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Tom Brady named top player on NFL Network countdown

Tom Brady AP

Congratulations if you bet that NFL Network’s Top 100 Series would end before the lockout did.

The Top 10 players as voted by the players were revealed on Sunday night over the span of two hours, with another hour devoted to discussion.  You could watch all that or view the top ten players below, with our unsolicited comments under each one:

10. Julius Peppers, defensive end, Chicago Bears.

We agree with DeMarcus Ware; the Cowboys pass rusher should have been ranked higher. Still, Peppers belongs in the top ten.

9. Drew Brees, quarterback, New Orleans Saints.

This is a sign that fellow players still don’t quite view Brees in the same echelon as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. We’re surprised Brees wasn’t higher, although he didn’t have his best year in 2010.

8. Darrelle Revis, cornerback, New York Jets.

He’s the highest cornerback on the list.  We don’t think there’s much of a gap between him and Nnamdi Asomugha, but Revis belongs in the top ten.

7. Andre Johnson, wide receiver, Houston Texans.

A.J. has set himself apart as the very best at his position.  Hard to argue with this one.

6. Troy Polamalu, safety, Pittsburgh Steelers.

He’s coming off an uneven season despite winning the defensive player of the year award.  (Yes, there was a long stretch of good, not great play. Even Polamalu would admit it wasn’t his best year.) At his best, no defensive player impacts the game more.

5. Ed Reed, safety, Baltimore Ravens.

Reed ranking this high was a clear sign players considered more than 2010 numbers. Reed missed the first six games of the year; there’s just no way he was more valuable than someone like Revis last season.  We suspect his Miami buddies stuffed the ballot box.

Speaking of which . . .

4. Ray Lewis, middle linebacker, Baltimore Ravens.

He can make a case for the greatest linebacker of all-time.  His incredible renaissance the last few years puts his career at another level.

With that said, he might be the fourth best defender on his team at this point behind Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, and Reed. Instead, he was ranked as the best defender in the league. It’s a joke he’s 37 spots ahead of someone like Ben Roethlisberger.

3. Adrian Peterson, running back, Minnesota Vikings.

Peterson quietly had a MVP-caliber season in 2010; his teammates just didn’t help him.  We’re not sure any running back should be this far ahead of top-five quarterbacks, but Peterson is the gold standard.

2. Peyton Manning, quarterback, Colts.

On one hand, he is the Colts offense.  On the other hand, he threw for fewer yards-per-pass last year than he did since his rookie season. Manning didn’t have much help in 2010, but he doesn’t belong No.1 coming off a somewhat down year.

1. Tom Brady, quarterback, Patriots.

Based on 2010, there’s no doubt Brady deserves the top spot over Manning.  He led the league in touchdowns, touchdown rate, interception rate, adjusted yards-per-attempt, and quarterback rating. That all came with a young, ever-evolving group around him.

It’s safe to say he’s recovered from that torn ACL.

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118 Responses to “Tom Brady named top player on NFL Network countdown”
  1. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: Jul 3, 2011 9:59 PM

    In all candor, I’m a little surprised that Tom edged out Peyton. I’m a lot more surprised that Ray Lewis presented Tom Brady. That was a brilliant touch by the NFL Network.

    Super Bowl wins, regular-season records, postseason records, career highlights, and awards are all important, but my justification for ranking Peyton over Brady is because no NFL quarterback today has more control over play-calling or game planning with more resulting success than Peyton. (In fairness to Brady, I can’t see Belichick allowing Brady to waive off the punt team on fourth down, as I recall Peyton doing once with Dungy, for example.) That, coupled with Peyton’s unrivaled knack for come-from-behind wins and his quick release (on a par with Dan Marino’s) gives Peyton the edge.

  2. siggy00 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:01 PM

    “He can make a case for the greatest linebacker of all-time”

    No he can’t. He doesn’t cover backs one on one like Jack Lambert did.

    Ray also struggled a few years when his DL wasn’t as good (Including his memorable prime time game against the Steelers when he was crying about being double teamed when Dan Kreider was kicking his ass one on one).

    His DL got good again? All of the sudden he improved.

    Lambert was still making All Pro teams when his HOF teammates were long gone.

  3. drgfri says: Jul 3, 2011 10:02 PM

    Tom deserves to be #1, but I still don’t like the haircut….

  4. discosucs2005 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:02 PM

    If this list is for right now, why is Ray Lewis on it? I feel like even Troy Polamalu (my favorite player) and Ed Reed are also way to high.

  5. skoobyfl says: Jul 3, 2011 10:02 PM

    Aaron Rodgers didn’t make the top 10?? LOL. Brady will meet Dareus soon enough.

  6. shawon0meter says: Jul 3, 2011 10:03 PM

    I’ll take Tarvaris Jackson over anyone on that list

  7. vbe2 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:03 PM

    Totally worthless list, more worthless than the Pro Bowl.

    Of course going by this list does that mean that Brady is 100x better than the 100th player, McNabb?

  8. mswravens says: Jul 3, 2011 10:06 PM

    CONGRATULATIONS TO ED REED & RAY LEWIS on being recognized by your fellow players as the top two defensemen in the NFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. david7590 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:06 PM

    Bardy has his worst year yet in 2011, LOCK IT UP!!!

  10. tjacks7 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:06 PM

    Manning >>>>>> Brady

    Reed >>> Polomalu

  11. bkidd81 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:08 PM

    Like Tom Brady needed to make him feel better about himself…. “see” Gisele Bündchen

  12. ButkisMyDick says: Jul 3, 2011 10:08 PM

    Brady: 36 TD’s 4 INT 111.0 RAT
    Manning: 33 TD’s 17 INT 91.9 RAT

    How can anyone disagree? The players know better than anyone who is the best and they have spoken for now. :)

  13. deanvernonwormer says: Jul 3, 2011 10:09 PM

    Revis is the best defensive player. I watch a Jets game and don’t hear his name for 60 minutes.

  14. ravensfan4life52 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:11 PM

    2 ravens in the top 10 hell yeah. and they got Brady vs. Manning right. I liked Deion Sander’s Top 10 list better though.

  15. MVQB7 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:16 PM

    Lewis and Reed in the top five ? Aaron Rogers got royally screwed. Lewis and Reed are both great players dont get me wrong. But no way they should have been ahead of Rodgers. Brees should not have either.

  16. notamaster says: Jul 3, 2011 10:16 PM

    Three Hurricanes in the top ten!

  17. habsman says: Jul 3, 2011 10:17 PM

    In Tom Brady, we are fortunate to be seeing one of the greatest football players of all time. His stats are better than anyone else, and he plays 90% of his games out doors, (Remember last years Bears game in a raging snow storm?) Payton and Brees, as good as they are, play more than half their games in a controled environment. Some of the rankings by the players were debatable. But they got it right with TB.

  18. rc33 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:20 PM

    “…has more control over game-planning or play calling…”
    Pure conjecture.
    None of us knows if this is the case.

  19. captainwisdom8888 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:24 PM

    This is the Top 100 Players of 2011 and Aaron Rodgers not being in the Top-10 is unjustifiable. I believe the sting of Rodger’s and the Packer’s success last year was lingering in the minds of the players who voted this way…

  20. rugdog100 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:25 PM

    Congrats to Adrian Peterson for being ranked #3. An honor well deserved.

  21. mountaindont says: Jul 3, 2011 10:26 PM

    This can`t be a current list of the top players. To say Ray Lewis is still the 4th best player regardless of position in the game is a joke. Is Lewis the top defensive player in the game today ? No chance

  22. Lockout2011 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:27 PM

    Well deserved!
    Nice to see that the players gave him the honor.

  23. baggataway says: Jul 3, 2011 10:27 PM

    Stuffed the ballot for Reed??

    He missed 6 games & LEAD THE LEAGUE IN INTERCEPTIONS!!!

    Shocked you’re being so flippant about this one Rosenthal, you usually have a more even view on things…

  24. benh999 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:28 PM

    I am just appalled it wasn’t Chad Henne at #1.

  25. texasjetsas says: Jul 3, 2011 10:29 PM

    Revis has to be ranked higher than Johnson. Revis owns Johnson! Look up the stats.

  26. nepatriots128154 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:30 PM

    I’m biased, but Brady deserves that spot. Well done

  27. nepatriots128154 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:32 PM

    vbe2 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:03 PM

    Totally worthless list, more worthless than the Pro Bowl.

    Of course going by this list does that mean that Brady is 100x better than the 100th player, McNabb?

    ————————————————

    No, it just means that there are 98 players between Brady and McNabb, according to current NFL players.

  28. jw731 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:36 PM

    They should have had David Letterman announce this top 10……

  29. mswravens says: Jul 3, 2011 10:39 PM

    Clearly, the players list was something like – the top 100 players of all time that are currently playing. I agree that Ray & Reed are NOT the top two defensive players in 2011. I cant imagine anyone thinking they were…but on a career basis are they the top two defenders currently playing in the NFL. Hell yeah!!!

    On another note – I must admit that I thought the Steelers were all under-rated in this poll. I can only guess that’s because the players in general are tired of the arrogant obnoxious Steelers organization & fan base…but that’s just a guess.

  30. bhester1906 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:41 PM

    This stupid list wouldn’t be around if there wasn’t a lockout

  31. shieldsisland37 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:42 PM

    Rodgers should have been number 1. He led his team to a superbowl with no running game.

  32. ravensfan4life52 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:51 PM

    once again i love how pft goes out of its way to take shots at the Ravens.

  33. melonnhead says: Jul 3, 2011 10:59 PM

    So only three NFC guys make the NFL top 10, eh? Kinda makes you wonder how the NFC won the last two Super Bowls (and three of the last four).

  34. oxycode30 says: Jul 3, 2011 11:01 PM

    Methinks Urlacher or Briggs deserve Ray Lewis’ spot.

  35. benh999 says: Jul 3, 2011 11:02 PM

    The whole list is a farce without Jim Sorgi.

  36. piratebeard says: Jul 3, 2011 11:04 PM

    Adrian Peterson at #3? Give me a break! How many fumbles did he have in the ’09 NFC Championship game?

  37. chizzle20 says: Jul 3, 2011 11:06 PM

    “Reed missed the first six games of the year; there’s just no way he was more valuable than someone like Revis last season.”

    He missed the first six games and still led the league in interceptions hater. Yeah that’s not valuable at all…(insert roll eyes emoticon here )…

  38. mountaindont says: Jul 3, 2011 11:07 PM

    “This is the Top 100 Players of 2011 and Aaron Rodgers not being in the Top-10 is unjustifiable. I believe the sting of Rodger’s and the Packer’s success last year was lingering in the minds of the players who voted this way…”

    It`s fine with me. It`s kind of how the Packers whole season went. Nobody thought they would win the Superbowl with all the injuries. Clay Mathews was snubbed as Defensive Player of the year. McCarthy wasn`t given Coach of the Year, Yes I realize that award is decided before the playoffs but considering all the injuries he still should have won. All season long the Packers never trailed in a game by more then 7 points. That isnt great coaching ? SCOREBOARD !!

  39. halftermguv says: Jul 3, 2011 11:09 PM

    Look, I’m a lifetime Steelers fan who has seen Ray Lewis’ entire career and admit he deserves mention among the greatest LB’s of all time. But to name him in 4th place is a joke. Suggs easily outplayed Lewis in every game last year.

    This was a popularity contest not a measure of talent.

  40. essfjay says: Jul 3, 2011 11:10 PM

    i dont care what anyone says every fan would love to have Brady as their teams QB. & im not a pats fan.

  41. golonger says: Jul 3, 2011 11:13 PM

    siggy00 – please….Jack Lambert cannot hold a candle to Ray Lewis……..sorry loser squealer fan!

  42. stairwayto7 says: Jul 3, 2011 11:13 PM

    I guess Ray Lewis would kill someone if not in top 5! WHAT A JOKE!

  43. bleedgreen4life says: Jul 3, 2011 11:14 PM

    In my opinion, Andre Johnson should have been number 4. Also, I do believe Aaron Rodgers should have been higher than where he was being that Green Bay didn’t have a running game for the majority of the season and he won that superbowl thingy.

  44. msclemons67 says: Jul 3, 2011 11:15 PM

    There’s an interesting discussion happening on twitter right now. A lot of players are saying they didn’t vote in this and they don’t know anyone who DID vote.

    Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, Chris Harris, Chester Pitts, Jay Feeley, etc. etc. all saying they have no idea who did the voting.

    Of course Jay is a punter so he’s not really a football player… but you get he idea.

  45. jetsarestacked says: Jul 3, 2011 11:16 PM

    Tom brady is better than manning. Why? Really simple actually. How many times has peyton won a big road game when its cold outside or there is bad weather? Put tom brady in a dome and he puts up video game numbers as well. This is also why I have a ton of respect for big ben and aaron rodgers. They play most of their games outdoors and in the cold.

    Btw, I’m a diehard jets fan and absolutely can’t stand brady. He is a beast though no question.

  46. brintfatre says: Jul 3, 2011 11:20 PM

    “On one hand, he is the Colts offense.”

    I’m sure his team mates appreciate this kind of crap… glad Brady got #1. But there are plenty of players in the league right now who deserve #2 more than Manning.

    The guy has padded his stats by running up scores in the weakest division in football.

  47. Deb says: Jul 3, 2011 11:22 PM

    @Rhode Island Patriots Fan …

    You think Manning deserved the edge over Brady as the best player of 2010??? :shock: Hon, that’s taking objectivity to a ridiculous level. Although it’s obvious from the entire 100 that players voted on the body of work rather than the 2010 season, either way the top spot couldn’t have gone to anyone but Brady. And that’s coming from a Steelers fan who hates the Pats.

    These polls have no real meaning, but from a symbolic perspective, I liked the top six. How perfect that Polamalu and Reed, then Manning and Brady wound up side by side. As a fan of good, old-fashioned smashmouth football, I loved seeing the top five comprised of two tough defenders, a rock-em-sock-em running back, and the two best QBs in the league. Yeah, I’d have preferred the two defenders in the top five were Steelers, but I have mad respect for Ed and Ray. It’s all good.

  48. kom2k10 says: Jul 3, 2011 11:42 PM

    Okay, Brady had a better year in 2011, but I still think Manning is a better overall QB. I know the argument against me is 3 SB’s is greater than 1, but I’m going to address that as well…

    I have one question to anyone who believes this: Is the Tom Brady (over the past 5 years) BETTER than the young Tom Brady (during the first 5 years of his career)???…

    Of course Brady’s gotten better since he first came into the league! But if you believe in using the “Championships argument”, you’d have to say that Tom Brady has actually gotten WORSE as his career has gone on because the younger Tom Brady won 3 Superbowls and the older and more experienced Brady has ZERO rings!

    Is that really the case?? Is Brady really getting worse? NO! Brady’s defense in the post season has let him down over the past few years. Here are some stats to prove it…

    To give you a reference point, Peyton Manning’s Defense has been allowing about 22 points per game in the postseason during his ENTIRE postseason career.

    During the Patriots Superbowl runs, the Patriots Defense allowed only 17 points per game!! During that period the Patriots went 14-1.

    Over the past 5 games where Brady has “struggled” in the postseason (2-3 record), his defense has been giving up almost 21 points per game in the playoffs! Tom Brady didn’t get any worse, he just couldn’t lean on his Defense as much and it’s tougher to win in the playoffs!

    There’s some common themes here… Brady’s defense consistently stepped up in the postseason early in his career and the Patriots got 3 rings.

    Manning’s defense and running game stepped up huge in only 1 postseason (2006) and he got 1 ring.

    I know in some games, the Colts opponents may not score a ton of points on the Colts, but their Defense gives up loooong time consuming drives where Manning doesn’t even get a chance to score. In the last playoff loss to the Jets, Manning had only 3 possessions in the 2nd half and scored on 2 of them. An NFL team regularly averages 13 possessions per game…

    Both are great QB’s and I’d love to have either of them on my team, but overall…. I’d take Manning

  49. discosucs2005 says: Jul 3, 2011 11:50 PM

    @habsman

    “Some of the rankings by the players were debatable. But they got it right with TB.”

    I’m not disagreeing with Brady getting the top spot, but I think it’s pretty stupid to say that some of the rankings are wrong, but the one you agree with is correct. What you mean is, some of the rankings match your opinion, and some don’t.

  50. Little Earthquake says: Jul 3, 2011 11:51 PM

    Aaron Rodgers? If we’re going to put a Packer in the top ten, I’d go with Charles Woodson. None of the sexy stats, but how much game planning is shaped by his being on the field (by both the Packers and opponents)?

    This list, like all NFL circle jerks lists, is for stat geeks. I’ll agree that QB is the most important position and Brady/Manning are the best, but a lot of positions have greater impact than their stats indicate.

  51. wferg1121 says: Jul 4, 2011 12:09 AM

    I will say it again, Tom Bradys stat’s prior to 2007 is a fraud…
    If your offensive coordinator knows what the defensive play is, then you go to plays to beat the defense.
    You have to take into account spygate. The commissioner fined Kraft, Bellycheat + 1st round pick for a reason. He certainly didn’t do all that for spying on the Jets.. He was protecting the NFL from backlash over the superbowls, thats why he destroyed the evidence within 2 days. Peyton may have won a few more if the Patriots didn’t knock them out of the playoffs a few times prior to 2006.. Rumors of mic’d lineman to hear Peyton’s audibles… All those game winning drives by Brady could be bogus. 3 time Superbowl fraud.

  52. wojowbk says: Jul 4, 2011 12:11 AM

    Nnamdi Asomugha is better than Revis at everything.

  53. kilrb says: Jul 4, 2011 12:19 AM

    WHAT A JOKE!!!!
    Brady and Manning I can agree with. Breeze and Polamalu can I accept. But what had any of these other players brought to there team more than Aaron Rodgers has? Nothing! The Ravens are a team of has beens. There is not a one of them that should be in the top ten. Why the hell is Peterson on this list? I love watching the guy play, but where is the leadership? More importantly, where is the ring? The most insulting person on this list has to be Peppers! How many plays off does he take per game? Hell how many seasons has he taken off per career? Most importantly, the guy has brought no championships anywhere he has played!

    What a joke!

  54. packfaninpackland says: Jul 4, 2011 12:26 AM

    To: golonger at 11:13 PM

    “siggy00 – please….Jack Lambert cannot hold a candle to Ray Lewis”

    You’re right golonger, Jack Lambert has not killed anywhere near the amount of people that Ray Lewis has !

  55. samoanjungle says: Jul 4, 2011 12:45 AM

    Could the NFL Network milk this story any more?

  56. gimmeabruschi says: Jul 4, 2011 12:47 AM

    Brady has a far better W/L record than Manning.

    Brady has a far better playoff W/L record than Manning.

    Brady has 7 TDs and 1 INT in the Super Bowl, Manning has 2 and 2.

    Brady has 3 SB rings, Manning has 1.

    Brady has 2 SBMVP rings, Manning has one.

    Brady has a better career passer rating than Manning.

    Brady has a better career passer rating than Manning outdoors and indoors, both by a hefty margin.

    Brady throws an INT every 337 passes, Manning every 276 (TD % is a wash).

    The only thing Manning might lead Brady in is people’s half-assed “opinions”.

  57. nyjalleffingday says: Jul 4, 2011 12:58 AM

    Had to see this coming. Especially since the NFLN execs made this list, not the players. Brady is the only reason why the Pats are so competitive, he’s crazy good, definitely the best.

  58. steverkasi says: Jul 4, 2011 1:23 AM

    Lewis at #4 ? What must Patrick Willis be thinking ?

  59. youboettcha says: Jul 4, 2011 1:34 AM

    @brintfatre

    Weakest division in football? The Colts don’t play in the NFC West.

  60. kyleortonsarm says: Jul 4, 2011 1:42 AM

    Attack women
    Drop 37 spots behind a Ravens player

  61. endzonezombie says: Jul 4, 2011 1:48 AM

    Brady has evolved into the role that Pat fans accused Manning of accomplishing for years: a regular season stat man who chokes in the playoffs. Exolain to me how the #1 AFC seed with the genius coach and Top 1oo QB are one and done each year…

  62. trbowman says: Jul 4, 2011 1:59 AM

    Nmandi Asomugha not top ten?

    el oh el.

  63. goawayeverybody says: Jul 4, 2011 3:22 AM

    AP quietly had an MVP- type season last year? Um, really? You mean the season where he had his fewest number of touchdowns since his rookie year qualifies as an MVP-type season?

    Maybe if my profit margin goes down this year I can win the “Small Business of the Year” award.

  64. goawayeverybody says: Jul 4, 2011 3:26 AM

    Peyton Manning is surrounded by elite talent:

    Austin Collie who set NCAA records as a wideout
    Reggie Wayne who is a beast
    Dallas Clark who is an All-Pro caliber tight end

    and the list goes on and on……

    Face it, Colts fans, Tom Brady is simply way better than Peyton Manning.

  65. woodyg says: Jul 4, 2011 3:41 AM

    When the lock-out goes away, I hope all the silly & meaningless lists also go away ….. Although one more list would be nice ….. The top 10 of those players who made no lists at all …..

  66. mkdave23 says: Jul 4, 2011 3:42 AM

    “Reed ranking this high was a clear sign players considered more than 2010 numbers”

    If they wanted the guys with the best numbers, the list would have been top 100 of 2010. And to think that Reed’s ranking is the time to point this out is a head scratcher. Yes, he missed nearly half the season, but he also managed to lead the team in picks. Polamalu’s numbers have never been impressive, and you’re able to look past them to cite him as the defender that can impact the game most. Not something I’d agree with per se but I agree that he belongs in the discussion.

  67. snnyjcbs says: Jul 4, 2011 4:13 AM

    I am glad the NFL Network had the players do this. Now all the people that have said players should be involved in helping select for the Hall of Fame can finally shut up and axe that idea. The list is a JOKE for the most part, Ray Lewis last year was not even close to the Niners MLB.

    You put Revis across from Nnamdi like they dis Hall and Revis would be lighted up like a Christmas Tree. Revis is no Nnamdi just as Raquel Alexandra was no Zenyatta or as Easy Goer was no Sunday Silence. No matter how much the East Coast Media and Clowns tried to sell it. Same folks that tell us Paris Hilton is a Star lol.

  68. timegambit says: Jul 4, 2011 4:32 AM

    He’s #1 for this reason: He can decide to leave a steamer on his coaches headset and urinate on Goodell’s tulips and still be in a position of power with his super model wife.

    If my boss knew I had that kind of power he would retire tomorrow!

  69. fmwarner says: Jul 4, 2011 5:25 AM

    No Aaron Rodgers in the top 10 is a disgrace. And they’re right, DeMarcus Ware belongs in the top 10 before Peppers does. And I’m even an Eagles fan.

  70. ddjesus says: Jul 4, 2011 5:45 AM

    Weakest division in football? AFC south is solid… You must be thinking of the NFC west.

  71. jharmon64 says: Jul 4, 2011 6:58 AM

    You cannot argue Brady @ #1, period. He’s the best in the NFL, and it’s not even really that close.

    I’m a little surprised that Ray Lewis is top 10, seems like more of a ‘lifetime achievement’ recognition.

    Overall, pretty good list.

  72. watermelon1 says: Jul 4, 2011 7:29 AM

    REALLY PEOPLE?

    You all are so stuck in the world of FANTASY football. ONE good season, does not mean you are immediately the BEST in the league. You have to produce over time before you can be considered the greatest. Otherwise, we’d have Brandon Lloyd on this list! He tore it up last season.

    You all don’t think Ray Lewis is the best? Did ANYONE know who Clay Matthews was before this season? Same for Revis… did any of you know who he was before Rex Ryan got to New York? At least Revis has more than 1 solid season.

    The funniest was this quote: “It’s a joke he’s 37 spots ahead of someone like Ben Roethlisberger.”

    I’d LOVE that one explained. Roethlisberger doesn’t come anywhere close to Manning or Brady, or even Rodgers or Brees. And since Ray Lewis is on the level of those other guys…. Roethlisberger is nowhere near Lewis’s level either.

  73. dccowboy says: Jul 4, 2011 7:36 AM

    This list shows that the players do it pretty much the way the fans do lists like this, they vote for names, not performances. Ray Lewis at #4 is an absolute joke. Does anybody seriously think Ray Lewis is better than Harrison, Ware, Revis, etc? Seriously?

    Look at Ware 80 sacks in his first 6 seasons, if you look at Harrison, Dumervil, Lewis, Peppers, and look at their BEST 6 years (not their first), NOBODY comes close to Ware’s 80 sacks. Ware does it without anyone else on the defense putting up numbers.

    Last season the entire Dallas Defense had 72 sacks and QB hits, Ware accounted for 23 (32%) of them. He can cover as well, 66 times last season he was in pass coverage, allowing 63.6% completions and 3.9yds per catch (a total of 18 yards after the catch, 13 of those in one play). 63.6% completion rate would have ranked him higher than DeAngelo Hall (73.7%).

  74. lucky5934 says: Jul 4, 2011 8:02 AM

    A few responses to above posters:

    – notamaster says: “Three Hurricanes in the top ten!”

    And we are not even talking about America’s Most Wanted. It’s a big day for Cane fans.

    – brintfatre: “The guy has padded his stats by running up scores in the weakest division in football”

    Have you met the NFC West??

    – piratebeard says: “Adrian Peterson at #3? Give me a break! How many fumbles did he have in the ’09 NFC Championship game?”

    You’re right… we should take the outcome of ONE game at the end of the 2009 season to justify a top 10 spot in 2011. Every player has had bad games. Not an AP fan, but even that comment discredits your credibility.

  75. pappysarcasm says: Jul 4, 2011 8:15 AM

    The champs have been disrespected in this whole thing. …they wont forget!

  76. artvandelay187 says: Jul 4, 2011 8:22 AM

    Where’s Paul Ott Caruth on the list?

  77. jnbnet says: Jul 4, 2011 8:24 AM

    jetsarestacked says:
    Jul 3, 2011 11:16 PM
    Tom brady is better than manning. Why? Really simple actually. How many times has peyton won a big road game when its cold outside or there is bad weather? Put tom brady in a dome and he puts up video game numbers as well. This is also why I have a ton of respect for big ben and aaron rodgers. They play most of their games outdoors and in the cold.

    Btw, I’m a diehard jets fan and absolutely can’t stand brady. He is a beast though no question.

    =================================

    I know what you mean. I have been a Patriot fan for over forty years, which means I can’t stand the Jets…..however you have to give credit where its due. Its great to hate the Jets, like you hate the Patriots, but its cool to be able to enjoy watching great players without the blind hate many posters exhibit.

  78. MVQB7 says: Jul 4, 2011 8:50 AM

    Petersen doesnt deserve #3. Arian Foster had a much better season.

  79. mswravens says: Jul 4, 2011 9:01 AM

    I said it before…I’ll say it again so hopefully some of you who are so twisted over this list can enjoy the 4th of July…and Rosenthal and the other morons at PFT driving this mania should please take note:

    This was NOT a list of the best player performances in 2010. This was a list of the top players in the NFL who were playing in 2010. Regardless of intent, that’s clearly how it was voted.

    To all you Steelers fans who are bent over it – and Packers fans who are right to note that Rodgers had the best 2010 of any QB – understand that my Ravens produce more star players than your squad…but, judging by the scoreboard, you produce a better TEAM. We’re not far behind & I hope this is the year we get over the hump…but I’d trade Ray & Reed for your trophies any day of the week. So maybe that will calm you down…but it doesn’t change the fact that Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are Hall of Famers of a higher caliber than anything the Burgh has ever produced. Jack Lambert? Please…he had 2/3 of the career Ray had & 2/3 of the numbers…with a better supporting cast…he was 2/3 the player & person Ray Lewis is too.

    @Deb – you remain the most level headed objective Steelers fan on the planet. Happy Fourth of July to you & yours.

  80. mswravens says: Jul 4, 2011 9:08 AM

    On Ed Reed – actually, it is quite a condemntaion of Rosenthal that he does not recognize the impact Ed Reed had on the Ravens last year. I understand that Rosenthal is a Ravens hater. Fine. But to be this stupid really calls into question why anything he writes should be given any credit. Maybe it’s time for him to find a job he is more suited to perform.

    As several have noted – Reed led the NFL in picks, playing in only 10 games…and not at 100% strength in any of them. Look further & you will see that beyond his picks, the Ravens defense made a complete turn around after he returned – going from losing the turnover differential in the first 6 games, to winning it big…more than just his own picks, Ed affects the play all over the field. Brian Billick & another NFL Network studio announcer (cant remember who) have come up with something called “toxic differential” which measures both turnovers and explosive plays (+20 yds). Add the TOs & Explosives your team gets v. what they give up, and it’s a HUGE predictor of who wins the game. Over the course of a season, it’s the #1 correlation in a team making the playoffs over the last decade. The Ravens were getting eaten up in toxic differential until Ed Reed returned. I love all you haters calling him a has been. Yes, he HAS BEEN injured a lot. But when he plays, he is still an incredible force to be reckoned with and just a complete joy to watch play the game. He will be incredibly dificult to replace when he hangs up the cleats.

  81. mswravens says: Jul 4, 2011 9:21 AM

    On Ray Lewis – all you haters are funny…and your false accusations of murder are just so tired they don’t even register anymore. But what all you haters forget – and what probably hurts – is that Ray is the most widely loved & respected player in the game, by other players. Did you hear what Patrick Willis said last night? He is their Godfather. He is the guy all the young guys grew up watching play & modeled their game after. And he has returned their admiration by giving of his time without limitation…mentoring the Patrick Willis’ & Demeco Ryan’s…and yes, Ben Roethlisberger…and Ochocinco…and the list goes on & on. Did anyone read the ESPN article about Arian Foster? His highlight from last year, amongst all his amazing plays, was when Ray Lewis walked up to him after one run and said “I love how you play this game.” You all just simply dont understand how much this guy is loved & respected by current players.

    All you haters may not like Ray, and let your own hatred get in the way of objectivity. But amongst NFL players, Ray is simple loved & respected. He is an icon…and after Tom Brady & Peyton Manning, there really is no current icon held in higher esteem than Ray.

    And those of you who continue to try to find other linebackers in his class – (and I was born in Chicago & love the Bears, but am amazed that people even TRY to put the incredibly over-rated Brian Urlacher in the conversation) – you’ll never succeed…because you just don’t get the incredible accomplishment of playing FIFTEEN (15) years, just about every play, at MLB. And still playing at the highest level in the sport. Is he still #1? No. I think Willis is…but he’s still top 5, and that is simply amazing.

    …and by the way, I happen to know 1st hand that Ray has been training intensely with MMA trainers and is in the best shape of his life. Sorry, but if we have football, you have another year to watch Ray ply his trade at the top of the game, and further distance himself from Butkus, Lambert, etc…

  82. grpatriot says: Jul 4, 2011 9:39 AM

    Brady at #1 is a much better story! 6th round, 199 overall compensation pick. Beating out Drew Bledsoe. Three SuperBowls, 2 SBMVP’s and 2 League MVP’s.
    Tom’s window for additional Championships is still wide open. The defense must drastically improve soon…When it’s all said and done, I have to believe Brady should win two more!
    Remember in SB 42, Brady had the Patriots in the lead 14-10 with 2:33 left in that game. The defense went numb in the 4th quarter. The miracle catch and Hobbs blowing the coverage on Burris or Brady would have 4 already!
    That’s with a full year on IR in 2008…

  83. kingmiedus says: Jul 4, 2011 9:48 AM

    So you comment that there is no way this could be based only on 2010 for Ed Reed, citing his missed 6 games, but then you don’t mention the numbers he put up in the games he did play? 8 INTs is a pretty damn good season, but doing it in only 10 games is amazing.

  84. baggataway says: Jul 4, 2011 9:57 AM

    A few things about:

    RAY LEWIS:
    -Like every year, he lead one of/the most feared defenses in tackles.
    -EVERY player says he is the hardest hitter in the NFL, no question.
    -He elevates the players around him to play at their absolute best…guys like Adalius Thomas & Ed Hartwell left the Ravens as the “great” and sucked every game not next to Ray…that intangible combined with the rest make him the best.

    NMANDI ASOMUGHA:
    -He is better than Revis. They are close, but he’s better.
    -He plays in Oakland not New York, so he doesn’t get the attention.
    -He doesn’t give himself nicknames, talk about himself endlessly, or have a coach that talks about him endlessly like Revis, yet his unpronounceable name is a household name.

    PATRICK WILLIS:
    -There are only 2 other linebackers better than him: Ray Lewis & James Harrison.
    -He is still early in his career & will be the best LB in a year or so.
    -He plays in San Francisco so nobody gives him his just due.

    ANDRE JOHNSON:
    -He could easily be #1 on this list.
    -He is quiet & humble.
    -He is the best WR every year with the occasional sharing with Larry Fitzgerald.
    -If he talked to the media like other WRs do, we would constantly talk about where he lands on All-Time greatest list, but he doesn’t throw tantrums, start controversies, or have a reality show…he just plays amazing football.

    ED REED & TROY PALOMALU:
    -They are exactly where they should be on this list.
    -If you think otherwise, you don’t watch football.
    -The QBs that everyone is debating about which one is the greatest talk about 2 players they hate facing: Reed & Troy.

    BEN ROETHLISBERGER:
    -He is great when he’s out of the pocket.
    -He is amazing in the final minutes of a game.
    -He plays subpar for 3 quarters of football due to poor decisions that lead to fumbles & INTs.
    -If he played the entire game like he does in the final minutes, he’d be top 10 easily…instead, he’s where he should be in the 30s.

    AARON RODGERS:
    -He should have Brees’s spot on this list.
    -He had an awesome year and was the unquestioned leader of the Super Bowl champs.
    -I love Brees, but this year Rodgers was better.
    -His focus & drive reminds me of Tom Brady…in the coming years when Brady & Manning fade, Rodgers will stand at the head of the QB pack.

  85. CKL says: Jul 4, 2011 10:09 AM

    pappysarcasm says:
    Jul 4, 2011 8:15 AM
    The champs have been disrespected in this whole thing. …they wont forget!
    __________________________________
    Don’t worry dude. Were I a GB fan I’d be glad not many of my team’s players made that list. What it means is that you have a great TEAM to which a lot of guys contribute, and that’s what wins SBs.
    When the Pats were clocking rings, they had few PBers and they MAY have had 1-2 guys on a list like this.

    I think Ed Reed is great but as a Pats fan I would have a tough time choosing between Revis and Ware for best defensive player. And if anything that’s a compliment to Revis because never in my wildest dreams did I think there would come a day that I would have a tough time choosing between ANY CB and a OLB stud like Ware. But Revis is the guy who allows RR to run his d the way he does.

  86. autumnwind999 says: Jul 4, 2011 10:18 AM

    Manning > Brady
    Polamalu > Reed
    Nnamdi > Revis

    Nnamdi allowed 15 catches and 0 TDs last year to Revis’ 4 TDs and I believe 30+ catches.

    Reed is a great, great player but Polamalu is transcendent. He just does some magical, impossible things and the Steelers defense has dropped off tremendously when he’s not in the lineup.

    Manning has more MVPs, Brady more rings. Hard to go wrong with either guy. Definitely had to be 1-2 on this list. Still, if I had a chance to get either guy on my team, I’m taking Manning.

  87. nyjalleffingday says: Jul 4, 2011 11:46 AM

    Revis > Nnamdi.

    Nnamdi shuts down one side of the field, he’s incredibly easy to bypass. Just throw elsewhere. Revis goes up against the opposing #1 week by week, play by play, and shuts ‘em down! He’s gotten burned a few times healthy (he was injured for half of 2010) but he’s in his 5th year now, he’s only going to get better.

  88. Deb says: Jul 4, 2011 12:14 PM

    @mswravens …

    Happy Fourth to you and yours, too!

    Thought your take on our trophies was dead on. Felt some of our guys should have been ranked higher, but how can we complain? Pack fans need to get a grip, too. The Lombardi is worth more than rankings on some arbitrary list. Based solely on 2010 both Matthews and Rodgers should probably have ranked higher, but I’m sure they’re content with the trophy.

    Each voter named the 20 guys he thinks are the best in the league. The more people who voted for a guy, the higher he placed. I can understand more people voting for Brady, Manning, and Brees than Rodgers purely from habit or name recognition. Same with Revis and Asomugha. If it was an honest assessment of 2010, then Roethlisberger missed 25 percent of the season and didn’t have stunning stats to override the absence. So he placed about right. On the other hand, look what Reed accomplished in just over half a season.

    Ray is still a top linebacker, but his placement was obviously a nod to his whole career and the influence he’s had on so many players–particularly younger players. He’s mentored guys throughout the league.

    Have to disagree w/you on Lambert because you can’t compare players of different eras. You have to look at the impact they made in their time–and Lambert’s was considerable.

  89. ravensfan4life52 says: Jul 4, 2011 12:21 PM

    @mswravens

    you’re schooling of the people on this website above just made my day. thank you. happy 4th of July and GO RAVENS!

  90. kom2k10 says: Jul 4, 2011 12:37 PM

    Brady won best player of 2011 as voted by players, but Manning was voted higher by players on the all time list #8 vs #21 compared to Brady… Fan polls on the follow up show also showed Manning as the better all time QB.

    Manning got 48% of the votes
    Brady got 27%

  91. mswravens says: Jul 4, 2011 3:26 PM

    @Ravensfan4life – thanks bro! Same to you & yours! …and a big amen: GO RAVENS!!!

    @baggataway – EXCELLENT POST! Thanks!

    @Deb – Nice post! I hate to admit this, but I am just not as objective as you. I try, but know I’m not. I tend to agree with you about comparing generations & certainly agree Steelers were underrated. Anyway, at least my hatred of all things Steeler is bred from respect…and probably some jealousy mixed in as well!

  92. childressrulz says: Jul 4, 2011 3:54 PM

    Ray Lewis is overrated and has clearly lost a couiple steps. All of this talk of Ed Reed and Polamolu (sp?) is a waste of time. I don’t even think they are the two best safties in the league. Maybe a couple years ago they were but not anymore. If both were in their respective primes you gotta give it up for Reed over Troy. Sorry but Revis is just an above average CB. The entire CB position is overrated. Besides even Moss made that guy look like crap (if he was hurt he shouldn’t have played).

  93. hoopsdoc says: Jul 4, 2011 4:44 PM

    Congratulations to Tom Terrific. He certainly deserved this. He was the single best player in the league last year.

    Having said that, Manning’s still the better quarterback.

    I also think Rodgers should have replaced Brees on that list.

  94. gimmeabruschi says: Jul 4, 2011 5:02 PM

    Correction.

    Brady throws an INT every 45 passes, Manning every 36 over career.

    Figured I’d get this in before somebody pounced on the error.

    Brady threw an INT every 123 passes this past season. That is amazing.

    They are two great QBs, and Rogers is making himself a legend as well.

  95. kindbass says: Jul 4, 2011 6:02 PM

    wferg1121 says: Jul 4, 2011 12:09 AM

    I will say it again, Tom Bradys stat’s prior to 2007 is a fraud…
    If your offensive coordinator knows what the defensive play is, then you go to plays to beat the defense.
    ————————————————————-
    Uh, the defense lines up in response to the offense, not the other way around. Football comprehension fail.

  96. mlcook30 says: Jul 4, 2011 6:05 PM

    I think we all have to believe the NFL players know who the best players are

  97. wordpressnamesstink says: Jul 4, 2011 6:44 PM

    Greg Jennings (ranked #74) should congratulate Troy Polamalu for getting ranked #6 by sending him an autographed football or two.

  98. tellemallrex says: Jul 4, 2011 7:35 PM

    As a huge jet fan it kills me, but you gotta give credit where it is due. Brady deserves the #1 spot. How much credit do you give coach B, for his success? Would he be this good in any other organization?

  99. bobzilla1001 says: Jul 4, 2011 7:50 PM

    As a life-long Steelers fan, I congratulate the NFL players for getting it right.

    After his dazzling, 2005 three-game postseason, Ben Roethlisberger has been overrated the past five seasons. But, finally, the NFL players have put him in his proper place: No. 41.

    Someone up the page suggested that if Roethlisberger played entire games the way he plays in the final minutes of games, he’d belong higher in the rankings.
    Did you see Roethlisberger in the final minutes of Super Bowl 45? He came unraveled.
    In the final minutes of Super Bowl 43, he put together the winning TD drive against the absolute worst defensive team in Super Bowl history, which made itself even worse by playing a “prevent” on the Steelers’ last possession. Prior to Santonio Holmes’ brilliant last-minute TD catch, the Steelers’ offense had managed to score just 13 points against a defense that had allowed 49 TDs in the 2008 regular season…

    I salute the NFL players for dispelling ESPN’s insane insistance that the NFL is a “quarterback-driven” league.
    By naming only three QBs to the top 10, the players made their opinions loud and clear: The NFL is a defensive-minded league…

    The players got it right.

  100. gimmeabruschi says: Jul 4, 2011 10:15 PM

    wferg1121 says: Jul 4, 2011 12:09 AM

    I will say it again, Tom Bradys stat’s prior to 2007 is a fraud…

    _____________________________

    If your saying he had better stats because of taping signals, that makes no sense.

    His stats are WAY better since 2007.

    His passer rating from 2007-2010 is 108.

    He has 114 TDs and 25 INTs in that time.

    Over the 3 years he really played since spygate he has averaged 38 TDs and 8 INTs a year!

  101. cotts1 says: Jul 5, 2011 2:25 AM

    Calvin Johnson is better than Andre. CJ would lead the league in everything if Stafford could stay healthy for more than 3 games.

  102. jetfanfolife says: Jul 5, 2011 5:31 AM

    As a Jet fan I’ll admit Brady is a GREAT player, but how I love to see him choke in the playoffs….

    Would you like a side of cries to go with that wahhburger Brady?

  103. jimmymcnultysbottleofjameson says: Jul 5, 2011 12:51 PM

    @mswravens, @Ravensfan4life, @baggataway Cheers to you fellas for making excellent points. @Deb, your use of “hon” and lack of full on Ray bashing that is so common with western PA tells me you’re a stooler fan livin in the charm… ugh.

  104. axespray says: Jul 5, 2011 12:54 PM

    Sorry, But how is Revis considered a top 5 defensive player in the league?

    BJ RAJI had more interceptions than the guy.
    Nmandi gave up less passes/tds than revis.
    I think Rodgers had more tackles than revis.

    Just saying, you can avoid and make revis disappear from the game, but you can’t avoid Reed/Suh/Woodson/Urlacher/Matthews/Ware/Peppers/Allen etc.

    But than again, since it’s all about fantasy football these days, I guess all you have to do to be considered the greatest defensive player ever in the history of the league (smh) is to cut down a wide reciever’s fantasy stats.

  105. jimmymcnultysbottleofjameson says: Jul 5, 2011 12:57 PM

    “Miami buddies stuffed the Ballot box”, cmon Rosenthal that is just downright idiotic. Ed’s body is so beat up from laying down comatose hits for his size over the past 9 seasons. But he missed the first 6 games last year and still leads the LEAGUE in picks but you say his U buddies stuff the box. Piss off.

  106. golonger says: Jul 5, 2011 11:12 PM

    packfaninpackland – LOL…..you need to get back to English class.

  107. golonger says: Jul 5, 2011 11:14 PM

    bobzilla1001 – only a true idiot squealers fan would bash Big Ben………..he has proven he is clutch….and i would take him ANY day over Manning……….

  108. golonger says: Jul 5, 2011 11:17 PM

    autumnwind999 < idiot

  109. pizzon says: Jul 6, 2011 12:03 AM

    nobody will convince me that this wasnt a popularity contest. case in point how was rivers ranked 26th best player when he has never been to a super bowl yet roethlisberger has been to 3 in 7 yrs winning 2 of them. peppers is a nive player but sorry he isnt top 10 and peterson is the best player in the league not brady. while Im at it how id ray lewis the highest ranking defensive player. lol lol lol lol for all the accolades this clown gets with his tribal war dances before games he first needs to learn to beat the steelers in the playoffs. you see GREAT players lead their team to championships something ray lewis sorely lacks.

  110. bobzilla1001 says: Jul 6, 2011 7:46 AM

    golonger: Your comments and personal attacks are really insightful.

    I actually live in the Pittsburgh area, where mediocrity is actually embraced and revered by the local media.
    The local sports media’s current crusade is hyping the average Pirates, which has given them a break from hyping the Steelers’ average quarterback.

    Here’s some facts: During Roethlisberger’s absense the first four games of last season, the Steelers’ offense ranked 10th in scoring. Once Roethlisberger returned, the Steelers’ offense slipped to 17th in scoring, until rebounding to finish the season 12th after scoring a flurry of meaningless points in lopsided wins against the lowly Browns and Panthers.
    The Steelers’ offense was held to fewer than 20 points eight out of 16 games last season. That’s an alarming ineptness from an offense that’s credited with having an “elite” quarterback, don’t ya think?
    In 2009, with their season on the line, the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers’ offense scored just six points (two field goals) in a 13-6 loss to the ONE-and-ELEVEN Browns. Think maybe a Brady, Manning or a Brees quarterbacked offense might’ve been able to produce more than just two field goals against an 1-11 team?
    Roethlisberger has stunk in two Super Bowls and was average in another. But in Pittsburgh, average is awesome.
    Thank God for that defense!!!

  111. imjinbrdgr says: Jul 6, 2011 9:45 AM

    These are the best, when, right now? Interesting how now one in the top 10 won the last Super Bowl.

    As far as Peterson. Should anyone in the top 10 ever be on the sideline during crunch time because the coach is afraid he is going to fumble, AGAIN?

  112. golonger says: Jul 6, 2011 1:20 PM

    bobzilla1001 – they should be insightful…especially to a know-nothing squealers fan who insists on bashing his own QB who is probably one of the 10 best in the league.

    Hey, if you are too stupid to recognize it, that’s your fault….puling out BS statisitics to prove how much of a liability is dumbfounding and borderline criminal.

    If you are too stupid to realize that in clutch situations, there is no compare (other than Brady).

    ..you are an absolute baffoon..

  113. bobzilla1001 says: Jul 6, 2011 2:17 PM

    golonger: Based on your various remarks on this particular thread, I’ve gotta believe that your real name is Casey Anthony.
    Wacked.

  114. Deb says: Jul 6, 2011 10:56 PM

    jimmymcnultysbottleofjameson says:

    @Deb, your use of “hon” and lack of full on Ray bashing that is so common with western PA tells me you’re a stooler fan livin in the charm… ugh.
    ————————————————

    Hon is common Southern dialect–in case you haven’t noticed, Steeler Nation is vast territory. Intuition isn’t your strong suit, is it? Neither is reading comprehension. “Lack of full on Ray bashing”? Baby, I gave Ray “mad respect” without any bashing at all :roll:

    Spare me your pitiful bad manners and braggadocio about your touristy drinking habits. I prefer talking to adult Ravens fans like mswravens. Now run along back to your sandbox.

  115. golonger says: Jul 7, 2011 12:01 AM

    bobzilla1001 – and based on yours….you should be so lucky!

  116. lgwelsh1 says: Jul 7, 2011 2:01 AM

    How often do you hear about Revis? You can watch half the season and never hear his name mentioned at all LOL.

    That’s how good the guy is.

  117. stanklepoot says: Jul 8, 2011 9:13 AM

    rc33 says: Jul 3, 2011 10:20 PM

    “…has more control over game-planning or play calling…”
    Pure conjecture.
    None of us knows if this is the case.
    ______________________
    And if Peyton is acting as the defacto OC, that could help explain his sub .500 post-season performance. If you put any player in a position where they have to act like the OC, and then pit them against top notch coaches with quality rosters in the playoffs (when the coaches have extra time to prep for you) you’re putting them at a serious disadvantage. There’s a reason they have coaches off on the sideline and not on the playing field. They need to be able to step back and take a bigger perspective.

    Oh, and can we please retire the “well, the Colts would completely suck if not for Peyton” argument? I have absolutely no problem giving Peyton full credit for all the amazing things he’s done on the field, but I absolutely refuse to give him extra credit for the fact that he’s held out for so much money over his career that the Colts can’t seem to afford to hire a quality backup.

  118. rc33 says: Jul 8, 2011 12:21 PM

    With all the responsibilities a QB has in the closing minutes of a close game…much less a postseason game…the last thing I’d want to add would be the burden of which plays to call.
    The OC and other coaches in the booth can see as much, if not more, from their vantage point as Manning can on the field.

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