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posted: 10/21/2013 12:13 PM

Best player in the NFL? It's a tough choice

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  • Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws during a 2011 Bears game in Chicago. Daily Herald sports writer Barry Rozner picked Rodgers as his choice for the best player in the NFL, and ESPN.com picked him as best offensive player for this year.

      Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws during a 2011 Bears game in Chicago. Daily Herald sports writer Barry Rozner picked Rodgers as his choice for the best player in the NFL, and ESPN.com picked him as best offensive player for this year.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer, 2011

 

You wanted to know

Amy Mueller's fourth-graders at the Herbert Hoover Math and Science Academy in Schaumburg asked, "Who is the best football player in the NFL?"

Finding a place on the roster of a pro football team means you're tops when it comes to athletic ability.

Only the fastest runners, the strongest and most accurate throwers, and the most massive defensive players are invited to try on one of the nation's 32 professional football teams' jerseys.

Picking the best player isn't easy; the playing field is huge, with 1,664 players in the National Football League. Most experts prefer to pick the best based on which position the athletes play.

ESPN.com's pick for this year for best offensive player is Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Best defensive player title went to J.J. Watt, Houston Texans.

CBS Sports Radio ranked Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, as top quarterback. The No. 1 running back choice is Ray Rice from defending Super Bowl champs Baltimore Ravens.

The National Football League asked the players each year to rank the top 100. Their 2013 top pick? Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings running back.

As for which team is the best, Las Vegas experts are betting on the San Francisco 49rs.

So who is the best overall pro football player? Daily Herald sports writers Barry Rozner and Joe Aguilar named their picks.

Rozner said, "It's hard to pick just one player as the best in the NFL, but if I were forced to choose, I would take Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

"Still, I wouldn't blame anyone for picking Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, Denver's Peyton Manning, New England's Tom Brady or Detroit's Calvin Johnson. They're all tremendous football players."

Aguilar narrowed the pick to one.

"Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is the NFL's reigning MVP, but I'd say the best player in the league has to be the ageless wonder Peyton Manning. His 7-TD performance on opening night proved he's still got it. Even at the ripe age of 37, and two years removed from career-threatening neck surgery, the Broncos QB continues to amaze and fascinate football fans."

Want to learn more about the sport? The NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, has selected nearly 300 athletes as the top players of all time. The facility includes exhibits and archives with a research center. Next door is Fawcett Stadium, the site of the annual Hall of Fame game and local college and high school football games.

Access the NFL Hall of Fame online for exhibits, video and web conferences featuring Hall of Fame players and a character education program. See www.profootballhof.com for more information.

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