Our special series counting down the most influential people for the 2015 NFL season
When the staff of The MMQB bounced around ideas for a ranking of the most influential people in pro football, we spent a good chunk of time arguing not just about who should be on such a list, but about what it means to be “influential” in the NFL. Wouldn’t Roger Goodell, as commissioner, always top such a ranking? That would be dull. To differentiate our list, we focused on the 2015 season, weighting qualification heavily toward what happens on the field. So players and coaches predominate on The MMQB 100. And each year this list will change, maybe dramatically; people who wouldn’t normally be thought of as influential make the cut in 2015 because of their significance to the upcoming season.
For instance, you wouldn’t typically consider an NFL line judge a critical figure, but Sarah Thomas will be this year. She's the first full-time female official in the league's 96-year history. Nor would you have the GM of the league’s worst team on the list, but the Bucs’ Jason Licht is risking his franchise’s future on a promising QB with a pockmarked background. And you generally wouldn't include a college football coach, but Jim Harbaugh makes the cut because every time Michigan wins and the 49ers lose, Niner Nation will be up in arms.
As we unveil The MMQB 100 between now and July 17, we’ll have spots for a U.K. native named Nigel, a retired linebacker, a backup QB and the fifth receiver on a Super Bowl contender ... and that last one’s our little surprise. Check the site each week for another installment. And let the arguments fly.
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99. Rachel Nichols, Journalist, CNN (long essay by Peter King)
82. Mike McCarthy, Head Coach, Green Bay Packers (long essay by Robert Klemko)
76. Connor Cook, Quarterback, Michigan State University (long essay by Andy Staples)
64. Junior Seau, 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee (long essay by Peter King)
56. Jay Cutler, Quarterback, Chicago Bears (long essay by Robert Klemko)
48. Mark Rodgers, Agent, Frontline Athlete Management (long essay by Andrew Brandt)
31. Odell Beckham Jr., Wide Receiver, New York Giants (long essay by Emily Kaplan)
23. Sam Bradford, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles (long essay by Andy Benoit)
19. Sarah Thomas, Line Judge, NFL (long essay by Amy Trask)
10. Rich McKay, Co-Chairman, NFL Competition Committee (long essay by Peter King)
5. Russell Wilson, Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks (long essay by Paul Chryst)
4. Bill Belichick, Head Coach, New England Patriots (long essay by Greg A. Bedard)
3. Chip Kelly, Head Coach, Philadelphia Eagles (long essay by Emily Kaplan)
2. Roger Goodell, Commissioner, NFL (long essays by The MMQB Fan Bloggers)
1. Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots (long essay by Jenny Vrentas)