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NFL Basement: Battle of the Eras Final Roster and Verdict!



For the past 12 weeks, Adam Nannini and Nate Asper began a series on the NFL Basement podcast called “Battle of the Eras.” Catchy, right? The concept is simple. We are both constructing a 53-man roster, position by position. Adam used only players from the “classic” era, meaning they were in their prime before 1980. Nate created his roster with “modern” era players who started their careers after 1980. 

The Set Up

A breakdown of the roster numbers:

QB (3)
RB (3)
FB (1)
WR (6)
OL (9)
DT (4)
DE (5)
LB (6)
CB (5)
TE (4)
S (4)
LS/KR (1)

The Final Rosters

Nate’s Modern Team

Quarterback: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Warren Moon
Running Back: Barry Sanders, Adrian Peterson, Roger Craig
Fullback: Larry Centers
Wide Receiver: Randy Moss, Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith
Tight End: Tony Gonzalez, Shannon Sharpe, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witton
Offensive Tackle: Anthony Munoz, Jonathan Ogden, Joe Thomas, Willie Roaf
Guard:  Bruce Matthews, Larry Allen, Randall McDaniel
Center: Dwight Stevenson, Dermonti Dawson
Defensive Tackle: Warren Sapp, John Randle, Aaron Donald, Cortez Kennedy
Defensive End: Bruce Smith, Reggie White, Howie Long, Julius Peppers, J.J. Watt
Linebacker: Mike Singletary, Lawrence Taylor, Derrick Brooks, Ray Lewis, Junior Seau, Brian Urlacher
Safety: Ronnie Lott, Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, John Lynch
Cornerback: Charles Woodson, Champ Bailey, Darrell Green, Deion Sanders, Rod Woodson
Kicker: Justin Tucker
Punter: Shane Lechler
Special Teams: Steve Tasker

Adam’s Classic Team

Quarterback: Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Otto Graham
Running Back: Jim Brown, Larry Csonka, Lenny Moore
Fullback: Marion Motley
Wide Receiver: Paul Warfield, Raymond Berry, Bob Hayes, Lance Alworth, Don Hutson, John Stallworth
Tight End: Mike Ditka, Dave Casper, Jackie Smith, John Mackey
Offensive Tackle: Art Shell, Ron Mix, Forrest Gregg, Jim Parker
Guard: John Hannah, Gene Upshaw, Joe DeLamielleure
Center: Jim Otto, Mel Hein
Defensive Tackle: Merlin Olsen, Mean Joe Greene, Randy White, Bob Lilly
Defensive End: Deacon Jones, Lee Roy Selmon, Gino Marchetti, Buck Buchanan, Doug Atkins
Linebacker: Dick Butkus, Jack Ham, Bobby Bell, Jack Lambert, Willie Lanier, Ted Hendricks
Cornerback: Mel Blount, Dick Night Train Lane, Mike Haynes, Wille Brown, Herb Adderly
Safety: Emlen Tunnell, Jack Tatum, Paul Krause, Ken Riley
Kicker: Lou Groza
Punter: Sammy Baugh
Special Teams: Gale Sayers

The Verdict…

In last week’s edition of The NFL Basement, Adam and Nate were joined by The Bills Guys, Steve Mathes and David Tilton, as well as NFL Basement “super fan” Bob Leonard. The three of them grilled the Basement Boys on every aspect of their roster and after much interrogation and deliberation, a verdict was returned.

The winner, by unanimous decision is: Nate’s Modern Team!

While Steve, David, and Bob all agreed that Adam did a fantastic job crafting a team out of players who retired before he was born, in the end, they all came to the same conclusion. Namely, that the size and speed difference between today’s players and those from over 40 years ago would ultimately be the difference. To confirm, we’ve had our behind the scenes tech crew working on a simulation. Here’s what they came up with…

There you have it! The teams are complete. If you haven’t caught the series yet, make sure to subscribe to the Buffalo Fanatics podcast network!


And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and give us your thoughts. Who do you think built the most dominant roster, Adam or Nate?