You Need a Ring for this Club

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One of the most common debates in sports is whether or not athletes who have won a ring are on the same level as those who have not won a ring – ranking wise. Yes – a ring would be nice to have under your name, but is it really a big enough factor to say you’re in a different category as someone who has one? What about when you’re comparing an athlete who has one ring to an athlete who has two? An athlete with two compared to one who has three? Etc. Is it fair to say athlete A is ranked lower than Athlete B, because he has a hunk of metal decorated in the finest of jewels offered? Personally, I don’t think so. At least when it comes to team sports that is (baseball, basketball, football, etc.).

If you’re on a team, there’s only so much you can do as an independent athlete on that team to ensure not only punching a ticket to the World Series, NBA Finals, Super Bowl, [insert championship game here], but actually winning it. There are only so many runs you can drive in, shots you can make, yards you can run for, before you need to depend on one of your teammates to help bring home the W. What happens when your teammates become undependable? Your career ranking shouldn’t be faulted because your double-play partner struck out with a runner on third to end the first, and last World Series Game 7 of your career; especially if you won the Triple Crown during the regular season (led the AL/NL in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in).

Should Matt Flynn be considered a better QB than Matt Ryan (aka Matty Ice), simply because Flynn piggybacked off of Aaron Rogers for his Super Bowl ring? That’s what this whole argument often sounds like. You may be thinking, “you’re comparing a starting QB to a second-string QB, that’s a little unfair.” Let us not forget Flynn is tied with Rogers for the franchise record for passing yards in a game, and holds the Packers record for number of touchdowns thrown in a game (6), so he is a record-setter. And, Matt Ryan is a record-setter himself, too: Ryan is 3rd behind Dan Marino (who happens to not have a ring as well) and Peyton Manning for most TD’s in NFL history by a QB in his first 5 seasons; he has the most career wins, best QB rating for a starter, most career passing yards, and many other records for the Falcons Franchise. But, wait, he doesn’t have a ring; let’s put him behind Matt Flynn.

I’ll leave you with a list of star super-star athlete’s who haven’t won a ring for you all to look over, just as a reminder:

  • Patrick Ewing – NBA Hall of Famer, Rookie of the Year (1985), 11-time NBA All-star, recognized as one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time.
  • Charles Barkley – NBA Hall of Famer, NBA MVP (1993), 5-time All NBA First Team awardee, 11-time All-Star, recognized as one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time.
  • Barry Bonds* (yeah yeah yeah, steroids, whatever) – 7-time NL MLB MVP, 8-time Gold Glove winner, 12-time Silver Slugger winner, 762 career home runs (leader), single-season record holder for home runs (73).
  • Dan Marino – NFL Hall of Famer, 9-time Pro Bowl awardee, NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the year (1984), first QB ever to throw for 5,000 yards and 40 TD’s in one season (1984), holds 31 Miami Dolphins franchise records.
  • Ted Williams – MLB Hall of Famer, 19-time All-Star, 2-time MLB MVP, 2-time Triple Crown Winner, MLB All-Time and All-Century team awardee.
  • Ken Griffey Jr. – 13-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, 7-time Silver Slugger winner, 630 career home runs (6th overall), MLB All Century team awardee.
  • Barry Sanders – NFL Hall of Famer, 10-time Pro Bowl awardee, 2-time NFL MVP, 6-time First Team All-Pro awardee, #1 Most Elusive Running Back of All-Time (NFL.com), third leading rusher in the NFL. 
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