NFL News: 49ers' Jerry Rice Tops NFL Network's All-Time Greatest List

Blaine SpenceSenior Writer INovember 5, 2010

Jerry Rice
Jerry RiceEzra Shaw/Getty Images

Okay, so the NFL Network has named Jerry Rice the greatest player of all time; I can buy that. I am a huge Jerry Rice fan and a member of the San Francisco 49ers faithful.

However, let's not kid ourselves—a bunch of so-called "experts" that whiffed on Troy Polamalu, Derrick Thomas, Charles Haley and the ever overlooked Dan Fortman don't have a lot of credibility in my book.

There are other lists out there that don't even have Rice as the greatest receiver of all time—that distinction often goes to the Green Bay Packers' Don Hutson.

Many lists rank Jim Brown (who finished second) and Dick Butkus (who finished 10th) as the NFL's all-time greatest players.

My point is that these lists are always open to interpretation and argument. They are never the "be all end all" last word.

That said, let's take a look at how some other 49ers fared on the list.

Perennial All-Pro Larry Allen came in at No. 95. Although he will always be remembered as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, Allen did end his career in a 49ers uniform.

Steve Young came in at No. 81. Troy Aikman came in at No. 80, which kind of makes sense since these two always seem to be neck-and-neck when it comes to these kinds of rankings. I thought both should have been ranked a bit higher though.

49ers head coach Mike Singletary, who was a lynch-pin in that dominating Bears defense of the '80s, came in at No. 57.

Rod Woodson made the list at No. 41. After a brilliant career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he played the 1997 season in San Francisco before moving on to Baltimore and Oakland.

O.J. Simpson, acquired in one of the worst trades in 49ers history, came in at No. 40. He was said to be moping in his prison cell as he didn't finish higher.

Deion Sanders, another "one-year wonder" with the team, ranked No. 34.

Ronnie Lott just missed the top 10, coming in at No. 11.

Joe Montana, who some might say deserved the top slot, was ranked at No. 4.

And of course, Jerry Rice was selected as the greatest player in NFL history.

Again, I thought Charles Haley was a glaring omission along with other 49ers like Y.A. Tittle, Jimmy Johnson, Bob St. Clair and Leo Nomellini. I hope they at least got some consideration. After all, you can't fit every great player in the NFL into the top 100.