It’s the season of the overrated …
Whenever sportswriters get bored, they will come up with a list … the best, the toughest, the greatest, the worst … you name it, they will come up with it.
The most recent nfl.com’s 100 best players of 2011 was a wonderful concept, but just like every list ever concocted, there are those who just can’t believe what they’re seeing. I guess I was one of those disbelievers.
The first instance of disbelief came early on in the list … when Greg Jennings’ name popped up as the 80-something best player of the year … say what? Were they saying there would be at least a half dozen or more receivers that would be rated higher than him? I was beside myself and vowed to stop watching the series, something I did for a good month.
Of course, I went back to watch because of the curiosity.
But the second guessing never stopped and by the time I got back to watching the program, the list was in the thirties. Again, the experts were still arguing about it and some of them were still invoking Jennings’ name as one who had been shafted by those who selected the list.
Of course, I could only agree.
But there was some justice this week. In fact, I probably would have kissed CBSsports.com’s senior writer Pete Prisco for his Wednesday blog.
In it he told it like it is … the honest truth that probably has ticked off a lot of people, but pleased many, myself included.
Here’s what he said:
They love the signature hair flying out from his helmet. They love the highlight hits that make the fools on some four-letter network swoon and yell “jacked up.”
They love his name. They love his game.
Troy Polamalu is an NFL darling.
He’s also the league’s most-overrated player.
No doubt, Polamalu is in the top 10 of the NFL’s top 100 players that are to be announced this week for the very reasons that Prisco mentions above.
But Prisco’s right on – Polamalu is overrated.
What he said next in his blog floored me, but didn’t surprise me because everyone who watched closely last season could see it … here is what he said:
So who’s the league’s most underrated?
The honor goes to a former undrafted player cut by his first team named Tramon Williams. He was the best cover player for the Super Bowl champs last year, even though most would assume it was Charles Woodson.
Talk to scouts, personnel people and even members of the Packers coaching staff and they’ll all say that it’s Williams who is now the better cover player. Woodson is still a ball-hawking playmaker, but he isn’t the cover corner Williams is at this point in his career.
Yet Williams didn’t go to the Pro Bowl.
Williams isn’t mentioned on many lists as one of the top 10 corners in the game.
Williams gets slighted more than he gets beat.
That makes him the NFL’s most underrated player.
Coverage is key now. That’s why Williams is underrated and why Polamalu is overrated.
Wow! That blew me away, but it was right on. Williams is one of those players who does his job without the hype … he is just plain talented at the position. Many see it, including Prisco.
But Williams won’t get you headlines … he won’t do the hair commercials … he just does it the right way. And that’s why he will, someday, get his payday … and will probably win at least another championship.
So, as the NFL’s pompous list continues to unfold, as the Polamalus, Bradys, Mannings and Breeses get their accolades, let’s remember the players like Jennings and Williams … while they don’t make the individual splashes the others do, they mesh with teammates to not only bring out their own individual talents, but those around them. They are the types of players who win championships.
Let the big name players win their awards.
We would much rather win championships with our underrated players.
To Pete Prisco: Thanks for saying what needed to be said.
Honesty is underrated, too.