NFL’s Top 100 snubs Detroit Lions, Kenny Golladay, Matthew Stafford, city

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Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

The NFL released its annual Top100 list which has zero Detroit Lions on it.

Every year, the NFL Network puts out its Top100 list of the best players in the NFL, regardless of position. Almost every year they seem to find ways to leave off deserving Detroit Lions players and the pattern seems to reinforce what Lions fans already know, the NFL doesn’t like the Lions or Detroit.

We’re not sure how many more ways that they can show it but let’s take a deeper look at their list, how it works against the Lions, and why fans should insist it be revamped or disposed of.

Things to think about

There are 32 teams in the NFL, there is a hard salary cap that limits the amount of spending any team can do. If NFL parity, the idea that all teams should be as equal as possible, worked perfectly, every team would have at least three players in the Top-100 and four teams would have four. Of course, parity is a goal and individual teams have to draft and develop players to become elite among the 2,880 players currently on NFL team rosters.

Only roughly 1,700 will earn spots on final 53-man rosters prior to the start of the regular season, though. So, if all players were equally talented, they would all have a 1-in-17 chance of making the Top-100 list. Well, we know they are not all equally talented, either. This ambiguity is also further muddled by the NFL’s claim that these are “voted on by the players”, a true but misleading claim.

Voting is done at the same time that player’s votes are taken for the Pro Bowl, another popularity contest that has not been kind to many Lions players. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wrote about the voting process issue in 2013, essentially confirming that very few players actually determine this list, and via the timing of the voting, it is both highly subjective and skewed towards teams doing well at the end of the season.

While no one is more frustrated with the Detroit Lions’ lack of playoff success than its fans, another reminder of the problem is throwing salt in the wound. That never seems to bother NFL spokespeople.

In 2013, just 481 players voted on the list that ran the following year, which is slightly more than one-quarter of the NFL’s players, according to Florio via an NFL spokesperson.

To many Detroit Lions fans, these kinds of lists and rankings are taken for what they really are, something football-related to talk about when there are no games being played. In that strictly-for-entertainment view, they are meaningless rankings. Likewise, video game retailer Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL video game franchise has just recently released its ratings of teams and players, too, with predictably similar results.

The publishing and marketing of these events always occur just prior to the preseason to build up hype for either real football or for the release of the video game, which coincides with the NFL season. Every year the Detroit Lions players, fans, and the city have to attempt to sidestep the social media onslaught of these overhyped offerings.

Often, the response is spot-on, why does the NFL hate on the Detroit Lions?

The NFL is headquartered in New York City and EA Sports is headquartered in a suburb of San Francisco, in Redwood City, California. It’s important to remember these facts when looking at the proximity to the power centers and remembering the relatively small market that the Detroit Lions occupy.

The Detroit Lions rank 31st in value as a franchise at just under $2 billion, according to Forbes’s yearly valuation of the league. Combined with Detroit being the fourth-lowest generator of revenue according to Statista, a storehouse for statistical data from professional sources, the Lions don’t have a lot of pull with NFL big-wigs or the average NFL fan, either.

Onto the snubs…

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