Beginning this week, the NFL Network is starting a roll out of their top 100 players in NFL history - if it's been leaked I'm unaware of it. They're doing ten at a time, so, I put together a list and will do the same; I'm going to beat them to the punch if I can each week, but then will go in and fill in their selections next to mine, for the sake of comparison.
It's largely a subjective list - it starts with good, objective intentions - my lists (with the underlying methodology) of best QB, RB, WR of all time can be found here
Those lists were based entirely on regular season and contained no element of peak value as opposed to career - additionally, those are just skill positions, and didn't attempt to cross evaluate one position with another.
But this list here does all of those things - mixes positions, eras, adds peak and postseason. Just a whole mess of nonquantifiable elements.
But I'm right of course. Right! Right! 'Cause that's how I get down.
I don't know specifically who #101 is - but here's who made my short list from each position but didn't wind up making the cut:
QB Steve McNair
RB Edgerrin James
WR Charlie Joiner
TE Shannon Sharpe
OL Willie Roaf (he might be 101)
DL Andy Robustelli
LB Dick Butkus
DB Eric Allen
ST Dave Jennings (there are no punters on the list)
100. Larry Allen OL 1994-07 Cowboys
-Hard to evaluate offensive lineman separate from their teammates; what you're left with is team offensive statistics and the best you can do evaluating film and reading thoughts of experts you value. The numbers of different positions on the line Allen played gets him the nod for me over Larry Little and Ron Mix. (NFL Net Pick - Joe Namath. He wouldn't be in my next hundred players. Maybe Top 250.)
99. Tom Mack OL 1966-78 Rams
-The player with the top comp to Allen is Mack, the player with Mack's top comp is Steve Wisniewski, who I really considered for this spot. Jim Ringo was on this list until about eleven minutes ago. (NFL Pick - Michael Strahan. On this list, just a couple notches ahead)
98. Ozzie Newsome TE 1978-90 Browns
-I've only got 2 TE on the entire list, and only really looked at 4 as real candidates - Kellen Winslow's slightly shorter career got him edged, and I do mean edged out here. (NFL Pick - Lee Roy Selmon. Did not make my list; would make Top 150.)
97. Steve Van Buren RB 1944-51 Eagles
-I prefer longer as opposed to shorter careers; Gale Sayers is nowhere near this list, and I'm assuming that won't be the case for the NFL Network - but Steve Van Buren; he started 48 games and scored 77 touchdowns. There's just not a question in my mind he's one of the hundred best players of all time. (NFL Pick - Derrick Brooks. He's on the list and significantly higher.
96. Michael Strahan DL 1993-07 Giants
-41 of his career sacks came in just two seasons; his top comp is Gino Marchetti, who just misssed the list - and not too far away is Andy Robustelli, a Giant from a previous era, and he and Strahan fought for this spot. (NFL Pick - Mel Hein. This is a NYG spot apparently. He's not on the list)
95. Norm Van Brocklin QB/P 1949-60 Rams
-Reading stats and watching tapes, I'm a big fan of Tobin Rote and Roman Gabriel - those guys don't quite make the final version of this list, and neither did Steve McNair, NVB's top comp. (NFL Pick - Larry Allen, #100 on my list)
94. Donovan McNabb QB 1999- Eagles
Only active player in this section; the rushing totals and the likelihood that he'll add to his body of work for at least the next couple of seasons squeaks him through. Roman Gabriel shakes the fist. (NFL Pick - Lenny Moore, not on my list)
93. Lance Alworth WR 1962-72 Chargers
-Career numbers depressed given the era in which he played; his top comp by a wide margin is interesting - Keyshawn Johnson. (NFL Pick - Sam Huff, he's on my list and not far away)
92. OJ Simpson RB 1969-79 Bills
-Top comp is Tiki Barber and Ottis Anderson actually edges him out for career value - Juice's productive career was relatively short. (NFL Pick - Michael Irvin - on the list)
91. Lou Groza K/OL 1948-67 Browns
-Not only one of the top kickers of all time, but an elite offensive lineman; Groza beats out his top comps: Richmond Webb, Jim Parker, Art Shell for this spot. (NFL Pick - Fran Tarkenton - higher, and much higher)
Ten down. 90 to go. The list of the top 100 professional football players ever marches on. See you next week. (Tuesday night is the next ten reveal from NFL Network, so I'll get to it Tuesday morning).