Commentary

Champ Bailey has ceded the floor

A new wave of CBs -- Jammer, Flowers and even Cromartie -- are emerging as elite

Originally Published: October 14, 2010
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesChamp Bailey gets burned deep by Reggie Wayne in Week 3. This is becoming increasingly common.

It was 29 years ago this week that the NFL saw one of the most notable regular-season games in league history. Bill Walsh's San Francisco 49ers, a team that had won 10 games in the previous three seasons combined, were hosting a Dallas Cowboys squad that had played in back-to-back conference championship games.

Very few -- if any -- experts gave the 49ers a chance at winning the game, but they did more than post a victory. Their 45-14 shellacking of the Cowboys proved to Walsh's players that they were capable of beating any team in the league.

It also stands out because it was one of the quietest changing-of-the-guard moments in league history; no one saw that this game was the launching pad for one of the most famed dynasties in football history.

It comes to mind now because we might be seeing a similar quiet changing of the guard this season in the realm of AFC Pro Bowl cornerbacks. That may come as a surprise, since last year's AFC Pro Bowl cornerback trio -- Darrelle Revis, Nnamdi Asomugha and Champ Bailey -- could lay a claim to being maybe the most talented coverage triumvirate ever.

As true as that last statement might be when referring to the whole of their careers, there are multiple metric reasons that show these three aren't playing to the caliber of their reputations. In addition, there are three other AFC cornerbacks whose high level of performance could end up vaulting them over any one, or even all, of the aforementioned all-stars.


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