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What Tom Brady’s peers have said over the last five years of NFL ‘Top 100’ rankings

Hitting rewind on the last five years of NFL Network’s “Top 100” for the soundbites of Tom Brady’s peers.

New England Patriots vs New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The finale of NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players of 2018” aired Monday night, and a familiar face was left for last.

Tom Brady was voted No. 1 by his peers for the second consecutive year and for the third time since the countdown began back in 2011. The New England Patriots quarterback has yet to finish lower than No. 4 in the ranks since that inaugural installment, and has been at least one of the final three standing since 2014.

Plenty has been said over that timeframe. And that’s left plenty to transcribe when it comes to the soon-to-be 41-year-old.

Let’s hit rewind on what 41 of Brady’s teammates and opponents, from past and present, have offered over the last five Top 100 lists.

2018 – No. 1

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Von Miller, Broncos outside linebacker: “Tom Brady is great. He’s been great for a long time, and anybody that hates on him is just a hater, because there’s nothing that you can hate on Tom Brady about. He’s battled through injury. He’s fought through adversity on the football field and off the football field. He’s done everything the right way. He’s playing as long as anybody can play. He’s taken care of his body. And he’s winning championships at the same time. So, if you’re hating on him, you’re just a hater, and shame on you.”

Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers defensive tackle: “He just will not age. I don’t know if it’s the Benjamin Button’s disease or whatever it is, man. It’s like reversed. It’s like he’s getting younger, man.”

Tyreek Hill, Chiefs wide receiver: “If you had to compare him to any other GOAT in any other sport, it’d have to be like Michael Jordan himself.”

Marshon Lattimore, Saints cornerback: “No. 1 player, man. Tom Brady, he’s got to be.”

Taylor Lewan, Titans offensive tackle: “No. 1 player would probably be Tom. Tom’s been slaying it. Tom Brady. That’s an easy belt-taker right there ... This guy just does it. I don’t even know how. He just does it.”

Mike Evans, Buccaneers wide receiver: “I wanted to beat him really bad, because it’s just the inner kid in me being a Peyton Manning fan. But it is awesome to share a field with greatness.”

Derek Carr, Raiders quarterback: “When I look at him, it’s the same kind of mindset I try to get myself into from just watching him. He stays calm and he just does his job. Let’s lock in on just the little things – let my feet be right, let my accuracy be right, let my read be right, let my eyes be right. And when you just keep watching him over the years, doing those little things over and over again, it’s not some crazy thing. He’s just doing the little things right – when it’s hard.”

Matthew Slater, Patriots special-teamer: “Playing in Pittsburgh this year, with a lot on the line for both teams in their seasons. We’re down. We give the ball to No. 12 … Time after time, when we’re in a pinch, he’s there to get us out of it.”

Dion Lewis, Titans running back: “You could sense no panic in anybody in the huddle, and I think it came from him. How confident, how focused he was. The look in his eyes – everybody knew it was time to go.”

Brandin Cooks, Rams wide receiver: “It’d be insane if he’s not No. 1. Let’s just say that.”

Telvin Smith, Jaguars linebacker: “I think Myles [Jack] came out and said, ‘We got Brady-ed.’ In tough situations, he’s the tough quarterback that’s going to make the plays … Definitely the No. 1 player this year, leading your team back to the Super Bowl after you say you’re the champs. A.B. [Antonio Brown] gave him a run, but I’m telling you Brady is No. 1 this year.”

Kirk Cousins, Vikings quarterback: “He’s No. 1 because of the production, the individual statistics. He’s had a revolving door in terms of the supporting cast around him from year to year, and yet he doesn’t miss a beat. When we were preparing for the Saints, we watched the Patriots against the Saints. Some of the plays he made – he threw a touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski off-schedule, just hanging in the pocket. I see that as mobility. I see that as extending a play. It may not be running around. In fact, sometimes running around he may look like a baby giraffe. But he finds a way in the pocket to keep his eyes downfield when there’s chaos around him and deliver throws time and time again, especially in big moments.”

Russell Wilson, Seahawks quarterback: “The thing about Tom is he’s super clutch. He’s on time. When the game’s on the line, he has no fear … I got a lot of respect for Tom, and how could you not? He’s the greatest of all-time.”

2017 – No. 1

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Calais Campbell, Jaguars defensive end: “You could just see the look in his eyes [down 28-3 in Super Bowl LI] and it’s like uh-oh. Stay close to that TV, my eyes are glued to it.”

Caleb Benenoch, Buccaneers guard: “Just something in your stomach told you that it wasn’t over. It was never over just because you got that guy right there.”

James White, Patriots running back: “I mean, Tom just pretty much went to work. Put the ball in his hands and different guys made plays. It’s just amazing to be one of his teammates and watch him go to work. He’s a guy that keeps us motivated whether we’re up 40 or down 40: ‘Just keep working. Laser focus, laser focus.’”

Vic Beasley, Falcons outside linebacker: “Seeing the character that he has, and the ability to not give up. He’s a champion because of that.”

Mike Daniels, Packers defensive tackle: “They came back and won the game? They did that. They came back and won the game. Tom Brady. He got his first Super Bowl ring when some of his teammates were like in first grade or kindergarten, man. This is unbelievable. This guy’s ridiculous.”

Demario Davis, then-Jets linebacker: “As long as Tom Brady’s here, he’s got that No. 1 spot.”

Christian Kirksey, Browns linebacker: “It’s like he took those games off basically to wait on us to play him.”

Richie Incognito, then-Bills guard: “The way he came back off the suspension [in 2016], he had something to prove. And we all knew it was going to be rough when he got back, so we stole a win from the Patriots earlier in the year at their place, and then Tom came back. It was same old Tom. He carved us up for I think like 45 points.”

Jameis Winston, Buccaneers quarterback: “Missing four games, he still has like a 20-to-1 ratio in interceptions to touchdowns. Like, this guy’s amazing.”

Kirk Cousins, then-Redskins quarterback: “I remember one throw he made against the Seahawks to Julian Edelman down the sideline on a third-and-long. I always like to tune in on those plays to see how a quarterback handles it, and sure enough he stepped up and made a perfect throw against man coverage to the one spot it could be. Edelman made a great catch, but he moved the chains and converted a third down.”

Shane Ray, Broncos outside linebacker: “If you don’t get pressure and you don’t hit Brady, everybody knows what that man’s going to do. He got [Chris] Hogan looking like he’s offensive player of the year. Nobody even knew who Hogan was coming out, you know what I’m saying? That just kind of shows you the kind of player he is to be able to make his teammates great.”

Mike Evans, Buccaneers wide receiver: “I think he’ll do it for at least five more years. He’s the best ever. I hate to say it, and I’m a Peyton Manning fan, but I’m a realist and Tom Brady is the guy.”

Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles safety: “You’ve always got two sides to the argument usually when people are talking about greatness. Like, ‘How good are you? What are your stats? What do you look like on the film?’ And then there’s the people who always want to validate it by wins and championships. Well, he’s got both. I don’t think you can argue, or who you can compare him to, to say that he’s not the best of all-time.”

2016 – No. 2

Washington Redskins v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Charles James III, then-Texans cornerback: “Tom does the same thing he does every year: Take over the world.”

Eric Wood, then-Bills center: “It seems like he hasn’t aged a bit since I got in the league. Tom gets better each and every year. It’s remarkable.”

Travaris Cadet, then-Saints running back: “I was in New England a short time this year after leaving New Orleans. He’s always striving for perfection during workouts. I watched him run shuttles until he ran the time he wanted. I watched him run 110 shuttles. That’s just the drive and the competitive nature that he has.”

Kirk Cousins, then-Redskins quarterback: “Just his competitiveness and his fire and his drive and the chip on his shoulder he’s always had – it really separates him … Although he’s not considered fast, I consider him to be very mobile because of the way he can slide and keep his eyes downfield and feel the pass rush and throw the football and avoid sacks. It’s like poetry in motion … It’s hard to understand. It’s like the game is in slow motion for him when he’s dropping back and reading coverages because of the way he’s able to dissect things so well. Against Denver, the touchdown he threw to Scott Chandler down the sidelines right behind Von Miller and right in front of the safety. To be able to see that coverage and get to that throw and then put it in the exact spot it needs to be was special … What amazes me about Tom Brady is the revolving door they’ve had at offensive line, the wide receiver position, the running back position. It’s always next man up and yet the next man up always plays like a Pro Bowler. And I think that the one steady piece through all these years has been No. 12 at quarterback.”

Ricky Jean Francois, then-Redskins defensive tackle: “He’s mastered the game. That man has seen every coverage. He’s seen every type of gameplan you can come up against him with. You might as well stop wasting your time.”

Wes Welker, then-Rams wide receiver: “He does a great job of making sure they’re in the perfect play, getting to that formation or getting the perfect protection against what you’re doing … We were playing against the Miami Dolphins at Miami, and I was supposed to run this in-cut and we got quarters [coverage]. And we were kind of talking about, ‘If they play underneath, put your hand up.’ As soon as he saw me, he was right there. The ball’s in the air and we get a big play out of it. His ability to see that so quickly – I feel like most quarterback’s would’ve waited and been like, ‘What’s he doing?’”

Cameron Jordan, Saints defensive end: Tom Brady is Tom-tastic. I mean, he has four out of six Super Bowl rings. Had he gone to the Super Bowl [in 2016], he probably would have been a shoo-in for a fifth ring.”

Terrance Knighton, then-Redskins defensive tackle: “For them to have the success they’re having this year with all the injuries, and just the consistency that they have with him being the catalyst for that – there’s no question who should be the No. 1 player.”

2015 – No. 3

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Aqib Talib, then-Broncos cornerback: “I think Tom Brady started out slow, but you look at him from about Week 7 on, probably was the best player in the league.”

Patrick Chung, Patriots safety: “He tries to get the best out of you. He’s trying to throw touchdowns. He’s talking crap while he’s doing it. It brings the competitiveness out of everybody.”

James Develin, Patriots fullback: “I mean, Tom, he’s the fiercest competitor I’ve ever been around. He’s somebody that puts his team in the best position to win. He’s the ultimate leader. You can never count out the Patriots when Tom Brady is in the huddle. He’s just got something special about him, and he makes things happen that you never thought could happen. He plays the game still like he’s a kid. He’s the greatest quarterback that’s ever played the game.”

2014: No. 3

Cleveland Browns v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Ike Taylor, then-Steelers cornerback: “The face of ‘GQ.’ Not the NFL, but ‘GQ.’ Sit in the pocket, comb his hair. The next play? Sit in the pocket, let me comb my hair, then I’m going to throw the touchdown. That’s Tom Brady.”

Logan Mankins, then-Patriots guard: “Everyone always says he’s the ‘GQ’ quarterback because he thinks he looks good, but he’s just a special guy that works really hard. He’s got all the accolades that anyone could ever want, but he still puts in the work and he practices hard. He’s demanding of his teammates and he’s just the kind of quarterback, the leader, that you’d want.”

Marcel Reece, then-Raiders fullback: “He makes everyone else around him better. No matter who’s playing with him, no matter who’s on the left or right side of him – he just makes them better.”

Brian Hoyer, then-Browns quarterback: “I think this year kind of shows that, because it’s kind of been a revolving wheel of the players he’s played with at the skill positions, and he always seems to get it done … To me, he does everything the right way. He works hard. He’s so intense. He’s just the ultimate leader, I think.

Roddy White, then-Falcons wide receiver: “He just goes out there with anybody. I think he could take the guy from across the street that was walking or jogging, throw him out there in football pads and tell him to run an in-cut. And he’ll hit him with the ball.”

D’Qwell Jackson, then-Browns linebacker: “Any person that you put into that equation, they come out playing much better than they anticipated … What jumped out at me in the game against Tom Brady was he chose his matchups strategically. Early on in the game, he would go to empty, and an empty set is three receivers one side, two receivers on the other. And that No. 3 position is usually a tight end, but what he did, he flip-flopped the two. He put the receiver inside – he was a shiftier guy – to put a matchup on myself. He chose that matchup early on in the ballgame. Then later in the ballgame, one of our rookies came into the game, and I mean, he threw the ball at him all day. He forced him to make a play. He took full advantage of those matchups, and it worked out for him down the stretch. That’s why he’s able to be Tom Brady.”

Demario Davis, then-Jets linebacker: “Tom Brady, he can score at it any time. It doesn’t matter how much time is on the clock. With him, the game is never over.”

Kyle Williams, Bills defensive tackle: “He wants to win more than he wants to glorify himself. And if that means running the ball 50 times because you’re showing them a defense that’s vulnerable to the run, he’ll do it. If you show him a heavy box where he can take advantage of you through the air, that’s what he’ll do. He’ll put the ball up 50 times. That unselfishness from that position. You know, ‘what’s best for our offense’ and not just ‘what’s best for me’ is what makes him so special. He’ll do what he has to do to win.”