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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended November 10, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 14Nov00

By Kent Larsen

How Great An Athlete Was Steve Young?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA -- Australian scientist Charles Davis is trying to do the impossible -- rank athletes of different sports and different times against each other to determine the greatest athlete of all time. His solution measures how much better athletes are than their peers, and mentions LDS athlete Steve Young as one of the best in professional football, but not as high as his #1 pick, Cricket star Don Bradman.

Unlike other efforts to name sports' greatest, Davis uses common statistical tools in an attempt to rank athletes. He constructs bell curves for each sports, using sports statistics for that sport. He then calculates a "Z-score" for each athlete, showing how much better he is in that statistic than his peers. Using this measure, an athlete with a Z-score of 2 is exceptional, while a 3 puts the athlete among the best that ever played his sport.

The only LDS athlete mentioned in Davis' article is professional football star Young, who tied with his predecessor on the San Francisco 49ers Joe Montana as the best to ever play professional football. Both Young and Montana had Z-scores of 3.1. In contrast, Bradman, Davis' pick for best athlete ever, was so much better than anyone that ever played Cricket that he earned the phenomenal Z-score of 4.4. Other well-known athletes scored include soccer's Pele, 3.7; Michael Jordan, 3.4; and baseball great Ty Cobb, 3.6.


They don't come better than the Don
Sydney Australia Morning Herald 10Nov00 S2
By Charles Davis


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