It was just a year ago when Tom Brady sat atop the NFL as the league's best player—and now a year later, the New England Patriots quarterback has slipped three spots down to the fourth-best player entering the 2012 season.
The NFL Network's Top 100 players poll came to a conclusion Wednesday with the presentation of the Top 10:
- Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay Packers
- Drew Brees, QB New Orleans Saints
- Calvin Johnson, WR Detroit Lions
- Tom Brady, QB New England Patriots
- Darrelle Revis, CB New York Jets
- DeMarcus Ware, OLB Dallas Cowboys
- Larry Fitzgerald, WR Arizona Cardinals
- Adrian Peterson, RB Minnesota Vikings
- Haloti Ngata, DL Baltimore Ravens
- Patrick Willis, LB San Francisco 49ers
By taking a look at Brady's stats from 2011, you might have thought he was a shoo-in for the NFL's top spot for the second consecutive season. Brady posted a career high in passing yards with 5,235, had an 8.57 yards per attempt average and completed a whopping 401 passes. He also finished with a 105.6 quarterback rating while completing 65.6 percent of his passes for 39 touchdowns compared to just 12 interceptions.
But just by looking around at the other top quarterbacks in the NFL, Rodgers and Brees specifically, you'd definitely understand why those two finished ahead of Brady.
Rodgers was simply dominant in 2011. The Packers quarterback completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 4,643 yards while tossing a whopping 45 touchdowns compared to only six interceptions and finished with a 122.5 quarterback rating—all that without playing in the final regular season game and playing with the NFL's worst defense.
Brees, on the other hand, had an impressive year as well. He set the NFL record for most passing yards in a season as he surpassed Dan Marino's mark set in 1984 with a stellar 5,476 yards. He finished the season with an unbelievable 71.2 completion percentage and tossed 46 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions and finished with a 110.6 quarterback rating.
By no means is either Rodgers, Brees or Brady better than one or the other by significant margins, but it's easy to understand why those two quarterbacks were selected ahead of Brady.
But Calvin Johnson, on the other hand—that is a little bit of a shocker.
Granted, this is a players poll and some might look at it as Johnson dominates the wide receiver position in the NFL far greater than Brady dominants the quarterback position—but still, that's an iffy argument.
Megatron was virtually unstoppable in 2011 for the Lions as he recorded 96 receptions for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns—but are those stats more impressive than Brady's?
I beg to differ.
Not to mention, let me ask you this question: Would you rather start your team with Tom Brady or Calvin Johnson? I'd be shocked if any of you selected Johnson.
The biggest point to my argument is that this is a quarterback's league. Quarterbacks dominate the league—there's no debating that. Which makes my argument more clear: Brady should have finished ahead of Johnson.
But yet again, is it really that big of a deal after all? Not at all.
Both players had amazing seasons and are two of the best players that the NFL has to offer.
But the point that I'll always revert back to: Who would you rather start a team with? Brady or Megatron?
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