For the past nine weeks, the NFL Network has highlighted the Top 100 current NFL players. The rankings are based upon votes from current players - no coaches, media, or fans had a say. The interesting part of this series is the fact that the only criteria for player rankings was that a player must be with an NFL team right now. So, when a player votes, he could look at the past 2010 season only, or how he anticipates a player will perform in the upcoming 2011 season, or a player’s overall career achievements.
Airing this series during the lockout was a good move by the NFL. If there wasn’t a lockout, the program would naturally draw interest. However, with the lockout in full effect, this series gives the fan something to hold on to and get involved with. Each week, ten player rankings are revealed. The player is introduced and discussed typically by players or coaches who either work with him or admire his work, and his accomplishments are highlighted. After each group of ten players are revealed, a “Reactions” show immediately follows where NFL Network analysts and others react to the rankings and fans are allowed to “tweet” their thoughts; the tweets scroll across the bottom of the screen.
Whenever you have a ranking of any kind, there will always be controversy. Right off the bat, Donovan McNabb was ranked #100. Many fans and analysts felt that McNabb should not have been on the list because of his poor showing this past year as the Washington Redskins quarterback. Others felt he deserved to be on the list because of his career accomplishments with the Philadelphia Eagles, including a trip to the Super Bowl. For me, it’s really hard to decide which criteria to use. If you only use the past season, the list will inevitably include players who will turn out to be one year wonders, and, it would also leave off good players who might be injured. If you look at career accomplishments, players who are now at the end of their career and are not performing at their highest level will be on the list. I do think that ranking a player on how he will likely perform in an upcoming season is ludicrous. So, if I have to pick, I’d rather go with career accomplishments over the current season, thus, McNabb would make my list. Other controversial rankings were Ben Roethlisberger ranked #41, despite having two Super Bowl wins under his belt, as well as Michael Vick ranked at #20.
There are a few very high profile players whose names have yet to be called such as Adrian Peterson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Troy Polamalu, and Ray Lewis. My guess and hope is that Peyton will be named the #1 player. However, it is quite likely that Tom will get the nod. I believe Troy, Ray, and Adrian will be ranked 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively. This is a great series and it has definitely kept my interest. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the rankings, but, it’s something fun to watch while the lockout is in effect. The 4 hour series finale, including the reaction show, is Sunday 7/3/2011 at 7pm EST. If you missed any of the rankings, check out www.top100.nfl.com/ for a recap of numbers 11 thru 100.