Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Bored NFL Network: Top 100 Players

90 Players Down, 10 Players to Go
I have to give the NFL Network some credit. They have managed to fill a 24-hour network based on a sport in the middle of a lockout and have kept it on the tip of the American sports fan's tongue. Here is a list (god bless the list) of smart decisions made by the NFL Network (NFLN) since the lockout.

  1. They have empowered the great Dave Dameshek and given him a place to broadcast his unique brand of hooey and applesauce. 
  2. Although not a network decision, credit should be given for Jason LaCanfora and Michael Lombardi appearing on The Sports-Casters. 
  3. The all-day Hard Knocks marathon is going to fill my DVR and annoy Miss. Caster on the July 4th holiday. 
  4. They have aired football games. We miss football, and the NFLN has filled that void as best as they can with the Canadian Football League and the Arena League. Not to mention the America's Game specials, the NFL's greatest game series, and other NFL related programing.
  5. Last but not least, the NFLN with the help of the "players" have created this list that has been debated and talked about on podcasts, television shows, magazines, and any place where sports is discussed and debated. 
My number one gripe about the list is the lack of a well defined criteria. Did the players vote on career achievement? Was the voting based on play during the 2010 season?  Did the players give bonus points to their college teammates and best buddies? How many players voted? How did the players get ranked?

I think the NFLN was smart to leave off the criteria. The lack of a criteria has helped stir the debate. Here is my list of complaints about the list from 100-11.

  1. How did Donovan McNabb make the list? Donovan McNabb was a terrible quarterback in Washington last year. If this is truly a list of the top 100 players of 2011 as the banner above claims then McNabb should appear somewhere in the top 500. He isn't anywhere near a top 100 guy at this point of his career. 
  2. Why is there a fullback on the list? Vonta Leach is a good player, but he isn't a top 100 player in the league. Michael Lombardi made a great point on The Sports-Casters last week when he mentioned that when Leach is in the game it's easier to double Andre Johnson. A fullback?
  3. Aaron Rodgers should have a spot in the top 10. He was the MVP of the Super Bowl last season. 
  4. Ray Lewis still makes an impact on the field, but he was not one of the top ten players last season and he won't be one of the top ten when the next season begins. He is a great leader and is well respected. I am not surprised he is in the top ten. I just don't think he should be.
It is pretty obvious who the ten remaining players are, and I want to rank them two ways. First,

How will the players Top 10 List shake out (My best guess):
  1. Tom Brady
  2. Peyton Manning
  3. Ray Lewis
  4. D. Revis
  5. Drew Brees
  6. Ed Reed
  7. Adrian Peterson
  8. Andre Johnson
  9. Troy Polamalu
  10. Julius Peppers
If I was to rank the 10 remaining players, I would rank them like this:
  1. Drew Brees - He is my guy. I have watched every game he has played since he joined the Saints in 2006 and he has made all of my NFL dreams come true. He has to by my #1 guy. 
  2. Tom Brady- If Drew Brees wasn't my guy, I probably would have put Brady at #1. The thing about Brady is that he does it with an almost anonymous offense. The average fan knows Randy Moss and everyone that plays fantasy football knows Wes Welker. The average football fan would have trouble naming any other players that Tom Brady has thrown passes to.
  3. Peyton Manning- The NFL is a QB league and if it was my list (see below) the top four players on the list would be quarterbacks. You have to go all the way back to 2002 when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl to find a team that did so without one of the leagues best quarterbacks. 
  4. Revis- If you watched Hard Knocks last season you got to see what a team looks like when their best player is M.I.A. Revis takes away half of the field from the opposing offense and he never seems to get beat. I think Randy Moss beat him deep during Kickoff Weekend last year, and I can't remember another time.
  5. Adrian Peterson- Adrian can dominate a game. He also stopped fumbling last season and that has only increased his value. I think he is still an accending player. He hasn't had his best season yet. If you punt the ball to the Vikings with three timeouts in your pocket and need a stop to get the ball back, that punt was a terrible idea. Adrian is going to close that game out. He is the Mariano Rivera of football. 
  6. Ed Reed- Reed is awesome because every time he touches the ball he has a chance to make a house call, and for a defender, he touches the ball a lot. 
  7. Andre Johnson- This feels like it's the proper spot to rank the best receiver on the list.
  8. Ray Lewis- Lewis is a bad man and he still makes a difference on the field.
  9. Troy Polamalu- Troy had a tough time in the Super Bowl and played one of the worst games I can remember watching him play. 
  10. Julius Peppers- I know this guy makes a lot of money, and I know he is a good player, but he wouldn't make my top 10. 
Here is my list of the top 10 Players of 2011:
  1. Aaron Rodgers- I am going to be an honest fan. The list is called the top 10 players of 2011. Aaron Rodgers lead his team to the last Super Bowl and was the MVP of the game. I think that makes him the best player.
  2. Tom Brady- Tom Brady was the MVP of the league last season. He did it without Randy Moss and Wes Welker was best receiver. Who was his best deep threat?
  3. Peyton Manning- Manning seems like he is the QB and coach of the Colts. He is so smart and knows the game so well that he has a chance to score on every play.
  4. Drew Brees- Drew threw too many interceptions last year. He needs to clean up some of the mistakes if he wants to be higher on the list. He has more weapons than Brady and Manning combined. 
  5. Revis- The NFL is a QB driven league and that means the ball is in the air a lot. The rules make DB the hardest position to play. Revis has the position mastered. 
  6. Adrian Peterson- Like I said, he is the Mariano Rivera of the NFL.
  7. Chris Johnson- Johnson is like the big home run slugger. He is so fast that he can score on any touch from anywhere on the field. 
  8. Charles Woodson- Much like Revis, Woodson is one of the best at the hardest position on the field. Woodson maybe even makes more plays than Revis does. He can blitz, he forces fumbles, and he can return punts. 
  9. Nnamdi Asomugha- He is going to make some big dollars on the free agent market when the CBA is settled. If I was in charge of the Lions, I would back the money truck into Nnamdi's driveway and let his kids play in it. Then I wouldn't leave without him having a Lion's hat on his head.
  10. DeMarcus Ware- This guy is a scary athlete. He single handily ended the Saints undefeated season two years ago just six days after he was carted off the field with a scary neck injury. When you can get to the QB on a consistent basis it makes defense a lot easier to play in this passing league I have spoke of over and over. 
The Players List:

10. Julius Peppers (My Guess-10) - I am glad that the tenth best player left ended up tenth on the list.

9. Drew Brees (5) - What the hell? This is way too early for one of the three quarterbacks to come off the list.

8. Darrelle Revis (4) - I am shocked that the top rated CB on the players list is only as high as eight.

7. Andre Johnson (8) - I was one off with this one. Johnson is so physically superior to the guys that try to cover him that he can just dominate. I didn't think we would get a WR in the top 5.

6. Troy Polamalu (9) - I would have ranked Troy a tad higher if he didn't preform so poorly in the Super Bowl last season. The best game I have ever seen Troy play was the opening night of the 2009 season. Remember this pick?

5. Ed Reed (6) - Ed Reed and Adrian Peterson are the only players in the top five that I didn't think the players would have in the top five. I had assumed that Brees and Revis would be in the top five. That leaves a RB, a LB, and 2 QB's on the list.

4. Ray Lewis (3) - I thought he would be the highest rated defender on the list and I was right about that. I am surprised that the players have Adrian Peterson in the top three.

3. Adrian Peterson (7) - I was way off on this one. I am giddy about how much respect Adrian has been given by the players. I have been following Adrian Peterson's career since he was 17-year old and he is the one player that I know of that could have went from high school to the NFL. What do you think?

2. Peyton Manning (2) - I think the players got this right. Manning has and has had more weapons than Tom Brady and that is why I give Brady the slight edge. Think about it, Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark, and Reggie Wayne have all caught Manning touchdown passes.

1. Tom Brady (1) - Again, I think Manning and Brady is basically a 1A and 1B. It is splitting hairs. It's Pepsi vs. Coke. It's a tie. If their has to be a tiebreaker it's that Brady has just had less weapons. Manning was the 1st overall pick and Brady was the guy everyone doubted. The first season that Brady was paired with a world class wide receiver he broke all of the records.

I only correctly predicted three of the players exactly as they appeared on the players list. When I ranked the ten remaining players, I only ranked Julius Peppers and Andre Johnson the same as the players. That is how this list has been since day one. It has been a giant debate. It has been disagreeing most of the time and agreeing a few times. It has been a reason to turn on the NFLN every Sunday night just like we turn on NBC every Sunday night during football season. The list is over. That means it's time to settle this lockout, start signing free agents, and report to training came. I am ready.

Say goodnight Bells....

    1 comment:

    1. Kara Henderson:
      Please!!! no more Kreepy, Krepey Nasal Know it all Kara! she ruins the show NFL Total Access!!