Whose Signature Play Was Better: Michael Jordan or Jim Brown?

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

Arguably the two greatest athletes in NFL and NBA history—Jim Brown and Michael Jordan—share today, February 17, as a birthday.

What does this mean?

Other than some hopeful, proud, misinformed future fathers scheduling a surprise mid-May romantic vacation with their significant others, it means somehow we'll have to find a way to compare the two athletes that were born 27 years apart and played entirely different sports.

This year, we'll do that by remembering each player's signature play.

For MJ, we're going with his final play as a member of the Chicago Bulls.

After scoring a quickie to cut a Utah Jazz lead in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to one, Jordan came up with a clutch strip of Karl Malone with 20 seconds remaining. What he did next to Bryon Russell is history.

Thanks to his career spanning 1957-65, it's a bit more difficult to tab what exactly Brown's signature play was.

So we're going to defer to an expert on the Cleveland Brownsclevelandbrowns.comAccording to them, the Hall of Famer's greatest play wasn't even a run, but a reception.

With the ball snapped on the Browns' 23-yard line against the Chicago Bears in 1961, quarterback Milt Plum scrambled backwards 23 yards before finding his fullback behind the line of scrimmage. 

Brown did the rest for a 77-yard score. (Skip ahead to the 5:48 mark.)

Though I feel the combination of prehistoric sports coverage and lack big-game opportunities (which is also due to his career exisiting before leagues wantd as many playoff rounds/games as possible) probably does Brown in in the end, I've gotta hand this one to MJ.

Bigger stage. Bigger moment. 

Brown made it to the NFL Championship three times in his career, and his only victory was a 27-0 blowout. It's not necessarily Brown's fault, but Jordan had more opportunities to come up with the game-winning play when it mattered most.

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