Let’s be honest: If you have either Tom Brady or Cam Newton as your quarterback, you’re in pretty good shape.
Newton led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50 and won the 2015 Most Valuable Player Award, and Brady is a four-time Super Bowl champion with two league MVPs of his own.
So it wasn’t a shock when Newton and Brady earned the top two spots in the Top 100 Players of 2016 rankings, which were voted on by their peers. But the order the duo finished might ruffle some feathers.
Brady jumped one spot from last year’s ranking to No. 2, while Newton earned the top overall spot. Getting upset over a vote like this, especially when the guy Patriots fans would put No. 1 was only one spot lower, seems like a futile practice. And while some players aren’t shy about their dislike for Brady and the Patriots, they still put that aside and voted two Pats players (Rob Gronkowski, No. 9) into the top 10.
But let’s try to unpack their reasoning a bit more.
At the core of this debate is how you define the idea of top 100 players of 2016. If you’re basing it on careers, then it’s a no-brainer. Brady arguably is one of the top two quarterbacks of all time, along with Joe Montana. Newton, meanwhile, has a grand total of zero Super Bowl rings and only five seasons in the league. The Carolina quarterback is one of the league’s bright young stars, but he’s no Tom Brady when it comes to career achievements.
But this ranking is meant more for projecting the upcoming season, which works in Newton’s favor. After all, he’s the reigning MVP, and he did just lead his team to the Super Bowl. Brady, meanwhile, likely will miss the first four games of the season due to his Deflategate suspension.
Fair or not, Newton automatically has a leg up when it comes to projecting stats. While TB12 continues to defy Father Time and still is playing at an elite level at 38 years old, Newton is 27 and only just entering his prime.
Your voting criteria ideally would fall somewhere in between, as past performance is important in this equation, too.
Do both of these QBs have incredible God-given ability? Yes. Are they likely to be two of the best quarterbacks in the league once again in 2016? Probably.
Is worrying about which player is ranked No. 1 or No. 2 worth the time? Definitely not. Let’s see who performs better during the season, and this ranking will be a distant memory.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images