February 25th, 2013
If I could build a team made up of players who played from 2000 to 2012, these would be my players:
QB: Peyton Manning - Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning has been the most dominant quarterback of the decade. While he has only won one Super Bowl, Manning is one of the all-time bests, and looks to have another Super Bowl ring soon.
RB: LaDainian Tomlinson - San Diego Chargers, New York Jets
LaDainian Tomlinson could do it all. Tomlinson had over 160 touchdowns during his career, emerging as an electrifying rusher and a valuable option in the passing game. He holds records for most touchdowns in a season (31), most rushing touchdowns in a season (28), and most points scored in a season (186). Tomlinson even threw 7 touchdown passes.
RB: Adrian Peterson - Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson did the impossible. He bounced back from a serious knee injury to rush for over 2,000 rushing yards and came 6 yards short from the NFL season rushing record. Peterson also led the Vikings to a playoff spot, which seemed highly improbable.
WR: Marvin Harrison - Indianapolis Colts
With Peyton Manning under center, Marvin Harrison proved himself to be one of the greatest wide receivers of all time. Manning hooked up with Harrison many times, and Harrison had 953 receptions, 112 touchdowns, and 12,756 yards during his career with Manning; all three stats are NFL records.
WR: Randy Moss - Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers
Randy Moss also established himself as one of the best receivers of all time. Moss played incredible under quarterbacks Daunte Culpepper and Tom Brady, and holds records for most touchdown catches by a rookie (17), most touchdown catches in a season (23), and most seasons with at least 17 touchdown catches (3).
TE: Tony Gonzalez - Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons
Tony Gonzalez is arguably the greatest tight end in NFL history. Using his tall frame and sure hands, Gonzalez holds records for most receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns by a tight end, and has the second most receptions of any player in NFL history.
OT: Jonathan Ogden - Baltimore Ravens
Jonathan Ogden was the first selection by the Baltimore Ravens in the Ravens' inaugural season in 1996, and exceeded expectations. Ogden led the way for running back Jamal Lewis, who rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2003. In 2013, Ogden was voted to the Hall of Fame.
OT: Walter Jones - Seattle Seahawks
Walter Jones has become a big star in Seattle, which is rare for players at his position. The 9-time Pro Bowl selection now has his jersey retired, as well as a holiday in Seattle called Walter Jones day. Jones was a big reason that the Seahawks got to Super Bowl XL.
OG: Alan Faneca - Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals
Alan Faneca paved the way for running backs like Jerome Bettis, Willie Parker, and Thomas Jones. Faneca was voted to the Pro Bowl 9 times, as well as earning a spot on the All-Pro team 9 times.
OG: Steve Hutchinson - Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans
Steve Hutchinson has played for many great teams, yet still has not won a Super Bowl. The 7 time All Star has proven to be a worthy investment for the Seahawks, Vikings, and Titans, almost never missing a game.
C: Jeff Saturday - Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers
While Peyton Manning received a lot of praise during his career with the Colts, Jeff Saturday was one of the biggest reasons of Manning's success. Saturday got his moment in the 2013 Pro Bowl, when he snapped the ball on the game's final play (which also happened to be Saturday's last play in the NFL) to Peyton Manning, who was on the opposite team.
DE: Michael Strahan - New York Giants
For the 14 years he played, no team wanted to play against Michael Strahan. Over his career, Strahan broke records for most sacks in a season, was a two time NFC Defensive Player of the Year, once received NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and was selected to the Pro Bowl 7 times.
DE: Dwight Freeney - Indianapolis Colts
Dwight Freeney was also a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Freeney currently has 107.5 career sacks, which is a record for a Colts player. Freeney was selected for 7 Pro Bowls.
DT: Warren Sapp - Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders
Warren Sapp is a unique player, from his loud-mouth style to his fierce pursuit skills. Sapp helped lead the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory in 2002, and was selected Defensive Player of the Year in 1999. Sapp was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2013.
LB: Ray Lewis - Baltimore Ravens
After starting on the inaugural Ravens team in 1996, Ray Lewis emerged as the face of the Ravens franchise and arguably the best linebacker in NFL history. The emotional leader won the Super Bowl twice with the Ravens, and won the Super Bowl MVP award in Super Bowl XXXV.
LB: Brian Urlacher - Chicago Bears
Brian Urlacher is the leader of the Chicago Bears defense, disrupting opposing offenses and leading the Bears to Super Bowl XLI. Urlacher has gone to the Pro Bowl 8 times and holds the Chicago Bears franchise record for most tackles.
LB: DeMarcus Ware - Dallas Cowboys
When NFL teams play the Dallas Cowboys, adjustments have to be made to contain DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys' ferocious pass rusher. Ware currently has 111 sacks, and has been in the Pro Bowl for 7 straight years.
LB: James Harrison - Pittsburgh Steelers
James Harrison has become a do-it-all player. In Super Bowl XLIII, Harrison returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown, and he received Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2008.
CB: Champ Bailey - Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos
Champ Bailey has caused havoc for opposing offenses since he was a rookie. The 12-time Pro Bowler has always done well, becoming the youngest player to have a game with three interceptions.
CB: Ronde Barber - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ronde Barber has been in the NFL for a long time, and has an impressive resume. Barber owns a Buccaneers franchise record for most interceptions, and holds the NFL record for most sacks by a cornerback.
S: Ed Reed - Baltimore Ravens
Now with a Super Bowl under his belt, Ed Reed is looking to be the best safety in NFL history. Reed has a knack for making critical interceptions, and once had two 100-yard interception return touchdowns in one game.
S: Troy Polamalu - Pittsburgh Steelers
Troy Polamalu is all over the football field. Whether at the line of scrimmage during a blitz, or dashing to tackle a running back in open field, Polamalu is never far from the football.
K: Adam Vinatieri - New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts
Adam Vinatieri has made some of the most crucial field goals in NFL history. Vinatieri kicked a 48 yard field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXXVI to help the Patriots upset the Rams, and then kicked game winning field goals in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX. Vinatieri holds the record for most field goals in the Super Bowl in a career.
P: Shane Lechler- Oakland Raiders
Ever since he was selected very high for his position, Shane Lechler has proven that he could be the best punter ever in the NFL. Lechler was selected for the All-Pro team 9 times, and once kicked an 80 yard punt, the longest in Raiders' history.
Returner: Devin Hester - Chicago Bears
Devin Hester is arguably the best special teams returner to ever play. Hester holds the record for most kick and punt return touchdowns in a career, most punt returns in a career, most non-offensive touchdowns in a season, punt return touchdowns in a season, and kickoff return touchdowns in a game. He also returned the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI for a touchdown.
Stadium: Cowboys Stadium
The new Cowboys Stadium, the expensive home of the Dallas Cowboys, is the greatest addition from 2000-2012 to the already impressive list of NFL stadiums. Featuring a retractable roof and a large capacity that caused the complex to be home to Super Bowl XLV in only its second year, Cowboys Stadium is the ultimate stadium for the ultimate team.
NFLRUSH Kid Reporter