Out of all the sports and leagues in the world, the National Football League stands alone—there's not one sport greater than football; there's not one league greater than the NFL. Period.
The NFL today is by far the most entertaining and most well-run league out there—and if you disagree, then I strongly advise you not to read this article and go read something about LeBron James or Manchester United.
With that being said, let's take a look at 50 players who have helped shape the league into being the greatest league of them all.
Jim Brown is one of the greatest running backs in NFL history.
Brown played with incredible passion and emotion as he had such a chip on his shoulder that he was on a mission to prove everyone wrong.
Brown simply attacked opposing defenders.
Troy Aikman was one of the premiere faces of the 1990s as he was the starting quarterback for America's Team—the Dallas Cowboys.
While with the Cowboys, the future Hall of Fame quarterback won three Super Bowls while being named to six Pro Bowls.
Johnny Unitas is simply an all-time great.
Unitas was an NFL quarterback from 1955 until 1973 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Colts and San Diego Chargers.
The Hall of Fame quarterback won the league's MVP award three times while winning the Super Bowl once.
Marshall Faulk was one of the greatest dual-threat running backs in NFL history. In fact, in general, he's just one of the greatest players to ever play.
Faulk won one Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams and also won the league's MVP in 2000.
John Hannah is a man who gets no credit. He is extremely underrated.
However, Hannah is one of the greatest offensive guards to ever play the game as he dominated with the New England Patriots from 1973 until 1985.
He was named to nine Pro Bowls, named All-Pro 10 times and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Some say that Walter Payton is the greatest running back to ever play—so how can he not be on this list?
Ray Lewis has been the face of the NFL for quite some time as he's one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history.
Lewis has dominated with the Baltimore Ravens as he's won one Super Bowl while being known as one of the most motivational players to ever play the game of football.
This Hall of Fame tight end is one of the greatest offensive threats to ever play the tight end position—and some may argue that was the very first.
Kellen Winslow retired in 1987 after recording 541 receptions for a whopping 6,741 yards and scoring 45 touchdowns with the San Diego Chargers.
Of course Jerry Rice is going to be on this list—some say that he is the greatest player of all time.
Either way, Rice is the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, playing a whopping 20 seasons in the league.
He caught 1,281 career receptions for 19,247 yards and 176 touchdowns while winning three Super Bowls and being named All-Pro 12 times.
Jim Parker was one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever play the sport of football.
Parker was named All-Pro 10 times with the Baltimore Colts as he dominated the game from 1957 until 1967.
Parker's No. 77 jersey was retired by the Colts.
Lawrence Taylor changed the game of football.
L.T. was the most dominating defensive player in NFL history as he changed the outside linebacker position as he was such an athletic player for someone his size.
L.T. retired in 1993 with the New York Giants as he recorded 132.5 career sacks.
The man who coined the term "sack."
Deacon Jones is one of the greatest pass-rushers in NFL history.
When you think the best of the best, Peyton Manning is one of those guys.
Manning has been the face of the NFL ever since 1998.
Manning has spent all of his career with the Indianapolis Colts until now as he'll embark on a new journey in 2012 with the Denver Broncos.
I know we're all sick of hearing about Brett Favre, but he still is one of the most important players in NFL history.
Favre started 297 consecutive straight games while winning one Super Bowl, being named All-Pro three times and being named the league's MVP three times.
No. 4 is simply a legend.
Bronko Nagurski may have played back in the 1930s and 1940s, but he was far ahead of his time as he was such a physically dominating player.
Bronko dominated at the fullback position with the Chicago Bears as he was ultimately inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
Let's just say this: Without Deion Sanders, there wouldn't be any bandannas, trash-talkin' or anything remotely close to "Prime Time."
Ronnie Lott is one of the greatest defensive backs to ever play the game of football.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000 after an incredible career with the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Lott won four Super Bowls and was named to 10 Pro Bowls.
O.J. Simpson may be a criminal and a terrible person, but he's still an amazing NFL running back.
Simpson played from 1969 until 1979 as he ran for 2,404 yards while scoring 61 touchdowns and was ultimately inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.
Bart Starr is simply the face of the Green Bay Packers.
Starr quarterbacked the Packers to five NFL championships, winning the NFL MVP in 1966 and ultimately being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.
Red Grange, or better known as "The Galloping Ghost," was an epic running back for the Chicago Bears and the New York Yankees in the 1920s and early 1930s.
Grange was certainly ahead of his time as he dominated the playing field which led to his Hall of Fame induction in 2008.
Tom Brady—or should I say the greatest draft steal of all time?
Brady was the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft by the New England Patriots, and what a steal he really was.
Brady has won three Super Bowls with the Patriots while being arguably the most dominant player since the turn of the century.
There's no reason why Barry Sanders shouldn't be on this list.
In my opinion, Sanders is the greatest running back in NFL history despite playing for such a short period of time with the Detroit Lions.
Put aside the antics that follow Randy Moss, he's one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history.
Moss took a whole new meaning to the term "going deep" and "taking the top off the defense" when he was drafted in 1998 by the Minnesota Vikings.
He's nothing short of a freak of nature.
Emmitt Smith is the NFL's all-time leading rusher—enough said, right?
When Smith was playing back in the 1990s with the Dallas Cowboys, I can guarantee to you that across the United States, every little kid who played running back wanted to sport the same number as Smith—No. 22.
Otto Graham is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
Graham played extremely well with the Cleveland Browns from 1946 until 1955 as he won three NFL championships while being named All-Pro nine times and retiring with an 86.6 quarterback rating.
Reggie White tragically passed away at the age of 43, but his legacy will forever be remembered.
White is one of the greatest pass-rushers in NFL history as he racked up 198 career sacks while being a completely dominant force along the defensive line.
Dan Marino may be the greatest quarterback not to win a Super Bowl, but some may label him as the greatest to ever play the game.
Marino is the face of the Miami Dolphins and was the face of the NFL for quite some time during the 1990s.
Just look at Jack Lambert's face.
That was the face of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Lambert could very well be one of the meanest and toughest players to ever play the game.
Terrell Owens' ego alone makes him one of the NFL players who shaped the league today.
T.O. is known for his incredible talent, his trash-talkin' as well as his famous touchdown celebrations.
Steve Largent may be one of the better wide receivers in NFL history, but he was the face of the Seattle Seahawks and helped the NFL to succeed in the Emerald City.
This commercial alone is nothing short of greatness.
Not only did Anthony Munoz have great hair and a killer mustache, but he was quite the offensive tackle during his days in the NFL.
Munoz is said to be one of the greatest tackles in NFL history as he dominated with the Cincinnati Bengals from 1980 until 1992.
Munoz was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.
Joe Montana is as good as it gets. He is the greatest quarterback in NFL history—just my opinion.
Montana won an incredible four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers while keeping it cool under pressure and simply performing at his best when the spotlight was at its brightest.
You can't get much better than Montana.
Bruce Smith is the sack king. That's all that I should have to say.
The Hall of Fame defensive end was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 with his 200 career sacks as well as winning Defensive Player of the Year twice.
Dick Butkus was simply a beastly linebacker from 1965 until 1973 with the Chicago Bears.
Butkus was as mean as you could get as he recorded an amazing 1,020 tackles while picking off 22 passes and forcing 27 fumbles.
He could very well be the greatest linebacker of all time.
Raymond Berry wasn't just one of the best wide receivers in NFL history, but he was also an American hero as he was enlisted as a private in the Army National Guard.
Berry played from 1955 until 1967 as he recorded 631 receptions for 68 touchdowns with the Baltimore Colts.
Lance Alworth retired with 542 receptions for a whopping 10,266 yards as well as scoring 85 touchdowns. Alworth was also named to the AFL's All-Time Team and won one Super Bowl.
Alworth played from 1962 until 1970 with the San Diego Chargers and 1971 and 1972 with the Dallas Cowboys.
Jim Thorpe was just an all-around incredible athlete. He may be the greatest athlete in the history of mankind.
Thorpe excelled as an NFL player at just about every single position in the backfield while also being a gold medalist in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.
"Mean" Joe Greene. That's all that I have to say.
Joe Greene was one of the greatest Pittsburgh Steelers of all time while also being such a dominant force at the defensive tackle position from 1969 until 1981.
Oh yeah, he was also in one of the greatest Super Bowl commercials of all time.
Don Hutson was far above his time. He was such a great wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers from 1935 until 1945.
Hutson is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, recording 488 career receptions for 7,991 yards and a whopping 99 touchdowns.
Tony Gonzalez is one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history.
Not only is Gonzalez such a great player, but he is also such a class act—a true role model for the kids that watch the NFL every Sunday afternoon.
Sammy Baugh was an all-around great as he dominated at quarterback, defensive back and punter with the Washington Redskins.
Baugh was far ahead of his time as he perfected the art of passing, retiring with 187 touchdowns and 21,886 passing yards while playing in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.
Marvin Harrison's No. 88 Indianapolis Colts jersey will be forever remembered.
Harrison is best known as Peyton Manning's favorite wide receiver, retiring in 2008 with 1,102 career receptions while accumulating 14,580 yards and reeling in 128 touchdown receptions.
Everyone knows John Elway's name. He's just that well-recognized.
Elway quarterbacked the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowls while being named league MVP in 1987 and winning a whopping five AFC championships.
Bob Lilly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980 after a stellar career as an NFL defensive tackle.
Lilly played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1961 until 1974 as he was named to 11 Pro Bowls while winning one Super Bowl and recording 94.5 sacks.
Merlin Olsen wasn't just a dominant defensive tackle for the Los Angeles. He was also an actor who portrayed Jonathan Garvey on Little House on the Prairie and starred in Father Murphy.
Olsen was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
Steve Young wasn't just a great quarterback. He was also an innovator—he had the ability to keep the play alive with his feet as well as running the ball if needed.
Young won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers while being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Night Train Lane was someone who you did not want to mess with.
He was such a physical and a dominant presence at the cornerback position from 1952 until 1965.
Lane was named to seven Pro Bowls, racking up an amazing 68 career interceptions while turning five of those into touchdowns.
Chuck Bednarik was one of the meanest players in NFL history as he was such a devastating tackler from 1949 until 1962 with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Bednarik was ultimately inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967—his first year of eligibility.
I really wish that I was alive to see Gale Sayers run the ball. It was such poetry in motion.
Sayers was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977 after recording 4,956 rushing yards over the course of 1965 until 1971 while scoring 39 touchdowns.
Sid Luckman won NFL MVP in 1943 and was one of the very first quarterbacks who actually excelled at throwing the ball.
Luckman retired in 1950 after spending his entire career with the Chicago Bears as he threw for 14,686 yards and posted a solid 75.0 quarterback rating.