Greatest NFL Players
Former Yale All-American guard William Heffelfinger played for Allegheny Athletic Association against William Heffelfinger for $500, and officially became the first-ever professional football player in 1892.
The proper form of organized football league was started with the establishment of The American Professional Football Association in 1920. Two years later, in 1922, it was named the National Football League and started to organize a league championship with ten teams from four different states.
Two of the founding members, the Chicago Bears, and the Arizona Cardinals, still participate in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers is the oldest NFL franchise founded in 1919 which still continues its operation with the same name.
There are many different stars who had their fame in the NFL, and it seems there are more skillful players still to come. Even current players are also in the race of being the best.
1. Jim Brown
American former football player Jim Brown is widely considered the greatest professional athlete in United States sports history. Jim was the 6th pick in the first round of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.
He had completed 12,312 rushing yards and 2,499 receiving yards with a rushing average of 5.2. He was in the Pro Bowl selection for nine times from 1957 to 1965.
Brown’s Running Back career from 1957 to 1965 was decorated with eight AP First-Team All-Pro, eight UPI First-Team All-Pro, four NFL Most Valuable Players, three Pro Bowl MVPs, eight Rushing championships, and NFL Rookie of the Year 1957.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Jim was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1983.
2. Jerry Rice
Retired American football player Jerry Rice was chosen as the greatest player in NFL history in The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players by NFL Network in 2010. He was the Sixteenth pick in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
He was the three-time Super Bowl champion and scored 208 touchdowns and 22,895 receiving yards with 1,256 points. His marvelous career as a wide receiver from 1985 to 2004 was decorated with ten AP First-Team All-Pro, thirteen Pro Bowls, Super Bowl MVPs, Pro Bowl MVPs, two AP Offensive Player of the Year, and three NFC Offensive Player of the Year awards.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He was also inducted into the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
3. Joe Montana
Retired American football player Joe Montana is the only player to have been named Super Bowl MVP three times. He was the 82nd pick in the third round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
He was the four-time Super Bowl champion and completed 5,391 pass attempts and 40,551 passing yards with a QB rating of 92.3. His amazing Quarterback career from 1979 to 1994 was studded with two AP First-Team All-Pro, eight Pro Bowl selections, three Super Bowl MVPs, two NFL MVPs, AP Offensive Player of the Year, and NFL Offensive Player of the Year 1989.
After his last game, his jersey No. 16 was immediately retired by the San Francisco 49ers. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. He was also named in the Top 100 Players of All-Time by NFL.com.
4. Lawrence Taylor
Former American football player Lawrence Taylor is widely considered the greatest defensive player in league history. He was the second pick in the first round of the 1981 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He was two times Super Bowl champion and completed 1,088 tackles and 142 sacks with 9 interceptions.
His defensive career as an Outside Linebacker from 1981 to 1993 was decorated with ten AP First-Team All-Pro, ten Pro Bowl selections, PFWA NFL MVP, NFL MVP, three AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and NEA NFL Defensive Player of the Year 1986. His jersey No.
56 was also retired by the New York Giants to honor him. He is a member of the New York Giants Ring of Honor. Lawrence was placed in the third position in The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players.
5. Johnny Unitas
Former American football player Johnny Unitas aka The Golden Arm spent most of his career playing for the Baltimore Colts. He was the 102nd pick in the ninth round of the 1955 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He was the 1970 Super Bowl V champion and completed 5,186 pass attempts and 40,239 passing yards with a QB rating of 78.2. His career with the Baltimore Colts as a Quarterback from 1956 to 1972 was heavily studded with five AP First-Team All-Pro, ten Pro Bowl selections, three Pro Bowl MVPs, four NFL MVPs,s and 1970 NFL Man of the Year Awards.
His jersey No. 19 was also retired with him by the Baltimore Colts. Johnny was a member of the NFL 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, and NFL 1960s All-Decade Team. He was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
6. Walter Payton
Former American football player Walter Payton aka the Sweetness is widely regarded as the most skillful Running Back in the history of the NFL. He was the fourth pick in the first round of the 1975 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He was the Super Bowl XX champion and completed 110 touchdowns and 16,726 rushing yards with an average of 4.4.
His successful career as a Running Back for Chicago Bears from 1975 to 7987 was embellished with six AP First-Team All-Pro, nine Pro Bowl selections, a 1975 Pro Bowl MVP, three NFL MVPs, 1977 NFC Offensive Player of the Year, and NFC Championship 1985. His jersey No.34 was retired by the Bears after he stopped appearing on the football field.
He was included in the NFL 1970s and 1980s All-Decade Team. He was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
7. Dick Butkus
American former football player Dick Butkus is widely known as the best linebacker in NFL history. He was the third pick in the first round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He tackled 1020 times with 22 Interceptions during his career.
In his nine seasons of amazing skill displays with the Chicago Bears, he has had numerous appreciations which include six AP First-Team All-Pro, eight Pro Bowl selections, and two-time NEA NFL Defensive Player of the Year. With him, his jersey no.51 was also declared retired by the Chicago Bears.
He was a member of the NFL’s 1960s and 1970s All-Decade Team and was also ranked as the tenth-best footballer by NFL. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979 and also in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1978.
8. Peyton Manning
The recent sensation of the football field Peyton Manning was signed with the Denver Broncos in the 2012 NFL season. After that, he led the team to two Super Bowl appearances and one championship.
Before joining the Broncos, Peyton was drafted as the first pickup of the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. There, he played for 14 seasons and won his first Super Bowl title in 2006.
Peyton has already completed 64,964 passing yards and 8,452 pass attempts with a 97.2 passer rating and achieved many appreciations throughout his career as a successful Quarterback, including seven AP First-Team, thirteen Pro Bowl selections, and four-time NFL passing touchdown leadership.
Moreover, he holds several NFL records, such as most career passing yards, most passing touchdowns in a season, and most MVP awards.
He won the AFC championship and Super Bowl XLI and was also named Super Bowl XLI MVP and five times AP NFL MVP. Peyton was named the NFL Player of the Decade for the 2000s by Fox Sports and Sports Illustrated. He has recently been named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year 2013.
9. Sammy Baugh
Legendary American football player Sammy Baugh died on December 17, 2008. Baugh was widely regarded as one of the best athletes of the 1940s. He was drafted as the sixth pickup of the first round of the 1937 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins and played his entire career for them.
Baugh completed 21,886 passing yards and 2,995 pass attempts with a 72.2 QB rating in his career. While playing for the Redskins from 1937 to 1952 as a quarterback, he achieved Five All-Star, three AP First-Team, and Pro Bowl selections in 1951.
He led his team to victory in two NFL Championships and became NFL record 6-time league passing champion. Baugh was also a member of the NFL 50th and 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
10. Barry Sanders
Former American footballer Barry Sanders is rated as the Most Elusive Running Back of All Time and the 17th-best NFL Player of all time by NFL. He holds the record for the most consecutive 100-yard NFL games for 14 matches and also holds the most 1,500-yard NFL seasons.
He was drafted as the third pick in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions and played his entire career for them. His 10-season journey with his team as a quarterback brought him six AP First-Team All-Pro, ten Pro Bowl selections, four NFL Rushing Champions, and MX and AP NFL MVP awards.
He also became the 1989 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and NFC Rushing Leader twice. He is the third-highest rusher in NFL history and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004. Detroit Lions retired his jersey no.20 to honor him.
Whenever there is a star player enjoying his fame, there is also a huge load of cash involved. Players are transferred with huge amounts of fees and it seems they enjoy their fortunes as much as possible.
Every sports-lover also thinks that the stars will be richer than ever, even after their retirement. But an interesting fact is that, according to surveys, 78% of NFL players have gone bankrupt just two years after their active retirement, which also shows the dark side of fame and stardom.