I tuned into the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2014 Wednesday night, eager to see where Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fit in the Top 10.
I expected him to be near No. 10. And I kept waiting. And waiting.
Finally, Brady came in at No.3. And, frankly, I was a bit surprised.
Earlier this year we heard opinions that he was not an elite quarterback any longer. And every so often an opposing player will dismiss Brady’s ability.
So much for that. This poll is based on entirely votes by current NFL players. So there is obviously great respect for New England’s No.12.
In the brief video that accompanied the announcement, Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor called Brady “the face of GQ, not of the NFL, but of GQ.”
And then, Taylor said, “He sits in the pocket, comb his hair, throw a touchdown. On the next play, he sits in the pocket … let me comb my hair … and then I’m going to throw a touchdown.”
Taylor’s comments were accompanied by video of Brady picking apart the Steelers secondary.
Patriots offensive guard Logan Mankins said everyone calls Brady the “GQ quarterback because he thinks he looks good.” But Mankins added, “He’s a special guy that works really hard … He’s just the kind of quarterback and leader you want.”
Brian Hoyer, the Cleveland quarterback who once backed up Brady, said, “He does everything the right way. He’s the ultimate leader.”
And that’s perhaps the biggest reason Brady was ranked so high. He led the Patriots to five comeback wins in 2013, often with a cast of little-known receivers. He practically willed the Patriots to their 12-4 regular-season record and third consecutive appearance in the AFC championship game.
“Tom Brady can score at any time,” said Demario Davis, a linebacker for the Jets. “It doesn’t matter how much time is left.”
By the way, Peyton Manning was voted the No.1 player going into 2014. Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson – Megatron to his friends and rivals – was No.2. Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson was No.4, followed by Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy at No.5.
Brady is the only player in the four years of the poll to be ranked in the top five each year. He was ranked No.1 in 2011, the first year of the poll, No.4 in 2012 and 2013.
Peterson is the only other player to be in the top 10 each year – pretty good company.
There were three Patriots on the list: cornerback Darrelle Revis came in at No.37 and tight end Rob Gronkowski at No. 41.