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John Elway, A Non-Top 20 All-Time NFL Great?

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The NFL Network has been counting down the NFL's Top 100 all-time greats recently and the top 10 are set to be revealed later tonight. Like Denver Broncos being snubbed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, several Denver Broncos failed to make this list. Floyd Little and Randy Gradishar hopefully at least received consideration for the list. At least one Bronco great made the list: John Elway.

Since we already know John Elway is on the list (he comes in at No. 23), it makes Broncos fans wonder who else could rank higher than the great quarterback. As Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post points out, the fans' vote put Elway at No. 8, which is more accurate of where he should rank.

It really is hard to rank players from different time periods, Saunders goes on, due to the evolution of the league. Just take a look at how the NFL rankings compare to the fans rankings. More than a few players in the NFL rankings don't appear in the fans'. Take, for instance, No. 96, Mel Hein. He was a center/linebacker who played for the New York Giants over 15 years back in the 1930s and 1940s. How many fans who voted would have known about Hein? The fans vote appears to be skewed toward younger voters.

Brett Favre (No. 20) and Tom Brady (No. 21) ahead of John Elway? Favre's a compiler who hasn't yet learned when to quit. Brady's a great leader, but lacks that dynamism Elway had while on the field. I'm unsure we have sufficient historical perspective to put those two ahead of Elway just yet . . . if ever.

Oh, well. Lists such as these are meant to start debates.