As we all know, ESPN's All-Decade team was a painful exercise in big media stupidity. First, creating an All-Decade team before the 2009 season begins made absolutely not sense as
there are two there is one more NFL season left in this decade (2000-2009). Their team was created to do one thing and one thing only: Stir Internet chatter. Why else would they rank Tom Brady as the QB of the decade even though Peyton Manning destroys Brady in stats, team wins, and individual achievements? ESPN's reason for picking Brady was, Brady has more rings than Manning. Well, so does Ben Roethlisberger. If the number of rings are what defines a great QB (and stats, team wins, and individual achievements are all ignored, as ESPN often does), then the debate is not Brady v. Manning for the QB of the decade. It's Brady v. Roethlisberger.
Of course, this is moronic and silly, which is why ESPN's All-Decade team is little more than a joke among bloggers and football fans on the Internet.
We even had a chuckle at Paul Kuharsky's expense, and we like Paul (John Oehser speaks highly of him as well). But it is tough to take ESPN and their writers seriously when they think Tom Brady is the QB of the decade, especially when you read Pro Football Reference's excellent counter to ESPN's All-Decade team.
This is why the Internet is so great! ESPN, with its gazillions of dollars and All-Star-former-journalists-turned-"bloggers" writing countless articles about the best of the decade, churned out a colossal turd known as their All-Decade series. Meanwhile, a nice, well-maintained site like PFR counters with a better written, better researched All-Decade team even though they likely have 1/50th of ESPN's resources.
PFR also took the time to poke a little fun of ESPN a little bit as they introduced their series:
There’s one year left in the decade of the ’00s, but that didn’t stop ESPN from naming its All-decade offensive and defensive teams. It is obvious that we should wait for the 2009 season to unfold before we name the All-Decade team of the ’00s. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a sneak peak at what the eventual team should look like.
Unlike ESPN's series, this one is well researched, thoughtful, and intelligent. I don't agree with everything listed (Marvin Harrison is far and away a better WR than Terrell Owens, and anyone who knows football will tell you that), but the series offers an impressive point of view on who is the best from 2000-2009.
For PFR, two Colts make the first team All-Decade: Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday. They also tackle the Manning v. Brady "debate" in an intelligent way (unlike ESPN):
For all the accolades Brady receives (ESPN also named him their player of the decade), I was surprised to see he was only named 1st or 2nd team all pro twice in the decade. Even if you view Manning and Brady as equals, Manning’s played two more seasons than Brady this decade, something that should tip the scale in Manning’s favor for most observers.
Check out their blog for more detailed information on their All-Decade team. I highly recommended it.