Nobody during his time periond (mid 80s to early 90s) even came close to what Jackson could provide. A non-steroid body of absolute muscle combined with speed that hasn't been seen again. Jackson set the 40-time record at the NFL combine in 4.12 seconds. It hasn't been broken.
The guy was a great person by all accounts and a horrific hip injury ended what was sure to be a hall-of-fame career in probably both baseball and football. Still the people that saw him play rave about how he played and what he was: A two-sport comet that burned his way through the competition.
And we'll never have somebody like him again. Why? You ask. Athletes are getting better all the time right? There's bound to be another one to come along, right? Jackson was perfect for his time and what sports were at the time. Things have changed, however, and you just won't get a Bo Jackson kind of person anymore.
(Get a Bo Jackson jersey here.)
1. Steroids - If Bo Jackson were playing today, we'd just assume he was on steroids. The mystique of being some freak of nature would be gone. He'd just be another athlete we'd assume is juicing.
2. 24-hour media - ESPN and sports blogs would no doubt dispell the myth of Jackson. Much like Lebron is dissected today, every public misstep by Jackson would have been blown up. Just the pure pleasure of watching him play would be distorted and we couldn't watch him dominate without 30 different sub plots.
3. Impossible to do two sports - It was incredible that he did it in the 1980s. Now? Teams pay to much, demand to much and the athletes are a lot better in both the MLB and the NFL. Jackson would get beat up during the football season. He probably wouldn't put up the numbers he did against the better pitching of today. Our professional sports have just gotten too nuanced for an athletic beast like Jackson to come in and dominate.
4. Probably couldn't rate him on Madden - Believe me, I've made myself in Madden and bumped up all the stats to 99. Still doesn't compare to Jackson on Super Bowl.