 36. Since then, it was broken by Manning in 04 with 49, Brady in 07 with 50, and Manning again in 13 with 55. Mahomes also threw for 50 in 18, but obviously didn't break the record, only topped Marino. Marino in today's NFL is honestly scary to even think about.


> Mariono


Not to be confused with announcer Tony Romeo


Mariono Rivera


Marcus Marioto


Imagine Vick in today's era...but if he studied a damn playbook and watched game footage. Hell, if he'd have studied the playbook in *his* era it would've been insane.


Vick with the RPO as standard would be especially nasty.


Gale Sayers could probably escape more tackles than he could when he played. And his injuries would be fixable with today's medicine. Edit: fixed Gale


Brian Westbrook maybe?


Hell yeah! I grew up in Philly around the Bdawk and Westbrook days. I always thought.. this dudes as good of a receiver as RB... Literally a perfect mix


2 of my favorite players growing up! Those 2000s Eagles were a fun team to watch.


100%. He had 6k rushing yards and 4K receiving yards in his 9 year career, I think his receiving numbers would have been way higher if he started in the last couple years


I was thinking about this the other day. Bo Jackson might literally be a quarterback if he was a rising athlete today just based on how players are scouted and coached now. Potentially horrifying levels of athletic with a monster arm.


I'd never thought about this, but Bo was such a gifted athlete I think I agree. I can't imagine Bo dropping back and heaving a 65 yard bomb, but he certainly had the athleticism to do it.


There is a clip from a royals game where he throws flat footed 320 feet or so


That would make sense.


Thurman Thomas


If the Bills would have won one SB all their players would get more respect.


Far too often forgotten. A legit all time great that seemingly no one under 30 who isn't a bills fan even knows about. Damn shame.


My all-time favorite player even though he was before my time. He’s seriously seriously underrated and overlooked


Reggie Bush was on the cusp of the era where he would have flourished the most.


100%, Reggie is who I came here to answer with. People sleep on him but he was absolutely electric with the ball. IMO he paved the way for Kamara to be what he is in Payton's system. In the modern NFL he'd be putting up WR1 numbers weekly, as an RB lol.


Otto Graham after that one post


Aka: What if the Browns drafted Brady and didn't mess up.


What post?


Out of left field but Randall Cunningham. I think he would an incredible quarterback with today’s schemes/coaching. Also had a monster arm


Not out of left field at all, and probably the best answer to this question Cunningham’s 1990 season is statistically comparable to Lamar’s MVP season, except yknow….it was in fucking 1990. One of the most insane talents ever. He would be thriving in today’s NFL.


He's maybe the best answer to the season, but his 1990 isn't comparable to Lamar's MVP season once you account for sacks. Cunningham took a lot (and deep ones) trying to make something happen - Lamar takes incredibly few (and shallow ones). Maybe in the modern era that trait would be gone because there'd be more understanding of when to throw it away, but that makes a massive difference to how good their seasons were. If you count the sacks as negative rushes, Lamar would have 1100 rushing yards to Cunningham's 511.


Was very mobile and could throw the deep ball well? He would be perfect in today’s game


this is a perfect answer I never would’ve thought of. Cunningham would be a prototype star QB these days


Unconventional answer: Bob Greise is a two time Super Bowl champ 8x Pro Bowl quarter back and Hall of Famer, and did it all with piss poor eyesight. in fact he broke the stigma surrounding glasses to a lot of folks when he openly started wearing them to play in 1977. I wanna see him get the lasik Jameis treatment. Bionic Greise would destroy all.


In a similar vein, with Alex Smith making his way back to the field one could put the argument forth that a prolonged career for the already accomplished Joe Theismann could cement him in the HOF.


Bo Jackson, Dan Marino


With today's sports medicine he'd at least had a full baseball career.


I think he would be a beast right now. Basically a faster D Henry. Be fun to watch


Henry with Bo's acceleration would get a 2.5k season


To be a contrarian, in today’s league bo might literally play quarterback because of how that position is scouted and coached up from a young age now. That’s horrifying.


Just like how 30 years ago, Cam Newton wouldn’t have been a QB


Bo jackson quarterback is a madden created player


I think there's no way Bo would not have been pegged as a QB with his arm. I don't disagree with your faster D Henry assessment though, imagine Derrick Henry throwing 70 yard TDs


Dan Marino would have put up Mahomes numbers every year


I agree.


Not to mention his legs would have been fixed instead of crippling him.


OJ Simpson would kill it today.


Would his gloves fit?


Jim Brown put up video-game numbers and had remarkable longevity despite playing an era that was far less safe, had worse offensive gameplanning, more physical play, and wasn't pass heavy. The guy put up 1,863 yards rushing and 263 receiving yards (on 24 receptions) in 1963, imagine what he could do in the modern game with WRs stretching the field and QBs who would target him as a receiver. You're looking at a Derrick Henry rusher with CMC receiving abilties, 1,500/1,000 is very much on the table.


Came here to say Jim Brown. I’m in my early 30s and he is still one of the most freak athletes I think I’ve ever seen footage of. And he was a freak athlete in an era where they didn’t understand or use science in regards to nutrition/weightlifting/training, etc. Imagine him with a modern training program.


Ladainian Tomlinson, dude was a all around back. Now imagine him with all this space to work with.


CMC but better is how I look at LT


LT was such a powerful runner but graceful. Then you add in the catching and the occasional pass. He was made for todays game. I FEEL THE SAME ABOUT REGGIE BUSH. Reggie wouldve been a damn dynamo if he was born in the year 2000. Extremely fast, elusive, great hands.


Bro prime Reggie Bush today would be as good as CMC. Downvote away. Dude was ELECTRIC, could catch, could line up wide. If he got a seam he was gone. One of the best “big play” players ever in the NCAA and NFL. He averaged 1,000 yards rushing and 360 receiving a season for a 3 year stretch from 2011-2013. Lets call that his peak. Now imagine him on a modern offense that is built perfectly for a player like that. His numbers would be even better and he probably would have a 100+ catch season.


Reggie's problem was that he had a lot of injuries and was constantly playing hurt, even on a workload that was significantly less than other "every down backs" around the league. In an 11 year career, he's played all 16 games ONCE and it's not like Dalvin Cook where he missed just a game or 2 each season, he averaged starting 9 games/season. That's a problem. I know he's been dinged up recently and he's still young, but so far CMC has shown he can handle a hell of a lot more workload than Bush and be more effective. Reggie never once had more than 300 touches in a season. CMC has twice (even over 400) and has a higher yard/touch ratio than Reggie ever had. The game hasn't even changed that much since Reggie was in his prime. It was only about 8 years ago


From 2011-2013 he played 15, 16 and 14 games. You make a good point but when he did stay healthy for a 3 year stretch he had excellent numbers.


His best season (2011) he was 11th in rush yards and Y/A. His next best season (2013) he was 13th in rush yards and tied for 13th in Y/A, but in 2013 he had just over 500 receiving yards so there's something to be said about that as well, but as far as rushing goes, I would never call his production "excellent."


I’m still convinced he’s the greatest running back ever.


Greatest peak season for a RB imo. Just a nose for the endzone


> Greatest peak season for a RB imo No idea how anyone could debate this tbh. Dude set the record with 28 rushing TDs and 31 total. Not to mention 1800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards. That season was incredible, fav player of all time easily


Barry was way better


Barry was better. But WAY better?


Keep in mind that LT played with hall of fame QBs, a hall of fame FB and a hall of fame TE. Barry had none of that… That doesn’t take away from LT’s greatness. He’s still one of the best ever, and personally my 2nd favorite behind Barry. But LT had some really, really good players around him.


Yeah Barry never had under 1100 yards in a season and he had a garbage oline. The one season he had 1100 yard's he only played 11 games. Lt is great probably with Barry, Jim Brown, Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, are all on top for best ever the rest is arguable. I'd take prime Earl Campbell over Lt


LT did have double Barry's receiving stats. And LT had 46 more touchdowns on only about 100 more carries. Again I agree Barry was better. But not *way* better.


I think touchdowns is a little bit unfair to barry to compare because it is decided by a lot of other factors than just the talent of the runningback. LT got a ridiculous number of opportunities to score short yardage touchdowns. 74 of his touchdowns were from 3 yards or less, while Barry only had 26. Barry scored 57 touchdowns of 10+ yards while LT scored 44. LT had a huge advantage in that regard because the team around him was much better, especially QB, so he had more opportunities to score easier touchdowns. I won’t argue the point about receiving though, LT was a beast as a receiver. They could be my 2 favourite runningbacks ever.


Can’t believe I haven’t seen Marshall Faulks name on this thread, or Johnny Unitas.


Me too. Faulk is still the best route runner I've seen out of the backfield.


Unitas, eh, there’s a haircut you can set your watch to.


So many smaller/speedy receivers


Dri Archer was too early.


Idk he was under Antonio Brown, i think he was just not very good


Madden Budget Beast.


Dan Marino


Steven Jackson, just because I want to see him with a fucking competent team. Also was kinda proto Derrick Henry but was a good receiving threat


He was an HoF talent. If we hadn't held him back, he'd get the credit he deserves.


He should be in the hall. It's not his fault he played on garbage teams for most of his career.


So glad people still remember and respect him. the man was my hero for sticking around so damn long when he easily could have gone somewhere, *anywhere* else.


Matt Forte




> What offense of yesteryear could win a game versus the L.o.B? We'll never know but it's fun to think about. Oddly enough I think the Redskins teams from the 80s/90s would match up well with the LoB.


Walter Payton


This is my answer, as well. I think his receiving numbers would be insane in this age. He could end up being a 1k/1k guy consistently.


Steve friggin’ Largent


Charlie Ward


Don coryell coached teams


Deion Sanders NGL, IMO guys like Tim Couch could have been so much better now. Hell. I think Leftwich could have been really good in todays game. Ken Anderson would be a no doubt HOFer


Tim Couch still makes me sad. We fucking ruined that dude and he still dragged us to the playoffs.


I always loved him. I liked Joey Harrington too. Not Akili Smith tho. He was poopoo


Couch would have had a long career going anywhere other than Cleveland or Cincinnati. Just bad luck he got caught in the expansion draft and got injured too much.


Doug Flutie. He's baisicly a unproblematic Johnny Football. He would absolutely kill it in today's modern offenses paired with a coach that believes in him to boot.


Hm, Roger Craig Randall Cunningham Gary Clark John Jefferson Andre Rison Peter Warrick Sterling Sharpe Brian Westbrook To name a few.


Dan Marino threw for 5,000 yards in 19-fucking-84. Can you even FATHOM what he'd do in today's league?


Dan Marino (60 td 6k yards and has his SB trophy) Jerry Rice (probably could hit 30k yards) Sterling Sharpe (probably not injured and broke many many records just under Jerry Rice) It's easier to talk about all of the defenders who would not have succeeded.


Reggie Bush Marino Don Beebe Curtis Martin Mike Furrey Todd Heap


Love the Furrey pick. Guy went from 60 tackles and 4 int’s in 2005 to 1,000 receiving yards in 2006


Kind of a Homer pick but Larry Allen would be just as dominant today as he was in the 1990s. 700 pound bench press. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX-YuvQkSRE Chasing down a Linebacker on a pick without a running start https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFcWMC9vkZg Lining up against this freak of nature would be the most demoralizing thing I can possibly imagine.


biased but Elway. him with reid, hill, and kelce would be insane. and of course marino would probably have 70 touchdowns.


Lance Alworth


Deion sanders


Bo Jackson.


Dan Marino would be dicing people up


Doug Flutie. I think he could be As successful as Kyler.


Thurman Thomas. A pass catching RB? Oh yeah


Kordell Stewart


Haven't seen it yet, Roger Craig would've been a monster. As good as he was for the Niners in the 80s, in today's NFL offenses, with the way RBs are used in the passing game...sheesh. He would've been Alvin Kamara or CMC dialed up to 11. Craig was a 1000/1000 player in the 80s who topped out with over 1500 yards in his best rushing year and, during his prime, never had less the 48 receptions in a season.


People are REALLY overrating Reggie Bush in this thread


Randy moss


Would’ve wrecked people as soon as he stacked the guy at 5 yards


The Freak got open in old school nfl. Could you imagine in today's game of flags for looking at the receiver wrong


"Old school NFL" FML I'm in my mid 30s and this hurts to read


Elway would Own the NFL




That whole WVU team feels ahead of its time.


Santana Moss


Steve Young


I’m not sure he would be as great but I would love to watch Fran Tarkington play today.


Steve Young is already a HOF QB, but with his scrambling ability during a time when QBs were all statues, can you imagine the numbers he’d put up with a Shanahan or a McVay coaching him?


Andrew Luck


Tom Brady.


Warren Moon and Jim Kelly would have killed it in this era. Both put up great stats in their NFL career despite playing for other leagues earlier in their careers (Moon/CFL, Kelly/USFL). Dual threat Steve Young and Randall Cunningham would do good too. Especially with the QB protections these days.


All I know is if Ronnie Lott played today he’d finish game day in a prison cell.


Michael Vick.


Andrew Luck. 🥺