The Most Overrated NFL Players from the Past 40 Years

John LewisSenior Writer IJuly 4, 2008

Here is the list of the most overrated NFL players from the Super Bowl era. It's hard to rate NFL players as overrated before then, simply because the game has changed so much over the years to make it easier for QBs and WRs.

Remember, you have to be considered a great player to be called overrated.

Here we go.


Michael Vick

Vick went first in the 2001 NFL draft, and from there, the bumpy ride to stardom began. Blessed with blazing speed, in 2006 he became the first QB to rush for 1,000 yards. Also that year he teamed up with RB Warrick Dunn to become the only QB/RB to rush for 1,000 yards in same season.

That's the good news. Now for the bad: For all of his agility and speed, he couldn't find a way to consistently win games. Though Vick has been in the league for six seasons, he's only played four full years and has averaged 8.75 wins.  

The rest of his four full season averages are: 2,533 passing yards, 16.2 touchdowns, 11.5 interceptions, and a 54.7 percent completion percentage.  These are not exactly first-overall-pick numbers.   


Keyshawn Johnson

Johnson was drafted first in the 1996 NFL draft by the New York Jets. He played 11 seasons and could only muster three Pro Bowls, one All-Pro selection, and was kicked out shortly after winning a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

His temper continually wrote checks that his performances couldn't cash. He was traded away from the Jets, traded away from the Buccaneers, released by the Dallas Cowboys, and released by the Carolina Panthers after just one season.      

While his career numbers are pretty solid, they are certainly not among the top WRs ever. His career averages were 74 receptions and 961 yards per season.


Lynn Swann

Swann was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round, 21st overall in 1974. While he had some of the greatest hands in the game, he certainly didn't put up the stats that would put him on the best WR list.

He never had a 1,000-yard season, and he only scored 10 or more touchdowns twice. In his nine seasons, he only averaged 37.3 receptions, 606 yards, 5.6 touchdowns per season and 47.5 yards per game.      

We all know the game has changed over the years to be more pass happy, but his QB, Terry Bradshaw, had over 3,700 yards passing in 1979 and over 3,300 in 1980. Swann's receiving yards in those seasons were 808 and 710.   


Terry Bradshaw

This one may get a few eyebrows, but just look at the teams he played on. During their great years, the Steelers had the best defense, a great offensive line, and a great running game. 

Sure, the first couple of years in Pittsburgh weren't the best, but just look at the defensive rank from 1972-1979. The Steelers had the second, eighth, second, second, first, 17th, first, and fifth-ranked defense during those years. Then throw in Franco Harris and his seven 1,000-yard rushing and five double-digit-scoring seasons.

Not to mention Bradshaw threw a lot of interceptions, 210, to 212 touchdowns, and he only completed 51.9 percent of his passes.     


Jeff George

George was drafted first overall in 1990 by the Indianapolis Colts. He only managed four seasons in Indy. He was then traded all over the place, played for six other teams, and could never win consistently.

He did help the Atlanta Falcons make the playoffs in 1995 with the run-and-shoot offense that had him pass for 4,143 yards and 24 touchdowns. However, the following year he was suspended and traded because of his constant arguments with the head coach.

He only had one good season over the next five, and he decided to retire after the 2001 season. For some reason, several teams tried to get him out of retirement, and George signed with the Seattle Seahawks in 2002, with the Chicago Bears  in 2004, and in 2006 by the Oakland Raiders. He never saw action with any of these teams.

To sum it up, George never made the Pro Bowl, was never an All Pro, and only had a passer rating above 90 just twice.            

Look, no list is perfect, but this is a good start to the most overrated NFL players.