The 100 Greatest Players in Professional Football History: 60-51

Thursday, September 30, 2010

You can get to the previous entry here.

I finish off the bottom half of the top hundred with this post, just in advance of the NFL Network reveal of same.  A week from now, when I hit the 40s, I'll probably start that post with a full recap.  But you can click the link to work your way backward if you are inclined.  I'll edit in their choices after I watch the episode.

60.Harold Jackson WR 68-83 Eagles/Rams/Patriots
-Contextualizing his numbers, the most underrated skill position player in NFL history. A better Art Monk. (NFL Net picked Jack Ham, he's still to come on my list.)

59.Tim Brown WR 88-04 Raiders
-101 career touchdowns; I have a preference, in qualitative lists like this for long careers; health is a skill, we watch player A, clearly superior to player B and cement that superiority in our brain, but 15 years later when player A has been working for ESPN for a decade and player B is still catching footballs in the playoffs, we rarely revisit that original decision. (Mike Ditka - not on my list.  I only have two TE, Newsome and the guy still to come.  I'd say Winslow and Sharpe are closest TE who didn't make it for me. I don't think I'd have another in the top 200.)

58.Night Train Lane DB 52-65 Cardinals/Lions
-26 of his 68 career picks came in 2 of his first three seasons in the league. Aeneas Williams, who would make the top 125, is his top comp. (Steve Van Buren - already appeared on my list; the historian just compared SVB to Riggins - he, Edge, Nagurski, Ottis Anderson would all make the top 200)

57.Ken Anderson QB 71-86 Bengals
-With his 12+ yards/completion and almost 60% completion percentage, Kenny Anderson should be in the HOF. (Singletary - still to come.  Only guy from that defense to make it on my list - Dent is very, very, very close.)

56.YA Tittle QB 48-64 Niners/Giants
-Niner QB number 2 on the list; 33,000 yards and 240+ TD passes (Upshaw - still to come on my list.)

55.Alan Page DL 67-81 Vikings
-the leader of the People Eaters; the Vikes are an overlooked great all time team, but they did play really badly in those title games.  Weighing those games in evaluating, say, Tarkenton's career for purposes of this list, is challenging.  (Earl Campbell - not on my list.)

54.Thurman Thomas RB 88-00 Bills
-4+ yards a carry, 9+ yards a catch – the Bills and Vikes, sitting together on the list.  As a Niner fan, I feel about the Bills and Vikes the way I do when I see a bad car accident, a shudder of empathy and a fortunate "thank god that's not me." (Forrest Gregg - already appeared on my list.)

53.Howie Long DL 81-93 Raiders
-Neil Smith is his second comp, he and Derrick Thomas would be in the top 150. (And so would Willie Lanier, who didn't make my list.  As would Bobby Bell.  A whole Chiefs thing going on.)

52.Jack Lambert LB 74-84 Steelers
-Hard to really evaluate the smaller middle linebackers absent the guys in front clogging traffic for them, but I think Lambert’s career puts him here – Butkus didn’t make the list, which will probably be the biggest discrepancy between my list and the NFL Network’s. (Eric Dickerson - still to come.)

51.Randy Moss WR 98- Vikings/Patriots
-150 career TDs and counting. 15 yards a catch. (Bart Starr - not on my list.)

That's 100-51; I'll start the countdown of the 50 greatest players in NFL history next Thursday.

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