The National Football League's All-Decade Teams have been determined by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee.
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The first decade of the 2000s was highlighted by a number of memorable personal performances by the National Football League’s greatest stars. The 10-year span included Emmitt Smith breaking Walter Payton’s record to become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher; wide receiver Marvin Harrison shattering the single-season reception mark; and Michael Strahan establishing the record for sacks in a season.
As was the case with the previous eight NFL All-Decade Teams, the league called upon the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee to determine the All-Decade Team of the 2000s. The team was announced in late January 2010 in conjunction with Pro Bowl week. Perhaps the biggest debate for the group came with the vote for the quarterback position. In the end, three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady narrowly edged four-time MVP Peyton Manning for the first-team nod.
NFL’S ALL-DECADE TEAM OF THE 2000s
(Years listed through the 2009 NFL season)
College: South Dakota State
Pro Career: 1996-2005 New England Patriots; 2006-09 Indianapolis Colts
Vinatieri scored more than 1,000 points in the decade that included 229 field goals. But, it was his clutch kicks, especially the game-winning field goal with four seconds remaining in New England’s Super Bowl XXXVIII, which may be what is most remembered.
Pro Career: 1998 Washington Redskins; 1999-2009 Philadelphia Eagles
No player in the NFL scored more than Akers’s 1,169 points from 2000-09. He also ranked second in that span in field goals (269). Akers in 2009, for the third time in this decade, led the NFC in scoring. He was named first-team All-NFL three times in the 2000s.
College: Texas A&M
Pro Career: 2000-09 Oakland Raiders
Lechler, a veteran of five Pro Bowls, averaged 47.3 yards per punt in the decade. In all, he had 36,811 yards, had only three punts blocked, and placed 247 of his 778 career punts inside the 20-yard-line. He led the AFC six times in punting in the decade and captured three NFL punting titles.
College: Pittsburg State
Pro Career: 2001-09 Buffalo Bills
Moorman was twice named first-team All-Pro having received those honors in 2005 and 2006. He has 700 career punts for 26,410 yards and a 43.6-yard average. He led the NFL in punting in 2005 when he posted a 45.7-yard average.
College: Kent State
Pro Career: 2005-09 Cleveland Browns
It has taken just five seasons for Cribbs to become the NFL’s all-time leader in total kickoff returns for TDs. He has now run back eight kickoffs for scores in his career. In 2009, he became just the second player ever to have two kickoff returns of 100 or more yards in the same game.
College: Texas A&M
Pro Career: 2000-06 Kansas City Chiefs; 2007-08 St. Louis Rams
An incredibly exciting return man during his career, Hall earned two Pro Bowl berths while with the Chiefs. He scored a total of 12 touchdowns on returns (6 on kickoff returns; 6 on punt returns). In all, he averaged 23.8 yards per kickoff return and 10.5 yards per punt return.
See KICKOFF RETURNERS above.
College: Miami (FL)
Pro Career: 2006-09 Chicago Bears
Hester wasted no time in making his mark in the NFL. His electrifying rookie season was highlighted by five returns for touchdowns including three on punt returns. He followed that with four punt returns for scores in his second season.
Pro Career: 1991-95 Cleveland Browns; 2000-09 New England Patriots
Belichick led his team to more victories (112) in the decade than any other head coach in the NFL. In all, he led the Patriots to seven AFC Eastern Division titles in the 2000s, and three Super Bowl championships in a four-season span.
Pro Career: 1996-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2002-08 Indianapolis Colts
After turning the Buccaneers into winners, Dungy moved on to Indianapolis and led the Colts to the playoffs in each season he coached the team. The pinnacle of his tenure came with the team’s Super Bowl XLI victory. Dungy won 104 games during the decade.