Best NFL Offensive Players By Team In the 2000's
Every team, whether good or not, has had its superstars in the last decade. I am going to be selecting a player from each team on their offense.
This will be the creme of the crop if you will, even though it seems as if some teams couldn't have possibly had a crop. I look forward to the debates on my selections and who some of you would have picked in the opening decade of the 2000's. I hope you all enjoy, I know I enjoyed making this.
Arizona Cardinals—Larry Fitzgerald
This was a tough one to answer. Kurt Warner was the other option, but Fitz comes out on top.
Larry has been with the team for six seasons and has made good use of his time there. He has reached the 1,000-yard receiving mark four timesand was less than 60 yards away from another.
In addition, Fitzgerald has caught 59 touchdown passes and has averaged 13.5 yards per catch.
He should be on this list at the end of this decade too.
Career stats: 523 receptions, 7,067 yards and 59 touchdown receptions.
Atlanta Falcons—Michael Vick
Before the jail time and the dog fighting incident, Michael Vick was the face of the Atlanta Falcons franchise.
There is no doubt about it.
So it still gets him the nod for best player on the Falcons offense for the 2000 decade.
Vick's legs were the focal point of his career, but he had a decent sling on his throws as well.
Career Stats: 11,591 passing yards, 72 passing touchdowns, 3,954 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns.
In 2006, Vick became the only quarterback to ever rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season (1,039).
Baltimore Ravens—Jamal Lewis
This award could go to either Joe Flacco or Ray Rice by the end of this decade, but for the last one, it goes to Jamal Lewis.
A perennial 1,000-yard rusher, Lewis was a powerful force on the once potent Ravens offense. Lewis even came close to breaking Eric Dickerson's single season rushing record (2,105) with 2,066 yards in 2003.
Career stats in Baltimore: 7,801 rushing yards, 37 rushing touchdowns, 1365 receiving yards and 22 receiving touchdowns.
Buffalo Bills—Eric Moulds
Eric Moulds wins this honor hands down. The Bills were awful in the 2000's, and Moulds was one of the very few bright spots on offense.
During his time in Buffalo, Moulds caught 675 passes for 9,096 yards and 48 touchdown passes.
Moulds played for the Titans and the Texans for a season each, before deciding to hang up the cleats.
Carolina Panthers—Steve Smith
This wasn't all that tough of a choice, since Jake Delhomme threw himself out of the running with such a poor performance this year.
Smith is still one of the league's elite receivers and a favorite go-to guy for Delhomme.
Smith has been to the the Super Bowl with Carolina and a feared force by many cornerbacks and safeties for years.
He has gained some very good career stats as a Panther, grabbing 8,330 yards and 50 touchdown catches.
Chicago Bears—Thomas Jones
Well, the Bears have had a decade of offensive players that weren't really superstars, but made the most of them. One of the few superstars was Thomas Jones.
Jones was a big contributor in the Bears' Super Bowl XLI run in the 2006 season.
In his three seasons with the team, Jones amounted 3,493 rushing yards, 22 rushing touchdowns and 724 receiving yards.
Cincinnati Bengals—Carson Palmer
On a team that was in a playoff drought, Palmer has been Cincinnati's bread and butter.
Although the Bengals have had pretty bad years before, Palmer led the Bengals to an AFC North title this year and looks to do it again and again over the course of the next decade.
Palmer has thrown for 18,724 yards, 128 touchdowns and has a passer rating of 87.9.
Cleveland Browns—Braylon Edwards
Braylon Edwards was another bright spot on a dull team.
He was the go-to guy in Cleveland and amounted 3,726 yards and 28 touchdowns. His power and size made him a jump-ball threat, and he could catch most floating passes.
Dallas Cowboys—Tony Romo
There are plenty of things to say about Tony Romo—both good and bad. However, the good here outweighs the bad.
Romo has led the Cowboys to three playoff births in his tenure, but found a way to lose the first two.
This year was quite different.
Though Romo didn't look his best on Sunday, the loss really could be blamed on current Cowboys coach Wade Phillips. His decision to try a long field goal instead of make a fourth-and-short swung the momentum in the other direction.
Romo has compiled over 15,000 yards passing in just four full seasons as a starter. He also has 107 touchdowns and a QB rating of 95.6.
Denver Broncos—Rod Smith
Rod Smith is with out a doubt one of the best non-drafted free agents to ever play the game of football.
He helped Denver win back-to-back Super Bowl at the end of the 90's, and kept up on his reputation as a versatile receiver. He holds the record for most receiving yards by an un-drafted free agent and for receiving yards in Broncos' history.
Smith has 11,389 receiving yards with 68 touchdowns. He is the only un-drafted free agent to also hit the 10,000-yard receiving mark.
Detroit Lions—Calvin Johnson
Johnson has been a bright point on the team labeled the worst team of the decade.
Johnson was drafted out of Georgia Tech for his size and speed. At 6'5" and 235 lbs, it isn't hard to see why.
Since his rookie year in 2007, Johnson has 193 cathches, 3,071 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns.
Green Bay Packers—Brett Favre
Of course the living legend is here. Brett Favre was the face of the Green Bay Packers for 16 years.
He holds just about every quarterback record, but the longevity of his career has made that possible. Favre led the Pack to two Super Bowls—beating the New England Patriots in 1997 and losing to the Denver Broncos 1998.
Favre's stats in Green Bay: 61,655 passing yards, 442 touchdowns and 228 interceptions. All of these are NFL records. Favre has extended these stats over the last two years, but did so with the Jets and the Vikings.
Houston Texans—Matt Schaub
The former back-up to Michael Vick in Atlanta has been nothing short of spectacular to watch.
Schaub led the league this season in passing yards, throwing for over 4,700 and leading his team to its first winning season in franchise history. It seems that each year, the Texans just get a little better, and Schaub has been a major contributor to that.
Career Stats in Houston: 10,054 passing yards, 53 touchdowns and a passer rating of 92.8.
Indianapolis Colts—Peyton Manning
Observed by many as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, it isn't hard to see why he is the Colts' offensive player of the decade. He was in fact voted the NFL's player of the decade as well.
Now it isn't really all that fair to give him that label, as the game has changed a lot since players like Staubach, Tarkenton, Montana, and even Elway and Marino were in their prime's.
Manning, however, has become the youngest player to reach 50,000 passing yards, 300 touchdowns and 130 games won. He is certainly the best of the era and ONE of the best to ever play.
Mannings career stats: 50,128 passing yards, 366 touchdowns and a 95.2 passer rating.
Jacksonville Jaguars—Fred Taylor
Fred Taylor was the driving force of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1998-2009. He was picked up by the New England Patriots for the 2009 season.
Taylor had always been known for his speed and ability to elude tacklers. He led the Jaguars when they made the playoffs and made an excellent combo with current Jag running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Jacksonville stats: 11,279 rushing yards, 66 rushing touchdowns, 2,361 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns.
Kansas City Chiefs—Preist Holmes
Holmes has defined what it means to be a running back in the 2000's. He was the brightest star on a team that had amazing players such as Trent Green and Tony Gonzalez.
Holmes played the majority of his career in Kansas City, but had a brief three-year stint in Baltimore. He had been held back by injury and decided to retire at the end of the 2007 season.
Kansas City stats: six seasons, 6,070 rushing yards, 76 rushing touchdowns, 2,377 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns.
Miami Dolphins—Chad Pennington
Chad Pennington came over from the Jets to a terrible Miami Dolphins team. He gets the nod because he led the team to the playoffs that year and finished second for the MVP.
Pennington has help revolutionize the infamous "Wildcat" offense, often becoming a receiver on the field or even a lead blocker. For a quarterback, that is pretty impressive.
Miami stats: 4,066 passing yards and 20 touchdowns. Pennington was hurt for most of this season, so the numbers don't look all that impressive.
Minnesota Vikings—Randy Moss
It is undeniable that Adrian Peterson will have this title at the end of the decade, but as for the last decade, it goes to Moss.
Moss was the star receiver for quarterback Dante Culpepper. He amounted some really amazing numbers, and is still considered one of the elite receivers in the league.
Minnesota stats: 9,142 receiving yards and 90 touchdowns.
New England Patriots—Tom Brady
Tom Brady is the other guy people consider the greatest of all time. It will forever be the debate that will never end. Brady has amounted some pretty amazing things in his career thus far.
He has help lead the Pats to four Super Bowl appearances and three victories. He also currently holds the single-season touchdown record with 50.
Not too shabby for a sixth-round draft pick.
Brady's career stats: 30,844 passing yards, 225 touchdowns and a passer rating of 93.3.
New Orleans Saints—Drew Brees
Drew Brees has really been the big cornerstone of the Saints organization in his time there.
He has led his team to two NFC Championship games, and turned the Saints from perennial losers into winners. Brees was the runner up in the MVP voting this season.
Stats in New Orleans: 18,298 passing yards, 122 touchdowns and a passer rating of 97.8.
New York Giants—Eli Manning
Manning has had some medicore years, like this one. But he has had some real good ones, too.
In 2007, Manning took the Giants and beat the team that no one else could in the Super Bowl. His winning Super Bowl XLII set a whole list of firsts for the NFL. He and brother Peyton became the first set of brothers to quarterback a team in the Super Bowl, win the Super Bowl and be named Super Bowl MVP.
After an amazing 5-0 start, Manning suffered a heal injury that he appeared to never fully recover from.
Mannings career stats: 18,664 passing yards, 125 touchdowns and a passer rating of 79.2.
New York Jets—Curtis Martin
Curtis Martin is one of the best backs of the current era. He was the Jets go-to guy on the ground for many years.
Martin lengthy career has probably earned him a spot in Canton, and Jets fans are more than happy with that. He was an all-around back who could run, catch and block quite well. Thus, he gets the nod for Jets offensive player of the decade.
New York Jets stats: 10,302 rushing yards, 58 touchdowns and 2,439 receiving yards with five touchdowns.
Oakland Raiders—Rich Gannon
Gannon was the quarterback that JaMarcus Russell wishes he could be half of.
Gannon led the Raiders during the time in the 2000's when they were actually good. When he retired, they fell apart. Gannon led the team to the Super Bowl but lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Gannon's Oakland stats: 17,587 passing yards, 114 touchdown passes and a rating of 88.6.
Philadelphia Eagles—Donovan McNabb
McNabb has been a son of Philadelphia for his entire career. He has always had great talent around him, and it has helped him succeed.
McNabb is generally a pro bowl electee, when he can stay healthy through the season. He led the Eagles to the Super Bowl, however lost to the New England Patriots and haven't returned since.
However, it seems that he has hit his stride again, leading the Eagles to an impressive 11-5 record and a playoff berth.
Career Stats: 32,873 passing yards, 216 touchdown passes and a rating of 86.5.
Pittsburgh Steelers—Ben Roethlisberger
Big Ben has made his point ever since his rookie year, winning all 15 games he started in the regular season and taking his team to the AFC Championship game.
Two Super Bowl victories later, Ben is still getting better as a quarterback. Although the team failed to make the playoffs this season, it was mostly credited to team injuries. The Steeler's look to be back to form next season.
Career stats: 19,302 passing yards, 127 touchdowns and a rating of 91.7
San Diego Chargers—LaDaininan Tomlinson
LaDainian Tomlinson is easily the best running back of the decade. Before suffering foot injuries during the past couple of seasons, LT was the overall premiere back.
In 2006, Tomlinson set single-season records for the most rushing touchdowns (28) and total touchdown (31). It isn't hard to imagine that he will be in the Hall of Fame at the end of his amazing career.
Career stats: 12,490 rushing yards, 138 rushing touchdowns, 3,955 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns.
San Fransisco 49ers—Frank Gore
Frank Gore has been the amazing star on a generally dismal 49ers team.
He is usually a 1,000-yard rusher when healthy. He tends to get injured, which holds him back from his full potential. He is also a great blocker and can provide a quarterback some protection in the pocket.
Career Stats: 5,561 rushing yards, 32 touchdowns, 1,831 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns.
Seattle Seahawks—Matthew Hasselbeck
This was an easy choice. Matthew Hasselbeck, as he likes to be called now, has been the leader of the Seahawks for the whole decade. He was drafted by the Packers in 1999 in the sixth round, but didn't get to play backing up Brett Favre.
His best tear was in the 2005 season, where he and running back Shaun Alexander led the team to a the Super Bowl lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hasselback has talked about retiring after this season, but he may stay to see if he can help the team with the new coach.
Career stats: 26,578 passing yards, 162 touchdowns and a passer rating of 83.3
St.Louis Rams—Torry Holt
Torry Holt was one of the league's elite receivers. Although he has declined with age, he is still a great go-to guy in Jacksonville.
Holt was a key target for Kurt Warner during their two Super Bowl runs and has been one of St. Louis' all time best. There is little doubt that Holt will be in the Hall of Fame.
St. Louis stats: 12,660 yards with 74 touchdowns.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Mike Alstott
Mike Alstott redefined the full back position. He was a key Bucs asset for many years and is a shoe in Hall of Famer.
Alstott was a huge force in Tampa Bay's Super Bowl win in 2002 and has many team records, as well as some NFL Records.
Career Stats: 5,088 rushing yards, 58 touchdowns and 2,284 receiving yards with 13 touchdowns.
Tennessee Titans—Steve McNair
This is in loving memory of an amazing quarterback, who loved to play the game of football. His endurance and toughness were never questioned by anybody in the league, as he played through countless injuries. Steve, you will be dearly missed by all football fans, and we look forward to your induction into the Hall of Fame.
Oilers/Titans Stats: 27,174 passing yards, 156 touchdowns and a passer rating of 82.8.
Wahington Redskins—Santana Moss
Santana Moss has been the Redskins leading receiver for the decade. His ability to make plays is outstanding, and his attitude is one of the best in the league.
Although he has played on a team that has done very poorly over the last few years, he just keeps his head down and continues to work hard to better himself and his team. With Mike Shanahan as the new coach, he will probably be a top-three receiver in the league.
Redskins Stats: 5,170 yards, 27 receiving touchdowns and one punt return for a touchdown.
In Memory of:
Here is a list of players that were in the NFL when they lost their lives over the decade:
Chris Henry, Darrent Williams, Steve McNair, Pat Tillman, Gaines Adams, Al Blades, Marquis Cooper, Thomas Herrion, Marquise Hill, Fred Lane, Damien Nash, Corey Smith, Sean Taylor, Derrick Thomas and Eric Turner.
May they all rest in peace and know they are not forgotten.