Updating and Ranking The 50 Greatest NFL Players of all time

Now that we’re just a few years faraway from the NFL’s a centesimal Anniversary, it’s time to replace our rankings of the 50 Best NFL Gamers of all time. The listing wants some slight updating and ordering, as (spoiler alert) a brand new GOAT has been topped.

That is the definitive rating of the 50 Best NFL Gamers of All Time.

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50. Terrell Owens

Place: WR

Years energetic: 1996-2010

Groups: San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Payments, Cincinnati Bengals

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2018); 5x First-Group All-Professional; 6x Professional Bowl

Scorching takes solely on this listing. Regardless of the heavy controversy surrounding his profession, Terrell Owens was the best large receiver of his day exterior of Randy Moss. He was sadly caught on some heartbreakingly good groups: his Niners had been on the verge of glory earlier than they ran right into a historic anomaly within the early 2000’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and later was part of the Eagles workforce that fell sufferer to Tom Brady. Regardless of that, his NFL stats and affect are each simple.

49. Steve Younger

Place: QB

Years energetic: 1985-1999

Groups: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2005); 3x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x Tremendous Bowl MVP; 2x MVP; 1x OPoY; 3x First-Group All-Professional; 3x Second-Group All-Professional; 7x Professional Bowl; 2x NFC OPoY; 2x Bert Bell Award

The inheritor to Joe Montana’s throne in San Francisco, Steve Younger was a correct successor to the heritage of the Niners. One of many first nice cell quarterbacks, Younger was extraordinarily environment friendly, and has the second-most profession dashing touchdowns by a quarterback, with 43.

48. Forrest Gregg

Place: T

Years energetic: 1956-1971

Groups: Inexperienced Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1977); 3x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 5x NFL Champion; 7x First-Group All-Professional 2x Second-Group All-Professional; 9x Professional Bowl

The unheralded offensive anchor to the legendary Vince Lombardi’s legendary Packers groups, Forrest Gregg was the wall and coronary heart of eight complete NFL championships, together with their first two. He later joined Roger Staubach and the Cowboys to nab his third Tremendous Bowl in direction of the top of his profession.

47. OJ Simpson

Place: RB

Years energetic: 1969-1979

Groups: Buffalo Payments, San Francisco 49ers

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1985); 1x MVP; 1x OPoY; 5x First-Group All-Professional; 5x Professional-Bowl; 1x AP Athlete of the 12 months; 1x Bert Bell Award; 1x AFL All-Star

Everyone knows why OJ Simpson is ranked this low. You’ll discover much less profitable working backs with shorter careers larger than him on this listing, and if not for his sordid historical past off the sphere, he might need simply been up there with them.

46. Chuck Bednarik

Place: C/LB

Years energetic: 1949-1962

Groups: Philadelphia Eagles

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1967); 2x NFL Champion; 10x First-Group All-Professional; 8x Professional Bowl

Concrete Charlie, as he was named, is distinctive because the final and biggest of the NFL’s “60-minute males”. What does that imply? He performed full-time minutes on each offense and protection, and was the most-feared tackler of his period.

45. Roger Staubach

Place: QB

Years energetic: 1969-1979

Groups: Dallas Cowboys

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1985); 2x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x Tremendous Bowl MVP; 1x MVP; 1x Second-Group All-Professional; 6x Professional Bowl; MoY; Bert Bell Award

The chief of the primary nice Cowboys dynasty, Staubach led Dallas to 5 Tremendous Bowl appearances, profitable two. What’s even crazier is that if not for an extended tour of Vietnam after faculty, he might need had 5 extra cracks on the NFL chip.

44. Jim Thorpe

Place: RB

Years energetic: 1920-1928

Groups: Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Oorang Indians, Rock Island Independents, New York Giants, Chicago Cardinals

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1963); 1x First-Group All-Professional

Jim Thorpe is remembered extra for his normal cultural influence than NFL affect. A Native American icon, and the AP “biggest athlete” from the primary half of the 1900’s, Thorpe is deified as one of many biggest and most versatile athletes in fashionable historical past. He was a uncommon three-sport professional, enjoying soccer, basketball, and baseball, whereas additionally setting an Olympic file within the decathlon. He additionally served as the primary president of the APFA (the precursor to the NFL), and has a whole city named after him.

43. Earl Campbell

Place: RB

Years energetic: 1978-1985

Groups: Houston Oilers, New Orleans Saints

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1991); 1x MVP; 1x PFWA MVP; 3x OPoY; 3x First-Group All-Professional; 5x Professional Bowl; ORoY; Bert Bell Award

The centerpiece of probably the most profitable Oilers eras in historical past, Campbell has a authentic declare to be the best energy runners in NFL historical past. His profession was shorter than one would love, however an MVP-caliber season the place he led the league in dashing yards and touchdowns bumps him up a number of spots.

42. Mike Singletary

Place: LB

Years energetic: 1981-1992

Groups: Chicago Bears

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1998); 1x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 2x DPoY; 8x First-Group All-Professional; 1x Second-Group All-Professional; 10x Professional Bowl; 3x NFC PoY; MoY

The marquee title of the Chicago Bears protection within the 1980’s (often known as the Monsters of the Halfway), Singletary was probably the most feared and but most revered defenders within the NFL. He solely missed one All-Professional and Professional Bowl workforce every in his profession, and was as hard-hitting because the Bears of the previous.

41. John Hannah

Place: G

Years energetic: 1973-1985

Groups: New England Patriots

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1991); 1x OPoY; 10x All-Professional; 9x Professional Bowl

Simply the second-greatest offensive lineman in NFL historical past (the best will make his look down this listing), Hannah held the title himself, dubbed the lineman GOAT by Sports activities Illustrated in 1981. He’s additionally notable for being the first-ever participant inducted into the New England Patriots Corridor of Fame.

40. Ray Nitschke

Place: LB

Years energetic: 1958-1972

Groups: Inexperienced Bay Packers

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1978); 2x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 5x NFL Champion; 11x First-Group All-Professional; 5x Second-Group All-Professional; 1x Professional Bowl

While you speak about soccer historical past, you possibly can’t not speak about Ray Nitschke. He was the commander of Vince Lombardi’s (sure, that Vince Lombardi) protection on the Inexperienced Bay Packers. A profession Packer, Nitschke led Inexperienced Bay to 5 NFL championships and the primary two Tremendous Bowls in historical past. You may owe the Packers’ existence and status to him.

39. Eric Dickerson

Place: RB

Years energetic: 1983-1993

Groups: Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Raiders, Atlanta Falcons

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1999); 1x OPoY; 5x First Group All-Professional; 3x NFC OPoY; 6x Professional Bowl; ORoY

The reigning holder of the NFL’s single-season dashing file (2,105), Eric Dickerson amassed 13,000 profession dashing yards and practically broke the two,000 rushing-yard benchmark his rookie 12 months, regardless of enjoying solely 14 video games.

38. Mel Blount

Place: DB

Years energetic: 1970-1983

Groups: Pittsburgh Steelers

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1989); 4x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x DPoY; 2x First Group All-Professional; 4x Second-Group All-Professional; 1x AFC DPoY; 5x Professional Bowl

The first perimeter lynchpin of the enduring Metal Curtain Steelers, Mel Blount was as bodily as his extra well-known NFL teammates, and feared because the prototypical secondary defender within the league.

37. Rod Woodson

Place: DB

Years energetic: 1987-2003

Groups: Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2009); 1x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x DPoY; 1x AFC PoY; 6x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second-Group All-Professional; 11x Professional Bowl

An inheritor to the nice Steelers defenses of a long time previous, Woodson did his half to proceed that legacy earlier than serving to the Ravens win Tremendous Bowl XXXV. Constructed like a tank (6’0, 205 lbs), Woodson was was a deceptively expert ball hawk, nabbing 71 profession interceptions (third all-time) and 32 profession defensive fumble recoveries (1st all-time).

36. Tony Gonzalez

Place: TE

Years energetic: 1997-2013

Groups: Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2019); 6x First Group All-Professional; 4x Second-Group All-Professional; 14x Professional Bowl

Tony Gonzalez retired with no Tremendous Bowl wins or appearances, paling compared to different greats on the place, together with Gronk, Shannon Sharpe, and even Travis Kelce. However what makes him the best tight finish of all time is his stats. For his profession size alone, he holds the positional all-time file for profession receiving yards (15,127) and receptions (1,325), trailing solely two wideouts for probably the most receptions general. Gonzalez additionally well-known for his sturdiness and glue-like fingers: he solely missed two video games over his total NFL profession, and has solely fumbled the ball twice in his profession. So don’t blame him for his lack of a championship resume. He’s a winner all the identical.

35. Gino Marchetti

Place: DE

Years energetic: 1952-1966

Groups: Dallas Texans; Baltimore Colts

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1972); 2x NFL Champion; 9x First Group All-Professional; 1x Second-Group All-Professional; 11x Professional Bowl

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The enforcer behind two of Johnny Unitas’ pre-Tremendous Bowl championships with the Baltimore Colts (we’ll see Unitas in a bit bit), Marchetti was one of many first nice defensive gamers in NFL historical past, and was voted the league’s all-time biggest DE in 1972. His exhausting work and coronary heart had been well-known, as he notably made a change to OT briefly to grasp tips on how to beat blockers. No matter he did labored, as the following 12 months he ended up in his first Professional Bowl.

34. Aaron Rodgers

Place: QB

Years energetic: 2005-Current

Groups: Inexperienced Bay Packers

Notable accolades: 1x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x Tremendous Bowl MVP; 3x MVP; 3x First Group All-Professional; 1x Second-Group All-Professional; 9x Professional Bowl

Regardless of the bitterness surrounding him and the Packers, Aaron Rodgers is arguably probably the most proficient quarterback to ever play the sport by arm expertise alone. He holds the all-time season passer ranking file with 122.5, and holds the NFL’s all-time lowest profession interception proportion (1.4%). He’s ridden each effectivity and expertise to all-time statistical highs, and an MVP-level efficiency in 2020 is nothing to sneeze at.

33. Dick Lane

Place: CB

Years energetic: 1952-1965

Groups: Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Cardinals, Detroit Lions

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1974); 7x First Group All-Professional; 7x Professional Bowl

Largely iconic for his superior nickname, Dick “Night time Practice” Lane was a DB notorious for his ball expertise, nabbing a still-standing file of 14 interceptions his rookie 12 months. He would nab 68 picks throughout his profession, a mark adequate for fourth on the all-time listing, and was even highlighted for his explosion and tackling.

32. Bob Lilly

Place: DT

Years energetic: 1961-1974

Groups: Dallas Cowboys

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1980); 1x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 7x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second Group All-Professional; 11x Professional Bowl

You’ll discover that defensive gamers with prolonged careers are tremendous noticeable on this listing, and Bob Lilly has the lengthy profession and one-team marvel standing in addition. Earlier than Jimmy Johnson made the Cowboys what they’re right now, Lilly established them as an preliminary energy. In his time, Lilly was the lynchpin of a protection with an iconic nickname: the Doomsday Protection. Repeatedly double- and triple-teamed as a result of his athleticism, Lilly was a constant menace, and was well-known for hardly ever ever lacking video games (196 consecutive).

31. Sammy Baugh

Place: QB

Years energetic: 1937-1952

Groups: Washington Redskins

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1963); 2x NFL Champion; 2x NFL PoY; 4x First Group All-Professional; 4x Second Group All-Professional; 6x Professional Bowl

Arguably the primary nice Washington participant, Baugh’s place on this listing is decrease than anticipated as a result of how far again his profession goes. His championships got here earlier than the Tremendous Bowl period, relegating him to the prehistory of recent soccer. Nevertheless, his expertise and numbers can’t be denied — Baugh led the NFL in completion proportion eight occasions, with 4 passing yards titles and three titles in passer ranking in addition. He additionally performed heavy minutes as a punter and DB, in all probability as a result of relative measurement of the league again then.

30. Ed Reed

Place: S

Years energetic: 2002-2013

Groups: Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Houston Texans

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2019); 1x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x DPoY; 5x First Group All-Professional; 3x Second Group All-Professional; 9x Professional Bowl

Possibly his placement here’s a results of recency bias, however Drew Brees is the best and most singular New Orleans Saint of all time, and deserves his place for what he has completed and meant to his workforce and metropolis. After all, his stats and information are nothing to sneeze at both: other than a Tremendous Bowl win and a number of other deep playoff runs, he owns the all-time file for season passing yards crowns (7) and passing touchdowns (4).

29. Drew Brees

Place: QB

Years energetic: 2001-2020

Groups: San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints

Notable accolades: 1x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x Tremendous Bowl MVP; 2x OPoY; 1 First Group All-Professional; 4x Second Group All-Professional; 13x Professional Bowl; MoY; CPoY

Possibly his placement here’s a results of recency bias, however Drew Brees is the best and most singular New Orleans Saint of all time, and deserves his place for what he has completed and meant to his workforce and metropolis. After all, his stats and information are nothing to sneeze at both: other than a Tremendous Bowl win and a number of other deep playoff runs, he owns the all-time file for season passing yards crowns (7) and passing touchdowns (4).

28. Don Hutson

Place: E

Years energetic: 1935-1945

Groups: Inexperienced Bay Packers

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1963); 3x NFL Champion; 2x MVP; 8x First Group All-Professional; 4x NFL All-Star

Don Hutson is from a bygone period of soccer. What the hell is an finish, or an NFL All-Star? Properly, in the event you’re having fun with large receivers or dynamic pass-catching tight ends, thank Don Hutson. He was the primary and biggest of the receiving ‘ends’, which throughout his period had been simply a part of the offensive line. His rise and stardom launched the recognition of the ahead go, and to have him right here slightly than his quarterback factors to the sport changer that he actually was.

27. Bruce Smith

Place: DE

Years energetic: 1985-2003

Groups: Buffalo Payments, Washington Redskins

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2009); 2x DPoY; 8x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second Group All-Professional; 11x Professional Bowl; 4x AFC DPoY

If for nothing else, the NFL’s profession sack chief can’t slide decrease than the low 20’s. Because the highest-ranking Buffalo Invoice, Payments Mafia would riot if he slid any decrease than that too. How do you handle to even attain 200 profession sacks? Von Miller and JJ Watt are the one energetic gamers that even attain triple digits. He has all the accolades and all the longevity, and if not for 4 straight championship-level heartbreaks, he would have 4 Tremendous Bowl rings to his title as effectively.

26. Alan Web page

Place: DT

Years energetic: 1967-1981

Groups: Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1988); 1x NFL Champion; 1x MVP; 2x DPoY; 6x First Group All-Professional; 3x Second Group All-Professional; 9x Professional Bowl; 1x NFC PoY; 2x NFC DPoY

How on this planet did a real dashing defensive deal with handle to get pleasure from a 14-year lengthy profession? Because the prototype for Aaron Donald, Web page made his cash as probably the most feared members of the Minnesota Vikings’ blitz package deal (shout out to the Purple Folks Eaters). Not solely did Web page play in over 200 consecutive NFL video games, however he’s additionally one of many few defensive gamers to ever win a league MVP.

25. Jack Lambert

Place: LB

Years energetic: 1974-1984

Groups: Pittsburgh Steelers

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1990); 4x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x DPoY; 9x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second Group All-Professional; 9x Professional Bowl; DRoY

The thunder to ‘Imply’ Joe Greene’s different thunder, Jack Lambert made his popularity because the extra cell half of Pittsburgh’s iconic ‘Metal Curtain’ defenses by means of the 1970’s. There are some gamers on this rating which are celebrated for his or her profitable, profession size, or accolades, Lambert is the uncommon case that checks off all three containers. His much less iconic title prevents him from being larger on this listing, however he has an argument to make the highest 20.

24. Randy Moss

Place: WR

Years energetic: 1998-2012

Groups: Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2018); 1x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 3x MVP; 1x OPoY; 4x First Group All-Professional; 3x Second Group All-Professional; 6x Professional Bowl

Wanting championships, Randy Moss was the inheritor to Jerry Rice’s throne as one of the best go catcher within the NFL, and if not for a pesky New York Giants workforce and historical past on Ray Lewis’ facet, would have gotten himself a pair of rings in addition. His expertise has scarce equal on this listing, and because the second-greatest large receiver in NFL historical past (you’ll meet primary a bit later), he has the stats and information to make a case for its most proficient.

23. Brett Favre

Place: QB

Years energetic: 1991-2010

Groups: Atlanta Falcons, Inexperienced Bay Packers, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2016); 1x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 3x MVP; 1x OPoY; 3x First Group All-Professional; 3x Second Group All-Professional; 11x Professional Bowl

Largely remembered for his time on the Inexperienced Bay Packers, Favre made historical past on the again of a legendary decade within the Nineteen Nineties. His Tremendous Bowl win received’t be remembered exterior of Inexperienced Bay, sandwiched because it was in the midst of the extra well-known Cowboys and Broncos dynasties, however Favre’s peak because the league’s resident gunslinger was nearly as good as anybody’s. He’s the primary quarterback to beat all 32 groups, and his three MVP years are probably the most occasions the award was consecutively acquired.

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22. Gale Sayers

Place: RB

Years energetic: 1965-1971

Groups: Chicago Bears

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1977); 5x First Group All-Professional; 4x Professional Bowl

Level of order: Sayers’ accolades, to the untrained eye, don’t maintain as much as his contemporaries. However this listing additionally celebrates peaks, and Sayers at his peak was nearly as good as any working again to ever play within the NFL. He was a Professional Bowler and All-Professional again till accidents took his profession on the flip of the 70s, and he stays the youngest ever to be inducted into the Corridor of Fame at 34. He’s second within the hearts of Bears lifers to solely Walter Payton, and is remembered for his coronary heart as a lot as his ability (RIP, Brian Piccolo).

21. Otto Graham

Place: QB

Years energetic: 1946-1955

Groups: Cleveland Browns

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1965); 3x NFL Champion; 4x AAFC Champion; 3x MVP; 2x AAFC MVP 4x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second Group All-Professional 5x Professional Bowl; 3x First Group All-AAFC

Otto Graham is without doubt one of the forgotten greats of the sport in the event you’re not an enormous soccer fan, or a correct Cleveland Browns fan. You’ll see the primary nice fashionable quarterback afterward on this listing, however Graham was the primary nice quarterback, interval (assume basketball’s George Mikan, related since Graham performed ball within the NBL himself). He was the Brown’s biggest chief alongside Jim Brown, and his profession extends past that to the prehistoric AAFC. However the highest profitable proportion of any quarterback in historical past and yards per go try is nothing to sneeze at. Each information stay untouched, and if we depend the NFL with its precursor, no quarterback till Brady matched Graham’s championship trophy depend.

20. Deacon Jones

Place: DE

Years energetic: 1961-1974

Groups: Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1980); 2x DPoY; 5x First Group All-Professional; 3x Second Group All-Professional; 8x Professional Bowl

Deacon Jones performed on the very starting of the Tremendous Bowl period, and as such is basically forgotten, enjoying the shadow of the mighty Inexperienced Bay Packers. However his influence isn’t any much less for all of that: Jones is taken into account to be the prototypical fashionable defensive finish, and is basically credited with being the primary go dashing specialist, and the one that coined the time period ‘sack’:

“You are taking all of the offensive linemen and put them in a burlap bag, and then you definately take a baseball bat and beat on the bag. You’re sacking them, you’re bagging them. And that’s what you’re doing with a quarterback.”

19. Anthony Munoz

Place: LT

Years energetic: 1980-1992

Groups: Cincinnati Bengals

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1998); 9x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second Group All-Professional; 11x Professional Bowl; MoY

The offensive line wants extra respect. They’ll by no means get it, in fact, however and not using a respectable line, all of the expertise on this planet wouldn’t have the ability to generate high quality offense. Take Munoz, for instance. There’s a motive why the Bengals’ solely two AFC titles got here underneath his tenure, and why neither of his quarterbacks on the time are within the Corridor of Fame with him. And but, one among them one the MVP , and Munoz is basically forgotten in NFL historical past. Shameful.

18. Dan Marino

Place: QB

Years energetic: 1983-1999

Groups: Miami Dolphins

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2005); 3x Tremendous Bowl Champion; MVP; RoY; MoY; 3x First Group All-Professional; 5x Second Group All-Professional; 9x Professional Bowl

When you haven’t already seen, one-team gamers, significantly one-team quarterbacks, are given particular consideration on this listing. You’ll see just a few extra of those earlier than this listing is thru. As for Marino, once more, he by no means received a title, however his iconography on the Dolphins is second to none, and he was the eminent stat gobbler of his time. On the time of his retirement, Marino held over 40 complete NFL information (you’ll see these file breakers later), and was the primary quarterback to ever surpass each the 50 and 60,000 passing yard threshold, and the 400 landing go mark.

17. Deion Sanders

Place: CB

Years energetic: 1989-2000, 2004-2005

Groups: Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2011); 2x Tremendous Bowl Champion; DPoY; 6x First Group All-Professional; 8x Professional Bowl

Most likely the best journeyman in NFL historical past, Deion Sanders is extra often known as his multi-dimensional athleticism. Throughout his NFL profession, Sanders additionally put in authentic seasons (9 complete) within the MLB. He’s the one athlete to ever compete in each a Tremendous Bowl and World Collection, and it’s this distinction that may be a testomony to his greatness.

16. Barry Sanders

Place: RB

Years energetic: 1989-1998

Groups: Detroit Lions

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2004); 1x MVP; 2x OPoY; ORoY; 6x First Group All-Professional; 4x Second Group All-Professional; 10x Professional Bowl

Thought of by many to be the best participant to by no means compete in a Tremendous Bowl, Barry Sanders is nonetheless nonetheless counted among the many biggest working backs of all time. His title is synonymous with pace, footwork, and quickness, and he’s rightfully cited as a excessive comp for each smaller again with turbojets within the league (re: Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey). He’s the primary NFL participant to ever log 10 straight 1,000 yard dashing seasons, and easily couldn’t be tackled.

14. Dick Butkus

Place: LB

Years energetic: 1965-1973

Groups: Chicago Bears

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1979 Class); 2x DPoY; 6x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second Group All-Professional; 8x Professional Bowl

One of many hardest hitters in NFL historical past, Dick Butkus’ accolades don’t essentially measure up along with his contemporaries this excessive on the listing, however that’s nice contemplating his comparatively quick profession. His popularity was constructed on the attention take a look at, and his tackles had been well-known for being exhausting sufficient to generate common turnovers. Equally to different gamers at this level of the listing with their very own groups, the Bears wouldn’t be the place they’re with out Butkus.

15. Ray Lewis

Place: LB

Years energetic: 1996-2012

Groups: Baltimore Ravens

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2018); 2x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x Tremendous Bowl MVP; 2x DPoY; 7x First Group All-Professional; 3x Second Group All-Professional; 13x Professional Bowl

Nostalgia makes it tempting to have Ray Lewis decrease on this listing. However that is so far as he can fairly slip earlier than we have to begin speaking about bias towards the previous. Lewis is the primary NFL participant on this listing in awhile to have a minimum of one Tremendous Bowl win underneath his belt, and he was the chief of each of his championship squads. Identical to Butkus, Lewis is iconic and the undisputed GOAT of his workforce. The one distinction is that he received extra. Ray Lewis is the second biggest linebacker of all time, and the best of this period.

13. John Elway

Place: QB

Years energetic: 1983-1998

Groups: Denver Broncos

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2004 Class); 2x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x MVP; 1x Tremendous Bowl MVP; 2x AFC OPoY; 1x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second Group All-Professional; 9x Professional Bowl

Elway’s accolades don’t appear to actually maintain up for a rank this excessive, till you contemplate the next: underneath him, the Denver Broncos went to 5 Tremendous Bowls. His 5 championship begins is probably the most of any quarterback not named Tom Brady, and because the biggest participant in Broncos historical past (and having solely performed for Denver), Elway’s place in NFL lore is safe, as is his imagery.

12. Ronnie Lott

Place: S

Years energetic: 1981-1994

Groups: San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Jets

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2000 Class); 4x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 8x First Group All-Professional; 10x Professional Bowl

Lott is the primary of three 49ers from the workforce’s iconic 80’s run, and similar to the opposite two of the trio, Lott is taken into account by many to be the best at his place. Whereas not as individually highlighted as a few of his predecessors on this listing, Lott’s viciousness as a hitter on the perimeter, and his management of arguably the best core of all time earns him his spot right here.

11. Joe Inexperienced

Place: DT

Years energetic: 1969-1981

Groups: Pittsburgh Steelers

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1987 Class); 4x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 2x DPoY; DRoY; 1x MoY; 5x First Group All-Professional; 3x Second Group All-Professional; 10x Professional Bowl;

‘Imply’ Joe Inexperienced was the definitive defensive (some say general) NFL participant of the 1970’s, and was synonymous with the ‘Metal Curtain’ Steelers. When you’re in search of the progenitor of the trendy, juggernaut Steelers, look no additional. You don’t get their iconic protection and popularity with out probably the most dominant defensive lineman to ever play.

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10. Emmitt Smith

Place: RB

Years energetic: 1990-2004

Groups: Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2010); 1x MVP; 1x Tremendous Bowl MVP; ORoY; 4x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second Group All-Professional; 8x Professional Bowl; a number of information (dashing yards, touchdowns, makes an attempt

Okay, let’s speak about this. There could be extra iconic names to non-fans or informal followers which have already been listed, however Emmitt Smith is by far the best of the Cowboys offensive trio that made Dallas the juggernaut model it’s right now. Because the beginning working again for probably the most profitable period of America’s workforce, Smith has an argument to be the best NFL working again of all time, and the stats again it up. His information are very a lot untouched, and his manufacturing remained even with Aikman and Irvin consuming up possessions.

9. Peyton Manning

Place: QB

Years energetic: 1955-1973

Groups: Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2021 Class); 2x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 5x MVP; 2x OPoY; 1x MoY; 7x First Group All-Professional; 3x Second Group All-Professional; 14x Professional Bowl; a number of information (profession MVPs, Professional Bowls, 4,000-yard passing seasons, single-season passing yards (5,477), single-season passing TDs (55))

Numbers. That sums up Peyton Manning’s profession. Actually, the most important nod to his greatness was the effectiveness of a Colts offense (and workforce, actually) that rested solely on his shoulders. The following participant on this listing is extra prototypical and extra iconic/nostalgic within the sport of soccer, however Peyton, along with his enormous arm (and larger brow), is arguably probably the most proficient quarterback, and participant, in NFL historical past. How on this planet does one even method 5,000 yards and 55 touchdowns?

8. Johnny Unitas

Place: QB

Years energetic: 1955-1973

Groups: Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Colts, San Diego Chargers

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1979 Class); 4x Champion (1x Tremendous Bowl, 3x pre-Tremendous Bowl); 3x MVP; 1x MoY; 5x First Group All-Professional; 3x Second Group All-Professional; 10x Professional Bowl

Thought of the primary nice quarterback by many, Unitas’ story a precursor to Tom Brady: drafted within the ninth spherical by Pittsburgh, solely to be launched earlier than the season started, Unitas was requested on the final minute to affix the Baltimore Colts. The remaining, as you say, is historical past. Whereas not as statistically good as his successors, Unitas’ place right here shouldn’t be merely nostalgic. His NFL file of 47 straight video games with a landing go went unbroken till 2012, not by Brady or Manning, however by Drew Brees. You don’t get a nickname just like the Golden Arm for nothing.

7. Reggie White

Place: DE

Years energetic: 1985-2000

Groups: Philadelphia Eagles, Inexperienced Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2006 Class); 1x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 2x DPoY; 3x NFC DPoY; 8x First Group All-Professional; 5x Second Group All-Professional; 13x Professional Bowl

Reggie White (RIP, Minister of Protection) is the best edge rusher of all time. At such a violent place, with out right now’s fashionable drugs and well being options, think about enjoying for practically 20 years, and solely lacking two All-Professional and Professional Bowl nods on your total profession. Whereas not fairly as impactful as the best defensive participant of all time, Reggie White is a transparent positional GOAT, and that is the bottom he can fairly be slotted earlier than we begin to disrespect the defensive facet of the sport of soccer.

6. Walter Payton

Place: RB

Years energetic: 1975-1987

Groups: Chicago Bears

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1993 Class); 1x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x MVP; 1x OPoY; 2x NFC OPoY; 1x MoY; 7x First Group All-Professional; 1x Second Group All-Professional; 9x Professional Bowl

The late Walter Payton, relaxation his soul, has a authentic argument to be positioned a number of spots larger on this listing. It appears virtually legal, due to this fact, to listing him this low, however quarterbacks are typically extra traditionally remembered, and the ‘biggest’ working again in NFL historical past is extra iconic and is statistically comparable (even higher in some circumstances) on a per-game foundation. If this had been a rating of the ‘finest’, slightly than ‘biggest’ NFL gamers of all time, Payton would arguably be on the prime of the listing. His rating right here remains to be debatable and must be a credit score to these ranked above him, slightly than a knock on his legacy.

5. Joe Montana

Place: QB

Years energetic: 1979-1994

Groups: San Francisco 49ers, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2000 Class); 4x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 3x Tremendous Bowl MVP; 2x MVP; 3x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second Group All-Professional; 8x Professional Bowl

The unique “Joe Cool”, Joe Montana Simply exuded Hollywood-style quarterback vitality. Synonymous with the height of the San Francisco 49ers, Montana was the undisputed GOAT quarterback earlier than a sure Patriot/Buccaneer leveled up within the 2010s (extra on that later). From his title, to his appears to be like, to his stats, to just about every thing else about him, Montana has been the trendy prototype for each hopeful sign caller within the NFL, and for good motive.

4. Jim Brown

Place: RB

Years energetic: 1957-1965

Groups: Cleveland Browns

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1971 Class); 1x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 3x MVP; 8x First Group All-Professional; 1x Second Group All-Professional; 9x Professional Bowl; RoY (1957)

Jim Brown marks the start of GOAT territory on this listing: he and the three gamers ranked above him are the 4 biggest to ever play at their positions, all in a row. From right here on out, we’re coping with completely undisputed top-of-the-mountain status. So it ought to converse to the expertise above Brown that as the best to ever play arguably the second-most necessary position on an NFL workforce, he ranks on the backside of this specific Mt. Rushmore.

3. Lawrence Taylor

Place: LB

Years energetic: 1981-1993

Groups: New York Giants

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (1999 Class); 2x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x MVP; 8x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second Group All-Professional; 3x DPoY; DRoY

Naturally, as solely one among two defensive gamers to earn MVP honors, and the one one to take action unanimously, Lawrence Taylor is popularly considered the best defensive participant within the historical past of the NFL. Because the saying goes, ‘protection wins championships’, so Taylor naturally can slide no decrease than third on this listing. He continues the pattern of definitive GOATs at their place, and solely slides all the way down to third due to the insane longevity of the 2 gamers forward of him. A 12-year NFL profession as the toughest hitter in soccer isn’t any joke, although, and he has accolades to again up that declare. He introduced fashionable like to the much less glamorous facet of soccer, and for that alone, he belongs right here.

2. Jerry Rice

Place: WR

Years energetic: 1985 – 2004

Groups: San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks

Notable accolades: Corridor of Fame (2010 Class); 3x Tremendous Bowl Champion; 1x Tremendous Bowl MVP; 1x MVP; 10x First Group All-Professional; 1x Second Group All-Professional; 2x OPoY; 13x Professional Bowl; All-Time Chief in touchdowns (208), receiving touchdowns (197), receptions (1,549), consecutive 1+ reception video games (274)

You’ll discover that large receivers are uncommon on a lot of these lists. Up till not too long ago, the sport was predicated on protection, working backs, and if the air assault was adequate, quarterbacks. When you’re in search of the person who introduced go catchers into vogue, you discovered him. What makes Jerry Rice’s case distinctive is his longevity and prolonged excellence. Huge receivers are normally the lightest gamers within the NFL behind punters, kickers, and occasional quarterbacks, and most have had their careers however quick by harm. Not Jerry. Till our quantity one-ranked participant got here alongside, he was the league’s iron man.

1. Tom Brady

Place: QB

Years energetic: 2000 – Current

Groups: New England Patriots; Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Notable accolades: 7x Tremendous Bowl Champion (1st All-Time); 5x Tremendous Bowl MVP (1st All-Time); 3x MVP; 3x First Group All-Professional; 2x Second Group All-Professional; 2x OPoY; 14x Professional-Bowl; a number of Tremendous Bowl, playoff & common season information

When you had been questioning the place Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. was on this listing, marvel now not. He was already named to the NFL 100 in 2019, however after smashing the massively favored Kansas Metropolis Chiefs in Tremendous Bowl LV on his first attempt with a model new workforce, he has silenced all questions on his particular person greatness. Belichick was nice in New England as effectively and was very important to Brady’s progress, however all questions have been answered. Tom Brady can now rightfully declare his title because the Best of All Time.

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