The NFL has become the most popular professional sports organization in the United States. Americans love their football. The 2014 season has helped solidify the reputations of players who have been involved for years. It has also revealed a handful of rookies who have enough talent and training to become powerhouse players. Of those players, these are some of the 2014’s best.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Maning

Photo via Flickr by spablab

Despite getting fined for taunting another player during the preseason, Peyton Manning has had an excellent year. During the first game of the season,  Peyton lead the Broncos to a win against the Indianapolis Colts. By doing so, Manning became one of only two quarterbacks to beat all 32 NFL teams. This is an accomplishment that people will cite for decades.

Manning also set a record for career touchdown passes in October. With 509 touchdowns, he passed the previous record set by Brett Favre.

Manning was honored as the 2013 league MVP, so it’s not surprising to see that the NFL Top 100 Players lists him as the best player of 2014.

Calvin Johnson

The NFL Top 100 Players listed Calvin Johnson as the second best player of 2014. Johnson has a history of working well with teammates while distinguishing himself as one of the league’s best players.

2014 has been a big year for Johnson. During a Thanksgiving Day game played against the Chicago Bears, Johnson reached a career 10,000 receiving yards. This made him the fastest player to cover that many receiving yards in NFL history.

Johnson shows no signs of slowing down. He’s been playing professional football since 2007, but he just seems to get better every year. If he isn’t a Hall of Fame contender, no one playing for the NFL has a chance of getting in.

Tom Brady

Every football fan knows that Tom Brady is one of the best players in NFL history. He is, after all, one of two players voted as Super Bowl MVP and NFL Most Valuable Player numerous times. The other player who accomplished that goal was Joe Montana.

The 37-year-old quarterback continues to amaze fans. Considering Brady’s performance this year, it seems likely that he and the New England Patriots could go to the Super Bowl again. If the Patriots win, it will only make him more attractive to fans. One can only imagine that opposing teams hate playing against Brady, especially with Coach Bill Belichick pushing him to keep up the pace.

Earl Thomas

Over just four seasons, Earl Thomas has become the darling of the Seattle Seahawks. That’s not an easy task for a safety. Somehow, Thomas has managed to execute every play perfectly. No one pays much attention when he tackles the offense to prevent a touchdown. It’s a bigger event when he makes a mistake that lets opponents get by his defensive prowess.

The Seahawks know that Thomas plays an essential role in the team’s success. When extending his contract, the team agreed to pay Thomas $40 million over the next four years. That makes him the highest paid safety in the NFL. He also gets a $9.5 signing bonus.

Picking Top NFL Players

Knowing how to pick top players can earn football fans respect from their friends and fantasy leagues. Those who like to bet on NFL games may find it even more important to stay current on player development. Forecasting a player’s success, however, is incredibly difficult. Even professional sports journalists make mistakes.

There is a kind of science to picking great players and predicting wins, though. It has to do with gathering enough information to make smart decisions. Resources like DocSports.com NFL Picks can keep fans current on how well their favorite players and teams are performing.

Most people don’t have the math skills to sort through reams of player stats. Those who really love football, however, can often use recent events to make informed decisions. An upset can ruin morale or spark fierce competition. Only those with the right information can predict how a team will respond to a season’s events.

Who do you think has been the best player of 2014? Has anyone surprised you by exceeding your expectations?