Most Underrated Great Athletes Part II

Curtis Martin

Sports Center this morning ran a top ten list of the most underrated athletes which ran Tim Duncan as #1, which got me thinking, what other great athletes are underrated?

Curtin Martin and Jerome Bettis can both make good arguments here. They are #4 and #5 respectively on the NFL all-time rushing list. Which means they are in pretty exclusive territory.
  1. Emmitt Smith . . . . . 18,355
  2. Walter Payton . . . . . 16,726
  3. Barry Sanders . . . . . 15,269
  4. Curtis Martin . . . . . . 13,366
  5. Jerome Bettis . . . . . . 13,294

One of the most difficult things to do in the NFL is rush for a lot of yards year in and year out. There's a reason you don't see many runningbacks over 30 still playing big minutes for their team. Runningbacks take more punishment than any other position, with the exception of lineman. But lineman can lose a step and still be productive because of their knowledge of blocking schemes. If a runningback loses a step he loses a lot of value, just look at Eddie George.

And, Martin shares Duncan's team first attitude. Both are quiet guys, who only make headlines when their teams win games. It very easy for the media to underrate guys who don't draw a lot of attention to themselves. That doesn't mean they deserve to be underrated.

I'm not buying the argument that Allen Iverson is underrated. True, he's been underrtated this year considering all that he did to carry a young and inexperienced team to the playoffs. But considering A.I. has been named MVP and has not won a championship, it's not fair to say he's underrated.

Finally, I would agree that just about any female athelete is underrated. Not great, but underrated.

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