Brady, Manning rank 1-2
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Posted Jun 27, 2009


Few NFL players have been more brilliant over the past decade than former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning. In fact, the folks at espn.com could think of only one.

By virtue of four Super Bowl appearances, three victories and two Super Bowl MVP trophies, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is ranked No. 1 among espn.com's “Top 25 Players of the Decade.”

The list was compiled by a group of ESPN's pro football writers and is currently posted at the website under the heading "The Best of the Best."

Manning is ranked second on the list, with the following explanation provided by ESPN pro football analyst Paul Kuharsky, who previously covered the Tennessee Titans for The Tennessean:

“The three-time MVP made eight Pro Bowls, was first-team All-Pro four times and won a Super Bowl this decade. Widely regarded as the league's most irreplaceable player.”

Manning finished up at UT in 1997. After some growing pains with the Indianapolis Colts in 1998 and '99, he hit his stride this decade, proving to be one of the premier passers of all time.

Rounding out espn.com's top five were San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Walter Jones and Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor.

Manning is one of four former Southeastern Conference players to make the top 25. Also pegged were former Georgia defensive back Champ Bailey (Redskins and Broncos) at No. 6, former Alabama running back Shaun Alexander (Seattle Seahawks) at No. 18 and former Georgia defensive lineman Richard Seymour (New England Patriots) at No. 20.


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