The Most Influential Slash Players in NFL History

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The Most Influential Slash Players in NFL History
Jim Thorpe was the ultimate sports slash having played football, baseball, basketball, as well as having won Olympic Gold in the pentathlon and decathlon. Currently Tim Tebow's presence in the NFL has made it important to encapsulate an over-looked facet of football.

This article became important to put together based upon all the sports talk about Tim Tebow of late.  The question for some fans is why doesn't he get any playing time?  While the question for others is: How do you salvage an already damaged situation?  Prior to reading this article, you might want to read the following three part series affectionately known as the Tebow Slash-ability Trilogy shown here:

Tebow Slash-ability Trilogy (Part 1)

Tebow Slash-ability Trilogy (Part 2)

Tebow Slash-ability Trilogy (Part 3)


At the origins of the game of football, the concept of a "slash" was built into the framework of iron man football.  It usually implied that players would play both an offensive and a defensive position. With such low roster numbers, it was necessary in the early days to have players who knew the game from both sides of the ball.  

The college game and professional game began to become independent from one another around the 1940’s in their rules and game philosophies.  So at the college level, players were always pushed to more or less “give it the old college try” to fill in the gaps that their teams had.  This led to players playing a couple positions on their team.  Occasionally, at the professional level, there were a few offensive players who would play a combination of tailback, fullback and flanker. Few players could play a combination well that included the quarterback position.  However, the concept of a true “slash” player was still a long way off.

In a nutshell, a “slash” is usually a quarterback, but he may not be a starter, and it may not even be his regular position.  A slash” by definition plays multiple positions on the offensive side of the ball, which makes him a threat to run, pass or catch on any given play.

 In the modern day NFL, quarterbacks are usually protected within the rules better than they ever have been.  Quarterbacks who are slashes basically lose some of that protection once they are involved in the run or the receiving part of the pass game. Keep in mind the financial and franchise investment on any player absolutely has an impact on how they are used. 

In the early years, Jim Thorpe became the first Native American Indian to play professional football in the NFL.  Thorpe once won two Olympic Gold Medals, one in the pentathlon, and another in the decathlon.  However, he was the ultimate sports slash having also played baseball, basketball and football at a high level.  

While statistically his numbers were far less than what people would expect from a running back, defensive back, and kicker among other positions.  His impact on the game of football transcends the game and the era he came from.  Thorpe once kicked two field goals in a driving blizzard through each goal post from midfield for the halftime entertainment.  He eventually became known as the best athlete of the 20th Century.

For his pioneering efforts Thorpe makes this list as an honorable mention only because he was not a quarterback for the most part.

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