Saturday, June 15, 2019

Players of the Decade—2000s

By John Turney
This is the 17th in a series of picking players of the decades. We began with 1915-25, the 1920s, the 1925-35 period, the 1930s1935-45, the 1940s1945-55 the 1950s, 1955-65, the 1960s, 1965-75, the 1970s, 1975-85, the 1980s, 1985-95, the 1990s, 1995-05 top players and now we pick the top players of the 2000s.

Here are the 2000s picks:

2000s Player of the Decade
Peyton Manning
Manning has a title in the 2000s and was the stat king and honors king, those things combined make him the top player of the decade. Tom Brady was the 2000s All-Decade QB and we have previously chosen Brady as the G.O.A.T. at his position but for the decade of the 2000s he was not a starter in 2000 and was out in 2008.

That, coupled with the fact that Manning's stats were better, caused use to decide that given the totality of the factors (rings, stats, honors, intangibles) Manning edges Brady for this decade.

We get that some will disagree, and that's okay. But fair is fair, based on the totality of factors, Manning was a 9.5 for the decade and Brady was a 9.2 if you will.

2000s Defensive Player of the Decade
Ed Reed
As with the mid-decade teams sometimes sliding a typical decade (1980s, 1990s, 2000s, etc.,) makes sense. With Reed, 2002-2010 wouldn't change our view but it would certainly seal the deal. Reed is the G.O.A.T. of safeties in our view for a variety of reasons and that also gives him the edge over a lot of fine decades by some great players.

2000s Player of the Decade Runner-Up 
Tom Brady
Brady won three titles and lost one Super Bowl, he had the jewelry concession cornered but as mentioned he missed one season due to injury and also was a backup in his rookie year of 2000 so his numbers trail Manning. So, while it's close, very close we are going with Manning first and Brady as the runner-up.

Brett Favre is one of our honorable mentions and LaDainian Tomlinson is the only other one.

2000s  Defensive Player of the Decade Runner-Up
Ray Lewis
Lewis, who was our pick for 1995-05 is the runner-up for the 2000s. He has more hardware than Ed Reed in this decade (two Defensive Player of the Year awards and a ring) but film study shows that Reed was slightly better at safety than Lewis was as an inside/middle linebacker.

Part of it is he missed most of two seasons due to injuries but also he did slow down some towards the end of the decade. One example is his run/pass stuffs (tackles for loss). From 1996-05 he averaged 10.5 such plays per 16 games. From 2000-09 he averaged 7. Seven is very good, but 10.5 is great, so it's the little things that show the big plays are not quite as common.

There were several honorable mentions for the 2000s. Here they are—Champ BaileyRichard Seymour, Charles WoodsonKevin Williams, and Jason Taylor.

next up: the 2005-15 "decade".

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