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Tom Glavine (left), John Smoltz (center) and Greg Maddux (Photo Credit: Doug Mills/AP)

by MARK GREY

9.9.10

With Emmitt Smith joining Troy Aikiman and Michael Irvin in the Hall of Fame last month, and Chris Bosh and Lebron headed to South Beach in hopes of making history, it got us to thinking who is the best "Big Three" of all time. How many titles were won, how many seasons together, and how good each player was on there own were all taken in to account. Here are the results.

10. Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed - If it weren’t for a couple of bad Super Bowl performances, this threesome would be much higher on the list.  For four straight seasons these three dominated the NFL, racking up 49 regular season wins and four trips to the Super Bowl.  Kelly and Reed’s 65 touchdown connections ranks fourth all time for a quarterback and receiver tandem.  The Buffalo Bills no huddle offense lead by Kelly was so effective that the NFL was forced to change the rules just to slow them down.  All three were fixtures at the Pro Bowl and on the All Pro team in the early 90s.  Long before fantasy football made being an all purpose back popular, Thomas was the most complete back in football. He is still the only player to ever lead the NFL in yards from scrimmage four years in a row.  Kelly and Thomas have both already been enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Look for Reed and his 951 receptions and 87 touchdowns to join them soon.

9. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz - For almost an entire decade, the Braves had the best pitching staff in baseball.  In the 90s, the three combined to win 6 Cy Young awards while leading the Braves to 9 first place finishes in 10 years.  Maddux was a location pitcher, Smoltz brought the heat and Glavine was a mixture of both.  Maddux and Glavine are both members of the 300 wins club and locks for the Hall of Fame, while Smoltz’s 200 plus wins and 150 saves gives him a pretty good chance to join them.

8. Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish - These three Hall of Famers shared the same front court for more than a decade and led the Celtics to three titles.  In the 80s, Bird was named NBA MVP and the trio combined for 28 all star appearances.  Bird’s versatility allowed him to be a threat inside and out, making him of the greatest scorers in league history.  McHale had a wide variety of post moves that allowed him to become one of the most respected post players of all time.  Parish, aka the Chief, was the definition of consistency in the middle, not only helping control the glass, but also becoming one of the first centers to show the ability to run the floor.  All three players were named as one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players.



 

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Sam Jones was named to that 50 greatest team, too, as well as the Showtime trio at #4
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