2013 NFL Top 100: Does Greg Olsen deserve to be on the list?

Grant Halverson

With quarterback Cam Newton, linebacker Luke Kuechly and wide receiver Steve Smith representing the Panthers on the top-100 list at #46, #79 and #84 respectively, Carolina's representation is now complete. Some fans are upset that tight end Greg Olsen wasn't featured, but do those fans have just cause for their outrage? Let's look into the numbers and find out.

Last Thursday night the NFL revealed 50-41 on their top-100 list for the 2013 season, and quarterback Cam Newton was ranked by his peers as the 46th best player in the league. According to the fembot voiceover after Newton's highlight package was over, there are no more Panthers on the list.

As Panthers fans we know it's no secret that we're thought of around the league as the little scrawny kid who has no business being outside with the big boys, but we also know that if everyone would strip away their small market bias and look at each of our players individually there would be more Panthers represented in the NFL Top 100.

Case in point: look at the chart below and compare Player A to Player B. One of them is in the Top 100, and one of them isn't.

Player G REC TGTS YDS AVG LNG TD FD FUM LST
Player A 16 69 104 843 12.2 47 5 42 0 0
Player B 10 51
84
483 9.5
31
5 27 0 0

By looking at stats alone you'd think that Player A is the one who was featured on the list, right? Well, if you did -- you're wrong. Player B is the one featured in the Top 100. Even without looking at the names of the players it's beyond absurd, isn't it?

Do you know who these two players are? You probably figured out one of them, but I'll tell you anyway.

Player A is Greg Olsen.

Player B is Aaron Hernandez.

Yes, Aaron Hernandez is in the NFL Top 100 and Greg Olsen isn't. Not only is Hernandez in the Top 100, but he's ranked 77th overall. Say it with me now: W...T...F?!

How is it possible that a guy who played in only 10 games in 2012 and didn't match the production of Greg Olsen in any category except touchdowns not only be on the list, but be in the 70s? Do these players even know what they're doing when they fill out these cards, or are they just looking at the name and saying "Hmm, he plays for New England so he must be good." while they fill out the ballot?

The fact that Greg Olsen isn't on the list is a travesty. Don't believe me? Let's take a look at the rest of the tight ends who have been revealed so far and see how Olsen stacks up.

Player Rank G REC TGTS YDS AVG LNG TD FD FUM LST
Greg Olsen NR 16 69 104 843 12.2 47 5 42 0 0
Dennis Pitta 100 16 61
93
669
11.0
61
7 29 0 0
Heath Miller 97 16 71
101
816
11.5
43
8
44
0 0
Aaron Hernandez 77 10 51
84
483 9.5
31
5 27 0 0
Antonio Gates 73 15 49
78
538
11.0
34
7
30
0 0
Tony Gonzalez 47 16 93
124
930 10.0
25
8
65 0 0
Jason Witten 41 16 110
150
1039 9.4
36
3
56 0 0

Yeah. Olsen totally shouldn't be ranked ahead of Pitta, Hernandez or Gates. He only had more receptions, yards, average yards and first downs than all of them. He was equal with Hernandez in touchdowns and only had two fewer than Pitta and Gates, but he doesn't deserve a top-100 ranking.

How does that even make sense?

Now, I'm not even going to try to argue that Miller, Gonzalez or Witten should be taken off the list because I believe they should be there -- they all deserve to be included because they had statistically good seasons.

But let's be real here -- the only reason Hernandez and Pitta are on the list is because they played for the Patriots and Ravens. The only reason Gates is on the list is because he's one of the best tight ends of all time. Don't get me wrong, I think Gates is one of the best ever, but it doesn't mean he should be a Top 100 player based on what he did in 2012.

By now you're probably thinking that I'm complaining just for the sake of complaining, but that's not what I'm trying to do. The point of this is to show that the Carolina Panthers had several players who deserve to be mentioned among the top 100 players in the league, but because the Panthers are a small market team our players who have out-performed many of the big market darlings keep getting the shaft. It's not right, and while complaining about it certainly won't make the bias disappear it doesn't mean we don't have the right to be upset.

Hopefully in 2013 the rest of the league will wake up and realize that we do have good players here in Carolina and will finally give them the recognition they deserve. Until then, all we can do is take comfort in the knowledge that our guys really are as good as everyone else, even if no one else has figured it out yet.

What do you think Panthers fans? Should Greg Olsen be in the NFL Top 100? Sound off in the comments!

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