Wednesday, June 01, 2005

NFL Top 50 List

Comparing the all-time greats in basketball, baseball and hockey is a much easier task than comparing players in the NFL. There are at least 22 different unique positions in the NBA. It is nearly impossible to compare the best wide receiver of all-time to the best guard of all-time. Offensive skill positions are usually the top choices on any all-time list. That does make some sense since the most athletic players usually play on offensive growing up. But, when we're talking about the very best of the best, there is no reason to rank the best 10 running backs all ahead of the best guard. I tried to give each position a fair shake. I didn't give the benefit of the doubt to any specific position. I just rated the best careers as I see them.

1) Jerry Rice
2) Jim Brown
3) Lawrence Taylor
4) Joe Montana
5) Johnny Unitas
6) Deacon Jones
7) Don Hutson
8) Bob Lilly
9) Dick Butkus
10) Otto Graham
11) Barry Sanders
12) Anthony Munoz
13) Joe Greene
14)Marion Motley
15) Sammy Baugh
16) Ray Lewis
17) Reggie White
18) Walter Payton
19) Gino Marchetti
20) Dick "Night Train" Lane
21) Jack Lambert
22) Dan Marino
23) John Elway
24) Ronnie Lott
25) John Hannah
26) Alan Page
27) Deion Sanders
28) Emmitt Smith
29) Roger Staubach
30) Forrest Gregg
31) Bronco Nagurski
32) Ray Nitschke
33) Marshall Faulk
34) Earl Campbell
35) Brett Favre
36) Tom Brady
37) Marvin Harrison
38) Larry Allen
39) Mel Blount
40) Willie Lanier
41) LaDanian Tomlinson
42) Lance Alworth
43) Bruce Smith
44)Jim Parker
45) Peyton Manning
46) Merlin Olsen
47) Herb Adderley
48) Mike Singletary
49) Terrell Owens
50) Joe Schmidt

Instead of listing the next ten or twenty players on the list which would essentially create a Top 60 or 70 list, I would like to identify the players that I had the hardest time keeping off. These are in no particular order; Gale Sayers, O.J. Simpson, Shaun Alexander, Chuck Bednarik, Jim Thorpe, Randy Moss, Red Grange, John Mackey, Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Sid Luckman, Mel Hein, Roosevelt Brown, Ernie Nevers, Steve Van Buren, Mike Haynes, Ted Hendricks, Rod Woodson, Jack Ham, Michael Strahan, Larry Wilson and Ken Houston.

One player that I considered early that didn't makethe top 50 is someone who I think will be in the top 50 of all-time by the time he retires. That person is Brian Urlacher. He has a chance to go down as one of the most versatile/athletic linebackers in NFL history. Shaun Alexander also has a great chance. In fact, I had him in my top 50 all the way up to the last minute.

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