The 100 Greatest Players in Professional Football History: 10-1 (The Full List is Here)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

20-11 is here.

I'll edit in the NFL Network list once they air the episode.  Here's how we got to the top 10. My list is first, then NFL Net list.  If all you want is the top ten - scroll to the bottom.

100. Larry Allen (Joe Namath)

99. Tom Mack (Michael Strahan)

98. Ozzie Newsome (Lee Roy Selmon)

97. Steve Van Buren (Derrick Brooks)

96. Michael Strahan (Mel Hein)

95. Norm Van Brocklin (Larry Allen)

94. Donovan McNabb (Lenny Moore)

93. Lance Alworth (Sam Huff)

92. OJ Simpson (Michael Irvin)

91. Lou Groza (Fran Tarkenton)

90. Jack Youngblood (Kurt Warner)

89. Sam Huff (Ernie Nevers)

88. Paul Krause (Ed Reed)

87. Cris Carter (Crazylegs Hirsch)

86. Chris Doleman (Willie Davis)

85. Sammy Baugh (Marcus Allen)

84. Alex Karras (Joe Schmidt)

83. Tony Dorsett (Norm Van Brocklin)

82. Don Maynard (Ted Hendricks)

81. John Brodie (Steve Young)

80. Bobby Layne (Troy Aikman)

79. Gene Hickerson (Emlen Tunnell)

78. Chuck Howley (Bruce Matthews)

77. Michael Irvin (Tony Dorsett)

76. Too Tall Jones (Art Shell)

75. Roger Staubach (Darrell Green)

74. Willie Wood (Marion Motley)

73. Will Shields (Ozzie Newsome)

72. Carl Eller (Jonathan Ogden)

71. Ladainian Tomlinson (Paul Warfield)

70. Curtis Martin (Marshall Faulk)

69. Terrell Owens (Bobby Bell)

68. Len Dawson (Mike Webster)

67. Tom Brady (Kellen Winslow)

66. Mike Haynes (Willie Brown)

65. Ken Houston (Randy Moss)

64. Rickey Jackson (Herb Adderly)

63. Darrell Green (Jim Otto)

62. Mike Webster (Randy White)

61. Forrest Gregg (Ladainian Tomlinson)

60. Harold Jackson (Jack Ham)

59. Tim Brown (Mike Ditka)

58. Night Train Lane (Steve Van Buren)

57. Ken Anderson (Mike Singletary)

56. YA Tittle (Gene Upshaw)

55. Alan Page (Earl Campbell)

54. Thurman Thomas (Forrest Gregg)

53. Howie Long (Willie Lanier)

52. Jack Lambert (Eric Dickerson)

51. Randy Moss (Bart Starr)

50. Joe Perry (Terry Bradshaw)

49. Herb Adderly (Mike Haynes)

48. James Lofton (Red Grange)

47. Bruce Matthews (Ray Nitschke)

46. Derrick Brooks (Roger Staubach)

45. Tony Gonzalez (Tony Gonzalez)

44. Marshall Faulk (Mel Blount)

43. Steve Young (Alan Page)

42. Marcus Allen (John Mackey)

41. Marvin Harrison (Rod Woodson)

40. Eric Dickerson (OJ Simpson)

39. Ted Hendricks (Gino Marchetti)

38. Jackie Slater (Lance Alworth)

37. Randall McDaniel (Jim Thorpe)

36. Randy White (Raymond Berry)

35. Bob Lilly (Chuck Bednarik)

34. Merlin Olsen (Deion Sanders)

33. Mike Singletary (Sid Luckman)

32. Willie Brown (Jim Parker)

31. Steve Largent (Bruce Smith)

30. Jim Otto (Night Train Lane)

29. Otto Graham (Jack Lambert)

28. John Hannah (Emmitt Smith)

27. Jack Ham (Merlin Olsen)

26. Mel Blount (Bob Lilly)

25. Ronnie Lott (Dan Marino)

24. Deacon Jones (John Hannah)

23. Joe Greene (John Elway)

22. Ray Lewis (Gale Sayers)

21. Gene Upshaw (Tom Brady)

20. Fran Tarkenton (Brett Favre)

19. Rod Woodson (Bronko Nagurski)

18. Don Hutson (Ray Lewis)

17. Junior Seau (Barry Sanders)

16. Bruce Smith (Otto Graham)

15. Anthony Munoz (Deacon Jones)

14. Johnny Unitas (Sammy Baugh)

13. John Elway (Joe Greene)

12. Peyton Manning (Anthony Munoz)

11. Barry Sanders (Ronnie Lott)

10.Deion Sanders DB 89-05 Falcons/Cowboys
-53 career picks, 9 returned for TD, returned 9 kicks for TD.  Could control a game from the DB position in a way no other player ever could.  (NFL chose Dick Butkus, not on my list - more myth than man, short career, no team success, it doesn't make him bad, obviously, just overrated.)

9.Emmitt Smith RB 90-04 Cowboys
-was 6th on the all time TD list after only 6 seasons in the league, finished with 18,000+ yards rushing and a total of 175 tds.  (Don Hutson - appeared in my previous ten)

8.Walter Payton RB 75-87 Bears
-16,000+ yards rush, 110 TDs rush, 4.4 y/c, another 4500+ receiving yards and 15 TDs.  Payton as pass catcher plus the era in which he played edges him past Emmitt by the narrowest margin to be the second best back of all time. (Peyton Manning - appeared in my previous ten)

7.Brett Favre QB 91-   Packers
-holds all of the counting stat records for QBs, in 2010 he’ll hit both 70,000 yards and 500 TD passes.  Two  QB still remain.  (Reggie White - still to come.)

6.Lawrence Taylor LB 81-93 Giants
-first defensive player to be voted unanimous MVP.  132 sacks, 11 recovered fumbles.  His productive career fewer games than you'd think and that slips him outside the top 5. (Johnny Unitas - appeared in my previous ten)

5.Jim Brown RB 57-65 Browns
-averaged 5.2 y/c, 104 yds rushed per game.  Short career keeps him lower on my list than he’ll be on the NFL list where he’ll either be 1 or 2.  (Walter Payton - just appeared.)

4.   Dan Marino QB 83-99 Dolphins
-61,000+ yards, 420 TDs, 7.3 yards per attempt.  Most of his career before the big offensive enhancement changes in the mid 90s. (Joe Montana - still to come.  I forecasted this correctly, incidentally.  If you were to ask who my favorite all time athlete is, the only reason I wouldn't automatically say Joe is he's bigger than the competition.  I'm a 40 year old life long San Francisco sports fan; as deeply as my respect and affection go for others - there's Joe and then there's the field.)

1.                         3.   Reggie White DL 85-00 Eagles/Packers
-7 Pro Bowls, 124 sacks, 11 fumbles recovered - before he got to Green Bay. The greatest defensive player in the history of football. (Lawrence Taylor.  Just appeared.)

1.      2.  Joe Montana QB 79-94 Niners
-4 Super Bowls. 83 of 122, 1142 yds, 11 TD, 0 Int (and 17 rushes for 101 yards and two TDs). 4 Wins.  O Losses. When you find someone who matches it, get back to me.  (Jim Brown.  That means they got it right.)  

1.       1. Jerry Rice WR 85-04 Niners
-Jerry Rice’s career: 499 catches. 6518 yards. 43 touchdowns.  That’s his career…after he turned 35.  He’s first in catches – by 400+, first in yards – by 7,000+, first in receiving TDs, by 50.  There’s Jordan, there’s Bonds, there’s Gretzky, there’s Rice.  Overarching, near mystical dominance.    If there is a way to reasonably compare eras and positions - if such a list like this has any type of credibility - then there is only one choice to be named Greatest Football Player of All Time.  And that's Jerry Rice. (Jerry Rice.  Amen.)

This was fun.  I've got my revised, really revised, as I changed out half the methodology, 200 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time ready to go - I think I'll keep this schedule, posting ten a week all the way until thhe next season starts.

1 comment

Anonymous said...

I really like your list, but alas, any list that excludes Bobby Bell and Jim Parker, two of the greatest the game has ever known, just reeks of incompletion. And any list that contends that Brett Favre is one of the ten best football players to ever play the game really begins to call into question its sense of not only history, but the very nature of the game. Sorry. Big swing and a miss because of those three glaring errors in judgement.

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