Who Has The Most Heart In Football?

Jeremy KaufmanSenior Analyst INovember 3, 2008

In my last article, “Who Has The Most Heart In Baseball?”, I assessed the metaphorical characteristic of “heart” in sports, and then discussed the five players in the MLB who I felt best embodied such a characteristic. Now, I feel it would be interesting to take a look at the five players in the NFL who I believe exhibit the most heart on and off the field.

1)     Brett Favre, QB (New York Jets)

Brett is likely the player who the majority of NFL fans would indicate as possessing the most heart. Brett clearly has a great love for the game of football, and he constantly shows it on and off the field. Throughout his career, Brett has been known to show a great amount of emotion on the gridiron, and he has supplied us with some of the greatest and most touching moments in the history of the NFL. Simply stated, Brett Favre has heart.

2)     Kris Dielman, G (San Diego Chargers)

In today’s professional sports, it is quite common to see free agent players sign with the team that offers them the most money. However, Kris Dielman wasn’t one of them. When he was a free agent, the Seattle Seahawks offered Kris a plethora of money that San Diego simply couldn’t match.

Kris turned down the offer however, citing reasons that were along the lines of “you don’t leave your family.” In the end, Kris Dielman didn’t take the $50 million deal that the Seahawks offered, but he said that “In his heart (he) knew he made the right choice.”

3)     Bob Sanders, SS (Indianapolis Colts)

At 5’8 and 206 pounds, Bob is pretty small for a football player, let alone a strong safety. However, that doesn’t matter much to Bob. On defense, Sanders is one of the most ferocious players in the game today. He plays his position with a reckless abandon that makes him incredibly dangerous, even though it does sometimes make him more susceptible to injury. However, this is a tradeoff that Bob is more than willing to make, which is why I think he has more heart than most other players in the NFL today.

4)     Ray Lewis, MLB (Baltimore Ravens)

For years, Ray Lewis has played with a level of intensity that has made him one of the most feared linebackers in the history of the NFL. Ray isn’t particularly big for his position, but he’ll hit you like he was twice your size.

Off the field and before games, it is clear to see that Ray is the emotional and spiritual player of the Ravens. It is this kind of spirit that makes Ray Lewis’ level of heart most evident.

5)     Kurt Warner, QB (Arizona Cardinals)

Kurt had to overcome some adversity to get to the NFL. An undrafted free agent out of college, Kurt worked his way through NFL Europe and even the Arena League to get to the NFL. Once here, Warner has shown a desire to play, win, and above all, he has shown that he puts his teammates above everything else.

Just several weeks ago, one of Kurt’s primary receivers, Anquan Boldin, went down with a severe injury after he took a monstrous hit while trying to make a catch thrown by Warner himself. After the play, Kurt felt so responsible for the well-being of his receiver that he almost retired from football later that day.

After speaking to his wife, he later calmed down and realized that doing so would not be in the best interest of his team. Such a sincere level of care for one’s teammates isn’t as common in pro sports as it should be, and with this in mind I believe that the aforementioned actions show a great level of heart in Kurt Warner.