With the NFL draft long gone and training camp still a couple of months away, don’t think for a minute that the NFL is going to slip into the background and let the NBA, hockey playoffs, and baseball hog the sports pages. No, the NFL is entering the “list” season where they compare and rank players like a meat market. There is a reason the NFL is king. Besides the greatness of the sport itself, the NFL excels at keeping its name on the sports pages year around. These lists also provide fodder for the sports talk radio hosts when they run out of baseball topics.
The NFL Network has been rolling out its annual list of top 100 players and it has Matthew Stafford listed as the 76th best player in the league. It also lists Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch as the 63rd best player. HUH? I know the players are the ones that are polled and this is the result, but what tapes are they watching? Stafford’s rookie year? I know Tulloch is a very capable linebacker, but I watched every minute of the Lions last year and there are times you barely notice him. Sure he’s solid, but the dude must have a lot friends in the league.
Matthew Stafford is a hot topic around the league. Reggie Bush was quoted on NFL Network last week in a interview that he felt that Stafford would someday be in the Hall of Fame. Not everybody shares that opinion. Stafford was completely omitted from the Top 100 Rankings of CBS Sports.com’s Pete Prisco. Seriously Pete, There are a 100 players in the league you would rather have than Matt Stafford? It’s the Megatron factor. So many of Stafford’s critics devalue his contribution because he’s throwing the ball to the best receiver on the planet. I didn’t see too many people going gaga over Calvin Johnson when Jon Kitna was his quarterback.
The new and improved Nick Fairley was talking about how he and his linemate, Ndumakong Suh, are the best defensive tackle combo in the NFL. No sooner did he say that, NFL.com came out and agree with him. The fact that these two are in their second and third year is very exciting for Lions fans.
With Fairley seemingly poised to make his mark in the league and the always relentless Suh holding down the middle, it will be up to newcomers Ziggy Ansah and Jason Jones to bring back the roar to the defense. Once that happens, I think you’ll be seeing a lot more Lions defenders showing up on next year’s list.