Yesterday, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced that 2014 will be his final season. After what will be 20 years in pinstripes, No. 2 will hang up his cleats for good.
The news generated all sorts of reaction, both inside Major League Baseball and outside the game, almost all of it positive. Praise for Jeter poured in from every corner, from all sorts of people.
Why? Because he’s unique in today’s professional sports world. Jeter possesses three traits that are almost unheard of nowadays.
First, he’s a sure-fire Hall of Fame inductee. That can only be said for a handful of players, with even fewer being automatic, first-ballot HOFers.
Second, he played his entire career with one team. In a day and age where free agency sends players bouncing from team to team, especially at the end of their careers, Jeter will have spent two decades playing just for the Yankees.
And finally, he’s respected by everyone, even his opponents. Even in Boston, it’s tough to find someone who has a negative thing to say about Jeter.
This combination of traits doesn’t exist very often, in any sport. But it has occurred a few times in the NFL.
cover32′s Buck Stanton came up with a list of the 10 players who not only pass “the Derek Jeter test,” but are the best examples of it in NFL history. They are Hall of Famers. They played their entire careers with one team. And they are universally respected. They are the true icons of the game. To find out who made the list, click here.