The NFL Top 100 players are hard to choose and rank. However, an NFL Top 100 players list has still been formed by the league’s network all month. Each week, the network has unveiled 10 names each on their list, ending with the top 10 last night. The debate over the order so far has been heavy, and now it stands to get even more heated at the top. The leaders of the NFL’s Top 100 players include one active quarterback, three defensive legends, and a wide receiver to top it off.
Last night’s top 10 unveiling started with Dick Butkus at No. 10, 1930s Packers receiver Don Hutson at No. 9, and Peyton Manning all the way at No. 8. The rest of the list was filled with retired legends, and was capped with the most decorated wide receiver in history.
Among the NFL Top 100 players, Jerry Rice has been deemed the greatest of all time. He is already dubbed the greatest wide receiver ever, and now a panel of 85 “blue ribbon panel” voters believes he is the best in any position.
Rice held off Jim Brown for the No. 1 spot, with Lawrence Taylor trailing at No. 3. Yet Rice couldn’t have gotten all his touchdowns without Joe Montana, who was placed at No. 4 for his role. Montana was the highest-rated quarterback on the list, with Johnny Unitas the second-highest at No. 6.
Walter Peyton rounded out the top 5, while Reggie White placed seventh. This rounded out a countdown that had Ray Lewis at No. 18, Brett Favre as No. 20, Tom Brady at No. 21, O.J. Simpson placing at No. 40, Randy Moss in No. 65, and Joe Namath down at the very bottom.
According to the league website, the fans were relatively in line with the choices, as they also put Rice at No.1. However, Montana and Peyton were second and third in their vote, with Barry Sanders in fourth despite placing 17th with the panel.
No countdown like this can have unanimous agreement, and the Top 100 players list is no different. Manning placed in the top 10 despite having two fewer championships than No. 21 Brady, while Ray Lewis was put ahead of Brady and Brett Favre, and fans undoubtedly feel some of their favorites were underrated – or not included at all.
Nevertheless, even if this countdown isn’t the definitive ranking, it stands to be one of them. Eight of the players are still active, and hope that they still have time to go up higher when the next poll comes out.
NFL.com- “The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players”
ProFootballTalk- “As requested, the Top 100 thread”
ESPN- “Debate NFL’s top 100 players of all-time”