The NFL Network is running a series titled "The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players." The next installment airs tonight, and the series runs every Thursday at 9 p.m., with 10 players revealed on each show. I was among the big group of panelists who got a ballot from the network. The panel included players, historians, scouts, executives and writers. The ballot included 261 players, and they asked us to assign the players a point value from 10 down to 1, with 10 being the most worthy and 1 being unworthy. I ranked the players roughly into groups of 20, with the 10s, 9s, 8s, 7s and 6s forming a top 100. Here were my groupings, and the players are listed within the group in no particular order.
Players getting 10 points: Jim Brown, Otto Graham, Sammy Baugh, Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Walter Payton, Marion Motley, Don Hutson, Jerry Rice, John Hannah, Anthony Munoz, Deacon Jones, Bob Lilly, Joe Greene, Lawrence Taylor, Reggie White, Night Train Lane, Bruce Smith, Barry Sanders.
Players getting 9 points: Dick Butkus, Gino Marchetti, John Elway, Ray Nitschke, Ronnie Lott, Jim Parker, O.J. Simpson, Merlin Olsen, Roger Staubach, Bronko Nagurski, Ray Lewis, Forrest Gregg, Lance Alworth, Jack Lambert, Emmitt Smith, Peyton Manning, Rod Woodson.
Players getting 8 points: Mike Haynes, Lenny Moore, Marshall Faulk, Willie Brown, Sid Luckman, Brett Favre, Deion Sanders, Terry Bradshaw, Bart Starr, Eric Dickerson, Tom Brady, Ray Berry, Randy Moss, Mike Webster, Gale Sayers, LaDainian Tomlinson.
Players getting 7 points: Steve Young, Ken Houston, Larry Wilson, Gene Upshaw, Tony Dorsett, Ted Hendricks, Willie Lanier, Jack Ham, Mel Hein, Rosey Brown, Alan Page, Jimmy Johnson, Dan Marino, Bill George, Earl Campbell, Joe Perry.
Players getting 6 points: Bobby Layne, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Marcus Allen, Steve Van Buren, Randy White, Tony Gonzalez, Kellen Winslow, Mike Ditka, John Mackey, Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Joe Schmidt, Mike Singletary, Emlen Tunnell, Sam Huff, Red Grange, Larry Little, Art Shell, Elroy Hirsch, Herb Adderley, Jim Otto, Darrell Green.