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Better wrestling career on mat - DT or Cael? Who has more prestige?

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2 hours ago, Billyhoyle said:

Cael had the more notable career because he is the only ncaa wrestler to go 4X undefeated, so yeah he’d make that swap. But NCAA wrestling is meaningless compared to international. The US is not the major wrestling power in the world, and this was even more true when Cael was beating up on college athletes. So in terms of career success, I value the accomplishments done in a professional setting rather than age-group. Same reason I don’t care about Tim Tebow’s NCAA greatness when judging him as a QB. 

Gotcha, now I follow you, but... I dunno.  I agree that international success gives a useful lens to judge otherwise similar NCAA careers, but I also think folkstyle-freestyle differences make it harder to analogize NCAA-to-UWW to NCAA-to-NFL.  Take James Green, for example; his stout, stingy style makes him an absolute load on the freestyle circuit, even though he never sniffed an NCAA final.  But a guy like Zain is never going to be a world-beater in freestyle despite his NCAA success because so much came from his dominance on top.  This could be said about Cael too, who could ankle pick anyone but his par terre was nonexistent.  Because of those stylistic differences I think its fair to judge folkstyle success separately, and give it equal or near-equal weight as international success, and not sort of the junior varsity status you are giving it.  (Or just limit career comparisons to specific styles.)

Edited by BAC

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Cael had a great international career in the way Sandy Koufax and Gayle Sayers had great careers. Sandy and Gayle retired young, as did Cael, but thye are considered at the top of their sports because when they played they were great. DT has now equalled Cael's Olympic gold (though some folks here are now saying that Cael's was a fluke, which is nuts). The fact that Cael won his gold at age 23 and not at age 30 or so, makes him better, not worse.

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As far as college goes, Cael obviously had a better resume, but he never wrestled anyone like Kyle Dake. To make his teams, he never had people like Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake and J'Den Cox. He never beat Sazhid Sazhidov in the Olympics, and though it's not his fault Sazhidov got upset, it is very notable that Taylor is 3-1 against an all-timer like Hassan Yazdani-Charati 

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1 hour ago, NJDan said:

Cael had a great international career in the way Sandy Koufax and Gayle Sayers had great careers. Sandy and Gayle retired young, as did Cael, but thye are considered at the top of their sports because when they played they were great. DT has now equalled Cael's Olympic gold (though some folks here are now saying that Cael's was a fluke, which is nuts). The fact that Cael won his gold at age 23 and not at age 30 or so, makes him better, not worse.

Cael would have had the better career, but you don’t get credit for not competing. We can only judge on accomplishments. That’s why I say Cael was the better wrestler, but Taylor had the better career. 

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25 minutes ago, Billyhoyle said:

Cael would have had the better career, but you don’t get credit for not competing. We can only judge on accomplishments. That’s why I say Cael was the better wrestler, but Taylor had the better career. 

Taylor can actually turn people in par terre.  Has also beaten better competition. Actually has the common opponent win over Sharifov.

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I think many people are forgetting that Cael Sanderson won the spot for 5 world/Olympic teams.  Everyone remembers in 2003 when he took silver in NY, the 2004 games which he won, and his comeback in 2011 (5th).  He also made the world team in 2001 and 2002.  In 2001 he won the spot and worlds were supposed to be in NYC, but after the 9/11/2001 attacks they were delayed and relocated to Bulgaria. They ended up taking place over Thanksgiving and Sanderson opted to focus on his NCAA season.  In 2002 he won the spot again and Iran was hiring the world championships.  The US opted not to send a team citing security concerns. 

He wasn't far off making the team even back in 2000. He was competitive with Gutches and all the top guys.  Pretty sure he finished 6th.

Compare their careers up to their age 25 season (2004 for Cael and 2016 for Taylor) and it is Cael by a mile.  Maybe Taylor has caught him, but two medals this year is kind of fluky although it also makes up for 2020.  Would have been nice if Sanderson got to wrestle for two titles in 2003 to make up for 2002 or 2001...

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4 hours ago, BAC said:

If you asked Taylor if he'd swap his 2018 world gold to have been a 4x undefeated NCAA champion (including 4 Hodges), with all else in his career staying the same, do you think he'd take the deal?

I'd think that's a VERY small price to pay.  And once you make that swap, their careers are essentially identical, no? 

I dunno.  I expect each man would not trade their career for the others.  If winning one more World Gold was that important to Sanderson he probably would have competed between 2004 and 2011.  I don't expect he would trade his extra NCAA titles, Hodges, ect for it.  He didn't have to trade those to go try and to get it in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, or 2010 and he chose not to. 

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25 minutes ago, Fishbane said:

I think many people are forgetting that Cael Sanderson won the spot for 5 world/Olympic teams.  Everyone remembers in 2003 when he took silver in NY, the 2004 games which he won, and his comeback in 2011 (5th).  He also made the world team in 2001 and 2002.  In 2001 he won the spot and worlds were supposed to be in NYC, but after the 9/11/2001 attacks they were delayed and relocated to Bulgaria. They ended up taking place over Thanksgiving and Sanderson opted to focus on his NCAA season.  In 2002 he won the spot again and Iran was hiring the world championships.  The US opted not to send a team citing security concerns. 

He wasn't far off making the team even back in 2000. He was competitive with Gutches and all the top guys.  Pretty sure he finished 6th.

Compare their careers up to their age 25 season (2004 for Cael and 2016 for Taylor) and it is Cael by a mile.  Maybe Taylor has caught him, but two medals this year is kind of fluky although it also makes up for 2020.  Would have been nice if Sanderson got to wrestle for two titles in 2003 to make up for 2002 or 2001...

And if you compare all U.S. wrestlers up to their age 20 season, Cejudo and Snyder are the two greatest ever. That's why you compare their entire careers, and Taylor's has been better.  Cael chose not to continue competing to focus on coaching, and his record as a coach is outstanding.  His record as an athlete is incredible as well, but he has been surpassed by his protoge DT.

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9 hours ago, NJDan said:

DT is wrestling at a time when there is more money in the sport so he can compete longer.

But you can't fault Cael for not piling on the titles when he won he best title at an early age.

I was thinking along the lines of your first point: We're fortunate that sponsors/donors have rallied to make the profession more attractive and to have JB, Dake, and Taylor all making a living. 

The second point is a faulty presumption. We can't know about the competitive career of someone who didn't compete. 

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Just now, denger said:

I was thinking along the lines of your first point: We're fortunate that sponsors/donors have rallied to make the profession more attractive and to have JB, Dake, and Taylor all making a living. 

The second point is a faulty presumption. We can't know about the competitive career of someone who didn't compete. 

I didn't say he would have won more medals-- though it's pretty certain he would have. I just said you can't fault him for not winning more because he retired and did not compete.

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I think it's Cael for now. His impact on the sport is being realized today. 

Nom, I'm doing my best to NOT make coaching my argument, but I think Cael's influence matters in ways we can't compare DT to, not yet anyway. 

Edited by denger
typo

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7 minutes ago, Plasmodium said:

Yes and both had remarkable careers.  Taylor is still going strong, of course.  Seems like they divert attention from others, like this is a Penn State forum.

I root against PSU every year at NCAAs.  Yet I have to recognize the greatness of what they are doing.  Cael as a coach has taken USA wrestling to heights we have rarely seen. The question of coach vs student is an interesting one in terms of career success given that these are two of the greatest U.S. wrestlers ever.  

Edited by Billyhoyle

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59 minutes ago, NJDan said:

I didn't say he would have won more medals-- though it's pretty certain he would have. I just said you can't fault him for not winning more because he retired and did not compete.

Right, your "pretty certain" presumption is not an argument. He didn't win more medals than he did - full stop.

Again, I agree that it's Cael for now. I'm just taking issue with a rhetorical flaw - we can't know what would have happened along that path because Cael didn't take it. 

Edited by denger

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Well the Cael mystic is so legendary that even though DT has more World medals than Cael, I think right now most people would say Cael. I think people would have a hard time trying to separate his wrestling career from his coaching career, But DT is still pretty young and if he continues his success I think people’s perspective could change. If you look at Dan Gable (1 Olympic Gold, and 1 World Gold, plus his incredible college career), doesn’t have near the amount of World/Oly medals that Bruce Baumgartner, John Smith, Dave Schultz, and Jordan Burroughs have, but pretty much everyone knows of the legendary Dan Gable. Jordan Burroughs in my opinion is practically of a similar stature. I think that Burroughs is incredibly popular with today’s fans, wrestlers and the media that covers our sport. I think Jordan Burroughs obviously helped his image with his analysis during these past Olympics. 

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12 hours ago, nom said:

@headshuck- pls don’t mire this down.  I’d like to hear actual perspectives on a tricky choice.  Comparing Cael and DT helps to take some of the school fandom / bias out of equation.  

Cael went to ISU

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It's fascinating psychology.  Saw many on these boards say how little college wrestling means when looking at total resume ... but few here saying it. I'm curious to see more Penn State fans chime in.

I think, in general, going out quickly on a high note maintains that air of amazement.  Keeps that prestige factor so high.  I think the combo of hitting such a high note in college, quickly on hitting the highest note on the world stage, and then poof .. step out of competition ... makes Cael's (and Gable's) perceived prestige so high.  Even higher than someone with an Olympic gold, world gold, and a world silver.  Psychology is interesting.

For me, I would but Cael's full on the mat resume over DTs as well.  I do value reaching such as high, and unique, pinnacle in folkstyle.  But I'm not sure when I'd switch to DT.  Perhaps just one more world silver or gold and I'd switch camps.  No hard logic to it.  

Regarding prestige -- I'm really not sure about this one.  The fact that we have so many other gold medalists right now seems to somehow hold DT back from the level of prestige Cael had.  Again, psychology is interesting.

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Taylor went something like 2-24 against top flight domestic competition before making a world team. Cael WAS the domestic competition before he abruptly retired in his prime. Then he came back essentially on a bet with his team, at 32 years old and seven years retired, and still finished in a medal match. Folkstyle does not matter - there is a college board for people who want to argue age group relevance but the Tim Tebow comparison was perfect. DT should be glad that Cael retired for both his career progression and to also even have the opportunity to be included in this conversation. Cael Sanderson is the most important person to USA Wrestling since Dan Gable and we are all better for it.

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21 hours ago, Billyhoyle said:

I root against PSU every year at NCAAs.  Yet I have to recognize the greatness of what they are doing.  Cael as a coach has taken USA wrestling to heights we have rarely seen. The question of coach vs student is an interesting one in terms of career success given that these are two of the greatest U.S. wrestlers ever.  

Clearly the best program over the past decade.  But I do not see how it has taken the  " USA to rare heights."  Is DT the only PSU world medalist?  This is despite the fact that Verkleeren, Zain and Mark Hall have age group golds.  

"But the NLWC had four Olympic medalists!"  Well, Gilman and Snyder both had world medals prior to NLWC.  I will admit that Gilman looks much improved... but no one was saying that when he was losing to Zach Sanders. and Seth Gross within the last year.

NLWC is doing great, but I wouldn't put it all the USA success on Cael.

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8 minutes ago, AHamilton said:

Clearly the best program over the past decade.  But I do not see how it has taken the  " USA to rare heights."  Is DT the only PSU world medalist?  This is despite the fact that Verkleeren, Zain and Mark Hall have age group golds.  

"But the NLWC had four Olympic medalists!"  Well, Gilman and Snyder both had world medals prior to NLWC.  I will admit that Gilman looks much improved... but no one was saying that when he was losing to Zach Sanders. and Seth Gross within the last year.

NLWC is doing great, but I wouldn't put it all the USA success on Cael.

The NLWC has all those Olympic medalists and you are dogging them? Tough crowd!

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