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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

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

      Read more »

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