NFL history has a long line of men who were feared each time they stepped onto the field. Men that would make opponents sweat in hopes of surviving 60 minutes against them.
This is a list of the very best players ever to strike fear in opponents. Though there are several more to add to the list, these are the men generally considered the scariest for various reasons.
We start first with the pioneer of this definition. Bronko Nagurski.
Nagurski joined the Chicago Bears after a legendary collegiate career with the University of Minnesota. He once scored a touchdown and intercepted a pass while playing with cracked vertebrae.
At 6'2" 226, he was one of the largest running backs of his era. His strength carrying the ball was legendary. He ran over four players while playing in Wrigley Field, then smashed against the brick wall after scoring.
"That last guy hit me awfully hard," said Nagurski.
He got hurt carrying the ball, so the Bears used his blocking prowess by inserting him at offensive tackle.
He was a All-Pro player at fullback, defensive tackle, and offensive tackle, making him the only player ever to be named to the All-Pro at three different positions.
Nagurski was also a professional wrestler when he wasn't playing football. He did it to supplement his income, because NFL players were paid little in his era. He won three world championships as a wrestler.
Nagurski is considered one of the greatest defensive tackles in college football history.
Not only is there an annual award named after him that goes to the top defender in college football, but he is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the starting defensive tackle on Sports Illustrated's NCAA Football All-Century Team.
He is also an charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a member of the 1930's All-Decade Team and NFL 75th Anniversary Team.
As a professional player, he was truly feared on both sides of the ball. Whether he was carrying it, blocking, or tackling, Nagurski made a huge impact.
He retired after 1937, but returned in 1943 to help Chicago win a championship by scoring a touchdown in the title game. The Bears retired two of the numbers he wore.
When Hall of Famers like Jim Brown, Marion Motley, John Riggins, Earl Campbell, and Larry Csonka were seen dragging around defenders into the end zone, history must pay tribute to the man who did it first.
Bronko Nagurski was a winner who scared opponents each time he stepped on the gridiron.