Fans tend to overlook Rob Ninkovich, but he's been a crucial part of the Patriots' modern success. And that gets him to No. 21 on our list.
The Patriots have won four titles since 2000, and one study has shown them to be the most financially efficient team in American pro sports since Bill Belichick took over.
Andrew Luck hasn't come close to beating the Patriots in his career. So he must be looking ahead to Week 6, right? Well . . .
2dIt seemed like it was over for Antowain Smith in 2000, but he would be a valuable postseason piece for the Patriots in 2001 and 2003.
3dIt takes a special kind of stupid to set out to do a Top 50 list and realize halfway through that you only have 49.
4dWhen you're the four-time Super Bowl champions, you're able to honor "the fourth" a little bit differently than everyone else.
4dRob Gronkowski and his brothers will be doing their thing on Family Feud later this month.
4dTy Warren took a pounding but missed only of 90 regular-season games and was an indispensable presence in the 3-4 front.
4dBefore heading into the weekend, here are a few quick notes around the AFC East, starting with Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson's four-game suspension.
5dDallas' Rolando McClain says he hopes "to help my team beat the Patriots" when he returns from his four-game substance abuse suspension.