NFL Network generates a lot of discussion during this slowest point in the offseason by listing the Top 100 players in the league. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, but it also has generated plenty of criticism.
So we decided that, in lieu of continuing to criticize it, we would just do our list. So that we too could be criticized.
The problem with the NFL Network list is that it surveys only NFL players, many of whom openly acknowledge that they don’t take it seriously. The players who vote are asked only to list their own top 20.
That’s how you get players like Donovan McNabb making the list after he had just been benched in Washington (and before his final season, in which he’d be benched once again, this time in Minnesota), or Tim Tebow making the list months after the Broncos had sent him packing — and months before he would become the NFL’s most distracting bench warmer with the Jets.
It says something about NFL Network’s list that just hours after its unveiling was completed last week, Drew Brees appeared on NFLN and said, “I did not vote and I don’t know anybody who did.” NFL Network’s Eric Davis replied, “Neither do I.”
So we assembled a group of members of the NFL media, and we asked them to identify their top 50 (not 20) players each. The panelists were Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego, Paul Allen of KFAN and the Viking Radio Network, Anthony Becht of PFT on NBCSN, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, PFT on NBCSN producer Matt Casey, Tom Curran of CSN New England, Mike Dempsey of 1010XL in Jacksonville, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com, Bob Glauber of Newsday, Tim Graham of the Buffalo News, Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Shaun King of PFT on NBCSN, Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Eric Kuselias of PFT on NBCSN and NBC Sports Radio, Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com and SiriusXM NFL Radio, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Tim McManus of PhillyMag.com and 97.5 The Fanatic, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, former Bills and Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey, who has done some work with PFT on NBCSN, John Mullin of CSN Chicago, Pete Najarian of PFT on NBCSN, the folks at The Dan Patrick Show (one combined ballot), Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Rich Tandler of CSN Washington, Ross Tucker of PFT on NBCSN, SiriusXM NFL Radio, and Sports USA Media, Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun, Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.
And, of course, every PFT writer got a ballot: Alper, Crabtree, Florio, Gantt, Smith, and Wilkening.
We know we’ll hear from plenty of you who disagree with our Top 100. And that’s part of the fun. We’ll be rolling our Top 100 out 25 at a time for the next four Mondays.
No. 100-76 will be unveiled later today.