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The NFL Network's Top 100 Show Finalizes This Week, But the Way They Voted Makes No Sense

The NFL Network’s series on the Top 100 Players of 2011 concludes on Sunday Night. The Final 10, in some order, will be Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Andre Johnson, Ray Lewis, Peyton Manning, Julius Peppers, Adrian Peterson, Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, and Darrelle Revis. The controversy this week has been that some players have been questioning the process. The rankings have been billed as being voted on by the players, for the players, but some prominent players, like Brian Urlacher, have stepped up and said they didn’t vote nor do they know anyone who voted.

Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports has the details on how the voting actually went down. According to NFL Media Director of Communications Dennis Johnson, 413 players voted (votes and names of players remain confidential), submitting a list of 20 players each, that were then assigned points from 20 (for the #1 on the list) to 1. That participation by the players represents less than 25% of the league’s membership.

But that’s not my biggest problem with the voting. How can put out a Top 100 list and have people only vote for 20 players? I know that you might not be able to find 100 players to sit and rank 100 different players, but if you are going to put out a Top 100 list, we should be selecting 100 players. It’s similar to the criticism I had of the Associated Press awarding a second team all-pro when they don’t actually vote for it.

So what we really have is a list of 100 players who someone thought was among the 20 best players in the league. That’s different, and even more disturbing. Much was made when Donovan McNabb made the list at #100, but now we now that some players actually voted for him as one of the best 20 players in the league following his 2010 performance. #100 was curious; players voting him as one of the 20 best on their ballot is delusional. Mike Williams of Tampa Bay had a nice rookie season; I don’t know how it’s possible to think he’s one of the 20 best players, which would mean someone thought he was one of the two or three best wide receivers. Same with Eric Berry. Or voting for a fullback or special teams player among the top 20.

The result of this is also that someone like Kevin Williams didn’t even make the list because not enough players listed him in their top 20. If I had voted, I don’t know if I would have had Williams in the top 20, but he would have been close. If the players had actually voted on the 100 best, I’m guessing Williams would have appeared.

Not that you needed me to tell you this, but the results are fairly invalid because of the methodology used. The NFL Network puts out a high quality production, and the interviews and highlights are usually great, but players, you shouldn’t get worked up over where you rank. The process doesn’t justify getting indignant. It doesn’t represent how your peers really view you. If we had any doubts, the order itself is fairly meaningless.

[photo via Getty]

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