BOSTON (CBS) — A controversial article this offseason said that Tom Brady’s play is slipping, so much so that the future Hall of Famer is no longer even among the best five quarterbacks in the NFL.

Clearly, Brady’s peers disagree.

NFL Network revealed its top 10 players Wednesday night, as voted on by NFL players. The results for Brady listed him at No. 3 in the NFL, one spot better than where he was voted last year.

That’s despite significant dropoffs in completion percentage, pass yards and touchdown passes for Brady. Instead of looking at the numbers, it’s likely that fellow NFL players looked at the receiving corps — or lack thereof — which Brady had to work with and credited the QB for helping the Patriots to win 12 games.

Peyton Manning, after breaking Brady’s single-season record for touchdown passes, was ranked No. 1 on the list. In an interview with NFL Network, Manning offered praise of Brady’s game.

“Tom Brady,” Manning said, “I think his longevity, his consistency is always very impressive, how he comes back every year a better player than he was the year before.”

Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who caught 12 touchdowns and amassed nearly 1,500 receiving yards, came in at No. 2 on the list.

In the fan vote, Manning finished first, and Brady finished second.

Offensive lineman Logan Mankins, who’s been a teammate of Brady for the better part of a decade, weighed in on what makes Brady successful.

“Everyone always says he’s the GQ quarterback because he thinks he looks good, but he’s just a special guy that works really hard,” Mankins said on the NFL Network. “He’s got all the accolades that anyone could ever want, but he still puts in the work. He practices hard, he’s demanding of his teammates and he’s just the kind of quarterback and leader that you’d want.”

Of the players interviewed in the show, the common theme was that Brady simply makes the players around him better. Falcons wide receiver Roddy White took that idea to the extreme.

“He just goes out there with anybody,” White said. “I think he could take the guy from across the street that was walking and jogging, throw him out there in some football pads, tell him to run an in-cut, and he’ll hit him with the ball.”

That may not be entirely true (though Matthew Mulligan might beg to differ), but still, Patriots fans can rest easy knowing that while some analysts may see a great decline in his game, NFL players still fear Tom Brady every time they have to line up against him.



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