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He's saying that a player's proximity to your lifespan doesn't make that player better in any objective sense. Which is correct.
I don't necessarily think that one type of game was obviously more demanding than another. This modern game requires more dedication from it's athletes, demands that they stay in peak physical form later into their careers. The old game was one where, as a defender, an offensive line could attack your knees while you were engaged while your man tries to gouge your eye out. They had their unique difficulties.
Which is why these comparisons are so tough. If you took either one of these guys in their primes and just dropped them into a different era, they both would likely look confused and out of place.
Look at that player's dominance and profile in their own era of football. Nothing more, nothing less. I know many of us weren't alive to see them play, but that doesn't render us incapable of understanding their place in the history of the game.