Who would be the NFL’s version of David Ortiz?

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Red Sox star David Ortiz has retired, a rare star player who walks away to mostly unanimous praise. Which has inspired Wednesday’s question of the day for PFT Live.

Who in football would prompt a similar reaction?

The choices are below. Cast a vote and then supply whatever comments you’d like below.

Yes, there’s a chance we’ve left someone out who should be on the list. There’s also a chance we included one person who will be far closer to polarizing that beloved.

And then join us on Wednesday at 6:00 a.m. ET for a three-hour show that includes a visit from Raiders coach Jack Del Rio and former NFL player Chris Canty.

44 responses to “Who would be the NFL’s version of David Ortiz?

  1. Eli Manning? To be the NFL’s version of Ortiz, you actually need to be a top performer. It shouldn’t be hard for you to find a worthy replacement…how about Adrian Peterson?

  2. Since Roidtiz is a cheater I’m going with Brady, another cheater.
    Now, if you want to compare a class act you should have posed this question last year with Jeter, the obvious answer is the GOAT, Peyton Manning.

  3. I’d say it should be Brady since he will go down as one of the best ever, if not THE best ever, but he gets too much hate for stuff that is so inconsequential.

    I mean Jerry Rice used Stick ’em people! Ugh.

    However, Aaron Rodgers should probably be on this list. People love him and he is amazing.

  4. I would say it’s a toss up between Brees and Fitzgerald. I have zero issues with TB12, but with regards to the article’s phrasing of “unanimous praise”, Brady is definitely too polar. Brees has the edge because of his work in NOLA, post-Katrina, and winning a SB.

  5. I may be young but… my vote goes to Tom Brady. Why? Because he is one of the few players left from 2000, 16 years ago, who is still active and has stuck to one organization their entire careers. It doesn’t hurt that he helped them turn their fortune around with 4 super bowl titles and 10+ Division titles. Besides, Tom Brady doesn’t draw attention to himself and if he does its usually for a good reason, unlike most of today’s guys who simply want their 15 minutes for just about anything. Gonna miss him when he retires because he truly is one of the best in the game today who is still the exact role model you would want your kids to idolize, focusing on your goals and doing your part to achieve them.
    -Colts fan

  6. rofl how can Brady be at 285 votes (33%)?? I personally think he’s a fantastic player but he’s also quite the lightening rod in drawing hate, resentment, envy whatever it is from other fans.
    Fitz, who’s ever spoken a bad word about him?

  7. Larry Fitzgerald is my pick hands down. Helluva player….not just wideout… But player. Never hear negative stuff about him. Does it the right way,doesnt showboat just scores and acts like hes done it before by handing the zebra the ball, and gives back. In his prime he was the best or at least tied with him and andre johnson being 1 and 1a imho.

  8. Papi was meh for his original team, though you could see he had potential but big question marks. Then he went to a team whose entire philosophy is “STEROIDS FOR EVERYBODY!” and turned into something special.

    Brees was meh for his original team, though you could see he had potential, but big question marks. Then he went to a team that cheated their asses off and turned into something special.

    Fitzgerald though, we still love him in Minny.

  9. I don’t see anyone on this list who failed a PED test, denied it and has been given a pass his entire career, even by his sports’ commissioner. Nobody has questioned him and he can say and do as he pleases. Has started MULTIPLE bench-clearing brawls because someone had the gall to throw inside on him yet still in the strike zone.

    Nope, don’t see anyone here like that.

  10. One polarizing figure? All three of your QBs are polarizing. Ego-Man, Cheater, and the brother nobody wanted. Nice list. I voted for the guy most likely to toast my hometown Panthers, but Vinatieri’s also a fine choice.

  11. The retirement tours have been annoying since Chipper Jones announced his retirement. Great players deserve recognition but the whole gift before every single series was so played out between Chipper, Mariano, Jeter, and Ortiz. Idk if I missed anyone but those are the recent ones I remember. As for your question I would say Brady but theres no way he’d get unanimous praise or respect here (given the large amount of morons that comment here on any article that resembles his name) and probably outside this site. So I’d probably say Fitzgerald. Another honorable mentions: Antonio Gates, Dwight Freeney, or Vinatieri. Ummm I am not sure about Eli, I dont mind him and I think he’s a great QB but opinions about how great are split.

  12. There should be an option for no one. I don’t think a David Ortiz level NFL star is going to announce a full year ahead of time that they’re retiring. Seems like NFL guys typically announce they’re retiring after the year, or are forced to retire when they get cut in favor of a younger, cheaper player and then don’t sign with another team.

    There also isn’t really a universally loved/respected star in the NFL. No one cares enough about Brees now that the Saints are terrible. People like Fitzgerald but is he on the David Ortiz level? No. Vinatieri is a kicker. Ortiz wouldn’t have gotten the send off he got if he was the baseball equivalent of a kicker like a middle reliever lefty specialist. Too many people hate Brady for a league wide send off. Eli just isn’t good enough

  13. I think that Fitzgerald and Vinatieri are the two names that clearly rise above the others on the list.

    All will have serious HOF consideration and have had truly epic careers.

    But as far as being beloved? Seriously, Drew Brees??? Sure he helped bring home the Saints’ first championship, but he’s been vocal, polarizing, and “demanding an explanation” over the entire Bountygate scandal.

  14. I think the only viable options here are brees and vinatieri. Original team gives up on them…they move on and become a hall of famer. Maybe only brees because with vinatieri he had already a excellent career. But Brady, manning and fitz? Who gave up on them?

  15. Brees? Eli Manning? How out of sync are you?
    These two haven’t been to playoffs in years. Heck, Eli got his coach fired and their teams haven’t been relevant in a while.
    Favre, Manning and Brady. That’s it.

  16. Larry Fitzgerald deserves his props without a doubt.

    But only the childish, football rudimentary, or bovinely influenced with ease would not vote TB12.

  17. To my knowledge David Ortiz never cheated, so that excludes the two Pats on this list (sorry Vinatieri, guilt by association). That leaves Fitz as the obvious choice.

  18. Julius Peppers? He’s never played for a team that I like, but I have always thought of him as one of the premier people in the League. Not just because of his talent

  19. He’s not getting the votes, but Vinatieri has similarities- he’s a specialist (K and DH), he’s old, and he’s performing well into his 40s. He’s also played for more than 1 team, except perhaps opposite to Ortiz (much more known for Red Sox) he might still be known better for being with his previous team (10 years Pats/ 11 Colts) rather than the team he’s played with into his 4os. They are both clutch performers who have won championships and perhaps been the best at an underappreciated position.

    Outside of Brees, all the other guys were drafted and have played for 1 team. Well, Eli on a technicality, maybe not.

    Since there are no 2-way players anymore, I guess you could say everyone in the NFL is a specialist to some degree. So all these guys, like Ortiz, are offensive specialists. But in baseball, he’s a 1/2 time player.

    Ortiz is not universally loved, though. He has haters just like Brady and… Eli? Other NFL guys on the list might be more well liked. Does anymore dislike Larry Fitzgerald?

  20. You mean: who would be a juicer who (as great juicers do) masked their usage while having completely unbelievable stats at an elderly age?

  21. Larry Fitzgerald. Everybody likes Larry… there’s no reason not to. Even shares the same uniform colors as Ortiz.

  22. Here’s a few star players closer to the end than the beginning that I think most fans would agree were good guys and good players:

    Vince Wilfork
    Frank Gore
    JJ Watt
    Andre Johnson
    Joe Thomas
    Demarcus Ware
    Antonio Gates
    Thomas Davis
    Jason Peters

  23. None of the above.

    TB12 is obviously the controversial one on the list, but honestly he is the closest one to Ortiz in terms of continuity of greatness in their game. Of course the nonsense of the league witch hunt and subsequent persecution has eliminated any chance of fans outside of Boston appreciating him.

    Football in general is a far more polarizing sport than baseball in my opinion. Fans love only the players on their own team, and often despise the same type of guy playing on any other team.

    Individual success is also far more difficult to gauge in football. Is Brady good because of the team? Or is the team good because of Brady? Sure, there are personal stats, but the team element is far bigger factor in achieving any of those stats; whereas the number of clutch home runs or continuous games played are pretty easy to count.

    What makes Big Papi’s exit significant is that he is still at the top of his hitting game, which has always been strictly slugging, and is still hauling down 16M per year. Hard to walk away from that, yet he is. And, he has not been an all around player at all, and should never be compared to the likes of a Cal Ripkin or a Derek Jeter, who played both sides of the game. That would be like comparing Usain Bolt to Ashton Eaton for who is the most athletic. No question it is the later.

    Ortiz was the offensive equivalent of a pitcher.; a specialist in just one facet of the game, who was enabled to continue to play into his middle age by the AL ‘s DH rule. Even as impressive as his offense has been, he would have probably been gone a long time ago if they needed him to field a position as in the NL.

    I think what endears Big Papi to any fans from outside of Boston is that he has always been such a joker. He is always seen messing around with other players of both teams, and really does seem to get along with everyone. Sports in general could use a lot more of that. They are playing a game afterall.

  24. You mean: who would be a juicer who (as great juicers do) masked their usage while having completely unbelievable stats at an elderly age?
    So it’s Peyton Manning. I see.

  25. I voted for Fitz. Also, maybe not as high profile as him, but Charles Woodson just went out with lots of love.

  26. I like Fitz but Brady is a no brainer. Championships matter and Brady has done more for the game than anyone on PFT’s list.
    Comparing him to Ortiz.. Ortiz was sitting on the bench in Minnesota doing nothing. Pedro Martinez had to beg Boston to sign Ortiz. Brady, was benched on and off at Michigan for Brian Griese and Drew Henson.. Basically, they both arrived in Boston with low expectations. All they have done is bring a combined 7 championships to Boston after a very long time and Brady is not done yet. Also, lets be real. he got screwed by that idiot Goodell. I’d love to see Brady get #5 this year.

    Anyone remember these QB’s? They were all taken b4 Brady (#199 in the 6th round).
    1. Chad Pennington
    2. Giovanni Carmazzi
    3. Chris Redman
    4. Tee Martin
    5. Marc Bulger
    6. Spergon Wynn

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