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Sports Then and Now



NFL at 100: Top 100 Players of All-Time – 100-76 1

Posted on November 16, 2019 by Dean Hybl

One of the cool parts of the NFL celebrating 100 years in 2019 is remembering the great moments and players that have helped shape the history of the game.

The NFL Network has been sharing their selections for the top moments, game-changers, teams and characters. Soon they will be unveiling their list of the top 100 players in NFL history.

In a sport that has seen great change and evolution over 100 years, creating any comprehensive all-time list is going to be subjective and open to interpretation.

That is likely even more pronounced when trying to choose the top 100 players of the NFL’s first 100 years.

Some will certainly rely heavily on statistics as a guide, but my opinion is that while individual season statistics and the number of seasons leading the league in a statistical category can help identify greatness, career and all-time statistics are not as helpful and can be misleading when trying to pick an all-time team.

Whether it is related to the number of games played each season, move from playing both ways to position specialization or rule changes that impact offensive production, there has been enough change over the history of the game that I believe reduce the importance of career statistics.

 That is why for the Sports Then and Now list of the Top 100 Players in NFL history we chose to give greater emphasis to other factors. The things we looked at when choosing our top 100 included All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections, number of times leading their league in statistical categories, how they compared to other players from within their era and peak performance. Team success was given greater weight in ordering quarterbacks, but played only a minor role in selecting players from other positions.

The result is a Sports Then and Now Top 100 list that I fully expect to look very different than the list that will be unveiled on the NFL Network beginning on November 22nd. For our list, we made sure not to forget those players from the 1920s-1950s whose career statistics are well below players from future decades, but who were clearly all-time greats.

The distribution of players by era for the ST&N Top 100 is very interesting: 1920s-1930s: 8; 1940s-1950s: 13; 1960s: 24; 1970s: 15; 1980s: 12; 1990s: 12; 2000s: 8; 2010s: 7. However, 14 of our top 20 played a majority of their career after 1980.

This is the first of four posts over the next couple weeks announcing the ST&N Top 100. This one includes players 100-76.

100. Larry Wilson – St. Louis Cardinals – 8 Pro Bowls; 5 time 1st Team All-Pro: The creator of the safety blitz, Wilson was a hard-nosed player who was one of the top defensive players of the 1960s. He registered 52 career interceptions and scored seven defensive touchdowns during his career.

99. J.J. Watt – Houston Texans – 5 Pro Bowls, 5 time 1st Team All-Pro: When healthy, J.J. Watt has clearly distinguished himself as an all-time great. He has earned first-team All-Pro in each of the five seasons in which he has been healthy throughout the year and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times in his first four years. Unfortunately, a recent injury that has ended his 2019 season marks the third time in the last four years that he has played in eight or fewer games.

98. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings (primary team) – 7 Pro Bowls; 4 time 1st team All-Pro: A three-time NFL rushing champion, Adrian Peterson was the most dominant running back in the NFL during his 10 seasons in Minnesota. After suffering a major knee injury in 2011, the next season he rushed for 2,097 yards, which is the second highest single season total in NFL history.

97. Derrick Brooks – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 11 Pro Bowls; 5 time 1st team All-Pro: Often over-shadowed by more flamboyant teammates, Derrick Brooks was the steady leader of a Tampa Bay defense that was among the best in the league for nearly a decade. In their Super Bowl winning season in 2002, Brooks was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year as he returned three interceptions for touchdowns during the regular season and had another score in the Super Bowl.

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NFL 2019: Who Will Triumph in the NFL’s 100th Season? 0

Posted on September 02, 2019 by Dean Hybl

As the National Football League prepares for its 100th season, the top NFL betting sites are making predictions for which team will lift the Lombardi Trophy at the end of Super Bowl LIV.

At 42-years old, Tom Brady is still one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.

Given that they have appeared in each of the last three Super Bowls (winning two), you can never go wrong putting your money on the New England Patriots.

Conventional wisdom tells us that at some point the amazing reign of the Patriots will end, but every time it looks like the magic run is over, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick pull another rabbit out of the hat. In a league where parody and volatility from year-to-year is the norm, New England has posted double digits victories for 16 straight years and won 10 straight division titles.

Even though Brady is 41-years old and will be without one of his favorite targets in recently retiree Rob Gronkowski, there is little reason to doubt that the Patriots offense will again be among the best in the NFL. Last year they scored the fourth most points in the league and ranked in the top 10 in both passing and rushing yards.

Solid defense is typically a key to the success of the Patriots. Last year they were seventh in the league in points allowed, but ranked 22nd in passing yards allowed. In a conference that boasts some great quarterbacks, the Patriots have to improve their pass defense this season.

Most prognosticators are jumping on the band wagon of the team guided by one of those young quarterbacks, the Kansas City Chiefs. Pat Mahomes nearly led the Chiefs past the Patriots in the AFC title game last season and appear to be positioned to make another run in 2019.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • George Blanda: NFL’s Great Old Man
      December 15, 2019 | 3:07 pm
      George Blanda

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month had two separate careers in pro football that combined to make him one of the legendary players of his era (or eras).

      George Blanda, who played a record 26 years in professional football and didn’t retire from the NFL until the age of 48, is best remembered for his nine-year stint as the crusty old kicker and miracle maker for the Oakland Raiders of the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, his career transcended generations and connected legends.

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