Media, Sports

The Greatest Ever

07.31.09 | 2 Comments

Tiger Woods, greatest ever? Too soon to tell, so why say it?

Maybe I’m just getting older and crankier, but I simply cannot stand the hyperbole of “such and such is the greatest player ever” or “it was the greatest game ever” or “the greatest company ever.” Particularly *before* the event has been played or while the player is still playing the game.

Obviously this “greatest ever” mantra is being used to get people excited and engaged about the target in question as a media hook. But it’s used so often now and so inappropriately that it’s meaningless.

Before we hang the tag “greatest ever” on something, I think a couple of decades should pass to see if the target stands the test of time. For instance, saying Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player ever is an interesting assertion, he stands the test of time.

Saying some present player in some present sport, oh, say a Tiger Woods, is hyperbole. I don’t dispute Woods is a fantastic player and may someday reach the point of earning such praise. He’s getting the attention now based upon his youth and performance to date, but he’s not the “greatest ever” now and really shouldn’t even be in the conversation at this point. What happens if he has a career ending injury? Would his performance to date leave him as “greatest ever?” Probably not. In 30 years, let’s take a look at his career and see. (BTW, I’m not a golf fan, I could care less, but Tiger seemed like a good example.)

So, can we just dispense with this “greatest ever” line? It’s tired, it’s not accurate, and it makes me grumpy!