As the NFL enters a new decade, the tide is turning concerning which athletes control the league. The best NFL player was once the Patriots’ Tom Brady. With an early-round playoff defeat, however, his time at the top may end soon. It raises the question: Who will be the next NFL player to dominate the league?
Let’s take a look backward — and forward — to determine who will rule the NFL in the 2020s.
Which players dominated the last decade?
The 2010s were very much the decade of the quarterback. New rules made it easier than ever for passers to thrive. It also became harder for defenders to do their jobs. It should come as no surprise that a few quarterbacks became the decade’s most dominant, including:
- Tom Brady: After a 10-year Super Bowl drought, Brady and the Pats returned to the top of the NFL’s proverbial mountain. Brady won three of his six rings this decade over the Seahawks, Falcons, and Rams.
- Aaron Rodgers: One of the league’s most effective passers rang in the new decade with a Super Bowl victory. Rodgers also put up mind-boggling numbers. His 2011 season stands out: 14-1 record, 45 touchdowns, 4,643 passing yards, and an MVP Award.
- Antonio Brown: He may not be a quarterback, but this doesn’t make his excellence any less clear. Antonio Brown was one of the most dominant position players of the last 10 years regardless of the controversy.
Which players are most likely to dominate the next decade?
The trend of quarterbacks dominating the league will only continue. And two QB look ready to excel in the 2020s:
His 2019-2020 season may not be as perfect as last season, but Mahomes looks like a contender for most dominant player of the next decade. In his first season as a starter, he threw for over 50 touchdowns last year, leading the Kansas City Chiefs to an AFC title-game appearance.
In his second year, Mahomes got them a first-round bye in the playoffs. He’ll only continue to improve under Andy Reid’s expert tutelage.
While last season was Mahomes’ coming out party, this year is Lamar Jackson’s. The quarterback led the Ravens to the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoff bracket. Blending electric speed with a dynamic arm, Jackson’s brash style is something no defensive coordinator has figured out yet.
These seem to be the two best NFL players right now. So which one will be the most dominant over the next 10 years?
Which NFL player is most poised to dominate this decade
While Jackson has been absolutely phenomenal, the fact remains that he plays a dangerous style of football. The QB’s game is predicated on running the ball and running it often. It’s one of his strengths, but it also leaves him more vulnerable to open-field hits and potential injuries.
Mahomes is a runner as well, but he doesn’t run nearly as much as Jackson. The risk of injury is much lower in the Kansas City leader’s case. That’s not to say Jackson can’t adjust his game and continue to thrive. But if he keeps playing this way, Mahomes will likely be the NFL player who’ll dominate the next decade.
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