NFL 2010s All-Decade Team: Tom Brady, Aaron Donald headliners
The NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame have announced the 52 players and two head coaches selected to the 2010s All-Decade Team. Tom Brady, 42 and starting over with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was one of just eight players unanimously voted to the squad. (For the full list of honorees, check out the bottom of this file.) Tampa might be unfamiliar to Brady, but the honor is not. Not surprisingly, Brady was also a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team.
Peyton Manning was the other quarterback joining Brady on the 2000s team. For the 2010s, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 48-member selection committee chose Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers. Brady and Rodgers led their respective teams to the top win-loss records of the decade, including the postseason, and both teams won Super Bowls in the decade -- Rodgers in the 2010 season and Brady in '14, '16 and '18.
Left off the list, which allowed just two quarterbacks: Drew Brees, who set the career record for pass completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns and completion percentage in the 2010s. His omission is the most glaring of the list, and likely came because, despite Brees' own outstanding play, the Saints' lone Super Bowl championship came in the previous decade (2009) and New Orleans missed the playoffs four times during the 2010s.
The other unanimous picks represent a who's who of the biggest NFL stars of the last 10 years -- and a pretty good preview of who'll headline future Hall of Fame classes: defensive tackle Aaron Donald, linebacker Von Miller, running back Adrian Peterson, offensive tackle Joe Thomas, kicker Justin Tucker, defensive end J.J. Watt and offensive guard Marshal Yanda.
The best news of all for fans: The majority of players on the All-Decade Team are still active heading into the 2020 season.
Donald is one of 12 players who played primarily in the NFC West during the decade, making that division the most well-represented. That shouldn't be a surprise. The NFC West has sent a team to five of the last eight Super Bowls. The Arizona Cardinals had four players on the list (Calais Campbell, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones) and the San Francisco 49ers had three (Frank Gore, Joe Staley, Patrick Willis). The Seahawks, who went to the Super Bowl in the 2013 and '14 campaigns, are the most-represented NFC West team, with five members, including three from the "Legion of Boom" defense: Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Marshawn Lynch and coach Pete Carroll.
Carroll, who led the Seahawks to eight playoff berths and one championship in the decade, is one of two coaches on the team. The other is, of course, Bill Belichick, whose Patriots went to the playoffs every year of the 2010s, and advanced to five Super Bowls, winning three times, including once over the Seahawks. Belichick is one of just two coaches in NFL history to be on two All-Decade Teams. The other is former Steelers coach Chuck Noll, a four-time Super Bowl winner who was on the 1970s and 1980s All-Decade Teams.
Together, Belichick and Brady dominated the NFL for 20 years, and they are two of the five people on the 2010s team who also were on the 2000s team. Devin Hester, Shane Lechler and Julius Peppers are the others. For all of their dominance, the Patriots developed a reputation of featuring players who were perfect for their roles and, other than Brady, only occasionally boasting the league's best talents at their respective positions. Not quite.
Eight guys on the list played for the Patriots, the most of any team, although their tenures stretched from lifetime -- Rob Gronkowski, who was named to the NFL's All-Time Team last year -- to eyeblink, in the case of Antonio Brown, who played one game for the Patriots before being released. Brown made this 2010s team because of his stellar play with the Steelers. The other players with Patriots ties on the list: Stephen Gostkowski (who had the unenviable task of replacing Adam Vinatieri, a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team), Cordarrelle Patterson (who played 15 regular-season games with the Patriots during the decade), Darrelle Revis (16 games), Logan Mankins (50) and Chandler Jones (55).
After Brady's signing with the Bucs and Gostkowski's release this offseason, only Belichick remains from the greatest dynasty the modern NFL has seen.
The team that has a chance to be the next dynasty -- the Kansas City Chiefs -- placed six players on the roster, second only to the Patriots: Eric Berry, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Tyrann Mathieu, LeSean McCoy and Revis.
And one player earned a singular -- actually dual -- honor. Darren Sproles was selected to the team at two positions -- punt returner and offensive flex player, which is someone who fills multiple offensive roles -- becoming just the fourth player in history to be named to an All-Decade Team at multiple positions. The others are Mel Gray (kick returner and punt returner in the 1990s), Dante Hall (kick returner and punt returner in the 2000s) and Deion Sanders (cornerback and punt returner in the 1990s).
2010s ALL-DECADE TEAM ROSTER
* -- denotes a unanimous selection
QB Tom Brady* QB Aaron Rodgers RB Frank Gore RB Marshawn Lynch RB LeSean McCoy RB Adrian Peterson* WR Antonio Brown WR Larry Fitzgerald WR Calvin Johnson WR Julio Jones FLEX Darren Sproles TE Rob Gronkowski TE Travis Kelce OT Jason Peters OT Tyron Smith OT Joe Staley OT Joe Thomas* OG Jahri Evans OG Logan Mankins OG Zack Martin OG Marshal Yanda* C Alex Mack C Maurkice Pouncey
DE Calais Campbell DE Cameron Jordan DE Julius Peppers DE J.J. Watt* DT Geno Atkins DT Fletcher Cox DT Aaron Donald* DT Ndamukong Suh LB Chandler Jones LB Luke Kuechly LB Khalil Mack LB Von Miller* LB Bobby Wagner LB Patrick Willis CB Patrick Peterson CB Darrelle Revis CB Richard Sherman S Eric Berry S Earl Thomas S Eric Weddle DB Chris Harris Jr. DB Tyrann Mathieu
Bill Belichick Pete Carroll
Author: Judy Battista (NFL.com)