Top 10 Greatest NFL Players of All Time
Professional football is the epitome of all things American. We love the sport because of the grit, intensity, teamwork, force, and speed of the game. To win as a team, each individual player must know his assignment, execute, and sacrifice himself at the point of attack. Football is a chess match in which personnel are ordered to shift positions, read, react, and dominate smaller battles to help the larger group prevail.
10. DL Deacon Jones
He did not dislike the quarterback. No, that was not quite strong enough. After all, this was the man who invented the head slap.
On TV all the time now, they talk about “difference makers.” Deacon Jones, who put the fear in the Fearsome Foursome, was the first difference maker.
9. DL Reggie White
The Minister of Defense dominated the line of scrimmage throughout his 15-¬year career, playing well into his late 30s.
At left defensive end, Reggie White terrorized opposing right tackles with his patented hump and club moves.
8. LB Dick Butkus
With his dark No. 51 jersey, garish shoulder pads, and blood-curdling shrieks, Dick Butkus was a feared tackler.
Butkus, at 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, was the ringleader for the Monsters of the Midway and their black-and-blue style of punishment.
7. QB John Elway
Never in my life have I seen a quarterback consistently carry a team like John Elway could. I’m not talking about carrying a team for a few games or half a season when someone went down.
I’m talking about carrying a team with only himself as a viable Super Bowl team three times. He simply found ways to win through his great mind and fabulous athleticism.
6. QB Johnny Unitas
At quarterback, Johnny U was credited for authoring the two-minute drill and fourth-quarter comeback. As a virtual coach on the field, Unitas called his own plays to pick apart defenses throughout his 18-year career.
Unitas, of course, will forever be immortalized as a Baltimore Colt, leading the NFL in passing on four separate occasions and winning the league MVP award three times.
5. LB Lawrence Taylor
At linebacker, Lawrence Taylor was the maddest of all mad men. Because of his pure explosiveness, Taylor was the game’s foremost defensive weapon. In the 3-4 scheme.
Taylor lined up all over the field to sell out his body, force turnovers, and destroy careers. Taylor was too fast for plodding tackles and too powerful for blocking backs.
4. RB Walter Payton
Walter Payton simply outworked everybody else. At 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, Payton was neither a physically imposing, bruising back, nor was he blessed with track star speed.
On the playing field, the man they called Sweetness was known for his iron will to finish off runs in the image of his lunch-pail work ethic and madman fitness program.
3. QB Joe Montana
Known for his quiet confidence, Joe Cool pointed out John Candy in the Super Bowl XXIII stands while his teammates huddled up.
After breaking the ice, Montana had his 49ers on the march before he flicked the game-¬winning toss to John Taylor on a slant route into the end zone.
2. WR Jerry Rice
By every qualification, Jerry Rice was the greatest wide receiver of all time. He had the best hands, ran the most precise routes, and starred as the premier game changer after the catch.
Rice, the San Francisco Treat, may even hail as the greatest blocking wide receiver of all time. And as an NFL bootstrapper, he serves as another monument to hard work.
1. RB Jim Brown
Jim Brown dominated everybody. Over the course of his nine seasons, Brown ran over, through, and around people for 12,312 rushing yards and 106 touchdowns on the ground.
At 29, he shocked the world and retired from the game of football in his prime. Brown simply had nothing else left to prove, having already qualified as the record holder of every significant rushing mark in the books.
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