The National Football League (NFL) has given us countless memories over the years, with some of its greatest players ever gracing the field. From the legends of the 1960s to the current stars of today, the NFL has seen some of the best athletes in the world play the game of football. Here we take a look at the 10 greatest NFL players of all time.
10- Tom Brady
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Tom Brady is undoubtedly one of the greatest NFL players of all time. He has the most playoff wins, the most Super Bowl victories, the most Super Bowl MVP awards, and the most game-winning drives in NFL history. Brady has thrown for the most yards and touchdowns in NFL history, and he has the highest passer rating and a completion percentage of any quarterback. He has also been selected to the Pro Bowl 14 times, and he has been named the NFL MVP three times. Brady has the most game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, and he has been named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year twice. He is the only player in NFL history to lead his team to six Super Bowl victories. He has won five Super Bowl MVP awards, the most of any player in NFL history.
9- Don Hutson
Photo Credit: NFL
Don Hutson was an NFL great, playing from 1935-1945. He was the first receiver to record 500 catches. Don led the league in receptions eight times, and in receiving yards five times. He was named to the All-Pro team in every one of his 11 seasons. Hutson set the standard for NFL receivers, leading the league in touchdown receptions nine times. His 99 career TDs remain an NFL record. Hutson was a dominant force on the field, leading the Packers to four NFL championships.
He was also the first player to record over 1,000 receiving yards and was the only NFL receiver to have over 1,500 yards in a single season for three years straight. He also set NFL records for most receptions in a season and most receiving yards in a season. Hutson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, becoming the first Packer to be honored.
8- Reggie White
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Widely known as the “Minister of Defense”, Reggie White is a legendary defensive end who played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Carolina Panthers. He was a dominant defensive end and was named to the All-Pro team 13 times. He was also the leader in sacks for four seasons. White was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. During his career, White recorded 198 sacks, the third-highest total in NFL history. In addition to his impressive sack tally, White amassed 1,112 tackles, 21 forced fumbles and five interceptions. His presence on the field was undeniable and he was widely respected by his peers.
7- Johnny Unitas
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Johnny Unitas is widely considered one of the greatest NFL players of all time. He led the Colts to three NFL Championships and was the first quarterback to ever throw for 40,000 yards. Unitas was an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time league MVP. He threw for 287 touchdowns, threw a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games, and held the record for most consecutive seasons with at least twenty touchdown passes. He was known for his ability to read defenses and make quick decisions.
Unitas was a master of the two-minute drill and was adept at leading his team from behind. He was also known for his toughness and durability, starting in 157 consecutive games. Unitas was a leader of men, inspiring his team to believe in themselves and never give up. He set the standard for quarterbacks for years to come and will always be remembered as one of the greatest players to ever play the game.
6- Walter Payton
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Walter Payton was one of the greatest NFL players of all time. His career spanned 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears from 1975 to 1987. He rushed for 16,726 yards, scored 110 touchdowns, and earned nine Pro Bowl selections. Payton was a powerful runner and elusive receiver, leading the league in rushing four times. He also set numerous records, including most rushing yards in a single season and most rushing touchdowns in a single season. Payton was a great blocker and team leader, helping the Bears to reach the playoffs five times and the Super Bowl once. He was also a two-time NFL MVP, a member of the 1970s All-Decade Team, and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Payton was a remarkable athlete, respected by his peers and beloved by fans. He will always be remembered as one of the greatest NFL players ever.
5- Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning is one of the most prolific passers in NFL history. He has the 3rd most passing yards with 71,940, 3rd most touchdown passes with 539, and the most MVP awards with five. He also has the most wins of any quarterback with 200 and is the only quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls with two different teams. His career passer rating of 97.2 is one of the highest in NFL history, and he has the longest streak of passing games with at least one touchdown at 51.
He was selected to a record 14 Pro Bowls, and he won four AFC championships. Manning was also known for his durability, never missing a regular-season start during his entire career. He led the Indianapolis Colts to 11 playoff appearances in his 13 years there, and the Denver Broncos to four AFC West titles in his four years there. He was a leader on the field and in the locker room, and his intelligence, work ethic, and preparation set the standard for all NFL quarterbacks.
4- Lawrence Taylor
Photo Credit: Giants
Lawrence Taylor is widely considered to be one of the greatest NFL players ever. He was an All-Pro linebacker for the New York Giants from 1981 to 1993. Taylor was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and three time NFL MVP. He had 10 Pro Bowl appearances and 10 All-Pro selections. Taylor was one of the most feared pass rushers in the game and is credited with redefining the linebacker position. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. He was also named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. Taylor recorded 132.5 sacks in his career, and helped the Giants win two Super Bowls. He had three consecutive seasons with at least 20 sacks. He was also the first defensive player to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award. Taylor was an incredible athlete with an unmatched ability to make game changing plays.
3- Joe Montana
Joe Montana was an NFL great. He led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl victories in the 1980s. Joe was a three-time Super Bowl MVP and an eight-time Pro Bowler. He was also a three-time NFL passing leader and two-time NFL MVP. Montana holds numerous NFL records, including most touchdown passes in a Super Bowl game, most consecutive passes without an interception and most fourth quarter touchdown passes. He was also the first quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in four straight seasons. Montana also won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award in 1987, after missing most of the previous season due to injury. His accomplishments helped make him one of the most revered players in NFL history. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
2- Jerry Rice
Jerry Rice is widely considered the greatest wide receiver of all time.He set numerous records over his 20-year NFL career. Rice was a record-setting receiver, renowned for his precise route running and sure hands. He retired with 1,549 receptions, 22,895 receiving yards, and 208 touchdowns. He also holds the record for most Super Bowl touchdowns with eight. Rice was named to the Pro Bowl 13 times, All-Pro 12 times, and won three Super Bowl rings.
He was named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 1987 and 1993. Rice was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. He won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2004 for his charitable work. Rice also won the ESPY Award for Best NFL Player in 1996 and 1997. He was named the NFL’s All-Time Greatest Receiver by the NFL Network in 2012. Jerry Rice is an NFL legend, and his career accomplishments are a testament to his hard work and dedication to the game.
1- Jim Brown
Jim Brown is widely considered the greatest NFL player of all time. He was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and a three-time MVP. He rushed for 12,312 yards in his nine-year career, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Brown also caught 262 passes and scored 106 touchdowns. He was the first to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. He was a relentless blocker and an excellent receiver out of the backfield. Also, He was an All-Pro selection in each of his nine seasons.
He was a powerful runner and was a threat to break a long run at any time. Brown led the Cleveland Browns to a championship in 1964. He was also an accomplished actor, appearing in films such as The Dirty Dozen, 100 Rifles and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Jim Brown was a true icon, both on the field and off.