AFC West: NFL Nation Confidential: Most respect

NFLN survey/respected player: Chiefs

January, 16, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Seventy-eight players received votes in NFL Nation’s survey of the league’s most respected player. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning won and only two Kansas City Chiefs players received a vote.

But both are worthy choices: quarterback Alex Smith and linebacker Tamba Hali. Smith is a tireless worker who quickly gained the respect of his new teammates after joining the Chiefs last year in the trade from the San Francisco 49ers. Though he obviously wasn’t happy about his benching by the 49ers midway through the 2012 -- who would have been? -- Smith handled the matter with class.

Hali has become one of the league’s most feared pass-rushers with his relentless effort. Many of his sacks and pressures come on plays that he has refused to give up on. Hali has also played through many injuries and has missed just two games because of them in his NFL career.
SAN DIEGO -- He’s considered one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game. So in a poll conducted by NFL Nation reporters asking players who the most respected player is in the league, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning's name emerging at the top of that list should come as no surprise.

According to our poll, Manning received 86 votes, or 26.8 percent. Finishing a distant second was New England quarterback Tom Brady and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, with 24 votes each (7.5 percent).

The Chargers, of course, have an intimate knowledge of the impact Manning has on a team, having faced him three times this season. And while the Chargers have had success against Manning, with an 8-6 record overall against Manning-led teams, San Diego players still understand that he’s one of the best to ever play the game.

Four of the 10 San Diego players surveyed cast their vote for Manning.

“I’ve always appreciated and look forward to, as a fan of his growing up, to go against a Peyton Manning-led team,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “Obviously, our offense is playing that defense, so I’ve never felt like I was playing him. But it’s always awesome and exciting.”
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The most respected player in the NFL, at least according to an anonymous survey conducted by every ESPN NFL Nation reporter on their respective beat?

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, and not just because of his for-the-ages season in which he set single-season marks for touchdown passes (55) and passing yards (5,477), though many conspiracy theorists would take away 7 yards and, thus, the record, for what appeared to be a lateral against the Oakland Raiders in the season finale.

Still, Manning was a runaway winner in the balloting -- every reporter asked 10 players on the team they covered -- garnering 26.8 percent of the vote. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tied for second with 7.5 percent of the vote. Washington linebacker London Fletcher was the only defensive player to crack the top seven as he was seventh.

No Raiders player was in the top seven as 78 players received votes.

Manning, who faces Oakland twice a year, was also the leader in the Raiders’ locker room among those surveyed, as he was the only one with multiple votes.