June 12, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass during mini camp at the Gillette Stadium practice facility. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE
If you're anything like me, you never really take a break from watching football, even when there is no football to watch. Personally, I'd much rather watch 25 year old football highlights on the NFL Network than the incessant string of double plays, tennis volleys, NASCAR winners, and 3rd holethat always seem to comprise SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays this time every year. So it's no surprise that I've really been enjoying The NFL Network's offseason series "The Top 100 Players of 2012." I always like to hear the players themselves talk about who they think the best in the game is instead of some big-eared schlub in an expensive suit, and so The Top 100 is really interesting to me.
Lists like these are always fun, mainly because they spark a lot of discussion and debate, and it doesn't take long to realize that it's hard to find anyone who thinks that this list is 100% accurate. Peyton Manning, who didn’t see a single NFL snap in 2011 came in at number 50. Tight end Jimmy Graham somehow came in 7 full spots above Rob Gronkowski, in spite of Gronk’s record-setting yards, touchdowns, and clearly superior blocking and run support. Vince Wilfork dropped a whopping 46 spots despite playing more snaps than ever, recording his first two NFL interceptions, and once again playing at an All-Pro level. Andre Johnson came in at 15 in spite of missing a sizable chunk of the season with a leg injury. Once again, there is plenty of material in this list to get into it with your co-workers or on the online message boards while slacking off on the job.
And unless something drastic happens tonight when the Top 10 players of the season are revealed, all but one of the Patriots I expected to see on the list have come and gone already. Gronk, Welker, Mankins, and Wilfork all have their place, whether I like the ranking or not. I thought that Aaron Hernandez may have deserved a spot, but I can’t objectively think it’s all that much of a travesty. For the most part, the best Patriots have made the list.
Which leaves us one player who has yet to make an appearance on this list: Tommy B. Last year, Brady topped the rankings, beating out Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson to take the #1 spot and rightfully earn his NFL MVP Crown. This year, I don’t think Brady is likely to repeat. Yes, he had a phenomenal year, but so did several other players across the league.
While I won't be surprised in the slightest if Brady comes in at #2, I personally think that he will land at #3 or #4, behind Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and possibly if the NFL Network decides that they don't waNt only quarterbacks in the top three.. You can make a case for Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Peterson as having better seasons given how much they did with very little surrounding them, but I don’t think they had anywhere near the season that Tommy B did. The worst case scenario still lands Brady in the Top 5.
What do you think? Who are the 10 players yet to be revealed, and where does Brady rank among them?