In the conclusion of the CHEAP SEATS look at the top 50 players in the NFL, I’m listing the cream of the crop. The top 10 players in the NFL, which consists of the most game breaking, winning and iconic players in the game. These are the guys that opposing coach plan around, or plan to just make do around them getting their numbers regardless. The greatest players in the game don’t need much intro, so we’ll just go right into it.

With this being the end of the countdown, lets comment on this one at the end and let me see who you think is really the best.

10. Larry Fitzgerald-Wide Receiver-Arizona Cardinals (2009-97 receptions, 1092 yards, 13 TD)

While injuries to his quarterbacks dropped in numbers some from his incredible 2008 campaign, the talent he brings has not. He still tied for the lead in touchdown catches and finished in the top 10 in catches. He is essentially a guarantee in the red zone to pull in the scoring toss and his 69 catches for a first down were third in the league. The departures of Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin could affect his overall performance in 2010, but a talent like his will still show up weekly.

9. Adrian Peterson-Running Back-Minnesota Vikings (2009-1,383 rush yards, 18 TD)

One of the greatest combinations of speed, power and elusiveness the league has seen in recent years, Peterson continued to carry the Vikings to new heights in 2009. In the process of making his third Pro Bowl in three career seasons, he led the NFL in rushing touchdowns with a career high 18. He also doubled his previous high in receptions to 43, becoming a more well-rounded threat. He most cut his fumbles down, which soared to 9 (6 lost), but the great definitely outweighs the bad.

The better Peterson runs, the better the Vikings get.

8. Nnamdi Asomugha-Cornerback-Oakland Raiders (2009-34 tackles, 30 solo, 1 interception)

Less is more with the Raider shutdown corner Asomugha. While he ranked towards the bottom of the league in interceptions for corners, it’s a compliment over a detraction. Quarterbacks simply don’t throw his way. Asomugha was only thrown towards 27 times all year and allowed only 13 catches. He is the least targeted cornerback in the NFL by a larger margin, due to his ability to break up any pass in his area.

7. Tom Brady-Quarterback-New England Patriots (2009-4,398 pass yards, 28 TD, 65.7% completions)

Don’t call it a comeback, Tom just got back to what he’s done for a decade now: win football games. He returned from a severely damaged ACL injury to finish fifth in the League in passing yards and 6th in touchdowns. His resume is among the best in the history of the game, containing five individual all-time records and 3 Super Bowl wins. Anytime the 5-time Pro Bowler suits up the Patriots are automatically a threat to win it all.

For Brady, the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year, getting back to business as usual included a return to the playoffs and Pro Bowl visit.

6. Troy Polamalu-Saftety-Pittsburgh Steelers (2009-20 tackles, 18 solo, 3 interceptions)

He is among the elite of irreplaceable players in the NFL, as the effect of his absence from the Steelers was clear. With him healthy in 2008, they won the Super Bowl. Without him, they missed the playoffs, due mostly to dramatic fall off in the defense he leads. No defender in the League gets to more plays than he does, and he is equally brutal making the tackle as he is covering the pass. Pittsburgh will rise to prominence again with him back healthy in 2010.

One of the most irreplaceable players in the NFL, Polamalu's impact on Pittsburgh, and every team they play, is undeniable.

5. Ed Reed-Safety-Baltimore Ravens (2009-50 tackles, 42 solos, 3 interceptions)

No player in the NFL makes more gamebreaking defensive plays than Reed does, many of which end up with ball in his hands, and him in the endzone. He has twice set the NFL record for longest interception return with scores of 106 and 107 yards. He has a total of 13 scores in his career, seven interception returns, 2 fumble returns, 1 punt return and 3 blocked punts. He battled injuries which kept him out of the 2009 playoffs and likely the beginning of the 2010 season, but when he returns it will be more of the same terror for quarterbacks league wide.

4. Darrelle Revis-Cornerback-New York Jets (2009-54 tackles, 47 solo, 6 interceptions)

Widely considered the league’s premier cornerback, Revis makes it a habit not only lock down everyone in his area, but to raise his game to match his match up. He held the who’s who of receivers to minimal impact versus the Jets in 2009, holding Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Steve Smith, Marques Colston, Terrell Owens and Chad OchoCinco to a combined 12 receptions in their match ups with Revis. His efforts versus the Patriots contributed to the Jets being the first team since 2006 to hold them without a touchdown. The loneliness on “Revis Island” is real.

3. Chris Johnson-Running Back-Tennessee Titans (2009-2006 rush yards, 14 TD; 503 receiving yards)

Perhaps the most unstoppable player in the NFL. From 08 Rookie of the Year to becoming the 6th 2,ooo yard rusher ever in his second year, Johnson rise to the top of the league’s running backs has been phenomenal. A threat to score from anywhere, he had three scoring runs from 85 plus yards out last year, something no other player has done in his career. He broke the season record for most total yards with 2,509. He rushed for 800 yards in November alone, a single month record. Average 125 yards per game, over 20 more than any other running back.

Perhaps the fastest player in the NFL, it doesn't take long for his record-setting runs to take place.

2. Peyton Manning-Quaterback-Indianapolis Colts (2009-4,500 pass yards, 33 TD, 68% completions)

He has made phenomenal look average over his career and gathered a record fourth MVP Award for it in 2009. There’s not more that you can ask out of a player than what Manning gives. He has never missed a game in his 12 year career. He surpassed 4,000 yards for a record 10th time and has 12 consecutive seasons with at least 25 TD passes. His 4,500 yards were second in the NFL in 2009 and 33 touchdowns tied for second. He made his second Super Bowl appearance in 09 and when he’s done playing, the NFL record book under quarterback may be renamed after him.

1. Drew Brees-Quarterback-New Orleans Saints (2009-4,388 pass yards, 34 TD, 109.6 QB rating)

Brees reached the summit of the NFL in 2009 and completed the rise to prominence of formerly perennially awful Saints. Brees reached his now usual level of excellence, leading the NFL in quarterback rating and touchdown passes. Since joining the Saints from San Diego in 2006, he has averaged over 4,500 passing yards and 30 touchdowns per season, including 5,069 in 2008, second best ever. He has combined statistical dominance with on field success and now stands tops among all other players in the NFL for complete excellence.

Brees aerial dominance finally landed, but with a Super Bowl win and an inspired city to show for it.


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