100 Hardest Hits in Sports History

Zack Pumerantz@z_pumerantzAnalyst IIIJuly 29, 2011

100 Hardest Hits in Sports History

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    While there has been ubiquitous concern regarding the vicious hits that occur in football, fans undoubtedly love the bone-crushing licks that athletes release on each other.

    These hits may be most prevalent on those chasing the pigskin, but other sports have their fair share of knocking as well.

    These hits can ruin careers, or just the victim's psyche.

    As dangerous as they may seem, these hits excite truculent fans who are just waiting for a spark.

    Here are the 100 hardest hits in sports history.


100. What You Talkin Bout Willis

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    This hit should stifle the Jets return game.

    Brad Smith takes a nice hug from arguably the best middle linebacker in the game—after Ray Lewis.

    Maybe it's a good idea to keep Smith in the Wildcat formation.

99. Filling the Lane

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    This may just seem like a solid form tackle, but Chris Henry's career began to significantly go downhill afterwards. 

    Darrell Reid filled the lanes nicely and let loose.

    Henry may stick to the outside next time.

98. Pummeled Princess

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    This high school's homecoming princess was just looking for her glass shoe. 

    She eventually found it, in her dreams, as she was completely knocked out. 

    It's moves like this that give cheerleaders the airhead reputation. 

97. Takes One to Know One

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    While we usually see fearless safety Ed Reed punish receivers with these kinds of hits, he is on the wrong end of this one.

    Hines Ward, known as one of the best run-blocking receivers in the game, doesn't hesitate when he has to get the job done.

    And he always does.

96. The Hit That Cost Millions

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    This is why coaches need to avoid sending 180-pound receivers on crossing routes.

    Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi looks like he felt this hit repeatedly during these two minutes.

    This was one of the first hits that tarnished James Harrison's reputation.

    He's just doing his job.

95. Trainer Camp

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    Hopefully Colorado has an assistant trainer because this one won't be able to treat himself after this flop. 

    He's a warrior, though, as he shakes it off and congratulates the receiver. 

    Maybe they need a dugout on those sidelines.

94. Long Hair, Don't Care

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    Maybe Bills receiver Steve Johnson should've blamed God for this hit and not for his famous dropped pass against the Steelers. 

    Troy Polamalu continues to make it clear that he is the most versatile safety in the league.

    He can probably throw the ball too.

93. His Body Fails Him

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    While this is known as the play that forced Kurt Warner to retire, it is also the proof that quarterbacks should never play defense.

    Thank you Bobby McCray for presenting us with this aesthetically pleasing brand of blocking.

    You can always tell a good hit when the victim is lifted off the ground—both feet in the air is key.

92. A Slice of Kimbo

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    Take it like a man. 

    This guy apparently got $50 to receive this hit from the beloved Kimbo Slice. 

    Perfect form tackle. 

91. Brown Nosed

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    After Auburn's Junior Rosegreen knocked out Georgia's Reggie Brown, it appeared that the hit was malicious.

    In the end, Rosegreen was probably jealous that Brown was going into the NFL.

    Brown had a solid five-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles, racking up more than 2,500 yards.

    Then he began to remember this hit and lost his confidence.

    He is now on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, attempting to reinvent himself.

90. It's All About Heart

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    Time to give the high schoolers their well-deserved credit.

    In this game between Bakersfield High School and Grant High School, this cornerback had one thing in mind.

    They both performed acrobatic acts while airborne.

89. This Is Playoff Football

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    The 2007 AFL Playoffs featured a plethora of hard hits, but none better than this.

    Chicago Rush DB Dennison Robinson let it all out on Avengers WR Kevin Ingram in the Divisional Round game.

    Just showing their worth to the NFL, we get it. 

88. Crikey!

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    That is one tough punter.

    The former Australian rules footballer joined the Eagles in 2007, becoming the oldest rookie in NFL history.

    This was the ultimate cheap shot, but he can seemingly take a hit.

87. Naked Is Not Natural

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    He may not have clothes on, but this streaker has plenty of fashionable bruises after this hit. 

    It's baffling as to why a man would run naked on a field with 300-pound behemoths waiting to attack at the first sign of blood. 

    All one can do is shake his head.

86. When Two Trees Collide

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    This is the result of a redwood hitting an oak tree full speed. 

    In 2007, on this fateful night, Dion Phaneuf (6'3", 214 pounds) had his sights set on the Flames' Derek Boogaard (6'7", 265 pounds)

    Put that on sports science. 

85. Blades of Gory

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    Hockey is the perfect combination of football and figure skating. 

    Dion Phaneuf again ruins an opponent's hopes and dreams. 

    Just an innocent player dumping the puck into the opposite zone. 

    The perfect victim. 

84. Jagerbomb

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    Alex Ovechkin is known as arguably the most potent scorer in the league, but he's strong in every aspect of his game. 

    He lays bone-crunching hits on opponents whenever the opportunity opens up.

    Jaromir Jagr is just another notch on the belt. 

83. The Freight Train

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    Myrtle Beach Pelicans first baseman Kala Ka'aihue became ecstatic as he came around third during this game in 2007.

    He must've done something right because he was draft by the Kansas City Royals in the 15th round.

    His reaction time might have been crippled with this hit as he has been a .216 career hitter.

82. Shattered Glass

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    If this doesn't seem vicious to you, check out the broken glass that shatters all over the ice. 

    Hopefully the NHL boards are a scosche stronger. 

    So much for a professional career for this player...

    ...Referring to the hitter, he may get arrested. 

81. Sky Rockets in Flight

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    6'4" defenseman Cory Sarich, now on the Calgary Flames, takes no prisoners to say the least. 

    If this was the Olympics, he would win the baton twirling competition. 

    His opponent did always dream of flying.

80. Quite a Ruutu Hit

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    Tuomo Ruutu makes his second appearance on this list as he upends thick defenseman Kris Letang. 

    He's off his feet, helmet in air and hands flailing. 


79. Cruel and Unusual Punishment

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    This was a slow and painful death. 

    Fresno State's Paul Williams was a lame duck after this hit by Oregon's J.D. Nelson. 

    Williams was in immediate shock, followed by a slow crawl to the floor. 

78. NHL Villain

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    New York Islanders fans remember Darcy Tucker for his subtly obvious cheap shot on center Michael Peca. 

    He's still up to his classless ways. 

    Darcy Tucker attempts to remove Sami Kapanen's head. 

    Tucker only attacks those who aren't ready. 

77. Two for One

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    Nobody won in this collision. 

    This was a match between the Collinsville Kahoks and the Belleville West Maroons.

    One player decided to go airborne and hit the ground head first and the other essentially got decked.

76. The Price Is Right

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    These NHLers look for any reason to start a fight, and this is just another example. 

    Cam Janssen goes to grab the puck and Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price tries to beat him to the punch, literally. 

    Mayhem ensues. 

75. A-Mays-Ing

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    Keep in mind that former USC safety Taylor Mays is a 6'3" safety who weighs 230 pounds. 

    Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers for his fearless attitude and stellar tackling skills, amidst concerns about his pass coverage ability, Mays is a man among children at the safety position. 

    Receivers in college thought twice.

74. Airborne

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    Brian Campbell gets some significant air with this explosion, reaching three feet off the ground. 

    Ryan Malone, on the other hand, ends up on the floor with a slammed posterior. 

    Somebody always gets hurt. 

73. Blown Fuse

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    One of the most feared tacklers of all time, especially from the safety position, Lynch put everything into each hit. 

    Electric return man Dante Hall wasn't quite prepared to be lifted off the ground. 

    Not elusive enough this time.

72. And Twins

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    This is two for the price of one. 

    Those two players believe in special teams, and they do everything to help their return man. 

    Stars on each of their helmets this week.  

71. Not in My House

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    Keep your head up!

    Sure he's got balls, but this is almost more stupidity than anything else.

    Tuomo Ruutu of the Carolina Hurricanes lets Christoph Schubert of the Ottawa Senators know that he needs to stay in his own end. 

70. Stop, Drop and Roll

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    Whenever a player is flailing to gain possession of the ball for more than one third of a second, he is bound to get leveled. 

    This poor running back learns it the hard way. 

    Next time he'll just drop to the ground. 

69. This Is a Man's Game

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    At first you feel bad for the kid, but once he starts crying it's time to move on. 

    He's fine, get him an ice pack and some signed footballs.

    This may explain a lot down the line though. 

68. National Security

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    Bengals fans miss the sight of this man throwing the ball... or maybe they don't. 

    Either way, we know this security guard sure doesn't.

    It's too typical that Terrell Owens wouldn't help the man up. 

67. The Peko of Contact

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    Troy Polamalu's face on the bench following this block says it all. 

    Defensive lineman Domata Peko was being used as a blocker to help his Cincinnati Bengals score during this Monday Night Football game. 

    The safety didn't even see it coming. 

66. Just Another Day at the Office

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    No receiver in the league probably deserves this more than T.O. 

    The pretentious, chatty wideout finally gets shut up with this crushing blow. 

    Troy Polamalu continues to impress.

65. He Went Downie Hard

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    This occurred in the preseason so you know the NHL doesn't mess around.

    Flyer Steve Downie thought he was safe wrapping around the net. 

    Dean McAmmond had something to say about that. 

64. T.O. Stands for Totally out

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    The Oakland Raiders definitely miss Charles Woodson at cornerback. 

    After winning a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers, Woodson can look back on this video and smile. 

    T.O. goes down extremely hard for a 6'3" behemoth. 

63. A Bruising Defensive Lineman

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    It took a few years for NFL defenses to figure out how to tackle this defensive lineman who lines up at running back. 

    The 6'4" Jacobs is quite the physical specimen and has proved, at 264 pounds, that he can run through the toughest defenders with ease. 

    Brian Urlacher might go for the knees next time.

62. Landry Time

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    Watch out for Washington safety Laron Landry in the future. 

    While he is known as a ball-hawking safety, Landry loves to destroy approaching ball carriers. 

    At least there's one bright spot on the Redskins.

61. Beastly

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    Patrick Willis continues to impress as he performs the perfect form tackle on this poor running back. 

    Next time keep it to the outside. 

    Maybe Reggie Bush knows something we don't...

60. Bush Turns to Grass

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    If Saints fans ever start to miss Reggie Bush, all they need to do is look at this list. 

    Bush gets destroyed by the zealous Patrick Willis. 

    Stick to the bench kid. 

59. Hall Pass

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    The first overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft got a nice welcoming into the league with this hit by the Kings' Drew Doughty. 

    All the Edmonton Oilers players rush to the protection of their young savior. 

    Such loyalty. 

58. Lacrosse Can Compete

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    Who says lacrosse can't compete with football for hardest hits?

    Well we do, but this is still ridiculous.

    As he was staring to the right side of the field running carelessly with the ball, it was clear his day was going to end soon.

57. A Game of Inches

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    Always keep your head up when chasing the ball carrier. 

    The future looks bleak for this player as he sprints upfield. 

    One moment later it's over. 

56. The Start of Redemption

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    The Islanders' Blake Comeau was not expecting this one. 

    Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is notorious for these blindside hits. 

    Watch the Islanders and Penguins fight 17 times during their next game. 

55. Human Flatbread

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    Blake Comeau is victimized for the second time in this list. 

    The Penguins' Max Talbot completely lifts the Islanders' 6'0" left wing off his feet. 

    Time for Comeau to start looking around before skating. 

54. The Other Great One

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    "Fans don't understand how difficult that is."

    The commentators were clearly impressed, but what made it better was Alex Ovechkin's stare afterwards. 

    He's a heartless killer. 

53. Cooked to Perfection

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    Los Angeles King Dustin Brown is known as a hard hitter. 

    Matt Cooke is on the wrong end of this as he is depleted. 

    To add insult to injury, he gets a mouthful of elbow. 

52. Running into a Kronwall

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    Swedish defenseman Niklas Kronwall unleashes this travesty in 2009. 

    When they feet end up higher than the head, there's a problem. 

    That's a real wake-up call. 

51. Bruising Bruin

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    While this occurred in 2008, these are the types of plays that led the Boston Bruins to a Stanley Cup victory in 2011. 

    Left winger Milan Lucic, known as an elite player at his position, loves to bring fear to his opponents. 


50. Rookie Treatment

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    Currently a defenseman for the New Jersey Devils, Anton Volchenkov is 235 pounds of fearlessness. 

    As much as it hurts to post a video of John Tavares being rudely welcomed into the league, it's too good to ignore. 

    Tavares is still the next great star. 

49. Going for the Hed-Man

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    The second overall pick of the 2009 NHL Draft was displeased with his treatment during this game. 

    Anton Volchenkov must hate the 2009 draft considering he demolished the first two picks in succession. 

    Hedman, a 6'6" defenseman who weighs 230 pounds, is ousted in this one. 

    It's the size of the fight in the dog. 

48. He'll Feel This Until Mays

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    Many scouts and fans believe that Taylor Mays will be the next Ronnie Lott. 

    Well he's clearly got the tackling part down as he gives tight end Craig Stevens a nice gift. 

    Perfect every time. 

47. The Destroyer

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    Take it easy on the Isles, they're just a bunch of kids. 

    The seventh pick of the 2006 NHL Draft, Kyle Okposo, becomes a helicopter following this hit from bruising defenseman Dion Phaneuf. 

    Okposo had to be carted off after laying motionless for six minutes.

46. Clutterbucked

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    Cal Clutterbuck, quickly gaining fame for his checking ability, has been among the best hitters in the league statistically. 

    In 2009, he broke Dustin Brown's record for most hits in a season with 356. 

    That's slightly over four concussions a game for his opponents. 

45. The Real King

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    Brown is quickly becoming one of the biggest hitters in the NHL. 

    Watching him upend the check-hungry Dion Phaneuf is enough to bring fans to his side. 

    No hesitation. 

44. The Hunter

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    Call this man the James Harrison of the NHL. 

    When he sets his sights on his prey, it's all but over. 

    His tactics are in line with a cheetah chasing a gazelle. 

    Yeah that sounds about right.

43. The Kariyan War

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    Scott Stevens was a brutal defenseman during his days patrolling the blue line for the Devils. 

    Paul Kariya wasn't quite the Mighty Duck on this night as he gets absolutely crushed. 

    Kariya's career naturally began to go down hill after this. 

42. Good Old Stevens

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    Round 2 of the 1999-2000 NHL playoffs featured this beautiful hit by Scott Stevens. 

    In Game 6, tempers were flaring and Stevens needed to set the tone. 

    That hit just about did it. 

41. He's Dunn

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    Welcome to the big leagues, kid. 

    Indians catcher Carlos Santana, in only his third game starting in the major leagues, gets leveled by 6'6" first baseman Adam Dunn as the gargantuan is gingerly jogging down the line.

    Luckily for Santana, Dunn wasn't running full speed.  

40. Marchmenting All over His Opponents

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    Bryan Marchment nailed fellow-tough guy Donald Brashear in this epic moment. 

    Brashear is normally the one starting fights, but check-artist Bryan Marchment beats him to the punch here as he tosses his opponent to the floor with fury. 

    Brashear spends the rest of the game instigating, but it was too late.

39. Multi-Talented

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    And he can hit!

    Terrell Davis, despite being a sixth-round pick, could do everything. 

    This hit on special teams opened up his teammates' eyes. 

    He should've played linebacker. 

38. Head-to-Head

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    Nothing is worse than a brutal head-to-head collision like this. 

    Rugby players don't use pads so you know they're tough. 

    On the other hand, many football fans believe that if this hit was between NFL players without pads, they'd be in a coma. 

    That's a fair assessment. 

37. Harder Potter

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    It can't be denied that these rugby players know how to tackle.

    Rugby seems like the perfect combination of Quidditch and football. 

    Time to start watching this vicious sport.

36. Wacked by the Tonga

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    This sport keeps getting better.

    These players have no fear, considering they're vulnerable every time the ball is in the air. 

    Every hit is a highlight, including this one by Willie Tonga. 

35. The Spear

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    If this youth continues to lead with his head, he will be out of football before high school. 

    Keep your head up and shoulders squared. 

    The rest falls into place. 

    Ignoring fundamentals, this kid got jacked up!

34. Run over by a Truck

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    Virginia Tech's Darren Evans saw a hole and hit it hard. He wasn't going to let anyone get in his way, especially a puny and timid defensive back. 

    He flattens him to mere unimportance. 

    Another confidence booster.

33. Head Hunting

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    This is the true definition of head hunting. 

    The defender hit nothing but the head of this Clemson University receiver. 

    While the helmet went flying, the player's head stayed in place. 

    He got lucky.

32. The Terminator

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    It's too perfect that this fullback is named John Connor. 

    The terminator is quite the bruiser for the New York Jets. 

    While Rex Ryan clearly loves him, the fans began to see his physicality during Hard Knocks.

31. What Football?

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    Wait, there was football being played?

    Naturally, these Eagles cheerleaders garner all the attention, until one crunching hit wakes everyone up. 

    These three players were too busy looking at the sideline to focus on the ball. 

30. Blind Ambition

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    Virginia Tech tight end Greg Boone was just being a great teammate on this play, blocking for speedy receiver Eddie Royal, now on the Denver Broncos. 

    This Duke player will think twice about blindly chasing the ball carrier next time. 

29. The Chancellor

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    Virginia Tech defender Kam Chancellor shows us why arm tackles are unnecessary. 

    A solid shoulder is all that is needed as he destroys this Florida State running back. 

    The sidelines are a dangerous place. 

28. Block of the Year

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    Miami's Jordan Futch nails Georgia Tech's Steven Sylvester with this ridiculous blindside block. 

    Nothing excites a team, or its fans, more than a vicious legal block. 

    Full speed, no hesitation. 

27. Koval Gets Chuked

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    Three hundred-sixty-nine career goals couldn't prepare Ilya Kovalchuk for this hit. 

    It's only a matter of time before you're put on the "Most Wanted" list.

    Defensemen eventually get tired of being scored on.

26. Flying Like a Hawkins

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    When he was on the Philadelphia Eagles, safety Brian Dawkins was feared by receivers around the league for his hard-hitting prowess. 

    Alge Crumpler, at 6'2" and 275 pounds, was just another victim. 

    Dawkins didn't let anybody cross through his area. 

25. A Tad Soon

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    Carolina Panther Dante Wesley was only slightly early with this hit. 

    Not only was the ball only at the peak of its flight on the way to the returner, but Wesley went straight for his head. 

    He was eventually suspended for one game. 

24. The Man, the Legend

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    Clemson's David Dunham didn't care that Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan was a top prospect in the 2008 NFL Draft and the potential No. 1 pick.

    And he definitely let him know as Ryan's helmet was vigorously thrown in the air with this hit. 

    The hit didn't affect Ryan too much, though, as he's led the Atlanta Falcons back to postseason promise in his three seasons. 

23. Time for a Dentist Appointment

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    Hits into the boards like this are why hockey players have a reputation for lacking teeth. 

    Going into the glass numerous times can increase medical bills significantly. 

    This is just another trip to the dentist for Fedor Tyutin after Matt Cooke unleashes this dirty hit. 

22. In the Crosshairs

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    Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams doesn't seem to care that Todd Heap has 5,492 yards in his career; he just wants blood. 

    Nothing excites these defensive backs more than a vulnerable receiver crossing the middle. 

    It never gets boring. 

21. Send Him Some Flowers

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    Brandon Flowers, a cornerback on the Kansas City Chiefs, was taken in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, but that was after he showed scouts his toughness with this hit. 

    While on Virginia Tech, he saw a receiver vulnerable in the open field. 

    Hunting season. 

20. Losing His Jersey

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    Ryan Wilson causes T.J. Oshie's jersey to wrap around on this one. 

    The midsection is always the most vulnerable spot, which is why Wilson crunches Oshie so roughly. 

    We've got a bleeder.

19. He'll Need a Wooden Kane

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    Since being the fourth overall pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Evander Kane (no relation to Patrick) has been a spark plug and playmaker for the Atlanta Thrashers.

    Now that they have moved to Winnipeg to become the Jets, Kane can start anew and improve his tough reputation.

    This was just Sean O'Donnell welcoming the youngster to the league.  

18. Mental Aptitude

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    In the 2008 All-Star game between Texas and The Nation, Oklahoma State's Rodrick Johnson laid out Lambuth University's Allen Ervin on this seemingly routine run. 

    There's nothing better than a safety who stops the run. 

    It's all in the mentality.

17. He's Going to Parrish

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    Nothing gets under the skin of a defensive player more than a 5'9" receiver who eludes every extended arm thrown their way. 

    This Florida State player sees the opportunity for revenge. 

    After the ball squeaks through Roscoe Parrish's hands, he becomes vulnerable, and defeated.

16. Get on My Level

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    Just listen to the background music after the hit, it couldn't be more perfect. 

    Canadian defenseman Dion Phaneuf got his tough reputation with hits like this.

    He ends Czech Republic's Rostislav Olesz's game early during the semifinal matchup at the 2004 World Junior Championships.

15. Get Bucked and Cluttered

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    It brings joy to fans' hearts when teammates defend each other after one of them is abused like this. 

    Cal Clutterbuck holds nothing back in this hit on Brad Richards. 

    At 31 years old, Richards is a crafty veteran; and he didn't even see this coming. 

14. Light at the End of the Tunnel

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    He's not going to pass the spelling test tomorrow morning. 

    The defender may have speared the vulnerable receiver, but it's the quarterback's fault for leading him towards death. 

    They'll be working on that play next week. 

13. Sharing Is Caring

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    This was a BCS Championship so clearly emotions were flying. 

    Florida's safety Major Wright tells Oklahoma receiver Manny Johnson that he is not willing to share his territory. 

    Get out of his house.

12. Oh Poe

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    Everything looks more epic in slow motion. 

    In this game between Enumclaw and Kentwood, a vicious block was let loose. 

    Linebacker T.J. Poe made sure this receiver wouldn't be able to chase the intercepted ball. 

    Naturally, went on to play linebacker for Washington University. 

11. Most Powerful Body Check Ever

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    This might be the best body check of all time. 

    Open ice hits are clearly overrated as Larry Robinson crushes his opponent through the glass. 

    The boards are just there for reminders, but they are meant to be broken. 

10. Caught in the Moment

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    Oklahoma State's Quinton Moore has no sympathy for Arkansas receivers, clearly. 

    Coaches gasp every time their quarterbacks throw over the middle. 

    This is often bound to happen.

9. Running over a Hill

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    Not running out of bounds was the worst decision quarterback Russell Hill could've possibly made. 

    While we commend the toughness, he needs to protect his life. 

    Jeron Johnson had no qualms about closing off the sideline. 

8. Ray Being Ray

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    It is natural to see a recurring theme on this list... Ray Ray.

    This highlight reel's tackles are never bereft of malicious vigor.

    His hit here is performed on 242-pound fullback Ahmard Hall.


7. The Ultimate Warrior

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    The NFL and its fans surely miss the ball-hawking safety (R.I.P. Sean Taylor) and his elite athleticism and crunching hits.

    Ironically, this hit came during the Pro Bowl, which is known for its friendly, loose style of play.

    It's amazing that punter Brian Moormon has the stability to get up from this hit and find Taylor to congratulate him.

6. This Punter Has Game

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    This 6'3" 230-pound punter might as well be a linebacker.

    Before being drafted by the Steelers out of Baylor in 2007, he showed off his skills on this North Texas returner.

    He forgot to keep his head up despite performing a nice spear.

5. The Size of the Fight in the Dog

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    Brian Campbell is a 6'0" defenseman who weighs less than 190 pounds, and he could care less. 

    He stops a bigger center in his tracks without hesitation. 

    Always have to root for the smaller kids. 

4. Keller's World Gets Rocked

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    The effects of this hit become clear on the following play, when Dustin Keller gets the ball on fourth down and steps out of bounds a few yards before the first-down marker.

    Another defender out of Miami University, Ray Lewis has been an intimidating figure in the NFL for a long time and may go down as the best middle linebacker of all time.

    At least the angriest.

3. Ultimate Victory

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    Surviving a hit from this friendly 5'8" safety will turn out to be one of Knowshon Moreno's biggest accomplishments.

    This was a warm welcome into the NFL.

    His career has yet to reach fruition, considering the bruised psyche he has had to deal with.

    This hit changed everything.

2. Blackout

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    This Texas A&M defender leaves it all out on the field.

    When announcers say the receiver was flattened, this is what they are referring to.

    Hopefully he likes mashed potatoes and smoothies, because he'll be drinking out of a straw for a while.

1. That's Bush, Bush League

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    Sheldon Brown has just earned our respect.

    He didn't buy all the Reggie Bush hype and wanted to show his disapproval on the field.

    After getting leveled that badly by a cornerback, Bush should've retired right there.

    With his biggest weakness being his inability to run between the tackles, Bush surely wasn't going to improve following this crushing blow.