For this generation, Tom Brady is the GOAT. Greatest Of All Time quarterback.
Jim Brown, who passed away on Thursday at 87, is the GOAT of all GOATS.
Greatest Of All Time football player.
He was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Superman led the Browns, who have never won a Super Bowl, to the 1964 NFL Championship, their last championship, over the Baltimore Colts.
“When the question comes up the greatest running back of all time, there’s never an argument,” former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi told The Post. “You’re gonna hear a discussion on the greatest quarterback that ever played, even though Brady won seven titles. You still have people who will say Otto Graham or Joe Montana or Johnny Unitas. But there’s never argument or dispute between fans or football people or anyone when it comes to who’s the greatest running back. When people have asked me over the years, I just say, ‘We’ll look, let’s take Jim Brown and take him out of the discussion, OK?’ Because there’s no sense in even discussing anybody else.”
The defensive GOAT of GOATs is Lawrence Taylor. He ranks second in my book to Jim Brown.
“I have trouble like with offense and defense,” Accorsi said. “Because I think Lawrence Taylor’s the greatest defensive player I ever saw. And Brown’s the greatest offensive player I ever saw. But it’s hard to compare somebody with a defensive player because there’s two-platoon football.
“But I wouldn’t argue that, either. There was nobody like him.”
Brown’s personal wars with Giants linebacker Sam Huff were legendary. Giants co-owner John Mara was a young boy when Brown was Public Enemy No. 1 for his late father Wellington’s Giants.
“I think he always felt that the Huff-Jim Brown rivalry was as good as there was in the National Football League during those years, and it was pretty fierce,” Mara told The Post. “Each one of them won their share. That’s who we had to beat in order to get to the NFL Championship game.”
Mara, 68, recalls being on the Giants sidelines for some of Huff versus Brown.
“I remember thinking that it was just so violent and so physical in some of the hits that they put on each other, that made an impression on me as a kid for sure,” Mara said.
The late Huff was quoted as saying:
“You grab hold, then you hang on and wait for help.”
“When you hit that guy, he lunges like a bull and sometimes he lunges right out of the tackle.”
“He was smart. He’d psyche you. I would hit him and hit him and he’d get up, pat me on the back and say, ‘That was a nice tackle, big Sam.’ ”
Brown would always get up slowly. For nine years. During which he never missed a game. “You would think that he was hurt,” Accorsi said. “That was his way of preserving his strength. I never saw him react to anybody on the field demonstratively. He just walked back to the huddle.”
Jim Brown was one of the young stars who helped popularize the NFL when the television era arrived.
“Well first of all, he was 230 pounds,” Accorsi said. “He never missed a game. He played every play. You had a halfback and a fullback, but the fullback was basically a running back, and what he had, besides incredible stamina and endurance, he had the power of a [Bronko] Nagurski-type fullback but the style and the speed and the ability to elude or a halfback. He had it all.
“There just was nobody like him.”
Mara: “Jim Brown was unique. He was just such a violent runner and such a skilled player. … And let’s not forget he was probably one of the greatest lacrosse players [at Manhasset High School and Syracuse] as well.”
Brown’s quarterback in 1964 was Frank Ryan. “He never played with a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Accorsi said.
Accorsi won’t ever forget the first time he saw No. 32 play at Baltimore Memorial Stadium.
“You could never get tickets to Colt games in the late ’50s — I got two tickets through a friend to the November 1st, 1959 Browns-Colts game,” Accorsi said. “The Browns beat the Colts 38-31 — Jim Brown scored five touchdowns. He took a screen pass for 70 yards, ran a draw for 25 yards … every way you could score he scored. And the interesting thing about it, Unitas had the biggest yardage day of his life,  yards.”
Brown (12,312 rushing yards, 5.2-yard average, 106 TDs) played with the rage of a proud black man who refused to let the injustice of inequality stop him. “I was never gonna let anybody make me feel that I was not top shelf,” Brown said once.
He went out on top at the age of 29 following the 1965 season because he refused go out any other way. And then carried the ball as a civil rights activist when Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight crown for refusing induction into the Army and worked to help curb gang violence in Los Angeles.
That anger also reared its ugly head in the form of violence against women — meaning that the perfect football player was the imperfect man.
He retired when he did in part because a movie actor career appealed to him, and then-owner Art Modell had threatened to fine him for missing training camp. “I want more mental stimulation than I would have playing football,” Brown told Sports Illustrated. “I want to have a hand in the struggle that is taking place in our country, and I have the opportunity to do that now. I might not a year from now.”
Across the years, only Earl Campbell and Derrick Henry have reminded Accorsi of Jim Brown.
“But there was nobody like him,” Accorsi said.
The GOAT of all GOATs. R.I.P.
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