Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Critique of the 2010s All-Decade Team

By John Turney
After some research, this is what we believe to be what would be the 2010s All-Decade First-team if the NFL chose to release it, but it cannot be verified since the NFL won't release the voting. Would it win a criminal case it court (beyond any reasonable doubt)? No. Could it win a civil case (preponderance of the evidence)? Yes, absolutely.

So, we will take a took at our de facto First-teams and give our thoughts. We reserve the right to edit our surmise as we get more information.

WR–Antonio Brown, Calvin Johnson
Larry Fitzgerald, Julio Jones
No room for criticism here. 

TE–Rob Gronkowski
Travis Kelce
No beefs here, either

T–Joe Thomas, Jason Peters, Tyron Smith
 Joe Staley
We know Thomas was unanimous and Smith had many "blue" seasons but we originally thought Jason Peters probably edged him out. However, after further poking around we think this is just too close to call and we will never know who was second in the voting and who was third. Andrew Whitworth likely got support as did Mitchell Schwartz.

G–Marshal Yanda, Zack Martin
Logan Mankins, Jahri Evans
Yanda was unanimous and Martin had to be close. Evans and Mankins were All-Pros early in the decade. There could be some quibbles with the Second-team but like the tackles these four are solid.

C–Maurkice Pouncey
Alex Mack
No gripes here, though Jason Kelce probably had support but this is a solid pair. We'd have gone with Mack first.

QB–Tom Brady
 Aaron Rodgers
Some are saying Drew Brees was a snub but in the 2010s Rodgers has a ring, a higher winning percentage, two MVPs and a higher passer rating. He deserves the Second-team over Brees.

RB–Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy
Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch,
Peterson was unanimous and McCoy was right behind him in stats. The backups are solid, too.

Flex–Darren Sproles
Wish there had been a fullback here to go with Sproles but that is not on the committee that is not the NFL/HOF in the formatting of the team.

DE– J.J. Watt, Cameron Jordan
Calais Campbell, Julius Peppers
Campbell and Watt are outside guys in base and would move inside in nickel, though later in the decade, Watt stayed outside. Both good choices as are the Second-teamers. Cameron Heyward would maybe edge out Peppers id we had to put Chandler Jones as a rushbacker. Robert Quinn had a good decade, though had some injuries. Cameron Wade likely had some Second-team support as well. 

DT–Aaron Donald, Geno Atkins
Fletcher Cox, Ndamukong Suh
If one were to pick the top four 4-3 tackles these are it. We'd have preferred to see a shade tackle (nose tackle) like a Snacks Harrison or a Linval Joseph or a Haloti Ngata or a Vince Wilfork but gain that is a formatting issue and not a problem with the voting.

ILB–Luke Kuechly, Bobby Wagner 
Patrick Willis
The ballot we saw prior to the voting had two inside linebackers and two outside linebackers so we can assume this was a formatting issue. Really, there should only be one of these guys one the First-team.

OLB–Von Miller
Khalil Mack, Chandler Jones
Miller was unanimous so we know he was First-team. We wish (again, formatting of the team) there was room for a WILL 'backer like Lavonte David or Thomas Davis or even Anthong Barr, players like that.

CB–Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman
Darrelle Revis
Our sense is this was super-close. If there were a fourth we suspect Stephon Gilmore or Aqib Talib would be the other Second-teamer.

S–Earl Thomas, Eric Weddle
Eric Berry
Kam Chancellor would likely be a fourth if there were a full Second-team, he could easily have been one of the top three. 

DB–Chris Harris
Tyrann Mathieu
Again, solid picks

Special Teams
P–Johnny Hekker
Shane Lechler
Lechler had the honors but Thomas Morstead had better numbers. Better NYOA, better net, better Inside-the-20 to Touchback ratio, fewer kicks return for scores, you name it.

K–Justin Tucker
Stephen Gostkowski
Tucker was unanimous. They pretty much nailed this one.

PR– Darren Sproles
Tyreek Hill
Hill is dominant, but he only played three years in the decade. Is that enough? There is precedent for it. In the 1970s Earl Campbell played two seasons and made the Second-team. Butkus played four and was hobbled for two of them and made the First-team. Sproles, though, we think, outpolled Hill but it's a curious position. For more on this read on through the end of the post.

However, Devin Hester led the 2010s in return average and had 7 punt returns for touchdowns. He should have been the First-team punt returner. If Hill met the minimum seasons (whatever that may be) then he should still be behind Hester.

KR–Cordarrelle Patterson
Devin Hester
The Patterson pick is money. Hester does not belong here. He was 18th in kick return average for the decade (among those with 50 or more returns) and had just one kick return for a score. Not good enough. Jacoby Jones should have been the backup. 

Bill Belichick
Pete Carroll
No reason to complain. Andy Reid's lat super Bowl win gives him some cred here, but Carroll is also a solid choice with two NFC championships and one SB win.

So, what's the final tally?

Defense—A (no love for NT or WILL cost the "+")
Special Teams—B (dinged for Hester and Morstead)
Overall Grade—A

Now, is it fair to ding the Selection Committee for not picking Hester, especially? Probably not. Why? Because they probably DID pick Hester as the First-team punt returner and DIDN'T pick him as the Second-team kick returner.

Again, based on some research and poking around, it just didn't make sense that the voters, who got nearly everything right got this so wrong. So, while there is no way to prove it short of the NFL releasing the voting totals but all we can say is there is something hinkey about the voting.

We are working to get more information so stay tuned, but dollars to donuts Hester was voted as the top punt returner.

Additionally, the blank ballot we saw in March included a special teams player, which would have likely gone to Matthew Slater. Why was that not included?  Could it be the NFL priority was to have a 53-man squad to match the number of players on a roster for the decade? And if so, it's really 52 since Sproles takes two slots. So there was room for Slater. As we said, hinkey.

Alas, we have not looked closely but this may be the best All-Decade team ever. There are not headscratchers like in the 1960s (Larry Morris, Carroll Dale) or 1980s (Chuck Noll, John Anderson) and the like. From the 1920s-1950s there were multiple question marks. The 1970s, 1990s, and 2000s were very solid (going from memory).

So, to the Hall of Fame Selection Committee—Well Done

To the NFL who won't release the First-team for first time in 40 years—Come on, man


  1. You guys have a better team than the HOF voters do ...

    I agree on David or Harrison being added ...

    Thought McCoy was just as good as Cox but the SB ring obviously mattered ...

    I like Fitzgerald, but AJ Green or Hopkins were just as good ...

    I know you guys like Kelces peak performance but Witten was the better blocker and Gates, though playing longer, has twenty more TDs ...

    Rodgers gets by Wilson on more NFC Champ games and MVQB awards but Wilson was 2-0 in NFC Champ games while Rodgers was 1-3 ... I will admit though, Rodgers didnt have Wilsons defence but doesnt have his rushing yardage either ...

    Might have taken Chancellor over Weddle ...

    1. All valid point. At the margins there is room for debate. But if my guesses (based on poking around) are right on the first-team then it's a very good All-Decade team.

  2. As I stated on Talkoffame site tonight, I wish the HOF voters would have the guts to follow your site's lead and reevaluate and officially, implement Mid Decade Teams ...

    Patrick Willis is a perfect example ...

    He would fit ideally on a 2005-2015 team but 2010-2019 ? Not so fast ...

    His play was outstanding for just four seasons from 2010-2013. He was injured and didnt play much his final season in 2014 ... I know his All Pro selections helped his cause but Lovante David, Donta Hightower with his postseasons and Terrell Suggs also could have been part of this team, along with pass rushers, Mack and Jones ...

  3. David DeCastro should be on there instead of Mankins.

    1. Mankins grades higher. DeCasto more "honors". we go my scouts reports we have access to