Professional football is synonymous with all things American. The game is popular for its speed, teamwork, intensity and grit. While it may appear to be a colliding mass of people, the game also involves a lot of thinking and strategizing. Professional football is also known for its iconic players, who have been hugely popular for their exemplary skills and athleticism. Here’s a list of the 10 greatest NFL players of all time.
Tom Brady: Considered by many to be the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady plays for Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his initial years, Brady played for New England Patriots. In the initial twenty seasons of his career, Brady played in nine Super Bowls. He holds the record of winning in six Super Bowls, the max ever for a player in NFL. His other records include winning the Super Bowl MVP awards four times and NFL MVP awards thrice. Tom Brady features at second spot in the list of ‘career regular season passing yards’ and ‘career touchdown passes’. He also shares the record of the ‘longest touchdown pass’, which was made to Wes Welker at 99 yards.
Jerry Rice: Based on his numerous accomplishments and records, Jerry Rice is regarded by many as one of the greatest NFL players and the greatest wide receiver of all time. Rice spent most of his professional career playing for San Francisco 49ers, although he also played some seasons with Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. By the time he retired, Rice had several records to his credit including most career touchdown receptions (197), most career receptions (1,549) and most career receiving yards (22,895). Overall, Rice had more than hundred NFL records to his name, as of 2017.
Jim Brown: A man of many talents, Jim Brown played as fullback for Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965. Brown has acted in various films and also works as sports analyst. He was part of the team that won the NFL championship in 1964. He is the only player in the history of NFL to have a rushing yards career average of more than 100. His tally is 104.3 rushing yards per game. Another achievement is 5.2 yards per rush, which is second-best for a Running Back. Brown was recognized three times as the AP NFL Most Valuable Player.
Dan Marino: Considered as one of the best quarterbacks of all time, Dan Marino was known for his powerful arm and quick release. Even though Marino never won a Super Bowl, he had various records to his credit related to the quarterback position. Marino played for Miami Dolphins in 17 seasons. He was named NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1984.
Joe Montana: Adorably called “Joe Cool” by his fans, Joe Montana played primarily for San Francisco 49ers as a quarterback. He had a brief stint with Kansas City Chiefs as well. Montana won four Super Bowls and was named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player thrice. His passer rating is all-time highest at 127.8. He also made 122 passes without an interception, which is a record.
Lawrence Taylor: Playing for New York Giants as a linebacker, Lawrence Taylor is regarded as the greatest defensive player in NFL. Lawrence was not just a good defender, but is also credited with bringing new ideas to the game. He won the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award for a record three times. He has been Super Bowl champion twice.
Peyton Manning: Counted among the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Peyton Manning played four seasons with Denver Broncos and 14 seasons with Indianapolis Colts. He played a key role in helping Colts emerge as a strong team. Aided by his contributions, Colts won one Super Bowl, two AFC championships and eight division championships. Manning holds several records including fourteen Pro Bowl appearances and five AP MVP awards.
Don Hutson: Regarded as one of the best receivers in the history of NFL, Don Hutson played for Green Bay Packers as a split end, safety and placekicker. He has contributed to the game by creating several modern pass routes. These are widely used in NFL today. By the time he retired, Hutson held most of the records associated with receivers such as touchdowns, yards and career receptions.
Johnny Unitas: Playing as a quarterback, Johnny Unitas spent most of his career with Baltimore Colts. He is one of the perfect examples of a modern era marquee quarterback, characterized by widespread popularity, superior passing game and media blitzkrieg. Unitas held many records associated with the quarterback position and was named the most valuable NFL player in 1959, 1964, and 1967. His record for the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass remained unbroken for 52 years.
Dick Butkus: Known for his relentless efforts on the field and aggressive tackling, Dick Butkus is counted among the greatest linebackers in NFL history. He was so good playing the middle linebacker position that he is often considered as a gold standard for evaluating the performance of other middle linebackers. His career stats included 27 Fumble recoveries and 22 Interceptions.