While the NFL Network’s ongoing series profiling the top 100 NFL players of today has been interesting to follow, I’ve been equally curious on Peter King’s top 100 list. The SI writer his been delivering his picks each week in his column. King gets a lot of criticism from people — some of it deserved — but I’ve found him to be one of the most cerebral and enjoyable reads among NFL writers.
However, he messed up pretty big in today’s edition of MMQB in which he listed numbers 50-41 in his version of the top 100 players. Steelers SS Troy Polamalu was listed as number 50.
I’m admittedly a homer for the Steelers 90% of the time, but this isn’t one of them. Ask almost any NFL writer or fan if there are 49 better football players than Troy Polamalu and they will tell you no. (Aside: Mike Wallace finished 44 on King’s rankings.)
We’ll likely find out on Tuesday (when King publishes reader feedback from his Monday column) King’s reasoning for putting Polamalu so low, but I have my theories. King was highly critical of Polamalu for his play during the Steelers Super Bowl run last year. Polamalu also struggled in the Super Bowl, including getting blatantly beaten on a Jordy Nelson touchdown catch. That’s surely the lasting image from last season for King and he probably feels that Polamalu is overagressive and now overrated.
Polamalu played through the entire playoffs with a slight tear in his Achilles tendon, but I guess that doesn’t really matter in King’s eyes.
I’m not making a top 100 list, but if I was, Polamalu would probably be the only Steelers in the top 10, with Roethlisberger just outside. As a Steeler fan and blogger of many years, I can say that Polamalu is pretty clearly the best player on the Steelers roster and the most talented football player I’ve seen don a Steelers jersey in my lifetime. He does struggle to stay healthy at times, but he had enough impact in 14 games last year to win the defensive MVP and 2008 has been the only year in his career where he missed a bulk of the season due to injury.
Letting one bad game have that drastic of an impact on Polamalu’s ranking simply isn’t fair. There is no way guys like Mike Wallace, Ray Rice, Justin Smith and Bart Scott are better football players than Troy Polamalu. Ask a Ravens fan who the think is better — Rice, Scott or Polamalu? I know what their answer would be.
King screwed his list up in a big way.