- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The NFL Network wrapped up its annual list of the league’s top 100 players this week. It’s a popular project in which the players themselves, which is a good angle to take.
However, something really stood out from an AFC East perspective: Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller and safety Jairus Byrd were both snubbed, left out of the top 100 as chosen their peers. But Byrd has represented the AFC in the Pro Bowl twice in the past four years, while not everyone on that list is a Pro Bowler. Spiller rushed for 1,244 yards, six touchdowns and averaged 6.0 yards per carry in 2012. He's one of the league’s most dynamic running backs.
Here is the simplest explanation why Byrd and Spiller didn’t make the list: Both play for Buffalo.
Sometimes these votes can be a popularity contest, even among fellow athletes. Spiller and Byrd play for the lowly Bills, who currently have the NFL's longest playoff drought, at 13 years. It's clear Buffalo doesn’t have much respect around the league -- and that's something the team has to earn by winning on the field. Byrd and Spiller were both guilty by Bills association.
But at least there is some reason for the Byrd and Spiller omissions. Perhaps the biggest snub from the NFL Network’s top 100 is New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham. There is no explanation for him not being on the list.