"Elite" is probably the most thrown around term to describe outstanding players. Many players are considered "elite" in some way. Elite's meaning in the dictionary is " The choice or best of anything considered collectively." My goal of this is simple. If you go into a bar with random sports fans of any team and begin to have a conversation about the best players you can cite simple statistics that are undeniable. Simply pulling out these stats will either make the other person submit or bring out arguments like " but they played that _______ team" or " He plays with__________." To eliminate controversy elite is all about having great stats nothing else. I know its narrow minded but isn't the amount of "elite players" sickening? Its time to simplify. You're elite in a given year if your stats are so undeniably good in a year that you can't argue eliteness haha. Great players will still be great and they will still win games and cause havoc. Let's face it though, the elite are the best and you can't have 20 best players. Elite is all about being so undeniably better than everyone else and having the statistics to prove it.
My criteria for an Elite Player is simple:
- Undoubtedly the top at their position, must be way ahead of number two. (Patrick WIillis is a prime example probably the top ILB in the league but way too much talented ILB playing on nearly the same level) The reason being is that if two players at the same position are so great or if the position itself is having a good year (cough QB 2011 cough) than you have to beat that trend. Point if you want to be elite in 2011 as a QB, have a 120 something passer rating (insane) or break the single season passing yardage record along with completion percentage.
- Undeniable statistical edge. Advanced statistics are great but undeniable stats are all about being dominant in efficiency (YPC, Completion %, Yards Per Catch, ETC), in volume (yards, tackles, INTs, TDs, etc). Advanced statistics bring light on the mess that is the NFL but elite players are above the mess and only need a quick glance at the box score to prove it
- Statistical edge in multiple categories
Notes on "Elite":
- Player only elite for given year. Statistics aren't uniform year to year. (Prime Example, passing numbers last year off the charts). To be elite year to year, just hold the trend of being the most dominant.
- Two players at same position extremely rare
- Darelle Revis, Jared Allen, Aaron Rodgers (efficiency), Drew Brees (volume) and Calvin Johnson were last years elite players. Those players were so much better than everyone else at their position (minus QBs) and their stats showed it. Gronkowski would have been elite if not for Jimmy Graham and Willis would have been elite if not for Bowman and Cush.
2012's Elite Players Thus Far:
- This might seem really homerish but the criteria was decided before picking players and I could not justify other than these three at this point.
- JJ Watt: http://www.nfl.com/player/j.j.watt/2495488/profile insane no one can doubt those statistics and no one at his position (4-3 or 3-4) is even in the same plain as him
- Duane Brown: We all know that Brown hasn't given up a sack in like 20+ games but that's not what's important. This season is all that matters and so far Brown is dominant among all left tackles by not even allowing one sack, he hasn't even allowed a QB rush. The sack statistic is cool but achievable but the hurries stat is jaw dropping
- Tim Jennings: This stat line should speak for itself 6 interceptions, one TD and 18 (yeah 18!) passes defended. Those numbers are sick and both lead the the league. You just can't argue with that kind of statistical dominance. No DVOA no fancy stat can account for the amount of plays that he has accumulated thus far.
- Joe Flacco: Just Kidding
- Honorable Mentions: Matt Ryan, The Wins are there but his volume and efficiency are mundane. Reggie Wayne has the yards but AJ Green has the TDs.
Thanks for reading, discuss who else might fall into this category of "elite: undeniable statistical dominance."