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'The Top 100' concludes with game's greatest-ever players

  • By NFL.com
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The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players countdown concludes Thursday night on NFL Network (9 p.m. ET) with the 10 greatest players in NFL history. Following the unveiling of the top 10 greatest players will be a roundtable discussion led by NFL Films' Steve Sabol, and including blue-ribbon panelists Peter King, Michael Lombardi, Ernie Accorsi and Jarrett Bell, who will dissect and analyze the hits and misses of The Top 100 countdown on NFL Network.

One of the top 10 greatest-ever players will be Walter Payton, whose illustrious career with the Chicago Bears ended with his name littered throughout the NFL record book. Payton -- who missed one game his rookie season before playing in 186 consecutive games -- had 10 seasons with at least 1,000 yards rushing and retired as the game's all-time leading rusher.

Television schedule
Watch The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players on NFL Network:

Thursday, Nov. 4
8 p.m. ET: Total Access special: Countdown to No. 1
9 p.m. ET: The Top 100: Nos. 1-10
10 p.m. ET: The Top 100 panel discussion

» Monitor the NFL Network broadcast schedule for upcoming re-airs of The Top 100 series.

Some of the highlights of The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players countdown have included:

» Barry Sanders, who retired at the age of 30 and less than 1,500 yards short of the NFL's all-time rushing record, landed at No. 17 on the list.

» Ray Lewis, the play-making linebacker of the Baltimore Ravens and MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, was rated at No. 18.

» The 199th player selected in the 2000 NFL Draft -- Tom Brady -- was ranked No. 21 on the countdown.

» The NFL's all-time sacks leader -- Bruce Smith -- appeared at No. 31.

» The brash, shut-down cornerback known as "Prime Time," Deion Sanders, was ranked No. 34 on The Top 100. See Sanders' reaction to his spot in the countdown.

» Before he was the fiery coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Mike Singletary was the backbone for the Chicago Bears' famous "46 defense," which helped the franchise to its lone Lombardi Trophy with a victory in Super Bowl XX. "Samurai Mike," as he became known, was No. 57 on The Top 100 list.

» The man who quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys as they became known as "America's Team" -- Roger Staubach -- appeared at No. 46.

» The player known simply as "The Freak," Randy Moss, landed at No. 65 on the countdown.

» Blessed with blazing speed, Darrell Green excelled at the cornerback position during a 20-year career with the Washington Redskins and earned the No. 75 spot.

» Joe Namath, famous for "The Guarantee," and delivering on it for the New York Jets, in a monumental upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, checked in at No. 100.

To produce the rankings, NFL Films sent each of the panelists, which included former players, historians, scouts, team executives and writers, a ballot of 261 names, including every member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The goal? To create a series akin to the Emmy Award-winning America's Game, the most popular and critically acclaimed show NFL Films has produced. More than 250 players from the modern and pre-modern era, including current NFL players, were under consideration by the panel for selection.

Winner of 100 Emmy awards, NFL Films is widely recognized as the most honored filmmaker in sports. Under the vision of Ed and Steve Sabol, NFL Films has revolutionized the way America watches football and set the standard in sports filmmaking. The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players is just the latest in a long list of successful NFL Films productions, joining the ranks of the Hard Knocks and America's Game series.

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