Pro football is the epitome of “American-ism” and Americans are fans of the force, speed and intensity of the game. Football may be defined in the simplest terms as two human walls crashing against each other to advance the ball to the other side of the field.
Greatest NFL players have been the ones who have dismissed conventional wisdom. They have believed that there is no defense that can beat a perfect pass, offense is the best defense and speed does kill.
Here is a list of 5 greatest NFL players of all times who have defied the laws of physics on the field and redefined the game entire nation is so passionate about:
1. Jim Brown
Years Active: 1957-1965
Team Played: Cleveland Browns
Jim’s presence on the field overshadowed everyone else’s. He played nine seasons in which he ran over 12,312 yards and has 106 touchdowns on the ground to his credit. Jim was a perfect combination of size and speed that enabled him put up video game like figures on the turntable. At the young age that he retired, he has accomplished almost everything a player can and had made a mark in almost every record book. Brown led the NFL in rushing each year of his career except 1962. In 1963, he burnt down the opponents’ defenses and ended up with a 6.4 yard per carry average.
His retirement came as a rude shock to his fans when he announced it at the very prime of his youth. He was only 29 years of age when he quit the game. Although his records have been surpassed by Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith, neither has been able to touch his yard per carry average of 5.2.
2. Walter Payton
Years active: 1975-1987
Team played: Bears
Nicknamed “Sweetness”, Walter was one of the best backs NFL has ever seen. It is not possible to define his style in words because of his abilities as a runner and a player who could rip through LBs with his smart cuts. In the 12 years that his career lasted, he carried 3,838 times and there had been only a handful of occasions when Payton could not finish the run. He was as great a human being as he was a football player. He began his career with only seven TDs and 679 yards in his debut season. However, the figures quickly changed as he scored 17 TDs and rushed more than 1,000 yards in his second season. Third season went even better with 1,800 yards and him winning the AP NFL MVP. Payton left for heavenly abode prematurely in 1999 due to a deadly liver infection.
3. Lawrence Taylor
Years active: 1981-1993
Team played: New York Giants
New York Giants went 4-12 in 1980 and were the second overall pick. Soon thereafter GMs of NFL were polled to ascertain how many of them would take Lawrence Taylor with the first pick of the draft and a whopping 26 out of 28 confirmed in an affirmative. Lawrence Taylor is said to be the man behind revolutionizing the art of sacking quarter back. He played 13 seasons for New York Giants and recorded 132.5 career sacks in the tenure. This 6’3” and 250 pounds linebacker perfectly matched his power and speed with his size. Taylor had been the proud recipient of NFL DPOY thrice and NFL MVP once in 1986.
4. Dick Butkus
Years active: 1965-1973
Team played: Bears
Dick is a personification of what NFL is all about: hustle, contact and intimidation. No player in NFL has been able to do these better than Dick. Dick played football at university level in University of Illinois and was drafted by his home team ��Chicago Bears’ in the first round. Butkus was among the most feared men in the history of NFL although his career lasted only for nine years. He was titled “Most Feared Man In The Game” by Sports Illustrated in 1970 on the cover of their magazine. In 1975, Butkus sued Bears for making him play even after knowing that he had a knee injury that needed surgery.
5. Johnny Unitas
Years Active: 1956-1973
Teams played: Colts, Chargers.
Unitas may not have had the strongest arm but he redefined the quarterback position in football. He was the master of “two minute drill” long before Joe Montana and he is still remembered for his legendary performance in 1958 overtime NFL title game. He had an amazing sense of reading the opponent’s defense. He may not be currently rated among top NFL passers but his seemingly supernatural accuracy and attention to details far surpass any statistics
Anthony Scott is a baseball fan, and current fencing coach in Phoenix, Arizona. Anthony has graduated the National Coaching Certification Program in 2005, and he has been actively writing piece of news in sports industry for the past five years. In his spare time, Anthony likes providing free fencing lessons to neighbors and close friends, with a focus on foil and saber.