Recent talks of Nnamdi Asomugha signing with the New York Jets and starting opposite Darrelle Revis got me thinking about how tough it would be for opposing quarterbacks to throw against that defense.
Then I started thinking about this potential tandem being one of the best of all time.
I put together a list of cornerback tandems that I consider the best in history. Let's get this debate started.
Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain were as good as it gets from 1998-2004.
While their teams were never good enough to make it to a Super Bowl, these two appeared in seven combined Pro Bowls and made the trip to Honolulu together in 2002.
Madison and Surtain combined for 58 interceptions and four touchdowns between them.
Deion Sanders and Larry Brown only played together for one season.
These two cover guys were not so much a dynamic duo as they were a dynamic Batman-like super hero, with the other a Robin-like wannabe riding the coattails of his super hero counterpart.
However, for that 1995 season, it didn't get any better than these two guys.
Sanders, who in my mind is the best corner to ever play the game, completely locked down one side of the field anytime he stepped onto it.
After Sanders’ six interceptions, three of which went back for touchdowns and a whopping 303 interception return yards a year earlier in 1994, no quarterback was even throwing to his side of the field. The recipient of all those extra passes being thrown his way was Brown.
While "Prime Time” finished the 1995 season with just two picks, Brown finished with six interceptions, returning two of those back for touchdowns.
The season ended with a 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.
While Sanders went on to a Hall of Fame career, Brown signed a lucrative contract with the Oakland Raiders and proceeded to vanish into NFL obscurity, finishing with only one interception over the next two seasons with the Raiders.
Dick “Night Train” Lane and Dick LeBeau combined for 52 interceptions as the starting corners for the Detroit Lions from 1959-1965.
They have 10 combined Pro Bowl appearances, five when they played together. But they never made the Pro Bowl together.
Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield manned the Cleveland Browns secondary during the 1980’s. These two were the heart and soul of those Brown’s defenses.
Dixon and Minnifield combined for seven Pro Bowls—appearing in three straight Pro Bowls together from 1986-1988—the only such tandem to do so.
Minnifield is also a member of the 1980s All-Decade Team.
One thing still haunts these two players today: a certain game against John Elway and the Denver Broncos, during which we witnessed “The Drive.”
With 14 Pro Bowls between them, Lester Hayes and Michael Haynes might be the best cover duo in the history of the game.
In their four years together, Hayes and Haynes combined for 22 interceptions with two returned for touchdowns. Their peak was the 38-9 victory in Super Bowl XVIII in January of 1984.
Hayes is a member of the 1980's All-Decade team and was also named the 1980 Defensive Player of the Year.
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