Deion Sanders vs. Darrell Green: Battle of the Hall of Fame Cornerbacks

Jerrell Jet UnderwoodContributor IIIAugust 15, 2011

Deion Sanders vs. Darrell Green: Battle of the Hall of Fame Cornerbacks

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    Since 1952, only 10 pure cornerbacks have been inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  This does not include any players who were listed as having more than one position.  All of whom are great in their own rights. 

    However, not many players changed the game the way Deion Sanders and Darrell Green did.  One did it while always being in the spotlight, and the other did it under the lights on game days.

    There are many things that separate these two men and there are plenty of things that made them similar.  If both Deion Sanders and Darrell Green were still playing today, they would be considered elite conerbacks like Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha.

    If you had to choose, who would you pick?  Each of them has their own accomplishments that set them apart.  If you had a fantasy football league where you were allowed to choose either Sanders or Green, who would be your guy?

    Let's take a look at each through three categories that could help with making such a tough decision, statistics, team impact, and persona. 

Deion Sanders: Statistics

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    Deion Sanders entered the NFL in the 1989 draft as the fifth-overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons.  In his rookie season he had five interceptions, 39 tackles, one punt return for a touchdown and even caught a pass on offense.

    Sanders finished his career on special teams and defense with six punt returns for touchdowns, three kick returns for touchdowns, 53 interceptions with nine returned for touchdowns, 492 tackles and 10 forced fumbles.

    On offense Sanders had 60 receptions and three touchdowns, 9 rushes for -14 yards, and a 0 percent passer rating on two attempts.

    Deion Sanders has eight Pro Bowl selections, eight All-Pro selections, was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year twice, was on the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. 

Darrell Green: Statistics

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    Darrell Green entered the NFL in the 1983 draft as the No. 28 pick of the Washington Redskins.  In his rookie season he had two interceptions, 109 tackles (unofficially), four punt returns with no touchdowns and no offensive stats.

    Green finished his career on special teams and defense with no touchdowns on punts or kickoffs, 54 interceptions with six touchdowns, 1,159 tackles and seven forced fumbles.  The only offensive stat recorded for Green was one rush for six yards.

    Darrell Green has seven Pro Bowl selections, four All-Pro selections, was on the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Deion Sanders: Team Impact

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    More important than the overall statistics are how well each player did on their teams respectively.  Darrell Green had a great career with one team, while Deion Sanders prided himself on making an impact on each team he was on.

    When you look at team impact, there are three things I think should be considered: team records, playoff and Super Bowl appearances, along with any team honors for play on the field.

    Deion Sanders was known for being a pure athlete.  He had good cover skills and great closing speed.  However, he was often criticized for poor tackling and the lack of run support he provided.

    Sanders finished his career with a combined team record of 112-112 and six playoff appearances, with two Super Bowl wins.  He has also been placed in the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor.

Darrell Green: Team Impact

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    Darrell Green was a one-of-a-kind athlete.  He made up in speed what he lacked in size.  He was a great cover corner and a good tackler.  He was known for being able to catch some of the leagues fastest players, including the infamous play where he ran down running back Tony Dorsett to prevent a Dallas Cowboys touchdown.

    Darrell Green's impact on the Washington Redskins was huge as he played his entire career (20 seasons) with them.

    He finished his career with a combined team record of 177-139-1, eight playoff appearances, three Super Bowl appearances and two Super Bowl Wins.

    Green has been named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins and in is the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame.

    Darrell Green currently holds 14 NFL records and six Washington Redskins team records.

Deion Sanders: Persona

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    Persona would have been Deion's middle name if he had room to fit it after "Prime Time."  Deion Sanders was a character ever since he came into the league.  He brought his Prime Time creation with him to the NFL from Florida State University.

    Deion Sanders was the headline on every team that he went to.  He almost immediately became the must-see player in the NFL.

    He has appeared in multiple media outlets.  He was able to transition his persona into everything he did, from football, to TV, to radio and even music. 

    Deion Sanders has multiple organizations he contributes to, as well as his own charity's.

    His Prime Time persona arguably made him one of the most bankable players of his era.  From his famous quotes to his unmistakable bandana, he will always be remembered as Prime Time first and Deion Sanders second.

Darrell Green: Persona

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    Darrell Green was the complete opposite of Deion Sanders.  He was a much more quiet and humble man who preferred to let his actions on and off the field speak for themselves.

    Darrell Green became a leader on the Washington Redskins for two decades.  He was the kind of person you knew you could count on.  He made it a point to try and be the best man and player he could be.

    In 1996 Green won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which honors a player for their volunteer charity work as well as their play on the field.

    In 1997, Green was awarded the Bart Starr Award, which recognizes outstanding character in the home, on the field and in the community.

    Darrell Green was both a great player and a great person.  He represented the NFL with great pride and was always humble no matter how successful he became.  He continues his charter work today and also has his own business that promotes physical activity by simply walking.

Deion Sanders vs. Darrell Green: Battle of the Hall of Famers

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    No matter how you look at both of these players, there is no arguing that each of them deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Both Deion and Darrell have shown what is takes to be an elite player in the NFL.

    You can debate many points about them when it comes to their stats, team impact and persona, but one thing that cannot be debated is their overall impact on the NFL.  Each changed the way the game was played and brought a new excitement to watching football.

    With everything being said, the question still remains, if you could chose just one of these two players to be on your team today, who would it be and why?

    In this case, I don't believe there is a correct or incorrect answer.  It really comes down to what your personal preference is. 

    If you are looking for a player who could be a game changer and stir up some controversy to bring your team in the spotlight more, then you may choose Deion Sanders.

    Or, maybe you would like a player who is a leader in and out of the locker room and who provides the team with longevity at the position, then Darrell Green would be your choice.

    If it were me....I'd pick Darrell Green.  Then I'd trade Deion Sanders for a future first round pick.  Hey, this is a fantasy hall of fame team, so anything is possible.