American Football is a testament to America’s obsession with athleticism and intensity. No other American sport grabs as much eyeball, and dishes out the fierce competition in exceptional roller-coaster seasons after another. With NFL superstars an indelible part of the American culture and the sport’s colorful and long history, it is excruciatingly difficult of forming a definitive 10-man list of Best NFL Players. However, here’s an attempt at the undoable.
List of Best NFL Players:
1) Tom Brady
Frequently called out by most football fans as being the GOAT, Tom Brady very recently hung up his boots. The 44 years old put an end to a very successful and inspiring sporting career. Starting out as a 199th overall draft pick by New England Patriots, the chubby, relatively unathletic rookie turned that initial embarrassment into perhaps the greatest sporting story in the world. As a result, he is included in the list of top 10 Best NFL Players.
The 7 times super bowl champion made 3 times NFL MVP and was part of the Pro Bowl 15 times. His quarterback acumen made it clear how good he was when he made passing yards leader 4 times and 5 times NFL passing touchdowns leader. However, the statistics are only a part of his ability as a quarterback, his true ability lies in his leadership qualities and an incredible understanding of the game.
2) Jim Brown
Jim Brown, the legend is considered by many as the best running back of all time. Even though he left his football career early to pursue a career in movies, he has many rushing statistics under his belt. He has over 100 yards per game career average.
Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, he is the first NFL player to rush over 10000 yards. In an era where the rush heavy football was the majority, Jim Brown was still unpredictable, and to a great extent unstoppable, which makes these numbers even more impressive.
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3) Jerry Rice
Jerry Rice is said to be the person to make the pass catchers trendy, his raw talent was also added to his longevity. Jerry also leads the most statistical categories for wide receivers and has scored more than any other non-kicker in NFL.
He won three super bowls, playing one of the clutch contributions in 49ers’ victory in Super Bowl XXIII, rewarded also with the Super Bowl MVP.
He made a 13 Pro Bowl teams and was the NFL receiving yards leader six times. This quality placed his name in the list of Best NFL Players.
4) Lawrence Taylor
The Linebacker nicknamed “L.T” played for the New York Giants. He has won the Super Bowl an impressive two times. A player that changed the offensive schemes ad multiple positions, his size at 6’3” along with a burst of speed destroyed every offensive scheme of the league.
He won the MVP once in 1986 and also made the sacks leader that year. He was so imposing to the opponents, that the linebacker position tended to be a more aggressive position in his presence.
5) Walter Payton
An iconic rusher, Payton was known for his aesthetic way of playing football. He was nicknamed “Sweetness” because of the sweet way he ran the ball.
One of his iconic running styles was “stutter step”, which was designed to distract his opponents. He was the fourth player selected in the 1975 draft, completing 13 years of an incredible career.
He was the rushing leader in 1977 as well as the rushing touchdown leader that year. With an incredible 16,726 rushing yards accumulated, Payton successfully mixed aesthetics with explosiveness.
6) Joe Montana
Even though Tom Brady has more rings, Montana is an equally shining light in the football history. It is widely commented on how different the league was then, including the fact that the defenses could hold wide receivers all the way down the field.
Therefore, Montana was subject to injuries and punishments, and he held his own being calm and collected which earned his nickname “Joe Cool”
Playing for 49 years, he won 4 rings and 2 MVPs. He has a pass completion of 3409 with a completion percentage of 63.2. These statistics placed him in the top 10 Best NFL Players list.
7) Barry Sanders
The Detroit lions runner was the first running back to rush more than 1000 in 10 seasons. From the first carry, it was love, as he mesmerized the Pontiac Silver dome crowd. Sanders capitalized on his smaller size, by utilizing his low center of gravity and running low to the ground.
Incredibly, he was the 4 times NFL rushing yards leader and 10 times pro bowl. Also he had 352 receptions and 15,269 rushing yards over his Lions career.
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8) Reggie White
A crucial member of the Eagles and Green Bay Packers, at 6’ 5” the Defensive End was an unmovable force during his NFL career. He was also known as “The Minister of Defense”, and was seen as not only a very expert at his craft but also a team leader.
He holds the record for most sacks in a career, and more impressively during his stay at Philadelphia Eagles, he recorded more sacks (124) than games played (121).
Winning a Super Bowl with the Packers, he also made the Pro Bowl team 13 times during his career.
9) Peyton Manning
A first overall draft by Colts in 1996, Peyton Manning barely missed match, admired for his consistency. However, he was forced to revert from that as he missed the entire 2011 season due to two surgeries.
Considered by some as the greatest Quarterback, he was awarded the MVP four times. And also has the record of being the fastest player to pass for 50000 career yards and 4000 completions.
A gem from the start, he is the only Quarterback to open a career with six straight 3000+ yard seasons. He is a two time super bowl winner, once with Colts and once with Broncos.
10) Dick Butkus
Playing as Chicago ear’s middle linebacker for nine years, he approached football with an unseen meanness and drive to match his raw acumen for football.
Making the 1960s All- Decade team and 1970s All Decade team, he was clearly a important part of the NFL history, in addition to winning his Defensive Player of the Year twice. His extra-ordinary qualities helped him to be in the list of top 10 Best NFL Players of all Time!
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