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Sports Then and Now



Best of the Decade: NFL Rules The Roost in Professional Sports 2

Posted on December 31, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Tennessee Titans v Indianapolis Colts

Peyton Manning passed for more more than 42,000 yards in the decade while leading the Colts to double digit victories nine times.

It was a banner decade for the NFL with many franchises building new stadiums and posting record attendance. The caliber of the play on the field was arguably the greatest of all time with many superstars putting their stamp on the decade.

Unlike previous decades where a Super Bowl blowout was a common occurrence, the 2000’s saw six Super Bowls decided by a touchdown or less, including dramatic endings to the final two Super Bowls played in the decade.

Offenses generally ruled the roost with high-powered attacks lighting up scoreboards across the league. However, defense was still an important component of most championship teams.

Because NFL careers are often short, selecting the top 10 players of the decade is a challenge because many of the best players at the end of the decade were not even in the league when the decade started.

Most of the players on this list were key performers on teams that achieved playoff and often Super Bowl greatness. Please feel free to share your thoughts on who else you think is deserving of being considered among the best of the decade.

Who Was the NFL's Best Player of the Decade?

  • Peyton Manning (45%, 134 Votes)
  • Tom Brady (28%, 82 Votes)
  • Ladainian Tomlinson (6%, 17 Votes)
  • Ray Lewis (6%, 17 Votes)
  • Troy Polamalu (4%, 13 Votes)
  • Champ Bailey (3%, 9 Votes)
  • Derrick Brooks (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Randy Moss (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Tony Gonzalez (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Ed Reed (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Marvin Harrison (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Jonathan Ogden (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 296

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Below is our list of the top players of the decade:
Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

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