Who is the best team of all-time? The 1927 New York Yankees? No.
The 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins? Doubt it. How about the 1980
USA Olympic hockey team that produced a spine-tingling, goose-bump
filled miracle on ice? Close, but not quite. All those teams earned
the right to be mentioned among the best ever assembled, but only one
can be called the greatest.
Navy Seal team 6 staked their claim as the best team of all-time after
their daring mission in Pakistan on Sunday night. Through the cover of
only darkness, this squad had one of the toughest assignments in the
history of our country. Their task: capture or kill the number one
terrorist in the world.
Before we get to their defining moment, let's rewind the tape and
see what defines Navy Seal team 6. They became an expansion team
back in 1980 after the debacle in Iran that saw a rescue mission end
in tragedy and embarrassment as the United States tried to rescue
the hostages taken by Ayatollah Khomeini, another despicable leader.
Navy Seal team 6 became the elite of the elite. They are so secretive,
the government doesn't even admit they exist. They are "black operatives",
who work outside of international law and do not have any records
on the premise that if they are ever captured or killed, the government
will not claim them.
They are the best trained and conditioned people in the world. Navy
Seal team 6 can do an Ironman for breakfast, an Ultra-marathon
for lunch, and conduct an underwater demolition for dinner in 58
degree water with nothing but shorts on. Pressure? They are addicted
to it like most of us crave Facebook. Stress? Navy Seal team 6 laughs
in the face of it.
This all-guts and no glory squad consists of people who were high
school, college, and even Olympic stars. But you'll never hear about
their accomplishments or see their names in the sports section of
USA Today, because they don't really exist.
But they existed on Sunday night, didn't they? Their mission to hunt
down Osama bin Laden went so smoothly that we forget how it could
easily have gone wrong. Just look back at the rescue mission in Iran in 1980
when eight members of the military were killed when two helicopters
collided. Iran paraded the disaster for the entire world to see. I'll never
forget the gruesome image of a charred soldier on the cover of Newsweek.
It was a dark moment for our country and then President Jimmy Carter,
a fiasco that defined his legacy as the commander-in-chief of the United States.
The covert operation in Pakistan could have gone the same way. Navy
Seal team 6 didn't really know what they were getting into. Oh, the
intelligence told them bin Laden might be in the compound, but then
again, that great intelligence team told us that Saddam Hussein and
Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. How'd that turn out?
This could have been one big booby trap. One that could've embarrassed
our country and doomed President Obama. That compound could
have been rigged with explosives that could've turned bin Laden's house
into a tomb for Navy Seal team 6.
But thanks to 24 brave members of Navy Seal team 6, it didn't. After
a long helicopter flight, they were dropped down into bin Laden's
compound. They were on closing in on the biggest prize in the world,
or so they thought. Team 6 didn't really know if bin Laden was actually
even there, they were just following orders. The mission proceeded
and the Team 6 engaged in a fire fight that saw them eliminate everyone
standing in their way.
When they arrived to the top-floor of the compound, it was bingo,
bin Laden was in their sights. With a double-tap, they took him out,
eventually setting off the biggest celebration in the United States
since Team USA upset the Soviet Union in hockey during the 1980
Olympics. bin Laden was dead. Justice was served.
There will be no ticker-tape parade for Navy Seal team 6. They won't
be riding down the canyon of heroes in New York City. They will
return to their headquarters and train for their next daring mission
in anonymity. But Navy Seal team 6 has been burned in our consciousness
The next time ESPN counts downs to the greatest teams of all-time,
they better be sure to include Navy Seal team 6. When USA Today
releases their "team of the decade", Navy Seal team 6 should be at
the top of the list. And when we think of the most spectacular squad
to grace this earth, Navy Seal 6 should always be on the tip of our
tongues, and shouted out with great pride and enthusiasm.