Parts I, II, and III of my NFL Top 100 series focused on the 100 greatest players in league history. I enjoyed that enough that I expanded my selection to include 100 more – the players ranked #101 throughout #200 in the 97-year history of the National Football League.
Every player on this list is in the Hall of Fame, will be in the Hall of Fame one day, or should be in the Hall of Fame (shoutout to Sterling Sharpe and Brian Dawkins). It’s easy to look at modern-day statistics for a player like Warren Moon or Jason Witten and compare to his contemporaries at the position.
It’s not so easy to look at how a pair of 1960s defensive linemen like Henry Jordan and Willie Davis compare to their peers at other positions in different eras. There aren’t readily available stats for Jordan and Davis, and forget about game film, which means I’m forced to look at accolades like Pro Bowl selections, All-Pro honors, championships, and of course, what the player’s legacy is over time. It’s not always an easy task, which makes my rankings admittedly flawed.
But here’s a shot at pinpointing the next batch of superstars throughout NFL history. To read my original articles, click on the links below.
200. Charles Haley, DE, 1986-1999 – 5 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 5 rings, Hall of Fame
199. Jason Peters, OT, 2004-Active – 9 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro
198. Rob Gronkowski, TE, 2010-2016 – 4 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro, 2 rings
197. Warren Moon, QB, 1984-2000 – 9 Pro Bowls, Hall of Fame
196. Bob Brown, OT, 1964-1973 – 6 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
195. Larry Little, G, 1967-1980 – 5 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, 2 rings, Hall of Fame
194. Mick Tingelhoff, C, 1962-1978 – 6 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
193. Chuck Howley, LB, 1958-1973 – 6 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, 1 ring, 1 SB MVP
192. Chris Hanburger, LB, 1965-1978 – 9 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
191. Howie Long, DE, 1981-1993 – 8 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
Charles Haley (#200) did what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it, but when he was focused on the field, he was a dynamic pass rusher who was quite often the missing piece for a team on the verge of a championship. In an eight-year span, Haley won five Super Bowls, made five Pro Bowls, and averaged 10 sacks and 2.5 forced fumbles per season… A former college tight end and undrafted free agent into the NFL, Jason Peters’ (#199) transformation into a future Hall of Fame offensive tackle has been remarkable to watch. He even rebounded from a double Achilles tendon tear in 2012 to make the Pro Bowl every year since; as it stands, next year, he can become the 14th offensive linemen in history to make at least 10 Pro Bowls… Even at age 28, Rob Gronkowski (#198) already may be the most dominant tight end of all-time on a per-game basis. Including playoffs, he’s scored 77 touchdowns in 98 lifetime games. That’s more scores than any tight end currently in the Hall of Fame… Due to the CFL, Warren Moon (#197) got a late start to his NFL career, but he went on to pass for nearly 50,000 yards and 300 touchdowns – statistics that are very similar to what John Elway put up… It took Bob Brown (#196) over 30 years to make it to Canton, but a career that saw six Pro Bowls and five First-Team All-Pro selections is worth enshrining among the greats.
Larry Little (#195) was a standout blocker for the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins, paving the way for a rushing attack that ranked in the top four in rushing offense for six straight seasons. He’s one of only six guards since the NFL-AFL merger to make five All-Pro teams… For 17 years, Mick Tingelhoff (#194) never missed an NFL game, starting 240 in the regular season and another 19 in the postseason. Tingelhoff played in all four Minnesota Vikings’ Super Bowls, and he’s generally considered to be the greatest center of the 1960s… Chuck Howley (#193) still holds the distinction of being the only Super Bowl MVP to come from a losing team. Howley’s career nearly ended after two years due to a knee injury, but he rebounded to become one of the best coverage linebackers in the game’s history. Howley’s resume should put him in Canton, Ohio, although he hasn’t been voted in yet… Durability and consistent greatness will go a long way, and that’s what Chris Hanburger (#192) provided for the Washington Redskins. He started 135 consecutive games, earned nine Pro Bowl selections, and recorded 36 takeaways over a 14-year career… Spending your whole career for one team, leading them to a Super Bowl trophy, and eventually making the Hall of Fame is a pretty special accomplishment. Howie Long (#191) was a standout defensive end for the Oakland and L.A. Raiders, excelling as a pass rusher (84.0 sacks) but dominating as a run stopper.
190. Jackie Slater, OT, 1976-1995 – 7 Pro Bowls, Hall of Fame
189. Willie Roaf, OT, 1993-2005 – 11 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
188. Bobby Mitchell, WR, 1958-1968 – 4 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, Hall of Fame
187. Steve Atwater, S, 1989-1999 – 8 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 2 rings
186. Bobby Boyd, CB, 1960-1968 – 2 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro
185. Harry Carson, OLB, 1976-1988 – 9 Pro Bowls, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
184. Richard Dent, DE, 1983-1997 – 4 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
183. Antonio Gates, TE, 2003-Active – 8 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro
182. Curtis Martin, RB, 1995-2005 – 5 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, Hall of Fame
181. Marcus Allen, RB, 1982-1997 – 6 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 1 MVP, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
Jackie Slater (#190) played forever, actually starting a game in the NFL at age 41. Slater was a seven-time Pro Bowler and a big reason why running back Eric Dickerson was so productive in the mid-1980s. He holds the record by playing 20 seasons with one team… When he retired after 2005, Willie Roaf (#189) was still a standout offensive tackle. He had just helped the Kansas City Chiefs put together a four-year stretch from 2002-’05 in which they averaged 29 rushing touchdowns per season… Bobby Mitchell (#188) was a pass-catching playmaking running back who averaged 5.4 yards per carry before transitioning to wide receiver. Mitchell never missed a game in his 11-year career… There’s a shortage of Hall of Fame safeties in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but Steve Atwater (#187) will assuredly get elected soon. He was a tremendous run stuffer and helped Denver win consecutive Super Bowls in the late ‘90s… No corner in history had more interceptions in his first nine seasons than Bobby Boyd’s (#186) 57 picks. Boyd’s resume makes him one of the most-qualified players not currently in the Hall of Fame.
Harry Carson (#185) missed the Hall of Fame for so many years that he actually asked to be removed from the eligibility list, but he finally made it 18 years after he retired. Carson teamed with Lawrence Taylor to form one of the best linebacker duos ever, leading the New York Giants to a Super Bowl victory in 1986… Richard Dent (#184)’s 1985 season was one of the best ever by a defensive player – he led the NFL with 17 sacks, forced seven fumbles, and had six more sacks in the playoffs, even winning Super Bowl MVP. Dent is one of six Pro Bowlers from that ’85 Bears team… Antonio Gates (#183) is one of the greatest undrafted players in league history. He’s going to set the career record for touchdowns by a tight end next season, and he’s caught at least 10 in four different years. Even entering his age-37 season, he’s still a fine player… While never the best running back in the game, Curtis Martin (#182) was consistently productive. He’s the only player in league history to top 1,400 scrimmage yards for each of his first 10 seasons, and he won the rushing title at age 31 (1,697 yards in 2004). If you need five guaranteed productive years from a running back, it’s tough to go wrong with Martin… Marcus Allen (#181) had a unique career. He was a Heisman Trophy winner and national champion in college, then a league MVP, rushing champion, and Super Bowl MVP in the NFL, but he spent the majority of his career with the L.A. Raiders playing second fiddle to Bo Jackson or feuding with owner Al Davis. It’s difficult to know how productive Allen would have been as a full-time player, or whether splitting carries helped preserve his career for so many years.
180. Len Dawson, QB, 1957-1975 – 7 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
179. Joe Namath, QB, 1965-1977 – 5 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
178. Ron Mix, OT, 1960-1971 – 8 Pro Bowls, 9x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
177. Jason Witten, TE, 2003-Active – 10 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro
176. Jim Thorpe, RB, 1920-1928 – 1 All-Pro, Hall of Fame
175. Dan Fouts, QB, 1973-1987 – 6 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
174. John Lynch, S, 1995-2007 – 9 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 1 ring
173. Lemar Parrish, CB, 1970-1982 – 8 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro
172. Kevin Greene, LB, 1985-1999 – 5 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
171. Ken Riley, CB, 1969-1983 – 1 All-Pro
One of the greatest AFL players ever, Len Dawson (#180) started just two games in his first five seasons, then led the league in completion percentage seven times in the next eight years. Dawson led the Kansas City Chiefs an appearance in Super Bowl I and then a win in Super Bowl IV… Forget what you know about his underwhelming TD:INT ratio. Joe Namath (#179) is a legitimate Hall of Fame quarterback. He was a tremendous deep ball thrower, a three-time league leader in passing yards, and of course, architect of the most famous Super Bowl guarantee of all-time… Ron Mix (#178) absolutely dominated the AFL in the 1960s. He was a fixture on All-Pro teams and is one of just 20 men to have played all 10 seasons in the AFL… Even as a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan, I’ve admired Jason Witten (#177) immensely my whole life. He’s as consistent as they come. He hasn’t missed a game since 2003 (I was in eighth grade!) and he’s posted a 1,089/11,888/63 receiving line as a tight end who is somehow always open… How do you rank Jim Thorpe (#176) on an all-time list? He’s a Hall of Famer and considered one of the best running backs ever. There are also virtually no statistics available for him. You could probably put him in the top 50 players ever. You could leave him off a list entirely and no one would realize. I put him solidly in the list of Hall of Famers.
Dan Fouts (#175) operated a high-volume San Diego passing attack, leading the league in passing yards four consecutive years. Fouts didn’t enjoy the playoff success of some of the other all-time greats at his position, but he’s a deserving Hall of Famer… John Lynch (#174) isn’t in the Hall of Fame right now, but he’ll get in eventually. The Hall has never been welcoming to safeties, but Lynch made nine Pro Bowls and was a key contributor on the 2002 Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay team… You won’t find a much better cornerback duo than Lemar Parrish (#173) and his partner, Ken Riley (coming up). Parrish made eight Pro Bowls, picked off 47 passes, and scored 13 non-offensive touchdowns during his career, the fifth-most ever… It took Kevin Greene (#172) too long to make it to Canton, considering he’s third on the NFL’s all-time sack list at 160 with 10 seasons of double-digit sacks and two seasons having led the league… Ken Riley (#171) is a bizarre case. He’s fifth on the NFL’s career interceptions list with 65, including 14 seasons with multiple picks, but strangely he never made a Pro Bowl and didn’t earn his first All-Pro selection until his final season at age 36…
170. Isaac Bruce, WR, 1994-2009 – 4 Pro Bowls, 1 ring
169. Lee Roy Selmon, DE, 1976-1984 – 6 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, Hall of Fame
168. Ken Anderson, QB, 1971-1986 – 4 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP
167. Steve Smith, Sr., WR, 2001-2016 – 5 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro
166. Terrell Davis, RB, 1995-2001 – 3 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro, 1 MVP, 2 rings, 1 SB MVP, Hall of Fame
165. Jack Christiansen, S, 1951-1958 – 5 Pro Bowls, 6x All-Pro, 3 rings, Hall of Fame
164. Darren Sharper, S, 1997-2010 – 5 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 1 ring
163. Tom Mack, G, 1966-1978 – 11 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, Hall of Fame
162. Henry Jordan, DT, 1957-1969 – 4 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, 5 rings, Hall of Fame
161. Willie Davis, DE, 1958-1969 – 5 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, 5 rings, Hall of Fame
Isaac Bruce (#170) wasn’t the biggest or the fastest player, but he just soaked up yards over a 16-year career. Bruce is fourth all-time with 15,208 yards, and he was an integral part of The Greatest Show on Turf’s offense… Lee Roy Selmon (#169) is one of just two defensive players in the modern era to get drafted first overall and make the Hall of Fame. Selmon retired early due to a back injury, but he still packed six Pro Bowl selections and a Defensive Player of the Year award into his career… Long overlooked by Hall of Fame voters, Ken Anderson (#168) led the NFL in passer rating four times and won a league MVP award. The only other quarterback to accomplish that is the great Steve Young… Steve Smith, Sr. (#167) was a joy to watch over the last decade and a half. He had the body of a running back, but performed like an All-Pro receiver. His penchant for making big plays in big situations gave us some of the greatest postseason performances we’ve ever seen, and some better quarterbacking would have him pushing for the #2 spot on the all-time career receiving yardage list… Terrell Davis (#166) jam-packed more into four prime years than many all-time greats get in a career. He’s a three-time First-Team All-Pro, two-time AP Offensive Player of the Year, a former league MVP, 2,000-yard rusher, and perhaps the greatest postseason performer this game has ever seen. If only he hadn’t gotten hurt prematurely, he would likely be a top-five running back ever.
A ballhawking safety and dynamic punt returner, Jack Christiansen (#165) recorded 46 interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, and eight punt return touchdowns in just an eight-year career… Darren Sharper (#164) will never make the Hall of Fame, not after his off-the-field issues, but he’s certainly deserving of a vote to Canton. He led the league in return yardage three times and played a pivotal role for the 2009 Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. Only five players have more career interceptions than Sharper (63)… In a 13-year Hall of Fame career, Tom Mack (#163) never missed a game and made 11 Pro Bowls at left guard… I ranked Henry Jordan (#162) and Willie Davis (#161) back-to-back, since it’s difficult to distinguish them apart considering how bizarrely similar their careers were. They played during almost the same span, both as defensive linemen for the Green Bay Packers, yet both were drafted by the Cleveland Browns, spending two seasons there first. Jordan made four Pro Bowls and five AP First-Team All-Pro squads, while Davis made five of each. Jordan played 163 games and recovered 21 fumbles. Davis played 162 games and recovered 22 fumbles. Each is deservedly in the Hall of Fame…
160. Don Maynard, WR, 1958-1973 – 4 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
159. Ernie Stautner, DT, 1950-1963 – 9 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, Hall of Fame
158. Tony Dorsett, RB, 1977-1988 – 4 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
157. Pete Pihos, WR, 1947-1955 – 6 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, 2 rings, Hall of Fame
156. Jared Allen, DE, 2004-2015 – 5 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro
155. Thurman Thomas, RB, 1988-2000 – 5 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 1 MVP, Hall of Fame
154. Kellen Winslow, TE, 1979-1987 – 5 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
153. Jimmy Johnson, CB, 1961-1976 – 5 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
152. Bulldog Turner, C, 1919-1932 – 4 Pro Bowls, 7x All-Pro, 4 rings, Hall of Fame
151. Dwight Stephenson, C, 1980-1987 – 5 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
One of the all-time great AFL players, Don Maynard (#160) retired as the career receptions leader (633) and the only player to top 10,000 yards through the AFL… When you judge a player like Ernie Stautner (#159), you don’t have much to go by in terms of statistics, but nine Pro Bowls, 23 fumble recoveries (third-most at time of retirement), and a Hall of Fame nod tell you how dominant he was… From Heisman Trophy winner to college national champion to Super Bowl champion to Hall of Fame running back, Tony Dorsett (#158) had an impressive career. He retired second to just Walter Payton in career rushing yards (12,739)… Pete Pihos (#157) was dominant as a two-way player for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1950s, excelling as a pass-rushing defensive end and then leading the league in receptions three straight years to close out a Hall of Fame career… In an era of great pass rushers, Jared Allen (#156) was one of the best. He once recorded 77.5 sacks in 78 games over a five-year span, and he twice led the league in sacks.
Arguably the best offensive player on the AFC dynasty Buffalo Bills in the 1990s, Thurman Thomas (#155) gained over 15,000 scrimmage yards in the ‘90s. He’s the only player in history to lead the league in scrimmage yards for four straight seasons… Kellen Winslow (#154) set the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end (1,290) in just his second year in the NFL, and that mark stood for over 30 years. He helped kickstart the modern influx of pass-catching tight ends… Longtime sportswriter Dr. Z use to say Jimmy Johnson (#153) was the greatest defensive back who ever lived. Johnson made four consecutive All-Pro teams from age 31 through age 34, a remarkable achievement for a player at any position, let alone a corner… Bulldog Turner (#152) is completely forgotten by modern football fans, but he was a two-way superstar for the legendary Chicago Monsters of the Midway team, leading the team to four titles… Before sustaining a career-ending knee injury, Dwight Stephenson (#151) was unquestionably the best center in the game and staking his claim to be one of the best of all-time at his position. He had earned four consecutive First-Team All-Pro selections before being forced into early retirement.
150. Patrick Willis, ILB, 2007-2014 – 7 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro
149. Jim Ringo, C, 1953-1967 – 10 Pro Bowls, 6x All-Pro, 2 rings, Hall of Fame
148. Paul Warfield, WR, 1964-1977 – 8 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 2 rings, Hall of Fame
147. Tommy McDonald, WR, 1957-1968 – 6 Pro Bowls, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
146. Chris Doleman, DE, 1985-1999 – 8 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
145. Carl Eller, DE, 1964-1979 – 6 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
144. Lou Creekmur, OT, 1950-1959 – 8 Pro Bowls, 6x All-Pro, 3 rings, Hall of Fame
143. Willie Wood, S, 1960-1971 – 8 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, 5 rings, Hall of Fame
142. Torry Holt, WR, 1999-2009 – 7 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 ring
141. Ronde Barber, CB, 1997-2012 – 5 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro, 1 ring
It’s a darn shame that Patrick Willis (#150) retired when he did, because he left some prime seasons still on the table. He’s still a five-time All-Pro at a position in which his overall athleticism was extremely evident – Willis registered sacks, interceptions, and forced fumbles. Seven healthy seasons should still get him one day enshrined in Canton… The run on centers continues with Jim Ringo (#149), a 14-year starter who helped popularize the famous Packer sweep back in the Vince Lombardi era. Ringo’s peak coincided with Green Bay’s first two NFL championships… Don’t look at yardage totals when evaluating Paul Warfield (#148). Look at the impact Warfield had on opposing defenses, where he averaged a ridiculous 20.1 yards per reception over his career. Warfield is legitimately one of the greatest deep threats to ever wear a uniform… It’s unprecedented that a 5’9”, 178-pound wide receiver like Tommy McDonald (#147) managed to survive in the NFL, let alone become a Hall of Fame player. McDonald, the last non-kicker to play without a facemask, retired second to just Don Hutson in career receiving touchdowns (84)… Chris Doleman (#146) is one of just four players with at least 150 sacks. He was so durable and so effective that he was still averaging 12 sacks per season from his age-34 through age-37 campaign.
A key proponent of the Purple People Eaters, Carl Eller (#145) missed just three games in 16 seasons. He’s unofficially credited with 130.5 sacks… It took Lou Creekmur (#144) 34 eligible years to finally make the Hall of Fame, but he eventually was enshrined. Creekmur was probably the best offensive tackle of the 1950s, and led Detroit to three championships… Amazingly enough, Hall of Fame safety Willie Wood (#143) showed up to Green Bay camp as a quarterback, but was converted to defensive back, where he made eight Pro Bowls and led the Packers to five NFL titles. He never missed a game in 12 seasons… The only player in NFL history with more receiving yards in his first 10 seasons than Torry Holt (#142) is Jerry Rice. Holt, the smoothest route runner in the game for the 2000s, holds the league record with six consecutive 1,300-yard campaigns… When it comes time for Hall of Fame voting, Ronde Barber (#141) should be a shoo-in. He’s one of two players with 40 interceptions and 20 sacks, he scored an amazing 12 defensive touchdowns, and he’s the record-holder with 215 consecutive games started at defensive back. And who can forget his game-sealing 92-yard INT return against the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2002 NFC Championship Game? (I can’t).
140. Larry Wilson, S, 1960-1972 – 8 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
139. Bart Starr, QB, 1956-1971 – 4 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP, 5 rings, 2 SB MVPs, Hall of Fame
138. Calvin Johnson, WR, 2007-2015 – 6 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro
137. Zach Thomas, MLB, 1996-2008 – 7 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro
136. Ernie Nevers, RB, 1926-1931 – 5x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
135. Aeneas Williams, CB/S, 1991-2004 – 8 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
134. Sam Huff, MLB, 1956-1969 – 5 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
133. Doug Atkins, DE, 1953-1969 – 8 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 2 rings, Hall of Fame
132. Sterling Sharpe, WR, 1988-1994 – 5 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro
131. Nick Buoniconti, MLB, 1962-1976 – 8 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, 2 rings, Hall of Fame
A seventh-round draft steal, Larry Wilson (#140) excelled at both the safety blitz and baiting the opposing quarterback into throwing the ball his direction. Wilson had 66 takeaways in a 13-year career, but his most impressive play was an interception returned for a touchdown with two broken wrists… A pinpoint, accurate passer, Bart Starr (#139) operated the Green Bay Packers offense to near-perfection for two decades. He led the team to five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls, and still holds the all-time postseason record for passer rating (104.1)… In just nine short seasons, the impact that Calvin Johnson (#138) left on the game is undeniable. He possessed freakish physical tools, an amazing nickname – “Megatron” – and parlayed that into three-year mid-career averages of 1,712 receiving yards per season, including a record-breaking 1,964-yard campaign in 2012… Zach Thomas (#137) is overshadowed because he played in the same era as Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis, but he was a tackling machine (sixth all-time) who registered his share of takeaways. He’s currently one of the best eligible players not to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame… For his brief NFL career, Ernie Nevers (#136) was arguably the best player in the game, earning All-Pro selections in all five seasons. His biggest accomplishment was once scoring 40 points in an NFL game.
Big play Aeneas Williams (#135) scored 12 defensive touchdowns and two more in the playoffs during a career that saw him make Pro Bowls at both cornerback and safety… The New York Giants almost couldn’t find a position for Sam Huff (#134) in his rookie training camp, but he then flourished as a 14-year starter, at one point suiting up for 150 consecutive games. Huff was one of many great middle linebackers during his time (Chuck Bednarik, Bill George, Joe Schmidt, and Ray Nitschke), but still reached five Pro Bowls and was a two-time First-Team All-Pro… A 6’8” defensive lineman coming off the edge sounds like a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. There are no readily available sack statistics for Doug Atkins’ (#133) prime, but he played over 200 games and was said to be a premier pass-rusher, as well as an expert at batting down passes at the line of scrimmage… It’s an absolute shame that Sterling Sharpe (#132) suffered a career-ending neck injury and was forced to retire after the 1994 season. He had already broken the single-season receptions record twice and was coming off a ridiculous 18-touchdown campaign. Sharpe was on track to be considered a top-five wide receiver ever… Nick Buoniconti (#131) was a four-time First-Team All-Pro with the Boston Patriots, but he’s most known for being the middle linebacker of the no-name Miami defense that captured consecutive Super Bowl titles in the 1970s, including a perfect 17-0 season.
130. Troy Polamalu, S, 2003-2014 – 8 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro, 1 DPOY, 2 rings
129. Norm Van Brocklin, QB, 1949-1960 – 9 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP, 2 rings, Hall of Fame
128. DeMarcus Ware, OLB, 2005-2016 – 9 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro, 1 ring
127. Marvin Harrison, WR, 1996-2008 – 8 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
126. Andre Johnson, WR, 2003-2016 – 7 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro
125. Willie Brown, CB, 1963-1978 – 9 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
124. Darrelle Revis, CB, 2007-2016 – 7 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro, 1 ring
123. Yale Lary, S, 1952-1964 – 9 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro, 3 rings, Hall of Fame
122. Red Grange, RB, 1925-1934 – 2x All-Pro, 2 rings, Hall of Fame
121. John Randle, DT, 1990-2003 – 7 Pro Bowls, 6x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
Do you remember how much fun it was to watch Troy Polamalu (#130) fly around the field, making one-handed interceptions and sacking the opposing quarterback? Polamalu’s 40-yard interception return for a touchdown sealed the 2008 AFC Championship Game win over Baltimore, and two weeks later, Pittsburgh won its second Super Bowl in a four-year span… The Dutchman, Norm Van Brocklin (#129), operated a two-quarterback system in Los Angeles to near-perfection and then led the Philadelphia Eagles to an NFL championship in his final season… Just two players in league history have recorded 80 sacks in a five-year span: Reggie White and DeMarcus Ware (#128). Ware led the league in sacks twice and is eighth all-time at 138.5… Despite being just 175 pounds, Marvin Harrison (#127) was one of the most productive wide receivers to ever play. His on-field chemistry with Peyton Manning was uncanny, and Harrison averaged a 103/1,402/13 statline from 1999-2006… It’s pretty remarkable that Andre Johnson (#126) was able to put up four separate seasons with 100 catches and 1,400 receiving yards, especially when you consider that Matt Schaub was the best quarterback he ever played with. How would Johnson have fared with a Pro Bowl QB? He would certainly have more than 70 career receiving touchdowns.
Willie Brown (#125) spent most of the 1960s and 1970s dominating from the cornerback position, where he recorded 54 interceptions and made All-Pro teams nearly a decade apart… In terms of pure shutdown corner cover ability, Darrelle Revis (#124) ranks up there with Deion Sanders for his prowess in the prime of his career. Revis effectively masterminded the art of being an independent contractor, making Pro Bowls with three different franchises (in a three-year span!) and bringing a Super Bowl championship to the 2014 New England Patriots. He’s still just 31, but unsigned; if he never plays another down, he’s still a shoo-in Hall of Famer… Yale Lary (#123) did everything for the 1950s Detroit Lions. He was a ballhawking safety who registered 50 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries in 13 years, but he also was the best punter of his era, three times leading the NFL in punting average… Besides having one of the all-time great nicknames, The Galloping Ghost, Red Grange (#122) dominated the early days of pro football. Statistics aren’t available for all of Grange’s seasons, but he was named to two All-Pro teams and led the Chicago Bears to multiple championships… No defensive tackle in league history has registered more sacks than the 137.5 by John Randle (#121).
120. Jim Marshall, DE, 1960-1979 – 2 Pro Bowls
119. Will Shields, G, 1993-2006 – 12 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
118. Paul Krause, S, 1964-1979 – 8 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
117. Brian Urlacher, MLB, 2000-2012 – 8 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro, 1 DPOY
116. Brian Dawkins, S, 1996-2011 – 9 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro
115. Ted Hendricks, OLB, 1969-1983 – 8 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro, 4 rings, Hall of Fame
114. Leo Nomellini, DT, 1950-1963 – 10 Pro Bowls, 6x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
113. Mike Ditka, TE, 1961-1972 – 5 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 2 rings, Hall of Fame
112. James Lofton, WR, 1978-1993 – 8 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, Hall of Fame
111. Sonny Jurgensen, QB, 1957-1974 – 5 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
Jim Marshall (#120) played a ridiculous 282 consecutive games and holds the NFL record with 30 career fumble recoveries… Like Jim Marshall, Will Shields (#119) never missed a game in his career, seeing action in 224 of a possible 224 contests. The Kansas City Chiefs led all teams in rushing touchdowns (263) during Shields’ tenure… Another member of the Purple People Eaters, Paul Krause (#118) recorded more interceptions (81) than any other player in history. He had at least five in nine different seasons and led the league with 12 as a rookie… Brian Urlacher (#117) is one of the more athletic men to ever play middle linebacker. A former college linebacker/safety/receiver/return specialist, Urlacher is one of just four players in history with 40 sacks and 20 interceptions… Few safeties could blitz, defend against the pass, cover the run, and hit as well as Brian Dawkins (#116), who is the only player with 35 interceptions, 25 sacks, and 35 forced fumbles.
At 6’7”, Ted Hendricks (#115) was called ‘The Mad Stork’, and his freakish size enabled him to block 25 field goals and extra points during his career. Hendricks never missed a game due to injury, and played on four Super Bowl champion teams… Leon Nomellini (#114) isn’t remembered too much by new-age football fans, but he was a two-way superstar for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950s, making All-Pro teams at both offensive and defensive tackle… Iron Mike Ditka (#113) helped introduce a new breed of pass-catching tight ends to the modern NFL, doing so even before John Mackey hit the league. Ditka won a title as a player, an assistant coach, and a head coach… James Lofton (#112) was one of the great big-play receivers of all-time. His 18.3 yards per reception average is one of the highest marks ever, and he upped that in the postseason (18.5). Lofton was the first NFL player to break the 14,000-yard plateau… Sonny Jurgensen (#111) retired with the highest career passer rating of any quarterback (82.6), and was called by Vince Lombardi the greatest quarterback the league had ever seen.
110. Derrick Thomas, OLB, 1989-1999 – 9 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
109. Alan Faneca, G, 1998-2010 – 9 Pro Bowls, 6x All-Pro, 1 ring
108. Mike Haynes, CB, 1976-1989 – 9 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
107. Buck Buchanan, DT, 1963-1975 – 8 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
106. Frank Gifford, RB, 1952-1964 – 8 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro, 1 MVP, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
105. Jack Youngblood, DE, 1971-1984 – 7 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
104. Art Shell, OT, 1968-1982 – 8 Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 2 rings, Hall of Fame
103. Warren Sapp, DT, 1995-2007 – 7 Pro Bowls, 4x All-Pro, 1 DPOY, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
102. Willie Lanier, OLB, 1967-1977 – 8 Pro Bowls, 3x All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
101. Roosevelt Brown, OT, 1953-1965 – 9 Pro Bowls, 6x All-Pro, 1 ring, Hall of Fame
Derrick Thomas (#110) was a phenomenal pass rusher who averaged 11 sacks and four forced fumbles per season before he was tragically killed in a car accident… Alan Faneca (#109) had nearly as many Super Bowl rings (one) as games missed in his fabulous NFL career (two)… Mike Haynes (#108) was a dominant cornerback in multiple aspects of the game – pass coverage, stopping the run, and he could even return punts… Buck Buchanan (#107) was a No. 1 overall AFL draft pick who never missed a game in 13 seasons and dominated the Minnesota offensive line in a Super Bowl IV win… Frank Gifford (#106) was a multidimensional back who ran the ball and was an exceptional pass-catcher; he was the league MVP in 1956, beating out Lenny Moore and Ollie Matson.
It doesn’t get more legendary than Jack Youngblood (#105) playing with a broken leg in the 1979 Super Bowl, a performance that helped him put up a streak of 201 consecutive games played (including postseason). Youngblood was unofficially credited with 151.5 sacks, excelling in both a run-first defensive scheme and then a 3-4 two-gapping scheme… Art Shell (#104) was a key piece of arguably the most dominant offensive line ever, a unit that helped the team record a .721 winning percentage and two Super Bowl championships during Shell’s 15-year career… Warren Sapp (#103) is considered the modern prototype of the 3-technique defensive tackle, and he was voted to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for both the 1990s and 2000s… Willie Lanier (#102) was one of the greatest players in AFL history, averaging over four takeaways per season and earning three All-Pro selections… Roosevelt Brown (#101) is one of the finest offensive linemen in league history, a perennial Pro Bowler who blocked for future Hall of Famers Y.A. Tittle and Frank Gifford.