It's clear the NFL isn't coming out of the lockout anytime soon. One quick look at sports journalists making endless lists shows you that they're running out of things to talk about. Then again, if anyone has read the book (or watched the movie) High Fidelity, then it's clear that rankings will always play a vital role in popular culture.
ESPN's latest poll of several sportswriters, entitled Power Rankings, asks them to chronicle their Top 10 Defensive Players. There are several obvious selections, from Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu sweeping the No. 1 overall vote to Dallas pass rusher DeMarcus Ware to Green Bay's Clay Matthew. But listed right outside the Top 10 is the Kansas City Chiefs own Tamba Hali, a defensive end turned linebacker who came into his own this last season by finishing second in the NFL in sacks with 14.5.
Two of the eight writers involved voted for Hali -- Tim Graham and Bill Williamson -- placing Hali just above Dwight Freeney and just below Justin Smith. It's an inspiring ascension up the ranks for a player noted for his willingness to learn and non-stop motor coming out of Penn State. Even through changes at head coach, defensive coordinator and to his own position, Hali has remained faithful to get better and better with each passing year. One more season like the one Hali just enjoyed in 2010 and Hali might become one of the NFL's true elite defenders.