The NFL concluded their Top 100 countdown this week but I'm still left with some hard-to-ignore information. There are some notable irregularities in the Top 100 and in this piece I plan to break down five that really have me bothered. It seems to me that when the votes were being collected, that the criteria that influenced their selections lacked continuity and substance.
I think that subconscious intangible feelings toward players morphed their reality of what these players really did on the football field. And when you measure them to the players ranked before and after them, it's black and white - one does not belong. And in other cases, some players were just misplaced in the rankings by a hair.
Follow me after the jump for a good old fashioned rant about the NFL's Top 100. Since I am only listing five things they got wrong, I encourage you to please list your own complaints -- in detail -- regarding the the league's "100 best players."
1. 2 full backs on the list
Green Bay Packers full back John Kuhn was ranked at No. 92, while Baltimore Ravens full back Vonta Leach checked in at No. 45. Not only did I disagree with two full backs being in the Top 100 Players but Leach's position on the list was far too high. Leach is ranked ahead of Peyton Manning, Darren Sproles, Hakeem Nicks, Michael Vick, Darren McFadden, Mike Wallace, Roddy White and the list goes on.
And according to the list, Leach is valued a whopping 40 spots more than NaVorro Bowman - that is downright silly. And not to mention that the full back is becoming an extinct position; the Miami Dolphins didn't even carry a true full back in 2011 after cutting one of the league's best in Lousaka Polite. If Vonta Leach is the 45th best player in the entire league, Andy Lee should be in the high 20's.
Going into the top 10 I expected Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, in that order from 1-3, but when they snuck Calvin Johnson in there, I didn't understand - I still don't understand. Johnson is coming off a career year, but Brady is a three-time Super Bowl Champion with 5 visits to the big game on his resume'. He is a field general and future first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback who has won consistently with changing pieces around him - the man is a former league MVP.
Brady is an icon and a leader for the New England Patriots - where's the discipline and leadership in Detroit? (cough * 6 arrests * cough). Johnson, while a miraculous sensation in this league, is not a better player nor is he more valuable than Brady. Furthermore, no wide receiver should be ahead of Tom Brady.
3. Tim Tebow
This just goes to show how many NFL players and coaches that voted believe in a higher power. But honestly, we might as well have had the Gold Rush cheerleaders at No. 95; sure they're fun to watch but they aren't doing anything productive.
Having Tebow on this list dilutes the greatness this list was meant to represent. He is currently the backup quarterback to another bad quarterback. In fact, the quarterback he's backing up is so bad he didn't even make the Top 100 himself. This is purely a hype-pick and nothing else. Merril Hoge and Stephen A. Smith must've really lost their lunch over this one.
4. Aldon Smith was snubbed
Aldon Smith had 14 sacks as a rookie situational player, and two full backs and a backup quarterback are occupying space on the Top 100 instead. When Smith was on the field, at times he took over the game and was unblockable. He finished fifth in the entire NFL in sacks, tying the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Terrell Suggs (Ranked No. 11).
But this isn't the first time Smith has been denied recognition; he was also snubbed from the Pro Bowl as well, not even having a spot on the ballot. It might have been a little overwhelming to have 8 players from San Francisco in the Top 100, but it would've been indisputable. Either Tebow or one of the two full backs could've been omitted from this list in place of Smith.
Arizona Cardinals rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson was an entire rankings block ahead of Carlos Rogers. While Rogers came in at No. 69, Peterson was named the 55th best player. Rogers is a 7-year veteran who was coming off a career year with 6 interceptions and his first Pro Bowl nod. Peterson is a high-ceiling player who had a chance to display his athleticism, primarily in the return game.
From a cornerback perspective, Peterson has a lot to learn but it seemed that potential-wise, the players and coaches favor Peterson over Rogers, even though Rogers had 4 more interceptions in 2011. Looking back at last season, Rogers was clearly the better cover corner and that is where the majority of their time is spent, not special teams. He is also a great tackler, often helping the 49ers in run support -- the guy also didn't wilt in the playoffs.
Between the splash plays, new guys breaking onto the scene, fan favorites and phenomenon's, there were too many outside variables affecting this rankings list. It's almost surprising that Jerome Simpson didn't make the Top 100 Players with his one front-flipping touchdown. I suppose this was as accurate a list as we were to expect from a flawed voting system, so with that in mind, this list should be taken with a grain of salt.
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