And honestly, you would probably not have let him play the "old version of the game" if you could see it first hand -- you are underestimating the size and speed of the guys who played long ago, and you are discounting toughness to a point that, back then, would have been deemed dangerously foolish. Anyway, have a read:http://sportsillustrated.ca/vault/article/magazine/MAG1129606/index.htm
Yes indeed, read the article and focus on the second paragraph and hear the words as written in 1955. Now, think whether this writing would be acceptable in 2014. Sixty years represents a great deal of time; cultural aspects change over time.
So too, the game changes - all games change. Comparing football, baseball, basketball, and hockey across generations has widely been recognized as an exercise in futility in both sports radio and print media. Equipment changes, preparation changs, and style of play changes. The best we can do is argue for the best in a particular era - compared with others from that era.
Let's take this discussion back to now. It makes no difference whatsoever whether player A from the 1980s was better than player B from the 2010s - much less player C from 1955. Time moves forward and so too the game.