Given the average career span of today’s NFL player, being named to the league's All-Decade Team is as much an honor as it is a testament to survival. Let’s face it, the American game of football is one of the most violent sports on the face of the earth.
With all due respect to my rugby and Aussie Rules football playing friends, the dynamics are just a bit different, but yes, your sport is pretty violent too.
Now, with that disclaimer aside, we move on.
The NFL All-Decade teams are selected every 10 years by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. This selection will be the ninth of its kind in league history.
This decade’s 53-player team will be comprised of two quarterbacks, four running backs, one fullback, four wide receivers, two tight ends, four offensive tackles, four guards, two centers, four defensive tackles, four defensive ends, six linebackers, four cornerbacks, four safeties, two kickers, two punters, two kick returners, and two punt returners. Two head coaches have also been chosen.
The entire team will be announced prior to this Sunday's Pro Bowl on a special edition of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown (5:30 PM EST).
Twelve participants of Sunday's Pro Bowl are members of the all decade team and those players include the following:
PRO BOWL SEASONS
TE Antonio Gates
G Alan Faneca
Pit. 2002-08; NYJ 2009-10
G Steve Hutchinson
Sea. 2004-06; Min. 2007-10
C Kevin Mawae
NYJ 2000-05; Ten. 2009-10
DE Julius Peppers
Car. 2005-07, 2009-10
LB Ray Lewis
Bal. 1998-2002, 2004-05, 2008-10
LB DeMarcus Ware
CB Champ Bailey
Was. 2001-04; Den. 2005-08, 2010
S Brian Dawkins
Phi. 2000, 2002-03, 2005-07, 2009; Den. 2010
P Shane Lechler
Oak. 2002, 2005, 2008-10
K David Akers
Phi. 2002-03, 2005, 2010
KR Joshua Cribbs
Cle. 2008, 2010
You can also add Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, and safety Darren Sharper of the Saints. All three players were Pro Bowl selections but will opt out of the All-Star classic to continue preparations for the Super Bowl.
I’m not crazy about Josua Cribbs as the All-Decade kick returner given the fact he only has two Pro Bowls to his resume, but I’ll leave it to you try and change my mind. I might be more inclined to go with Dante Hall or Brian Mitchell.