NaVorro Bowman calls NFLN top 100 list “totally bogus”

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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.”

40 responses to “NaVorro Bowman calls NFLN top 100 list “totally bogus”

  1. In a beginning class on developing surveys, one of the most important things you do is write out the instructions for everybody who will be administering the survey. You want them saying the exact same thing. If you don’t, you can’t trust the results. You don’t know what people were answering.

    In this case, are players responding to “Who are the 20 best players in the NFL?” Or are they responding to “Who were the 20 best players in 2015?”

    Andrew Luck might do better on the first question. He did extremely well on the second question because he hardly played.

    Every NFL media person who asks a player about “the best 20 players” should be trained on what precisely they are to say. That’s something you learn as a first-year college student.

  2. I’m a Packers fan, but there is no way that John Kuhn was on any player’s Top 20 list a few years back. Even if he was clearly the dominant fullback, which he wasn’t, there is no way would a FB be in the top 20 in today’s game.

  3. I’m more shocked that you guys are taking this so seriously than I am disappointed in the lack of quality of the results.

    It’s been a ‘for fun’ list since the beginning… exactly who has been giving it credibility at any point in time?

  4. Building a top 100 out of a bunch of top 20s is a bogus methodology. We can all think of some players who would regularly get named in the 30-50 range, but in hardly anyone’s top 20. In this poll, they will not get onto many ballots, so they will fall to, say, 92. In the extreme, someone could be named #21 on every single ballot and not get into the top 100 at all. Dumb study design.

  5. I guarantee that this list is bogus. Doug Baldwin had a good 5 game stretch last year against the worst passing defenses and all of a sudden he is one of the best 100 players in the league? How many people would honestly take Baldwin over Landry or Watkins?

    I’m willing to bet what the NFL network does is sit down a group of players, give them a list of 100 players that are bankable and who the NFL has done studies on as the “popular players” and ask them to rate them 1-100. I bet none of the players interviewed get to pick which players they want on the list.

  6. It may be bogus but the poll’s methodology is certainly reflective of the type of in depth scientific approach we have become accustomed to the league taking to most things. That is when they don’t just start from a desired result and then work backwards.

  7. So basically we have the 100 players that the voters thought were top 20 in the league.

    If so many voters can come up with so many top 20s, perhaps it’s time to realize that who is the best is mostly subjective.

    Still I don’t think Luck ending up that low is strange. He has always been a bit overrated.

  8. Does the NFL ever say that it is active players who do the voting? It could be that the entire list is made by some PR/marketing guys or the 5 or 6 ex-player talking heads on their network pick a bunch of guys to put on the list. How anyone at all would pay attention at all to such an absurd thing is baffling

  9. In other words it’s a popularity contest, they put in their 20 favorite players based on memory, rumors and team rivalries.

  10. Luck should not be on the list at all for his play last season. He missed most of the season and the games he did play, he sucked.

    This is a list of Top 100 players of 2015. Luck is not even an hinoravle mention. He might make the top 100 disappointing players of 2015.

  11. When you watch the show, the players in the show talking are the ones doing the voting. They vote and interview them at the same time.

  12. Boring it a capital B. If I see this show on, I keep on moving up the dial. How ’bout showing something from the NFL Films library and the work of the Sabols instead of this garbage.

  13. I thought the top 100 list is for top 100 players for the last playing year (2015). If that is right, Luck didn’t play well last year and his ranking is deserving in my opionion. I think Luck is a top overall talent in the NFL, and is definitely a top 10 QB that is rising, but he struggled last year. The list is debatable, it’s set-up that way, and creates interest by being an opinionated type show. It’s hard to say who is 58th best player, because there are so many factors to consider and most are probably not measurable.

  14. They do it so you can have something to bitch about. No fans care really.

  15. I am OUTRAGED! This list is a complete farce. I’m going to start picketing the NFL HQ tomorrow. Who’s with me?!


  16. At first I agreed with Florio about Luck being #92 and therefore not paying attention to the list after that. I though to myself, “how is Andrew Luck a top-100 player based on last year’s terrible season?”

    But then Florio acts like Luck is a top-20 player for some reason. I guess beating up on the AFC South and going sub-.500 against the rest of the NFL his entire career warrants a top-20 player ranking. Or maybe it’s his elite 58% career completion percentage that puts him in that top-20 class with actual superstar football players like JJ Watt and Von Miller.

  17. Navarro is correct. However this is the way. When Navarro was in college he did not get as much attention as others. He deserved more.
    When he arrived in the NFL he played on a very succesful team and
    played very well. He therefore received many accolades and made
    the pro- bowl team. After his injury he did not play as well and his team declined but based upon his first years he is rated fairly high.
    The saying amoung pro football players is players tend to make the
    pro bowl 2 years after they deserved it and remin a pro bowl player 2 years too long.
    There are so many factors that make it difficult. For example Bowman is a 3-4 inside lb. The NFL has limited positions for the linebacker
    position. A 4-3 lb is often more like a 3-4 inside lb, yet they are
    pitted against a 3-4 outside lb who has one ability …a very important
    ability rush the passer …where a 4-3 outside lb is arguably a more
    3 down player.
    The same can be said for other positions. The scheme dictates.
    In the modern era of specialization there are many players who
    play a role. The judgment of who is all pro should consider the versatility
    of a player not the success of the team or necessarily the over all stats.
    Perhaps this is why Pro Football Focus has become an interesting read.

  18. Yes the show is becoming more bogus every year I don’t believe that ALL the player’s are ranking using the right ranking rules it’s supposed to be about how you think they perform in the upcoming season not just off last year stats I think producers are pushing influence too to make controversy Kirk Cousins over Luck? Dez Bryant #51 but anywhere else he’s Top 5 in the NFL Romo is never consistently ranked but Peyton or Peterson didn’t play and only fell a few spots the next year when you don’t need to fall at all because you didn’t play last year unless you think their skills have fell off.. Let the fans do this show going forward so yes it’s becoming BOGUS

  19. Even people on here are ranking based on last year performance and that’s not what this is it not different than picking how you rank players for this year’s Fantasy football except you have individual defensive players to rank and Offensive lineman


  20. Maybe not scientific, but still fun. A super accurate, scientific survey would be pretty awesome as well. Looking at you, PFT?

  21. Seriously? Who watches the NFL Network? 50 minutes of commercials every hour? The ONLY watchable segment on the network(s) is RedZone. And RedZone replay during the offseason is a travesty!

  22. Well this should make the top 5 really good, top 10 should still be pretty good, but anything outside of top 20 would be pretty bogus. I assume you have to make someone’s top 20 to make the top 100 overall. You could have 2 guys who are basically the same, and 10 guys rate the 1st guy #15, and 1000 rate them #21 just missing the list, putting him on the total list at #97. And then the 2nd guy gets rated #20 by 500 players and he makes the total list as #23.

  23. The Washington Redskins roster should be 1-100…..yes that means some players would be on the list twice, but that’s because they are that damn good.

    Hail to the Redskins from this native American Vikings fan from Devils Lake, ND.

  24. I think the idea of having the “reaction show” is even worse than the top 100 idea itself.

    They need to go back to the drawing board with offseason programming. The top 10 lists are bad enough and way overdone, and marathons of A Football Life are almost at that same point.

  25. For what little it is worth, Andrew Luck was not a top 20 player _last year_. Anyone who listed him did it based on either past performance or expected future performance.

  26. Bowman is 100% right! Him and Kuechly top two ILBs in league he’s top 25 regardless IMHO. We know what a beast you are on the field and no survey will make or break that.

  27. Years ago I read that players know the abilities of their teammates & those of players on the other teams in their own divisions, but surprisingly little about all the other players. It makes sense.

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