Over a month ago, ESPN came out with their list for the All Decade team on offense and defense. First off, what's the point of coming up with an All Decade team when we still have one year left in the decade. They must have felt that no matter what happened this season that their team is set in stone. It's kind of jumping the gun in my opinion, but oh well. I figure if ESPN is gonna do it than so am I. Here is the criteria I based my lists off of: stats, awards (MVP, DPOY, OPOY, All Pro, Pro Bowl, SB MVP), and overall success of the individual and their team.
ALL DECADE OFFENSE
QB: Peyton Manning - Indianapolis Colts
3x NFL MVP, 8x Pro Bowler, 4x 1st Team All Pro, SB MVP, 2004 OPOY
ESPN had taken Tom Brady for his postseason & Super Bowl record, but I had to go with Manning for his durability (hasn't missed a start this decade) and his amazingly consistent numbers (three straight seasons with a QB rating of 100+ and only two seasons below 90.0) . Brady's wins are nice, but having played on quite possibly the best team of the decade should have helped. Manning on the other hand has been the #1 reason for his teams success. I don't know if you can make that same argument for Brady.
Honorable Mention: Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb
RB: LaDainian Tomlinson - San Diego Chargers
2006 NFL MVP, 2006 OPOY, 5x Pro Bowler, 3x 1st Team All Pro
It's hard to disagree that LT has been the best RB this decade. He has had over 1,000 yards rushing in every season, hasn't rushed for less than 10 TDs (while rushing for a record 28 TDs in '06) in a season, and hasn't had a season with less than 50 receptions (had 100 receptions in '03). In 2003, he was the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000+ yards, and have 100 receptions. LT is the model for consistency at the RB position.
Honorable Mention: Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander, Marshall Faulk
FB: Lorenzo Neal - Oakland Raiders
4x Pro Bowler, 2x 1st Team All Pro
Every where Neal goes the running game seems to improve instantly. At a position that is being utilized less and less, Neal has shown that full backs can still be relevant. Interesting stat, every team he has played for this decade, he has blocked for a 1,000 yard rusher in all but one season (SD, Cincinnati). The only exception was last season in Baltimore, but they were still the 4th best rushing attack in the league.
Honorable Mention: Mack Strong, Tony Richardson
WR: Terrell Owens - Buffalo Bills
6x Pro Bowler, 5x 1st Team All Pro
Besides becoming the ultimate distraction at every one of his stops, he's also been one of the most consistent receivers in the game. For the decade he was only held under 1,000 yards once (in his injury shortened year in Philly, where he only played 7 games), and has only had fewer than 10 TD receptions twice ('05 injured & '03 SF). He also made one SB appearence and had a huge game (9 receptions, 122 yards) while playing on a fractured fibula and sprained ankle.
WR: Torry Holt - Jacksonville Jaguars
7x Pro Bowler, 2003 1st Team All Pro
"Big Game" Torry Holt lived up to his nickname in helping the Rams become the "Greatest Show on Turf". He was named to seven Pro Bowls, tied for the most among receivers this decade. He also only had one season where he was held under 1,000 yards, and that was last season with a struggling Rams squad. Holt was the fastest receiver to 11,000 career yards, and only he and Marvin Harrison have multiple seasons with 1,600+ receiving yards.
Honorable Mention: Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison
TE: Tony Gonzalez - Atlanta Falcons
8x Pro Bowler, 4x 1st Team All Pro
By far and away the best tight end of the decade. He owns the records for tight ends for most receptions in a season (102), career TD's by a tight end (76), career receptions for a tight end (916), career receiving yards for a tight end (10,940), and most 1,000 yard receiving seasons by a tight end (4). He's also played in every Pro Bowl this decade.
Honorable Mention: Antonio Gates
Tackle: Walter Jones - Seattle Seahawks
7x Pro Bowler, 4x 1st Team All Pro
Jones has made every Pro Bowl except one during this decade. He helped Shaun Alexander rush for back to back 20 TD seasons, and also helped the Seahawks make their 1st Super Bowl appearence ever. He has also only allowed an average 5.5 sacks a season, and he has started every game he's been active for since he was drafted in 1997.
Tackle: Orlando Pace - Chicago Bears
6x Pro Bowler, 2x 1st Team All Pro
Pace was the anchor to one of the greatest offenses of the decade. He blocked for three consecutive MVP's (Kurt Warner 2x and Marshall Faulk) and helped St. Louis reach two Super Bowls. He's simply been one of the best, only allowing an average of 4.0 sacks per season. He was only the second offensive lineman to be drafted 1st overall since Ron Yary in 1968.
Honorable Mention: Johnathon Ogden, Willie Roaf
Guard: Alan Faneca - New York Jets
8x Pro Bowler, 6x 1st Team All Pro
One of the first names that come to mind when you think of the best guards in the NFL. He's been as durable as they come only missing one game in 2001 due to an ankle injury, only the second time he has missed a game in his entire career. He's allowed an average of 5.4 sacks per season. In March 2008, he signed a contract that made him the highest paid guard in NFL history.
Guard: Steve Hutchinson
6x Pro Bowler, 4x 1st Team All Pro
Since the start of his career in 2001, he's only allowed an average of 3.4 sacks per season. He's helped block for an MVP in Alexander, and has blocked for five 1,300 yard rushers in his last six seasons. He's only missed 12 games due to injury, all coming in the 2002 season when he suffered a broken leg.
Honorable Mention: Willie Roaf, Larry Allen
Center: Kevin Mawae - Tennesse Titans
6x Pro Bowler, 2x 1st Team All Pro
Mawae has been great every where he has gone. He helped Tennesse achieve a top 10 rushing game each of the past two seasons, and has only given up 2.3 sacks per season. One of the most consistent and durable centers we've seen this decade. He started 177 consecutive game, until in 2005 he suffered a triceps injury.
Honorable Mention: Olin Kreutz, Matt Birk
ALL DECADE DEFENSE
DE: Jason Taylor - Miami Dolphins
2006 DPOY, 6x Pro Bowler, 3x 1st Team All Pro
One of the most feared pass rushers. Only once has he failed to have more than 8.5 sacks, and that was in his most recent season with Washington. His quickness to the ball, and speed off the edge made him a menace for opposing teams to deal with. In 2006, when he won DPOY he had 13.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 INT's for TD's. He is only the second defensive end to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.
DE: Michael Strahan
2001 DPOY, 4x Pro Bowler, 2x 1st Team All Pro
In 2001, Strahan set the record for most sacks in a season at 22.5. He only had two seasons under 9.0 sacks, and he finished his career in style. Helping his NY Giants to one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history. He was the first ever defensive end to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. He has the most sacks in NY Giants history at 141.5.
Honorable Mention: Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney, Richard Seymour
DT: Warren Sapp - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4x Pro Bowler, 3x 1st Team All Pro
One of the most disruptive defensive tackles in recent memory, Sapp was a terror on the field. He only missed seven games due to a torn rotator cuff in 2005. He was one of the leaders of those great Tampa Bay defenses, and in 2002 helped them win their first Super Bowl. He ended up with 54.5 sacks second best for the decade. His 96.5 career sacks is second in NFL history for a defensive tackle and 28th all time.
DT: Kevin Williams - Minnesota Vikings
4x Pro Bowler, 4x 1st Team All Pro
Williams is one of the best all around defensive lineman in the game today. The last three seasons he has helped Minnesota become the top run stuffing team in the NFL. In those three years Minnesota has only allowed 68.5 YPG. He's also been able to get after the QB at a great rate, as he's totaled 42.5 sacks after only six years in the league.
Honorable Mention: La'Roi Glover, Kris Jenkins
MLB: Ray Lewis - Baltimore Ravens
2x DPOY, SB MVP, 7x Pro Bowler, 5x 1st Team All Pro
One of six guys who have won the Defensive Player of the Year award muliple times (Lawrence Taylor, Joe Greene, Mike Singletary, Bruce Smith, Reggie White) put him in some great company. He helped lead arguably one of the best defenses of all time to a Super Bowl victory. He was also named MVP of that game, only the second linebacker to accomplish that, and the first on the winning team.
Honorable Mention: Brian Urlacher
OLB: Derrick Brooks - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2002 DPOY, 8x Pro Bowler, 4x 1st Team All Pro
Mr. Reliable, Derrick Brooks didn't miss a game this decade. He was Defensive Player of the Year in 2002, when he intercepted a career high 5 passes and returned 3 for TD's. That same season he helped lead the Buccaneers to their only Super Bowl in franchise history. He's only one of five players to make the Pro Bowl 10+ times, win DPOY award, and win a SB.
OLB: Joey Porter - Miami Dolphins
4x Pro Bowler, 2002 1st Team All Pro
I had a hard time picking another OLB, but settled on Porter for how good of a pass rushing LB he has been. He has 81.0 sacks since the start of the decade, and is coming off his best season with 17.5 sacks. If he can put together another season like his last than he'll definitely solidify his spot on this list.
Honorable Mention: Julian Peterson, Shawne Merriman
CB: Champ Bailey - Denver Broncos
8x Pro Bowler, 3x 1st Team All Pro
Champ is as close as they come when talking about "shut down corners". In 2006, Champ was at the top of his game getting a league high 10 INT's, and not allowing a receiver to catch a TD against him all season. He's had only two seasons with less than three INT's. He holds the record for the longest non scoring play in NFL history, when he returned a Tom Brady INT 100 yards, but was tackled at the one yard line.
CB: Ronde Barber - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5x Pro Bowler, 3x 1st Team All Pro
Another player from that Buccaneer defense, Barber had 33 INT's during the decade. He's the only corner to have 20 sacks and 20 INT's in a career, and only the 7th player to do so all time. He was a pivotal piece of Tampa's defense, as he was not only great against the pass, but also in run support. He has the Tampa Bay record for most INT's in team history at 37.
Honorable Mention: Troy Vincent, Ty Law, Nnamdi Asomugha
FS: Ed Reed - Baltimore Ravens
2004 DPOY, 5x Pro Bowler, 4x 1st Team All Pro
A big time playmaker. Ed Reed has led the league in INT's twice in his career (2004 and 2008), and has scored 11 TD's (3 blocked punts, 1 punt return, 2 fumble returns, and 5 INT returns). He has 43 INT's in his seven year career, and has only had one season where he has had less than 5 INT's.
Honorable Mention: Brian Dawkins, Darren Sharper
SS: Troy Polamalu - Pittsburgh Steelers
5x Pro Bowler, 2x 1st Team All Pro
This guy has a knack for making plays. In his time in the league he has racked up 7.0 sacks and 17 INT's. He plays both the run and the pass exceptionally well, and could someday join Ronde Barber in the 20-20 club. It was a tough choice between him and John Lynch, but with another solid year there should be no doubt that it's Polamalu.
Honorable Mention: John Lynch, Bob Sanders
ALL DECADE SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker: Adam Vinatieri
2x Pro Bowler, 2x 1st Team All Pro
He has some of the most memorable & clutch game winning kicks of this decade. The Tuck Rule in 2001 against Oakland, Super Bowl XXXVI against St. Louis, and Super Bowl XXXVIII against Carolina.
Honorable Mention: David Akers, Jason Elam
Punter: Shane Lechler
4x Pro Bowler, 4x 1st Team All Pro
In Oakland, where punts come early and often, Lechler has been superb. From '03 to '05 he was either second or led the league in Yards per Punt, and did it again most recently in 2007. One of Oaklands best players, and a guy who can change field position in your favor in a hurry.
Honorable Mention: Brian Moorman
Kick & Punt Returner: Devin Hester - Chicago Bears
2x Pro Bowler, 2x 1st Team All Pro
He's the only guy to return a Super Bowl opening kickoff for a score, and has 11 total TDs in three seasons. He holds the record for most return TDs in a season with 6, is tied for the most return TDs in a game with 2, and is tied for the longest play in NFL history at 108 yards. Teams wised up and started to kick away from him, but in the two years prior he was the Bears best offensive weapon.
Honorable Mention: Dante Hall
All Decade Coach
3x Super Bowl Champion (SB XXXVI, SB XXXVIII, SB XXXIX), 2x Coach of the Year
Belichick has taken an underrated team and turned them into a power house. He has a 14-3 postseason record since becoming New Englands head coach, and coached NE to only the second 16-0 regular season record.
Honorable Mention: Bill Cowher, Andy Reid, Jeff Fisher
Well that's what I would consider my All Decade Team. It's still hard to do with there being a year left in the decade, but for the most part I think it would be hard for a guy to be taken off the list besides possibly Manning for Brady; otherwise, I think everyone on here is well deserving of their spot on the team. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think about my choices.