Elana Scherr: Defining the Greatest of All Time

Several small goats on a trampoline. Delightful. Additional goat-related internet searches bring up goats in trees and goats on people doing yoga. “Football goat,” though, brings up not pygmy-goat gridiron but a broad-shouldered man named Tom Brady who is not just good at football, he’s the Greatest of All Time. Ah, GOAT. I get it.

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What does it mean to be the GOAT? It’s more than math. The Toyota Corolla is the bestselling car globally, but it isn’t the greatest. At the track, is it the number of wins or innovations that make you the best? How do we compare someone like Barney Oldfield with Lewis Hamilton? Sure, Hamilton has won more races, but Oldfield did it back when race cars were made out of rattlesnakes and wasp nests.

“I think greatness is the ability to maximize the team around you,” IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden told me. I liked that idea, so I called more people, figuring that if I can’t define greatness on my own, maybe we could figure it out together.

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