When not exposing its digital underbelly and allowing hackers to kill its Commissioner during the slow time on the calendar, the NFL continues to roll out, in ten-per-week increments, its list of the top 100 players of 2016, as determined by a vote of the players.
I already quit paying attention to this year’s list after Andrew Luck landed at No. 92. At this point, however, the thing attracts attention only when it generates a bizarre outcome.
Or when a player goes on the record calling the thing “bogus,” which is what 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman (No. 61 on this year’s list) did Wednesday.
He actually called it “totally bogus,” via Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group, with Bowman adding that he has never seen a player ballot and never heard of a teammate voting.
There’s a good reason for that. The process consists of players going through the NFL Media car wash being asked at some point during their visit (if the appropriate person remembers to do it) to make a list of the top 20 players in the NFL as of right now. Those various lists, however many or few there are, then get tabulated and transformed into a list of the top 100 players.
Earlier this year, Rob “Stats” Guerrera and I tried to do this while in a break during an episode of PFT Live. It’s not easy to limit the universe of hundreds of NFL players to 20 — and it’s very easy to overlook guys who missed all or part of last season. That dynamic explains Luck landing so low in the voting; as players were visiting NFL Media headquarters during a bye week or whenever last year, it would have been very easy to snub Luck from a top 20 list, since Luck barely played in 2015.
The problem is that the list gets promoted to the public as a definitive ranking of the players by the players, when it’s definitely not. It’s an extremely unscientific poll that is slapped together on the fly, with no information ever released by the league regarding the number of players who submitted the top-2o ballots that become the top-100 list.
That may not make it “totally bogus.” We’ll settle for “almost entirely bogus.”