So, what happened? It’s hard to say exactly, but whatever the case, there were still a handful of players who had noteworthy seasons. So let’s give credit where credit is due. After all, in a year of underwhelming performances, these men were all at least fairly-whelming.
5 Troy Polamalu – Pittsburgh Steelers (S)
Watching Troy Polamalu play football is like watching an out of control child that’s all jacked up on Kool-Aid and pixie sticks. He does everything at full-speed and refuses to let him mom take him for a haircut. But the guy gets the job done. As the anchor to the Steelers stellar defense, Polamalu posted 7 interceptions and 63 tackles over the course of the year. He narrowly beat out the hair of Clay Matthews to win the 2010 Defensive MVP award, and guided Pittsburgh to a win in the AFC Championship.
4 Greg Jennings – Green Bay Packers (WR)
Much like his battery mate Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings makes this list mostly for his clutch playoff performance. Over the course of the 2010 regular season, Jennings put up great numbers, finishing tied for second-most touchdown receptions and fourth in yards. It was in the postseason though, that Jennings led the way in yards and receptions, scored twice and averaged 75-plus yards per game. It was Jennings breakout moment that established him as one of the league’s premiere wide receivers, and landed him ad campaigns where he gets sell deodorant and pet a man-dog.
3 Ndamukong Suh – Detroit Lions (DT)
Even though you can’t pronounce his name for the life of you, you can’t deny Ndamukong Suh’s rightful place on this list. The second overall draft pick proved to be a great one for the Detroit Lions, as he took home the Defensive Rookie of the Year honors after a season in which he dominated against the run, posted 10 sacks, forced one fumble and intercepted one pass. Sure, just one year later the defensive tackle would be losing his mind and getting thrown out of games for stomping on people, but 2010 was pretty solid.
2 Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers (QB)
The regular season was another solid one for Aaron Rodgers in 2010, as the Green Bay quarterback passed for nearly 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns. But it was Rodgers unbelievable performance in the playoffs that lands him on the list. During the Packers playoff run, Rodgers threw for 9 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions, and averaged an impressive 274 yards per game. He was named the MVP in a Packers Super Bowl win, and officially stepped out of the shadow of his forever-teary-eyed, retiring and/or un-retiring predecessor.
1 Arian Foster – Houston Texans (RB)
Though the Texans stumbled through a 6-10 season and again suffered from having the least creatively named team in the league, 2010 was a breakout year for running back Arian Foster. An undrafted second year back out of Tennessee, Foster annihilated his rookie total of 257 yards by posting a league leading 1,616 yards. He also led the league in touchdowns and yards per game, making 16 trips to the end zone and averaging better than 100 yards per. Not only did 2010 rocket Arian Foster to fame, but it also ensured that announcers would no longer accidentally pronounce his name “Aryan.”
Think you can make a better list? Well, you’re more than welcome to try, but your research will likely yield little more than a sobering reminder that the 2010 NFL season was about as statistically exciting as a focus group on club soda.