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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Revisiting the Complete Athlete……

A few years ago I did a poll on which sport’s athlete was the most “complete”.  While watching the Gold Cup last night, the announcers talked about the wide variety of skills a soccer play should have and it got me thinking about my list.  Was I right or have my thoughts changed over the last few years?  I took the 5 major sports in America: basketball, football, baseball, hockey, and soccer.  I then took a list of characteristics that I considered important in those sports and rated each on a scale of 1-5.  Added up the scores and there ya go.

The characteristics I came up with were:
-Physical Strength
-Hand Eye/Foot Eye Coordination
-Mental Acuity

My breakdown of each sport:


Physical Strength: 3
Speed: 3, Much like strength, some guys in the game have incredible speed, like Billy Hamilton.  Put let’s put it this way, Cecil Fielder played in the majors, and played well.  Clearly, speed is not as necessary as in other sports.
Hand Eye Coordination: 5, The saying always goes that there is nothing that is harder in sports than to hit a 95 MPH fastball with a wooden stick.  I would agree that it takes a whole different level of coordination to be a great hitter.
Stamina/Durability: 1, Frankly, there is no sport where the players seem to get hurt more easily than baseball.  Which is amazing because guys often will barely move in the field for 3 innings.  The only player who should truly ever be gassed at the end of the game is the catcher, who is involved in every play and wears gear.
Mental Acuity: 4, requires a bunch of quick decisions
Agility: 4

Total: 20/30



Physical Strength: 4
Speed: 4, The centers of the game bring this number down a notch, but the faster the player, the better player in most cases.  Guys like Steve Nash made careers out of speed.  Also, Rajon Rondo certainly uses his speed to his advantage.
Hand Eye Coordination: 3
Stamina/Durability: 5, Clearly this sport, especially at the NBA level, is an up and down sport.  A lot of running and change of direction.  Plus, players in basketball (as compared to baseball), seem to play through injuries a lot.
Mental Acuity: 2, Of all the major sports, basketball probably takes the least about of mental skill.  The sport largely relies on physical ability, and plays are not as complicated or ran nearly as much as football.
Agility: 5

Total: 23/30



Physical Strength: 5, Sans the kickers, everyone else on the field has to be physically strong.  Linemen are probably the strongest players in sport.  Even quarterbacks like Tom Brady have to have a high level of physical strength to withstand the punishment they receive.
Speed: 4, Some people might claim that linemen should bring this number down more, but I would argue that linemen are the most impressive speed wise because they are still able to move at their speed despite weighing 325 pounds plus.
Hand Eye Coordination: 4
Stamina/Durability: 5, Nobody can question the durability needed to play football.  Obvious choice here.
Mental Acuity: 4, While the plays may be complex, the game still often comes down to physical ability.
Agility: 5

Total: 27/30



Physical Strength: 3, I think people underestimate how much physical strength it takes to play soccer, but the game is still often times more finesse than pure strength, like football.
Speed: 5, You can’t be a slow to play soccer.  You have to be fast.  Period.
Foot Eye Coordination: 5, You could argue the coordination it takes to do the things soccer players do is more impressive than any hand eye coordination in any other sport.
Stamina/Durabilty: 5
Mental Acuity: 3
Agility: 5, Maybe the most agile sport on the list.  Scissor kick anyone?

Overall: 26/30



Physical Strength: 4, It’s hard to tell how much muscle those guys are carrying under all the padding, but it seems those guys hit each other pretty hard, hit the puck pretty hard, and punch one another in the face pretty hard.
Speed: 3
Hand Eye Coordination: 4, The goalie probably have the greatest hand eye coordination in sport, and to hit a puck accurately while skating on ice is impressive.
Stamina/Durability: 4,Seems there is a lot of stoppage of play in hockey, and the guys only take 1-2 minute shifts, so its not as taxing as you might think.  But the ability to play through injury is incredible.
Mental Acuity: 2
Agility: 4

Overall: 21/30


Final Standings for Most Complete Athletes
1) Football
2) Soccer
3) Basketball
4) Hockey
5) Baseball

Article written by Bryan the Intern

53 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Revisiting the Complete Athlete……

  1. Truth Hurts
    9:05 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Hey Bryan the Intern, you know why you are still an intern? Your posts suck and are not relevant at all. Have a good day!

  2. poppycat
    9:10 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Based on your opinion on hand to eye of some spots, MLB should be a 10.
    I bet you never played fast pitch softball.

    • Joe Dirte
      9:13 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      The scale is only to 5 bud

    • poppycat
      11:26 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Bud knows the scale, I’am saying that MLB requires twice the hand/eye than the others.

    • Poster
      11:34 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      So on a completely arbitrary scale where there is no objective value for 1-5, you think baseball requires double any other sport for hand eye coordination? Fair enough. But by your logic I would argue baseball then deserves a -5 for stamina durability. One sport where you can play 2, hell 3, games in a day, and go home not feeling a bit tired. Maybe mentally tired from your daydreaming you did all day.

    • poppycat
      12:15 pm July 14, 2015 Permalink

      No problem with your total analysis. My remark (reread it) was related to hand/eye only.
      IMO, that’s MLB players’ greatest asset. Yes, I have played 3 games per day with little effort and was not exhausted. (I was in the outfield)

    • Poster
      12:55 pm July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Just because their greatest asset is hand-eye coordination does not mean that they deserve double points for that category. Surely you dont really think that it requires twice the hand-eye coordination of any other sport, more sure, but double? I dont think any other sport requires even 1/3 the foot coordination as soccer (sans kickers), so do they deserve 15 for that category?

  3. Eric
    9:19 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    This is one of the worst posts I have ever seen on this website. Giving an arbitrary number for random aspects of each sport to rank the ‘perfect athlete’? You are ridiculous

  4. JohnV
    9:20 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    It’s a shame that tennis isn’t a major sport. It would outrank all of these easily.

    • J-Dub421
      9:43 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      That’s what I was thinking as well.

    • Dane
      9:48 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Tennis is for fags

    • J-Dub421
      10:01 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Lovely language Dane. Obviously you lack the mental acuity necessary for tennis. Go run for five hours in 100 degree heat, or try to return a 120 MPH serve and perhaps you’ll have a better appreciation for tennis. Or maybe try to contribute something pertinent to the conversation.

    • Tampa satchel
      1:41 pm July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Dane is not so great. I used to play tennis tournaments all acrross the South and during the summer, occasionally had to play two in a day. I remember playing in Valdosta and it was over 100 F and I went through two pais of shoes in a single day! Completely wore through the soles. Luckily I got them for free from Nike.

      I also played soccer and baseball in high school. Soccer, probably took more out of me than tennis, except for the occasional 4 hour match. Soccer didn’t have any breaks and longer sprints, plus collisions.

  5. MikeMan
    9:23 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Rabble, rabble, rabble! I’M PISSED!

  6. Dewey Crowe
    9:24 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    This should be posted right after a Jonathan Miller post so no ones sees it.
    1.) Baseball players are a lot stronger than basketball players.
    2) Hockey players lack speed, have you ever watched hockey live?
    3) Soccer players have great coordination but hockey players control something a fraction of the size, traveling at much great speeds, with a stick, while on ice.

  7. ya boi
    9:24 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Not to be a Soccer fan boy, but you’re telling me Football and Baseball require more Mental Acuity (aka sharpness, responsive, quick thinking) then Soccer? In terms of Mental Acuity alone, Football is basically memorized plays/actions (not saying its easy tho) and Baseball is a sorry excuse for a ‘sport’ so I give it zero credit.

    • the kid
      9:35 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      you are a moron if you think soccer is more of a mental sport then baseball. You have obviously never played the sport of baseball and if you did you quit after tee ball because you were horrible. Try hitting a fastball coming 95 MPH and having only a fraction of a second to react to swing or not. Pretty sure it is not that hard to kick a soccer ball. Saying baseball is not a sport leads me to believe that you are a communist because baseball is Americans past time. Football also requires more concentration then soccer and you must be an idiot if you do not believe so. You take one false step on defense that could be the difference between and interception and getting burnt deep. You have obviously never played either sport so you can go ahead and quit trying to compare them to soccer, which is a sport that Americans would not care if they never saw another game. Peace, I’m out.

    • Tomas
      9:49 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      There are lot of baseball fan boys on this thread, but you are right soccer takes way more mental acuity than baseball or basketball and is probably equal with football. Baseball is by far the easiest sport to understand. I like all of these sports but I enjoy watching baseball curmudgeons have a meltdown.

    • matt
      10:11 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      LOL at the baseball fanboys saying it takes high mental acuity. Soccer is the only sport where you do not constantly receive instructions from a coach. And baseball, thats just laughable, you have at minimum, 10-15 seconds between pitches to decide what you are going to do if the ball comes to you as a fielder.

      If you really think it takes a great deal of “concentration” as a football player to not make a false step then you seriously need to reevaluate your coordination and mental capacity.

    • will
      10:12 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      the absolute only quick thinking soccer requires is how quick is that dick gonna hit ya in the throat. it is the single most feminine sport that has ever been created. it is like watching a bunch of fruit fairies prance around and cry every time any contact is made. it should be banned from the united states. some people call it a gay sport but then i realize thats offensive to gay people because soccer is that low on the modem pole.

    • UK Fan
      10:20 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Good call Will, your argument seems very logical, well thought out, and clearly valid. Everything you said there makes perfect sense. LOL.

    • ya boi
      10:28 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      the kid – Not saying hitting a fast ball is easy, I sure as hell can’t do it. I’m just saying the definition of Mental Acuity is more or less the ability to “quickly think on your feet”. In both Baseball and Football you have time in between plays, coaches calling plays for you, the luxury of being able to think, plan, and ready yourself for the next play. There is no such thing in soccer, and I’m assuming you’ve never played it, so I can forgive your ignorance…. Don’t give me that outdated ‘American pastime’ bs. Tides turning, not saying Soccer will ever be the most popular sport in the US (I don’t believe it will), but to say Baseball is Americas favorite sport is pathetic. Soccer is the largest youth sport BY FAR (give the US time to catch up with rest of the world) and yes I quit Baseball at a young age because I wasn’t into boys.

    • BTI SUX
      11:30 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      the kid-

      Go home. You’re drunk.

  8. frankie stigers
    9:34 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    40 and 0 baby

    • J-Dub421
      9:48 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Go away. Stop posting this crap.

    9:35 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Putting on a pair of skates and simply crossing the ice without falling down is a more difficult task than many athletes in the other sports listed will ever encounter.
    Now try handling a puck at great speed while guys are allowed to “tackle ” you and knock the puck off the stick and knock your a$$ to the ice.

    • RUPPS_rhetoric
      10:33 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Completely agree. I’ve always said Hockey players are the ultimate athlete, and I don’t think it’s even close. I’ve never played Hockey and honestly don’t really watch it. But you can’t deny the physicality, skill, and agility it takes to play that sport. Unreal.

  10. Yev
    9:36 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Hockey players play short shifts because the game is played at sprinters speed, not at a jogging speed. It is not practical for someone to sprint an entire 60 minute game. If you watch soccer, sure there are times where teh players sprint, but there are also times where they walk around, or slowly jog. I am not condemning them for this, the game allows it, and soccer players haev amazing endurance. I’m only saying that hockey players sprint, and when the puck is in play, they are always moving at full speed.

    And basketball Hand-eye being 3, that is crazy. Basketball is a shooting game, and you cant shoot without handeye Change this to 5

  11. BsbCoach
    9:49 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Any real athlete should be able to catch and throw. Surely there is no argument on this point. So give baseball a 5 in both of those categories and while you are at it give soccer a zero in both. Next look at the size (read strength) of MLB players and then pro soccer players. No comparison. For that matter half of the football players don’t need to catch. Advantage baseball. Ever watch other athletes throw out the first pitch? Advantage baseball over all (only the qb throws in FB). There is no doubt that baseball is the most cerebral game (if you played you would know that). Conclusion? Baseball represents the best , not the lowest on your scale. Plot, poor post!

    • Tomas
      9:54 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      There is no way you think baseball is the most cerebral game out of football and soccer. It is clear you have never played either of those sports.

    • RUPPS_rhetoric
      10:37 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Baseball takes tremendous hand eye coordination to play. And there are great athletes in baseball. However when fat-a$$es like Prince Fielder, John Kruk, and CC Sabathia (off the top of my head) can be dominant players in their sport, I’m sorry, you just can’t put baseball at the top of the list.

  12. Bob Kisler
    9:51 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    You forgot to mention size. Without size; football doesn’t look at you.

    A potential recruit at LB squatted 565 lbs. , bench press 360 lbs., power cleaned 340 lbs. an ran a 4.7 40. Was 5′ 9 and195 lbs. Was told he was the most coachable of the LBs at the camp; even over a LB that was a redshirt freshman last year. He was told he just wasn’t big enough.

  13. Adam
    9:54 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Quite possibly the dumbest thing I have ever wasted my time on. Please quit posting content to the site, you are ruining it. Matt needs to replace you immediately.

  14. Blue
    9:57 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    I’ll be honest…I didn’t even read the entire post, because the first two were so dumb I lost all interest. Aside from football, I would make the argument that baseball requires the most durability of any of the sports listed because of the grind the season takes on players. You say baseball players don’t play through injuries? Every player is hurt, in some form or fashion, for 85% of the season and no one even knows about it. That happens when you play from February to September with about 15 total days off. Guys play through injuries, minor and major, just like they do in any other sport. Come on, dude, seriously?

    • Poster
      10:17 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      I’m very confused here, did you just say that baseball requires more durability than anything but football? HAHAHA it is the ONLY sport where you can do a double header because it requires so little physical exertion.

      And 85% are hurt in some form or fashion? Yeah thats clearly not a BS stat you just made up. Wait, a baseball fan/player coming up with an irrelevant/made up statistic, no way!

    • BTI SUX
      11:28 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Baseball players in high school complained about running once around the field….

  15. Drew
    9:59 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    I can’t believe football got number 1 when the majority of the time they’re just standing around in a huddle why don’t you give rugby a try (knocks out soccer and football right there plus no pads)……Where is Collegiate Wrestling, Mixed Martial Arts or Boxing (How is boxing or now MMA not on the list of “Top American Sports”)? I would love to see any athlete from any sport on this list try one of these three sports to try and make weight, learn a fighter skill set and then go just 3, 5 minute rounds with a superior athlete in one of these sports.

  16. Mary Lou
    10:24 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Gymnasts are the most complete athletes.

  17. UK Fan
    10:27 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Mental Acuity rankings (by BTI):
    Football and Baseball : 4
    Soccer : 3
    Hockey and Basketball : 2

    I dont follow how the two slowest paced (as far as time played vs game duration), most coach based sports on the list require the highest mental acuity. You have the most time to either sit and decide what your next move will be, or let your coach decide for you.

    And we all know the stereotypical football player is known for a high mental acuity. Oh wait, is that right? HAHA

    • BTI SUX
      11:26 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Preach it.

    • poppycat
      11:32 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      You make a point, but compare the mental acuity from the time a pitch is released till it reaches the plate. Some players can actually read the seams and properly react. (At least Ted Wms said he could.
      A 95/98 mph fastball from a release point of appr 52/55 feet does not allow much time to react.

    • Poster
      11:39 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      True, very little time to react. Almost as little time as trying to stop a penalty kick coming at you at 80+ mph from 36 feet. An 80mph penalty kick from 36 feet is the equivalent of a 116mph fastball from 52 feet. Not to mention you are covering a goal that is 8’x24′.

    • John Brenkus
      11:43 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Yes, this was proven on Sports Science. A PK is much more difficult to stop than a pitch.

    10:27 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Flip football and hockey and I would say this is completely accurate… coming from someone who has played all of the sports extensively.

    • Post
      10:49 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Granted I’ve never played hockey but as an average of all the players/positions in each sport. I think I can agree with that. Not saying BTI’s nonsensical reasonings and bizarre justifications are correct, but just that the final list with football and hockey flipped is probably accurate.

  19. Thomas
    10:47 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Yeah, this is just arbitrary crap. Football tough? Isn’t that the sport where they hit all the women?

  20. J-Dub421
    10:52 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    The last elite players from Kentucky were Rondo and Derek Anderson.

    • J-Dub421
      10:53 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

      Oops, wrong thread, sorry.

  21. AlexJohnson
    11:06 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    This post is an absolute train wreck. KSR is approaching Bleacher Report territory with this post.

  22. BTI SUX
    11:25 am July 14, 2015 Permalink

    Its true. I hate BTI’s posts.

    Not sure if I even care to address all the idiots replying to this.

  23. Dubber
    12:08 pm July 14, 2015 Permalink

    It is painfully obvious that the author never played hockey. The speed, coordination, strength, and skill required to play a game on ice is unbelievable. By far the hardest of the major sports to play.

  24. CatsBy80
    3:25 pm July 14, 2015 Permalink

    the bottom line is that every person on this thread who has posted in biased in some form or fashion… to some people, baseball is tougher than the rest. to others, soccer is the toughest… etc. etc… There really is no way to measure these variables. Why can’t we all agree that becoming a professional athlete is incredibly difficult, regardless of the sport?

    I’ve never played hockey, but I would think that it is the hardest sport of any to play… and this is coming from a guy who played baseball through college.

  25. Brian is an Intern for a reason
    10:48 pm July 14, 2015 Permalink

    I’ve read several of your posts and kept my comments to myself…I just can’t do it this time. First, you’re trying to pursue a career in journalism…it’s the 21st century…it’s called SPELL & GRAMMAR CHECK!!! Next, remove all bias or actually know what you are talking about. I noticed a deep soccer bias if you truly knew what you were talking about and a slap in the face to basketball. How can basketball rate as 2 out of 5 for the mental game when you have to make quick decisions on the fly? Yes, in baseball you have to think about a lot but most often you have plenty of time to analyze the situation beforehand. Football complexity depends on the position. Quarterbacks in the NFL – YES!!! Wide receivers or running backs – not so much. I could go on and on but I won’t waste the space on here. I think you get my point.