In sports, people are enamored with records. Home run chases become national news, and sporting news outlets like ESPN get enamored with any active attempt at a record. However, some records that are held in high esteem are overrated. Whether it was in a less competitive era of a sport, a result of length of play or the feat had an overstated significance, here is the list of the 10 most overrated records in sports.
Tom Brady's record may be fantastic, but much of his success can be accounted to the system he was in and his supporting cast. Not only was he protected by All-Pro Matt Light and the rest of his exceptional offensive line, but he was also surrounded by an exceptional receiving corps. Also, the system was pass-heavy, and many accused the Patriots of running up the score. Score lines like 52-7 against the Redskins in Week 8 give credence to these claims.
Maybe I'm a homer on this one as a Phillies fan, but this record is completely meaningless. The record for most losses by a sports team has many factors besides futility. Sure, the Philadelphia Phillies have had their fair share of miserable years (don't forget their time as the Quakers!) but this record is primarily due to two reasons:
1. They have been around since 1883.
2. They play baseball, and there are a lot of games in baseball.
Enough said. This record is garbage.
This record is phenomenal—that is indisputable. However, this record is not as impressive as it may initially seem. The level of competition and parity was nowhere near the level it is now. The only competition came from Wilt Chamberlain's teams, but these teams lacked the depth of the Celtics. These teams were incredible, but were a product of a developing league.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a fantastic basketball player. He was incredibly well balanced and consistent; however, his career points record is misleading. He averaged around 25 points per game during his NBA career, but many of these points came during the less competitive years of the NBA in the '70s. During his most famous years on the Lakers, he averaged in the low to mid-20s in PPG.
The reason Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds this record is not because of pure scoring talent, but rather his consistent scoring over 20 seasons. This record is a testament to his durability and consistency, but he is far from the greatest scorer in NBA history.
Emmitt Smith's record is similar to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's. Emmitt Smith was a strong rusher, but far from one of the best. His 4.2 yards per carry average is indicative of a good running back, but not a legendary one. Much like Abdul-Jabbar, this record is a testament to longevity rather than pure talent. Emmitt Smith's record is also brought down by what can be seen as the unnecessary extension of his career (sorry, Cardinals).
Are you starting to see a theme? Many of the most praised records are due to longevity. Pete Rose may have the record for most hits, but he also has the record for most at-bats, and outs. At .303, Pete Rose's average was high, and his ability as a hitter was strong, but even though he has the most hits of all time, he is far from one of the best.
Brett Favre's most famous record is actually an impressive one (297 consecutive starts as a quarterback), and a testament to his toughness. The rest of his records are a testament to his inability to retire. He may have the most passing yards and touchdowns in NFL history, but he also has the most passing attempts and interceptions. Enough said. Brett Favre was one of my idols growing up, but now it's just sad.
First off, I'm going to exclude Barry Bonds. As the recent witch-hunt has further substantiated, Barry Bonds was likely aided by performance-enhancing drugs. However, Hank Aaron's record falls into the same difficulty with other records: longevity over ability.
Hank Aaron may have the most home runs, but he is not the greatest home run hitter of all time. His best season for home runs was 45. This is a good number, but it is not exceptional. His ability to produce over 22-plus seasons is spectacular, but his home run ability is not.
I'm sure some will disagree with this one. Wilt Chamberlain was a freak athlete, especially when compared to his peers in the NBA. But therein lies the problem—his competition. The New York Knicks had their starting center out, leaving Wilt Chamberlain even more outmatched. As he started racking up the points, the game's focus turned into an attempt for him to score 100. The game had no significance in the first place, and lost any resemblance of a game late.
This is a record that was achieved against significantly weaker competition, and was achieved for the sake of a record. These factors make it overrated.
This record will never be touched. The game of baseball has changed too much for anyone to even come close. Yet, the same reasons that make it untouchable make it overrated. Rotations were usually only three pitchers, and pitchers often started consecutive games. Cy Young's record is a byproduct of this era.
In his 20-plus years, Cy Young may have had the most wins, but he also had the most starts and losses. Cy Young does not even rank in the top 50 in winning percentage. Wins are an overrated stat, and this is the most overrated record in sports.