You gotta love football. To make this list, you have to love the game for what it is.
Let me explain.
As NFL analysts, we don't have an offseason. The Senior Bowl occurs in the week between Championship Sunday and the Super Bowl. Then draft coverage begins—the combine, the pro days and then the actual event in April.
We then have rookie minicamps, organized OTAs and preseason to cover. We have predictions to make and thoughts to get on record in the permanent annals of the World Wide Web.
As NFL teams become eliminated from playoff contention, time frees up. So what do we do? We look for things to fill it with. This is the time of year to start becoming acquainted with some of the faces that will define our offseason: 2013's NFL rookie class.
And every year, I am reminded. I want winners. I want players who love football. I want attributes in this order when evaluating a prospect at any position:
1. Love of football
2. Natural physical gifts
3. Attention to detail and fundamentals
Why? Easy. For when we get here. This is when your legacy is made.
These are the 20 key veterans we trust most heading into the NFL playoffs.