It was undeniable. The speed, elusiveness and sheer nose for the end zone made Hester one of the most exciting players in the history of the game. Fast forward to 2013. Who is the best athlete in the game today?
One of my first choices would be that of Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. He brings the same excitement to the game that Hester brought a while ago: Speed, agility, elusiveness. Except, Peterson’s job is not only to make plays in the return game but on defense.
In an interview with Erik Kuselias airing on NBC’s Pro Football Talk, Peterson revealed his opinion regarding himself and where he’d rank himself among the league’s top corners.
“I definitely feel like I am the best corner in the game. I just want to continue getting better every week. I believe if I do my job to the best of my ability, which is going out there and not letting the opponent’s number one receiver to get off and have a big game, I believe we have a big opportunity of winning the ball game,” Peterson said.
“I’m pleased to have that opportunity each and every week to go against the offense’s best receiver. I believe that if you can do that week in and week out then there’s no question that you are the number one defensive back in the league.”
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was excited about the pronouncement, saying, “That fires me up.”
While there has been much speculation and criticism of Peterson’s statement, I don’t see it as a bad thing. Sure, there are other guys who are in the conversation like Richard Sherman, Darrelle Revis, Joe Haden or even ball-hawk Charles Tillman — each having their own niche when it comes to playing the position.
I don’t have a problem with his statement, simply because if I am a coach with a player like Peterson, I want him to think he’s the best. A guy with that kind of talent should think and play as if he’s the best in the game. It all has to do with confidence and motivation to uphold that title, and Peterson certainly deserves to think highly of himself.