Latest Top 100 rankings raise eyebrows

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The players have spoken.  According to the NFL Network’s series of the Top 100 players in the league as voted on by the players, Browns tackle Joe Thomas, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez are all roughly equal.

(And the players complain about the job the media does with the Hall of Fame voting. Yikes.)

Thomas is arguably the best left tackle in football and he finished No. 43.  I assumed he would crack the top 10 or at least the top 20 in votes, but his low profile didn’t help him out.

Roethlisberger possibly was punished by other players for his off-field issues.  He comes in at No. 41, behind six other quarterbacks.

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez came in at No. 46.  We’ll let Chris Cooley speak for us here:

“He is not the 46th-best player from 2010,” Cooley said on NFL Network. “He’s a year away from retirement if he doesn’t retire this year. So you are telling me that if they did a draft right now, he would go 46? If we do a Top 100 list of all time, he makes it. But not based on 2010.”

Cooley said Gonzo was the best tight end of all time.  That case can be made, but we’d argue he’s not even a top-ten tight end right now.

We know that rankings are meant to be argued with, but the methodology for this series seems faulty.  Players voted on their top 20 players in the NFL; and that was compiled to make a top 100.

That means Donovan McNabb, who came in at No. 100 in the rankings, was actually in someone’s top 20 list.  That means Gonzalez was in a lot of top-20 lists.

53 responses to “Latest Top 100 rankings raise eyebrows

  1. Hell, Donnie Boy voted himself as the greatest player in NFL History,not just the top 20 of this era, and Wilma agreed…….

  2. “Players voted on their top 20 players in the NFL; and that was compiled to make a top 100.”

    That actually explains a lot about how quizzical some of the results have been. It leaves the door wide open for a relatively small number of players to champion a favorite, and makes it easy for players to slide somebody off of their ballots entirely.

  3. NFL Films has been fantastic over the decades, but their recent efforts at these Top 100 lists (all time and current) have just been flat as a week old bottle of Fresca.

    The criteria they use and the people they have vote make for some questionable and half baked lists.

  4. Thank you … I missed how voting was conducted and have wondered about placement.

    They said Mangold is the highest-ranked center, which means Maurkice Pouncey didn’t make the list … for best players of 2010? Really? But that brings up another point … is this really about 2010? Most of the presentation on Santonio Holmes showed him in a Steelers uniform. His performance–and Ben’s–in XLIII had nothing to do with 2010. If this is about the best 100 players for the current season, how did Suh not crack the top 50? And though I’ve been a fan of his for years, why would McNabb make the list? 2010 was not his year.

    Players, like everyone else, vote their personal biases. It seems as though people were voting their all-time favorites as much as they were voting for the best of 2010.

  5. “Land Snark says:
    Jun 6, 2011 11:15 AM
    NFL Films has been fantastic over the decades, but their recent efforts at these Top 100 lists (all time and current) have just been flat as a week old bottle of Fresca.

    The criteria they use and the people they have vote make for some questionable and half baked lists”

    The players voted. NFL Films just produces the show.

  6. Some of the rankings of these players are not surprising at all. If you did a ranking of your own co-workers would you vote for the hated hard ass or the funny jokester at the water cooler.

  7. there seems to be a lot of inconsistency in these rankings.

    I suspect that this stems from a lack of clarity in the criteria. At times it seems like they are talking about the top 100 players in the game today based on the body of work over their career (Donovan McNabb likely got in for 5 straight NFC title appearances), at other times they are talking about the players production from 2010 alone (Brandon Lloyd isn’t a top 100 player currently, but he had an incredible 2010).

    Until they are clear about what this is really a poll of, there’s going to be a lot of “all over the place” in these rankings.

  8. Land Shark,
    I couldn’t agree more with you. I left that part out of my comment, but you said exactly what I was thinking.

    It’s a shame too, because I like this idea quite a bit, but their execution of it is terrible, and again, that all goes back to them not being clear on what this list is about: top 100 players that are currently in the league, based on their career so far; or top 100 players from 2010.

  9. What qualifies a WR to know who the best DT is? Sure they’re all football players but that doesn’t mean guys at one position know how good players at another position are. They’re going to go with names they know. And really, I bet a lot of players voted within their position more than elsewhere (i.e., I bet LBs voted for more LBs than other spots, etc.).

    It’s an interesting list, but it stops there.

  10. Roethlisberger is not ranked too low. He missed 4 games last season and his team still won without him. This is a list of the top 100 of the 2010 season, right?

    Also ranking him lower than 6 other QBs should not surprise anybody.

    Manning, Brady, and Brees are all obviously better passers and team leaders. Aaron Rogers is arguably primed to pass all three as the best QB in the NFL in the next few seasons. Philip Rivers is among the top 3 statistical QBs the last few season, at times with a bunch of nobodies catching the ball. The top 5 QBs in football are pretty easy to name, and Roethlisberger doesn’t belong in that discussion.

  11. I haven’t seen many Browns games, so I can’t say how good he usually plays. But the only time I have seen him play in person was last year at Jacksonville. In that game, he worked routinely but journeyman end Jeremy Mincey. He didn’t look like the best tackle in the NFL.

  12. Not only is this top 100 faulty it is brutal to watch – one player profiled for 4 minutes followed by 5 minutes of NFL only commercials for an hour.

    Way too many skill guys, heavy on offense and a lack of respect for playoff performance. Too many high profile guys like Romo (who went 1-6) and veterans who are hanging on for championship/pay checks seem to over populate this list.

    ESPN is doing a much better job with their position power rankings

  13. I’m a Ravens fan and I still think Ben should be higher on the overall list. I think his placement among quarterbacks is right though, at least when evaluating on whether a quarterback can be the reason for his team winning, by himself.

  14. I think I’m going to stop watching the NFL Network until they show something during commercial breaks other than that damn bus commercial and that damn chick-clothing commercial.

  15. I agree with ottomanismydog about the ESPN ratings being much better. They rated Joe Thomas the #9 best offensive player in the NFL.
    @shackdelrio: The Jacksonville was the worst game the Browns played last year and Thomas didn’t have a very good game that day, either. It happens.
    Frankly, this whole rating scheme is flawed. How do you compare a LT with a QB with a DT with a CB? It would make much more sense to rate the current players against others in their position, or at least in their catetgory (OL, DL, QB, etc). Then you might be able to come up with the best 5 (or even 10) at each position or category. This scheme doesn’t make much sense and it’s the reason that a Joe Thomas doesn’t end up being recognized as one of the top 2 or 3 OTs in the game today.

  16. Putting Donovan McNabb on the list is downright offensive. Seriously, I could name 10 QBs who didn’t make the list that I would rather have.

    Schaub, Sanchez, Cutler, Garrard, Hasslebeck, Eli Manning, Cassell, Bradford, Fitzpatrick, Orton. Add an injured Stafford and you have 11.

    So there.

  17. “This is a list of the top 100 of the 2010 season, right?”

    No, it supposedly a list of the top 100 for 2011. Whatever that means.

    “The top 5 QBs in football are pretty easy to name, and Roethlisberger doesn’t belong in that discussion.”

    Well, that’s silly. You might disagree, but to pretend that there’s not ample room for debate that he’s among the top five quarterbacks in the league is absurd. I would say that naming the top six quarterbacks in football is fairly easy (save it, Vick supporters), but that ordering them is anything but.

    Prior to this most recent episode, NFL.com posed the question of how to order the remaining seven QBs (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8201e088 /article/brady-manning-separate-themselves- from-games-best-qbs). The six respondents placed Roethlisberger in every slot from second to sixth.

    After this episode, they posed another question (to a lot of the same people) about the best quarterback of the 2004 class (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/ 09000d5d8202e292/article/no-contest-big-ben- is-the-class-of-qbs-drafted-in-2004?module=HP_cp2) and the five respondents picks Roethlisberger unanimously.

    So, clearly your sentiments are far from universally held.

  18. Joe Thomas is probably my favorite linemen in the league.

    He is pretty low key guy rather going fishing then seeing where he would get drafted.

    Playing in Cleveland probably helps him stay low key.

  19. All of this because there is no new CBA and there is nothing else going on. Get a deal done already, no one cares about the top 100 players from last year!!

  20. The list clearly seems to have a bit of an identity crisis. They want to include the players that are best right now, but many players seem to be making the cut based on past accomplishments. McNabb is the best example. Definitely a great player, but right now, I think most teams would rather have Schaub, Cutler, or Eli, three guys that didn’t make the list. Cooley’s quote about the draft is a little misleading though. If we were drafting, we’d be thinking about a player’s longterm potential. This list clearly is labeled as the best players of 2011. If someone is going to have a killer year this season and retire, it shouldn’t change their ranking.

  21. I would say the article’s title is a big understatement, but seriously the list is a big joke

  22. Why is Chris Cooley talking like he belongs in that list? Cooley doesn’t belong on that list for 2010 at all. I have him for quite a while on my fantasy team so I watched him up close. He did not show up. He shouldn’t even be speaking at all about this list.

  23. Not only was the voting system flawed, but the question itself wasn’t very clear.

    This list should essentially be an extension of league MVP. Who should the top 100 candidates be for the award, if it went that far.

    Some players looked only at 2011, some considered entire careers (and even most of the presentations are about performance in prior years), others are based on upset for future years. There’s no clear criteria, which was part of the issue with the all-time top 100 list.

  24. This list is confusing. It seems taht some players voted for the top 100 of 2010, but this is clearly and mostly a ‘body of work’ list. At leat be consistent. McNabb in 2010??????

  25. Easily no bigger snub than ELI!

    “Okay people those interceptions that you guys are “whooing” about if you actually watched the game were 50% tipped balls off of our reciever hands and wrong routes….by recievers off the damn street….did he make some mistakes..hell yeah just like any other quaterback…but hat did get back to back 4000 year seasons with 35 tds…top 4 in NFL….among quaterbacks with Nicks and smith in and out of the lineup…not to mention a O-line banged up all year…meanwhile dree brees with only shockey being hurt last year full compliment of his recievers, gets similiar stats..is gonna get ranked top ten QB. So yeah…Eli got snubbed..”

    well stated my friend!

  26. JackLeone says: Jun 6, 2011 1:11 PM

    Why is Chris Cooley talking like he belongs in that list? Cooley doesn’t belong on that list for 2010 at all. I have him for quite a while on my fantasy team so I watched him up close. He did not show up. He shouldn’t even be speaking at all about this list.
    ———————————————————-
    That’s not cool man,… Cooley had the disadvantage this year of trying to catch passes from #100…

  27. ianwhetstone says: Jun 6, 2011 12:00 PM

    “No, it supposedly a list of the top 100 for 2011. Whatever that means.”

    Whatever indeed. “For 2011” is pretty vague.

    ianwhetstone says: Jun 6, 2011 12:00 PM

    “Well, that’s silly. You might disagree, but to pretend that there’s not ample room for debate that he’s among the top five quarterbacks in the league is absurd. I would say that naming the top six quarterbacks in football is fairly easy (save it, Vick supporters), but that ordering them is anything but.”

    He doesn’t have the career accomplishments of Manning or Brady, he’s never matched the statistical dominance of Brees or Rivers, and Rodgers already has a better set of signature post-season wins. The only thing he’s better at is shrugging off pass rushers. And don’t give me the rings argument, in 3 Super Bowl appearances (which were as much or more a result of the Steelers’ dominant defense) he’s thrown more INTs than TDs.

    He is a great QB, probably 6th best in the league. But he’s not on the same level as the top 5. At best he might edge out Rivers because of the sheer differences in their teams’ post season success.

  28. They need to have O-linemen vote for D-linemen, Corners vote for receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks voting Defense, and linebackers voting for running backs, quarterbacks, and TE’s ect divide it how you want, but vote strength against strength.

  29. If Maurice Jones-Drew isn’t on the list, I’m going to pop a blood vessel. I should probably call the paramedics now

  30. “He doesn’t have the career accomplishments of Manning or Brady”

    I suppose that depends upon which accomplishments you’re talking about.

    “he’s never matched the statistical dominance of Brees or Rivers”

    Spare me. How I wish I didn’t live in the age of fantasy football.

    “Rodgers already has a better set of signature post-season wins.”

    I’m not sure how you figure that, exactly.

    Even if I were to accept each of your conclusions for being valid individually–which I don’t–all you’re doing is picking and choosing different sets of criteria to compare different groups so as to prefer the outcome of your choice. Anybody could do that, in either direction with pretty much any of those guys by Brady.

    I’ll just say that I disagree, and leave it at that.

  31. “Clady is clearly the best pass protector, but Thomas is the best overall offensive tackle.”

    I would take Thomas as a pass protector over Clady, ten times out of ten… to say nothing of the difference in other aspects. I’m not sure where all of the love for Clady comes from. He’s a good player, but Joe Thomas he ain’t.

    Jake Long is also head-and-shoulders better than Clady.

  32. shackdelrio says: Jun 6, 2011 11:26 AM

    I haven’t seen many Browns games, so I can’t say how good he usually plays. But the only time I have seen him play in person was last year at Jacksonville. In that game, he worked routinely but journeyman end Jeremy Mincey. He didn’t look like the best tackle in the NFL.
    ____________________________________
    I could be wrong but I think your team has a coach who used to be on Cle the previous year and he helped break down the Browns’ protection schemes with his inside knowledge. Players still have to execute and coaches still have to adjust but that is a pretty big advantage to be able to use.

  33. This is all opinion based so I find it really hard to say anyone is right or wrong.

    That being said, Cooley is wrong. the question wasn’t who would you draft if there was a draft. So it really doesn’t matter how old or when a player might retire. Personally I would have both T.O. and T. Gon. on my top 100. Funny thing is, Cooley would not make it.

    The only problem I would have is letting the players vote on this. I think it would be a better list if you had writers or coaches do the voting, or even ex lawyers who run football websites =-p

  34. ianwhetstone says: Jun 6, 2011 2:44 PM

    I’ll just say that I disagree, and leave it at that.
    ——

    Actually you said a lot more than that, in a needlessly condescending tone but without any real substance. I would say arguing with you is a waste of time, but you haven’t really argued beyond using a lot of words that basically amount to “Nuh uh!”

  35. we know pft loves the steeler, but if you were able to draft any qb today where would you draft big ben….6 is about right….i know for a fact i would take brady, manning bro’s, rivers, ryan, vick before him…i could go with another 3 to 5 that i would take as well before him so what’s your point?

  36. @shackdelrio

    “The players voted. NFL Films just produces the show.”

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious.

    My point is that the people they have voting on this, (i.e. players, media, ex-players) and the way the tally the votes makes for some questionable lists.

    Regardless of who votes NFL Films is the entity that puts it together. It’s not like the players or media were the ones to say, “hey let’s make a top 100 list of 2010 players.” It was NFL Films.

  37. This list is quite a joke. Welker is 24 spots higher than Greg Jennings? Really?? Jennings had 400+ more yards, more first downs, and 5 more TDs in the regular season, not to mention scoring two TDs in the Superbowl, but he’s 74th and Welker is 50th? OK then (eye roll).

    I guess Welker gets a 3x multiplier for being short and white, because there’s no freaking way he should be higher than Jennings on anyone’s list.

  38. Based off the number articles in the past 3 months I’d say Kolb has a good chance of sneaking into the Top 40.

  39. @acdc84…

    Perhaps it’s because while Jennings led the Packers in receiving TDs for 2007, Welker was the NFL receptions leader for 2007 and 2009. While Jennings, like Welker, was selected to the 2010 Pro Bowl, Welker was also a Pro Bowl selection for 2008 and 2009. And while Jennings made All Rookie team in 2006, Welker made All Pro for 2007, 2008, and 2009.

  40. I’ll just say this: after Antonio Gates went down Tony Gonzales saved my fantasy team. So I’ll back him, no matter how irrationally, until the cows come home.

  41. Eli Manning being left off this list in favor of Tony Gonzalez and Donovan McNabb shows just how big of a joke this whole list is.

  42. Or, could it be, based on the lofty expectations surrounding Thomas’ high draft status and storied career at Wisconsin the left tackle has failed to impress his peers who compete against him regularly?

    No, it must be that the players’ rankings are garbage.

    I’m going to go ahead and side with them.

    By the way: Peter King’s objective list of the current top-10 NFL players are as follows:

    1.) QB Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
    2.) WR Wes Welker (New England Patriots)
    3.) NT Vince Wilfork (New England Patriots)
    4.) ILB Jerrod Mayo (New England Patriots)
    5.) CB Devin McCourty (New England Patriots)
    6.) S Patrick Chung (New England Patriots)
    7.) OT Matt Light (New England Patriots)
    8.) WR Calvin Johnson (Another Team)
    9.) OT Sebastian Vollmer (New England Patriots)
    10.) QB Peyton Manning (Another Team)

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