The top ten football players of the decade.

12/30/09 in NFL   |   FirstTierSports   |   36 respect

A collaborative First Tier Sports article by: Jesse Robichaud and Rick Blackheart.

The decade is coming to an end. I'm not really sure what to call this decade, the oughts? the 0's? If you have any ideas let me know. Anyways its been a great year for football, we arguably had five of the best Super Bowls ever and watched a ton of records fall.

The team of the decade is clearly the Patriots, but the player of the decade is still up in the air. Here are our picks:

1. Ray Lewis. Shocking? not really. Ray Lewis has dominated this decade. Stop for a minute and think about it. Lewis was the 2000 Super Bowl MVP, has been to 7 Pro Bowls this decade, was first team all pro five times and was defensive player of the year twice.

The scary thing is Ray Lewis's greatness has nothing to do with the numbers. He is the leader of the Ravens and this decade was real good for them. He's the Peyton Manning of the Ravens. The Ravens have never had a great offense. The act that put him over the top for us was his 2000 season. The Ravens won the Super Bowl in spite of an anemic offense that went an amazing five straight games without scoring a touchdown. The Ravens followed that up by allowing 27 points in four games in the playoffs.

This list comes down to two players: Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis. Manning's one Super Bowl win came with him playing poorly and the defense carrying the Colts. Ray Lewis won his Super Bowl almost single handedly.

There is no tangible way to prove that Ray Lewis is better than Peyton Manning. It really comes down to a gut feeling after looking at tangible stats. Ray Lewis was the heart and soul of a year in and year out playoff team that never had a good Quarterback and in 2000 he dragged the Ravens into the Super Bowl and won the game and the MVP.

2. Peyton Manning. Eight pro bowls, four first team all pros, three MVP's and the 2006 Super Bowl MVP. Clearly Peyton is at the top of the heap in the NFL at the Quarterback position. He has dominated despite a mediocre surrounding team. Even with a suspect defense at times Peyton has lead the Colts to nine ten win or more seasons in the past ten years.

3. Tom Brady. Four pro bowls, one first team all pro, one MVP and two Super Bowl MVP's. Tom Brady is a winner. He is the only guy on this list with three Super Bowl's. The reason he falls behind Peyton is because he didn't play much in 2000 or 2008 and played mediocre in 2001 leading the Patriots to a Super Bowl win.

4. Ladainian Tomlinson. Five pro bowls, three first team all pros and one MVP. Tomlinson has all the numbers. He lead the decade in all purpose yards, touchdowns, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and any other position player stat you can think of. He's second all time in rushing touchdowns and third all time in total touchdowns.

5. Jonathan Ogden.
Eight pro bowls, three first team all pros. Ogden was nothing short of dominant during his pro career. A sure fire first ballot hall of famer. From 1997-2007 he made the pro bowl team eleven straight years. Plain and simple their was no other offensive lineman better than Ogden.

6. Champ Bailey. Eight pro bowls, three first team all pros. Bailey was dominant all decade long with the Redskins and Broncos, but the most amazing display of dominance perhaps at any position was in 2006. Bailey was thrown at 35 times, only four times the receiver he was covering caught the ball. Even more impressive was that Bailey had ten interceptions that year.

7. Derrick Brooks. Eight pro bowls, four first team all pros, 2002 defensive player of the year. Brooks...
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