Making a pick for who is the best NFL football player is difficult, to say the least. Putting aside personal fan opinions, it is still challenging to choose the "best" because players can vary in so many ways, including size, weight and even the position they play on the field. When trying to choose the best football players of all time, it becomes even more challenging and complicated to compare the great players from decades ago to the best of the gridiron today. For instance, when USA Today's NFL reporters and editors did such a comparison of the top 25 from 1982-2007 they decided the best approach was to compare by positions. However, no matter which criteria you use, there are a few players who definitely stand out above the rest.
1. Joe Montana
The number one pick from USA Today's "Top 25 of the Last 25 Years" is Joe Montana who led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl titles during the 1980s. He won the NFL MVP award two times and Super Bowl MVP three times. Known as "Joe Cool" for his ability to come through in the clutch, Montana leaves few wondering who is the best NFL football player.
2. Peyton Manning
SI.com, a CNN network site, lists Peyton Manning as its first choice of best NFL football players. At age 31, he plays like he's in the prime of his career and has never thrown for fewer than 3,739 yards in a season. Along with that is the fact that he has thrown for at least 26 touchdowns in each of his nine years in the league.
3. Tom Brady
Tom Brady came in at number two in Daniel's Top 20 NFL Picks at NFL Mocks. His career really took off when Patriot Drew Bledsoe was hurt in the second game of the 2001 season. Brady led the team to a 14-3 record and straight to the Super Bowl that year. Since then, he hasn't missed a single game.
4. Jerry Rice
Jerry Rice is the only player in NFL history to score 200 touchdowns and comes in at number two on USA Today's Top 25 list.
5. LaDainian Tomlinson
Coming in at number three at SI.com, LaDainian Tomlinson has proven himself worthy of the title of the NFL's best player, as year after year he consistently improves. Already the Chargers' all-time leading rusher, he has been named to four Pro Bowls and rushed for 1,200 yards in all six of his NFL seasons.
6. Barry Sanders
Barry Sanders ranks at number 10 on USA Today's list of best NFL players. When he retired, Sanders had a five-yard per carry career rushing average and his 76 100-yard games left him only one shy of Manning's record.
7. Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence Taylor is number four on the USA Today list designating their choices for the best NFL football players. They credit his "attack-the-quarterback" approach for changing the linebacker position forever.
8. Julius Peppers
Julius Peppers comes in at number 4 on the King's 500 at SI.com. He is a great rusher who also drops into coverage.
9. Reggie White
USA Today credits Reggie White as "possibly the best defensive end ever" and places him at number five on their list.
10. John Elway
The NFL record holder for most victories by a quarterback, John Elway comes in at number six on the USA Today list. Deservedly so, considering his accurate arm and 300 touchdown passes, which were combined with his excellent mobility and 33 rushing touchdowns.