The other day, Brett Favre said that Adrian Peterson is the best running back he's ever seen. He compared him to his childhood favourite Walter Payton, concluding that even Payton couldn't match Peterson's talent. ESPN reported on his comments with a tag along the lines of "Favre calls Peterson best of all time". Brett Favre specifically stated that he was comparing Peterson to everyone else he has seen. He never said anything about all time. Yet the association made is that the best this generation has seen equals the best all time. No matter that the restriction precludes consideration of Jim Brown or Red Grange or whomever else might be considered in this discussion (I honestly don't have nearly the knowledge of football history as I do of baseball history); if Favre says he's the best he has seen, he must mean the best of all time.
Imagine if John Smoltz were to say Albert Pujols is the best hitter he's ever seen. Would anybody confuse that for him saying he's the best of all time? Would we just forgo consideration of Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth or Ted Williams or Willie Mays and limit "all time" to the memory of this generation? As a baseball fan first and foremost, this kind of lack of historical sensibility is hard for me to fathom. Like I said, I really don't have the historical sense of football either, but is that normal even for fans who are football first? Maybe I just don't know the right fans, but it seems like it is.