The NFL has spoken. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a three-time Super Bowl champion and two-time league MVP, is No. 1 on NFL Network's "The Top 100 Players of 2011," as voted by his peers.
So, did the players pick the right man? Our experts share their thoughts.
Brady's stats, commitment make him No. 1I think the players got it right. Tom Brady was the league's MVP last season, had one of the best statistical seasons ever, isn't a distraction to his team, owns three Super Bowl rings and plays hard every Sunday. He's a pro's pro.
It's anyone's game, but Brady is bestThere is no right answer for who the top NFL player is, but when you think about who shows up the most and delivers a great performance, then Tom Brady is a fine pick. On any given Sunday, any of the top 20 players could deliver a better performance, but I would have selected Brady for the top spot.
Brady beats out Rodgers, Manning for highest honorIt had to be Tom Brady. Say what you want about this list -- and I have a multitude of issues and questions about it -- but the players got it right at the very top.
The best quarterback in the NFL, in pretty much any day and age, also will be the best player in the league. The position is that important. And when the best quarterback happens to be coming off a season in which he was a runaway MVP and far away the best at his position, then, heck yeah, he'd better be ranked first overall.
Let's just look at the last two seasons when Brady was fully healthy. Yeah, the first was back in 2007, but remember the 50 touchdown passes, uncanny accuracy and undefeated regular season? He missed 2008 with a knee injury, then battled back in 2009 with a strong season for any quarterback, but he still was learning to trust that knee again. So in 2010, he was 100 percent, and all he did was throw for 36 touchdowns with just four interceptions.
I put Aaron Rodgers second on my top 10 list, but I don't think anyone would argue he should be ahead of Brady right now. And Peyton Manning is the name many others will throw around, but I'd remind them that he's just the eighth-rated passer in the NFL over the last two seasons and has thrown 33 interceptions in the last two years -- as many as Mark Sanchez and Chad Henne. Oh, and that's 16 more than Brady in that same 32-game span.
Yep, the players most definitely got this right.
How Brady elevates his teammates is unmatchedDid the players get it right? Yes. Absolutely. Indeed. The argument between Brady and Peyton Manning will continue well after their careers end, but for now, Brady has distanced himself from the pack with his staggering 36 touchdown passes and just four interceptions last season. That's crazy.
One of the main reasons Brady was so good was because he got other players to raise their games. After wide receiver Randy Moss was traded, New England had to tweak its philosophy. Rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski became focal points, and they performed like they've been in the league for years. Manning has done that with players, too, but the way Brady led and performed was incredible.
Let's not lose sight of this: Although the players' choices in this process have been highly debatable, they know that when it gets into the top 10 -- even the top five -- the best players are probably by consensus. That they chose Brady No. 1 shows the respect he deservedly has earned.
Under any circumstances, Brady is No. 1Tom Brady should be viewed as the best player in the NFL based on any criteria you use to evaluate players. He is a proven winner with three Super Bowl rings and two Super Bowl MVP awards. He sports the best record of any quarterback in the Super Bowl era (111-34), and his 14-4 playoff record ranks only behind Bart Starr's 9-1 post-season mark in league history. Brady cemented his status as one of the game's best clutch performers when he orchestrated winning drives in two of the Patriots' Super Bowl wins.
If we simply look at his individual accomplishments, he is worthy of being at the top of the list based on his outstanding production. He holds the single-season record for touchdown passes and is coming off a year in which he tallied 36 touchdowns against only four interceptions while earning the league's MVP award.
Brady's remarkable MVP season epitomizes why he should be regarded as the league's best player. He guided the Patriots to a 14-2 record and put up unbelievable numbers without a star-studded supporting cast. Even though Wes Welker perennially ranks as an all-star, the rest of the unit is a mixture of cast-offs and young players in the early stages of their careers. Without a stable of big-time pass catchers in support, Brady's leadership, production and winning pedigree sets him apart from the rest.
He is most deserving of being nominated as the league's best player, and I can't see how anyone can dispute that fact.