Up For Debate: Who Are The Greatest Football Players Ever?
Who are the five best football players of all-time? There have been so many greats, the list is nearly impossible to narrow down. I took a stab at it, and after hours of compiling stats and racking my brain, I came up with this list.
5:JOHN ELWAY/Denver Broncos QB-John Elway, in my opinion, is the greatest quarterback to ever play (with Favre being a close second). If God ever created a human perfect for the position, Elway was it. He had the size, the cannon arm, the speed, and the intangibles. He is second only to Favre on the all-time wins list and he has more fourth quarter comebacks than anyone.
He won two Super Bowls and retired a champion, but I think the true sign of Elway’s greatness was how he carried the earlier Bronco teams.
He lost three Super Bowls, but Elway himself was the Broncos offense. He won an MVP in ’87 but he was always overshadowed by Joe Montana, obviously because Montana was surrounded by Hall of Fame offensive players. Elway was not a system QB, and could have played for any team and made it a winner. He didn’t need all day to throw because he could buy more time with his legs.
4:DON HUTSON/Green Bay Packers WR, DB, K-There are many people that will argue for Jerry Rice, but I believe that Don Hutson was the most dominant receiver the game has ever seen. Rice has all of the career marks, and I do think is a very close second, but Hutson dominated his era like no one else. Rice had the advantage of playing in more of a pass friendly era.
Hutson amassed 99 career TD catches, which was a record that stood for an amazing 44 years. Twice, in ‘41 and’42, he was named the league’s MVP, and in 1941 he became the first receiver to catch more than 50 passes in a season. The next season he became the first with over 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
In all, Hutson caught 488 passes for 7,991 yards. He rushed for three touchdowns and returned three interceptions for touchdowns for a career total of 105. Hutson led the NFL in receptions eight times in his 11 seasons, including five consecutive times (1941-1945). He led the NFL in receiving yards seven times, including four straight times from 1941-44. He led the NFL in scoring five times (1941-45). Hutson still holds the highest career average TDspergame(0.85) for a wide receiver.
He is credited with creating many of the routes receivers use today. He was also a kicker and a DB. He had 30 interceptions over the final six years of his career. In 43’ he had eight picks in 10 games. He also kicked 172 extra points and seven field goals.
Hutson still holds the following records: Most seasons leading league in pass receptions (8), Most consecutive seasons leading league in pass receptions (5), Most seasons leading league in pass receiving yards gained (7), Most consecutive seasons leading league in pass receiving yards gained (4), Most seasons leading league in pass receiving touchdowns (9), Most consecutive seasons leading league in pass receiving touchdowns (5), Most seasons leading league in scoring (5), and Most consecutive seasons leading league in scoring (5).
BRETT FAVRE/QB-He has all of the physical skills of Elway and is the most durable QB ever. He also was forced to carry the offensive load for most of his career. I think Elway was slightly better in the clutch so he gets the edge on my list of best ever QBs.
JERRY RICE/WR-Many consider him the greatest receiver ever, although I have him second behind Hutson. He holds every major receiving record and shined in the playoffs. He has more TDs than any other player in the history of football. Helped get two QBs into the Hall of Fame (Montana and Young).
ANTHONY MUNOZ/T-One of the best offensive linemen ever, he was elected an All Pro 11 straight years.
JONATHAN OGDEN/T-Might have been the best athlete in the league when he played, which is often overlooked because he was a lineman.
DICK BUTKUS/LB- He was the most dominant defensive player of his era. Even though he was never on any great teams, opposing players feared playing against him.
DEACON JONES and REGGIE WHITE/DE- I listed these two together because they were so similar. Both were big and powerful pass rushers who also could beat you with speed. Supposedly Jones would be the all-time sack leader if they kept up with that stat during his career. Imagine what White would have done if he were allowed to use the head slap.
OTTO GRAHAM/QB-Graham played in six seasons in the NFL and he took his team to the championship game every year. They won three of those championships.
BARRY SANDERS/RB-Probably the greatest college running back ever. He rushed for 2,628 yards his junior season. If touch or flag football was a profession, he would be the best ever. He could juke you in a phone booth.
JOHNNY UNITAS/QB- He was the Peyton Manning of his day, calling his own plays and audibles. Most quarterbacks of his era did the same, but none with the same success. He was the first player to pass for 40,000 yards despite shorter seasons. He threw a TD pass in an amazing 47 straight games, a record that will probably never fall.
BART STARR/ QB-He QBed the Packers to five NFL titles and won the first 2 Super Bowl MVPs. He had a 104.8 playoff rating and a 9-1 post season record.
RANDY MOSS/ WR-He might be a one trick pony at receiver, but it's an awfully good trick. The deep threat he brings to the offensive side of he ball has been responsible for the two highest scoring offenses in NFL history.
That is my list. I'm sure there will be countless arguments over this one. Let the debating begin!
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