AFC South: Franchise players
|Brian Spurlock/US PRESSWIRE|
|League MVP and Super Bowl Champ, Peyton Manning has also been voted the greatest Colt of all time.|
Readers' pick: Peyton Manning, QB
This boiled down to a battle between two of the great quarterbacks in league history.
It's difficult to measure players from different eras against each other. It's even more difficult to measure them against each other when they rank as the faces of the same franchise, but in different cities.
Voters gave the nod to Manning of the Indianapolis Colts over Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts by a good margin.
I'm not trying to be a contrarian or to upset people in Indiana, but my ballot would have Unitas on top.
My criteria are not scientific. In these polls I've closed my eyes, envisioned the logo and seen who's highlight reel flickered on my eyelids.
When Manning's finished, maybe he'll overtake Unitas.
But right now I see black high tops and a guy who had a huge role in the NFL becoming what it is today.
|Malcolm Emmons/US PRESSWIRE|
|Earl Campbell was voted the greatest Oiler/Titan of all time.|
Readers' pick: Earl Campbell, RB
These results are off, rewarding numbers and not giving enough weight to context.
I, too, started off by thinking of Earl Campbell -- and he won among voters, beating out Warren Moon and Bruce Matthews.
Matthews deserved way better.
He played 19 years, went to 14 consecutive Pro Bowls and performed at an exceptionally high level at all five positions on the line.
The idea of being that versatile and that good for that long -- he played in more games (296) than any non-kicker in league history and never missed a game with injury -- is just silly.
Odds are no lineman ever matches that record again, and that makes Matthews the Oilers-Titans franchise player for sure.
|JBrett Davis/US PRESSWIRE|
|Andre Johnson was an easy choice for greatest Texan of all time.|
Readers' pick: Andre Johnson, WR
This was a runaway as it should have been.
Johnson got the majority of the votes, with Mario Williams a distant second.
Heading into the franchise's seventh season, no player has shown himself to be as consistently good as Johnson, who missed a good share of last season while hurt.
He's been the singular concern of defenses facing the Texans since he joined the team as a first-round draft pick in 2003 out of Miami.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
|Jason Bridge/US PRESSWIRE|
|Fred Taylor's recent success might have played a strong hand in him being voted the greatest franchise player for the Jags.|
Readers' pick: Fred Taylor, RB
For a young franchise, this was a surprisingly difficult vote. To me, it came down to Taylor, Jimmy Smith and Toni Boselli.
Voters gave it to Taylor by a lot.
In my eyes, longevity gets extra weight here on these ballots. So while Boselli was absolutely dominant at his peak, he did not last long enough.
I'd give the edge to Smith and suspect Taylor won the popular vote because he's coming off an excellent year when his career accomplishments got maximum attention.
Nine seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards is a bigger accomplishment than seven seasons of 1,000 rushing yards.
When I picture the Jaguars' logo and think about them at their best, I think of Smith's dominant performances over his 11 seasons. He was at his best when the Jaguars were at their best and he was the guy defensive coaches were worrying about the most.