Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2005-2015 All-Mid-Decade Teams

By John Turney
All-Decade Teams have been around a long time. In the Summer of '69 the Pro Football Hall of Fame named All-Decade Teams from the 1960s back to the 1920s and then, every ten years they have continued the practice until the present.

Andy Russell, in his book Andy Russell: A Steeler Odyssey made mention of a Mid-Decade All-Star team that he was named to, however, he didn't list the other selections with the exception of the linebackers who were Willie Lanier, Nick Buoniconti, Lee Roy Jordan, and Chris Hanburger. As of yet, we've not been able to locate any publication listing this team.

Nonetheless, it is a great idea in our view. Being named to an All-Pro team that spans a decade is certainly more difficult than being named All-Pro in a single season or even over a few seasons. Often, being All-Decade carries a lot of weight when determining a player's worthiness for being elected to the Hall of Fame. So, if there was a 1965-75 team we hope we can (a) locate it and (b) hope the HOF will continue the exercise of picking Mid-All-Decade Teams, even backdating, as was done in 1970, and what we are going to attempt here.

However, what about the players who come along mid-decade? Are they overlooked on All-Decade teams? And what about the odd selections that make an All-Decade team that don't seem to fit for that decade. Case-in-point—Earl Campbell got 8 votes and was Second-team All-Decade for the Official HOF All-Decade Team. He played in 1978 and 1979 of the Seventies. Two years? Yes, he was an MVP both seasons. But All-1970s?  Campbell would fit much better into a 1976-85 or 1975-84 All-Decade Team for the 1970s, no?

So, in that spirit, Pro Football Journal will be picking All-Mid-Decade Teams beginning from 1925-35 and through the present.

This is the first installment.

To not have as many repeated from the All-Decade teams we wanted 6 years of the experience to be eligible, therefore, no J.J. Watt, for example. And we were not super picky about the ten-year period. We view 2006-2015 as about the same as 2005-2014. There may, as always, be cases that are exceptions (Gale Sayers in the 1960s comes to mind), but in general, if someone played 6 years of 10 from the 06-15 years or the 05-15 years, they are eligible. 

Additionally, we will be posting the honorable mentions, but we have a series of five articles beginning tomorrow that are outstanding, written by NFL Films' Chris Willis so this will take a back burner for a while. 

As honorable mentions for the offense:  Jeff Saturday,  Steven Jackson, John Kuhn, Ryan Clady, and Brandon Marshall.

The defensive honorable mentions are as follows:  Mario Williams, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Trent Cole—a strong era for defensive ends/edge rushers—Jay Ratliff, Darnell Dockett, Brian Urlacher, Tamba Hali, Lance Briggs, Antonio Cromartie, Peanut Tillman.

Jacoby Jones is an honorable mention as both a kick- and punt-returner and Blake Costanzo is an honorable mention as a special teams player.

Agree, disagree? Post in the comment section below.


  1. I would have put Brandon Marshall as one of the receivers. I'd drop Reggie Wayne to make room for Marshall. I would also have Osgood on the first team. Also, Darrelle Revis's name was botched.

    1. thanks, Marshall was HM at outside receiver. But will fix Revis name...good comments

  2. John, also, Osgood and Ayanbadejo very close. Most 1st team and 2nd team are really interchangable, andI am certainly not the final say. I should really list my honorable mentions. But your comments are appreciated

    1. Yeah, the difference between 1st team and 2nd team selections are minor most of the time.

  3. I might have picked Lance Briggs over Elvis Dumerville.

    1. Briggs HM, and it was hard leaving him off, was one of few comple OLBer, like the old Wilbur Marshalls or Seth Joyners . .. so many close ones, but excdellent comment you very well may be right

    2. The 96 sacks and 2 17-sack seasons were compelling ,though.

  4. Good work as usual. Justin Smith close to making it over Dockett?

    1. Yes and no. Smith was close to taking Robert Mathis's spot. Mathis winning the PFWA DPOY put him over the top. Mario Williams was close to taking Freeney's spot.

      As you know Smith and Dockett were really DTs, but they were listed as both ends and tackles at various times due to them playing a hyrbid position, like Howie Long in the 1980s-90s.

      As it stands my picks are too heavy with edge rushers and maybe a couple of the DEs should have been the Smith/Dockett hyrid. Ends in base, tackles in nickle. Justin Tuck was also in the mix.

      Of all my posts, the one I second-guess the most about is this one, because it's a matter of how you align players and how much you value pass rush over run stoppers.

      But my purpose is to perhaps get the HOF to get it's voters together and pick a team from mid decades

      In fact, I wish the AP would get it's 50 voters to do the same, and the PFWA, even Sporting News.

      That way, there can be a consensus over various groups. I certainly do not claim my cvhoices to be any kind of be-all, end-all. I wanted this piece to be a begin-all, if you will.

  5. I'd go with Jason Witten because I want a TE who can block, and Ware would be (and eventually was) a DE in a 4-3 scheme, but I'd like to thank you for publishing this series. It's always bothered me how arbitrary the All Decade teams are. These articles help expose that and most of your picks are sound.