Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Aeneas Williams gives a speech at the NFL Prep Sports Career Expo at Super Bowl XLVII.
Dick “Night Train” Lane, Aeneas Williams, Roger Wehrli
Analysis: When this is redone in another 10 years, Patrick Peterson will surely be added. But for now, he has some time and room to get better, so we’ll let him do that.
Night Train Lane (1954-1959) played the defensive halfback position his entire career. What’s that, you ask? It’s just a different name for what is now called the nickel cornerback. In 1952, as a rookie with the St. Louis Rams, Lane picked off an NFL record 14 passes. Back then, teams played only 12 regular-season games, so that would be like Peterson going out in 2011 and intercepting 19 passes as a rookie.
Lane’s single-season record still stands today and, despite how often teams throw, it is among the most unbreakable in professional sports.
Lane was versatile with the Chicago Cardinals. Not only did he record 30 interceptions in six seasons for them while being known as one of the most feared tacklers in NFL history, he played a bit of offense as well, catching eight passes for a staggering 253 yards (31.6 yards per catch) and a touchdown.
He and quarterback Ogden Compton hooked up for a 98-yard touchdown pass on Nov. 13, 1955, which is still the franchise’s longest offensive touchdown (quick history lesson: Hall of Fame broadcaster Pat Summerall kicked the point-after following the score).
Aeneas Williams (1991-2000) intercepted 46 passes with the Cardinals. That total is good for No. 2 on the franchise list. Williams was voted to six consecutive Pro Bowls from 1994 to 1999, and in that span he picked off 30 passes, scored on five of them and recorded 369 total tackles while leading the team to its first playoff appearance since moving to Arizona following the 1998 season.
He will join Lane in the Hall of Fame at some point, you’d think.
Roger Wehrli (1969-1982) was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 for his time with the Cardinals. He picked off 40 passes, returning two for touchdowns.