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'The Top 100' continues with Patriots' quarterback

The 199th player selected in the 2000 NFL Draft will appear when The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players countdown resumes with all-time greats Nos. 21 through 30 are announced Thursday night on NFL Network (9 p.m. ET). Tom Brady emerged from obscurity to become one of the best ever at the quarterback position, leading the New England Patriots to four Super Bowls, three Super Bowl triumphs and an undefeated regular season.

So far, some of the highlights of The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players countdown have included:

  • Joe Namath, famous for "The Guarantee," and delivering on it for the New York Jets, in a monumental upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, checked in at No. 100.
  • Blessed with blazing speed, Darrell Green excelled at the cornerback position during a 20-year career with the Washington Redskins and earned the No. 75 spot.
  • The player known simply as "The Freak," Randy Moss, landed at No. 65 on the countdown.
  • The man who quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys as they became known as "America's Team" -- Roger Staubach -- appeared at No. 46.
  • Before he was the fiery coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Mike Singletary was the backbone for the Chicago Bears' famous "46 defense," which helped the franchise to its lone Lombardi Trophy with a victory in Super Bowl XX. "Samurai Mike," as he became known, was No. 57 on The Top 100 list.
  • The brash, shut-down cornerback known as "Prime Time," Deion Sanders, was ranked No. 34 on The Top 100. See Sanders' reaction to his spot in the countdown.
  • The NFL's all-time sacks leader -- Bruce Smith -- appeared at No. 31.

How the rankings for The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players countdown have, and will continue to, unfold will be up for considerable debate as the complete rankings of the 85-member, blue-ribbon panel of football experts are unveiled throughout the 2010 season on NFL Network.

To produce the rankings, NFL Films sent each of the panelists, which included former players, historians, scouts, team executives and writers, a ballot of 261 names, including every member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The goal? To create a series akin to the Emmy Award-winning America's Game, the most popular and critically acclaimed show NFL Films has produced. More than 250 players from the modern and pre-modern era, including current NFL players, were under consideration by the panel for selection.

"We're looking to raise the bar even higher," NFL Films president Steve Sabol said. "This time the focus isn't on teams, but players, and the question that from barrooms to back pages to blogs always sparks heated debate: Who is the greatest of all-time?"

Each of the Top 100 players will have his story told by a single presenter -- chosen from the worlds of sports, politics, film, television, literature, etc. -- who possesses particular interest in that player and insight into his greatness. The panel included Ernie Accorsi (former Giants general manager), Cris Collinsworth (former player and NBC game analyst), Mike Brown (Bengals owner), Pat Summerall (former NFL sportscaster), Dick Vermeil (former NFL head coach) and Peter King (NFL writer).

Winner of 100 Emmy awards, NFL Films is widely recognized as the most honored filmmaker in sports. Under the vision of Ed and Steve Sabol, NFL Films has revolutionized the way America watches football and set the standard in sports filmmaking. The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players is just the latest in a long list of successful NFL Films productions, joining the ranks of the Hard Knocks and America's Game series.

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