We can rant till we're purple in the face about how, say, Panzer Dragoon Saga was the more innovative watershed title in terms of gameplay, worldbuilding, storytelling, visual design, music, etc. but Final Fantasy VII did open the floodgates for more prolific console JRPG releases outside of Japan (remember how much we complained about all the good 16-bit titles staying in Japan?) I think a lot of people dislike FF7 because it let "mainstream kiddies" into the formerly elite/exclusive RPG club. Heck, it was watching a friend play FF7 that made me want to play "interactive anime" and since I only had a Genesis at the time, I cut my teeth on Phantasy Star.
In much the same way, a lot of people can rant all they want about how Nirvana is a worse band than Mudhoney, but Nirvana ended up the vanguard who heralded a drastic change in mainstream musical movements. I would agree that Mudhoney is a better band than Nirvana, but Nirvana did turn me onto that stripped-down, raw music and from there I delved deeper.
So happy anniversary FF7. Love you or hate you, you've earned your place in the annals of gaming history. After all, the RPG market pre-FF7 is quite drastically different from the RPG market post-FF7, so it does mark eras, ya know?