The Sporting News Top 100 Greatest NFL Players (Top Five)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Arena' started by RX_Sith, Dec 30, 2007.

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  1. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

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    I will start a countdown of the NFL's Top 100 Greatest Players according to The Sporting News.

    Each week, I will put up 10 players at a time until I reach the Top 10, then I will post those players once a week.

    100-91

    100. Charlie Joiner - "I know where he will be. I know what he will do. I know if I get the ball to him, he will catch it. What more can you say?"

    Dan Fouts, 1983, The Sporting News

    99. Lou Groza - "Anywhere from 40 or 50 yards, he was a weapon. For a straight-on kicker, he was very accurate. He had a strong leg."

    Longtime Groza holder Tommy James, 1999

    98. George Blanda - "Blanda had a God-given killer instinct to make it happen when everything was on the line. I really believe that George Blanda is the greatest clutch player I have ever seen in the history of pro football."

    Al Davis, 1987, The Sporting News

    97. Lem Barney - "Barney has the same thing Night Train had. If a man gets a step on him, he has the quickness to get over to cover before the ball gets there."

    former Lions coach Joe Schmidt, 1967, The Sporting News

    96. Joe Namath - "He can really wing that ball in there. He has strength and accuracy and you'd better get to him or he will run you out of the park. He already is in a class by himself."

    former Bengals coach Paul Brown

    95. Troy Aikman - "You can find faults in other people, but when you look at Troy, he has none. You see how a quarterback is supposed to play. He is quick with his step, he throws with perfect form, he makes the difficult passes look easy, he makes great decisions."

    Sonny Jurgensen, 1996, The Sporting News

    94. Fred Biletnikoff - "He was a deceptive receiver. Everybody said he was slow, but he always seemed to get behind people. He was very fluid. He used that stickum on his hands and stuck his way into the Hall of Fame."

    Lem Barney, 1999

    93. Mike Haynes - "Mike Haynes is a special player. He just has ability other players don't have."

    Former Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks, 1977, The Sporting News

    92. Dan Fouts - "Fouts is so tough, so very tough. And I think he imparts that toughness to the rest of the team. They see he'll do anything to win and they go out there and play the same way."

    Former Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Gibbs, 1980, The Sporting News

    91. Art Monk - "You look at the best teams in the league and they all have receivers like Art. He is so dangerous at all times. He breaks into the seam, gets one step on his man and watch out."

    Former Redskins coach Jack Pardee, 1980

    Discuss.
  2. Armenian_Jedi Force Ghost

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    Joe Namath is the most overrated quarterback in NFL history. He should not be on this list.
  3. Obese_1_Ka-Blooey Jedi Master

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    Agreed. I also think Lou Groza should be a little higher on the list (maybe in Namath's place). He was money.
  4. SLR Jedi Grand Master

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    Namath was a great QB in college and his first few years with the Jets (including leading mediocre Jets team to a Superbowl win). Unfortunately, he couldn't avoid the injury bug which plagued the middle and end of his career.
  5. Armenian_Jedi Force Ghost

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    TD's - INT's - Completion Percentage

    18 - 15 - 48.2%
    19 - 27 - 49.3%
    26 - 28 - 52.5%
    15 - 17 - 49.2%
    19 - 17 - 51.2%

    Those are Namath's first five seasons before he got hit with the injury bug that supposedly ruined his career. Those numbers are horrible, really horrible.

    In his best season as a pro, he had a passer rating of 74.3

    His career numbers have him completing 50.1% of his passes, throwing for 173 touchdowns and throwing 220 interceptions.

    top 100 player of all time?

    the guy's a joke.
  6. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

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    (from The Sporting News)

    90-81

    90. Mike Ditka - "Maybe some day there will be one better than Ditka. But you might say that Mike was invented to be a tight end. He just got a generous helping of everything you need."

    former Eagles receiver Pete Retzlaff, 1967, The Sporting News

    89. Elroy Hirsch - "Talk about the gent who zigged when he should have zagged. Roy also has a 'zog' and a couple of varieties of 'zug' when he's under full steam."

    Rams quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, 1953

    88. Jim Thorpe - "Jim Thorpe could have made any team in any league. What's more, he would have been the best player on that team. He would have been the best player in the league. There wasn't anything he couldn't do better than anyone else."

    Hall of Fame player/coach Jimmy Conzelman, 1963

    87. Rod Woodson - "The biggest thing about Rod Woodson, when the game was on the line and you were flirting with him, you were flirting with danger. That's the best way to describe him. He is a very tough guy. He is not a guy who wears an 'S' on his jersey and struts around, but he is tough. You don't have to question whether you want him in your fox hole or not."

    Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome

    86. Jack Christiansen - "I figure the difference between our 1951 season (7-4-1) and 1952 (an NFL championship) was Christiansen. He was instrumental in the overall development of our defense. He ran it and he was the boss. It was known as 'Chris' Crew.' "

    Former Lions coach Buddy Parker, 1967

    85. Charley Taylor - "Charley was one of the finest all-around receivers -- size, speed and agility. But what I remember most about him was his ability to block downfield. He was a very complete wide receiver. A very big and complete wide receiver."

    Lem Barney, 1999

    84. Dwight Stephenson - "Man, I've never seen anyone like him. I just don't know how he does it, how he can snap the ball with one hand and be off exploding into his block all in one motion."

    former Dolphins defensive lineman Mike Charles, 1985

    83. Franco Harris - "Franco was the guy who really lifted the Steelers to a new plateau, a level of confidence that made us believe we could win. Franco did things for our offense that nobody else had done in the years I had been there."

    Joe Greene

    82. Brett Favre - "I think when Brett goes through his first two options and then has to improvise, that is when the play really starts. He just keeps making plays and breaking your heart."

    Buccaneers safety John Lynch, 1998, TSN Pro Football Yearbook

    81. Darrell Green - "I've been watching him since I was real small. He can do anything, really. He's real fast and he can jump to the sky."

    Champ Bailey, 1999

    Discuss.
  7. tulakhordpwns Jedi Knight

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    Favre should be number 1!

  8. DRHJ9 Force Ghost

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    Franco "Run out of bounds, fall to the ground so I don't get hit" Harris is on this list???
  9. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

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    80-71

    80. Red Grange - "He is three or four men rolled into one. He is Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, Al Jolson, Paavo Nurmi and Man o' War."

    Damon Runyon

    79. Larry Little - "He became a part of the real identity of our team, the good, tough running game. As time went on, he was a real inspiration for us, not just the way he always played but also for his influence on our younger players."

    Former Dolphins coach Don Shula

    78. Jim Otto - "Remember those movies in which a guy walks in with his football shoes draped over his shoulder? He spits on his hands, rubs dirt in his palms and says, 'Let's go.' Well, that's Jim Otto."

    John Madden, 1975, The Sporting News

    77. Steve Van Buren - "Thorpe was a bigger man than Van Buren, outweighed him by 10 pounds and was two inches taller. Yet Steve does the same things as Thorpe. There is one difference. When Thorpe hit, he did so with his knees. Steve uses the shoulder -- and with terrific power."

    Eagles line coach John Kellison, 1948, The Sporting News

    76. Sam Huff - "It's uncanny the way Huff follows the ball. He ignores all the things you do to get him away from the play and he comes after the ball wherever it's thrown or wherever the run goes. He seems to be all over the field at once."

    Vince Lombardi

    75. Mike Webster - "He's the only center I've ever seen who actually dominates nose tackles. When he hits people, he tips them over."

    former Steelers offensive lineman Tunch Ilkin, 1984

    74. Mel Hein - "I've been around this league a long time and I've never seen a player who made fewer mistakes than Mel. He has a feel for football, an instinctive understanding and grasp of it that allows him to command every bit of action on the field."

    Giants coach Steve Owen, 1942, The Sporting News

    73. Kellen Winslow - "I don't know what it's like to be Magic Johnson throwing the ball in to Kareem, but I know Kareem doesn't drop many. Throwing to Kellen over the middle was like that. You could put it anywhere and you knew he'd come up with it."

    Dan Fouts, 1988

    72. Marcus Allen - "Marcus is a carbon copy of Juice. I've never seen anybody so close to O.J. I'm talking about everything -- speech, mannerisms, the ease with which he deals with people, toughness, his whole approach to the game. The talent is his own, but it's uncanny the way he reminds me of O.J."

    Former Raiders receiver Bob Chandler, 1982

    71. Lenny Moore - "A tackler just never gets a good shot. His feet go up and down so fast you can hardly see them hit the ground."

    Former Colts defensive end Gino Marchetti, 1964, The Sporting News

    Discuss.
  10. DarthIntegral September Tiemaster

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    Catching up here, briefly.

    Favre and Woodson are way too low. And a list that uses quotes from John Madden loses points in my book automatically.
  11. yankee8255 Force Ghost

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    I'm going to go against the grain here on Favre, I think he's right about where he belongs. Let me start by saying that I like the guy on a personal level, love the way he still plays with a child's enthusiasm.

    In the end though, for all his fantastic numbers, time and again the Pack's season has ended in large part because Favre made too many mistakes. That was true in the 1995 NFC Championship game, when he killed any chance Green Bay had of beating Dallas in about 15 minutes. And it was true in 2001 when he threw 6 ints against St.Louis.
  12. DRHJ9 Force Ghost

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    I think Marcus Allen is way too low. He was the most complete back the league has seen in awhile. Great blocker, Great pass catcher, Great Runner, and the best goaline and short yard back ever IMO.

    I think he gets hurt by stupid Art Shell (as a coach) and Al Davis for benching him in his prime.
  13. DarthIntegral September Tiemaster

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    I think Marcus Allen gets underrated because Bo Jackson was so much better on Tecmo Bowl, to be honest.
  14. DRHJ9 Force Ghost

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    AHH...

    One of the best teams, if not the best, on a sports football game ever....

  15. Darth McClain Arena Manager Emeritus

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    I agree. Woodson should be higher. Yes, Favre is one of the all time leaders with interceptions, but he deserves to be much higher than what he is. I'm also surprised that Franco was as low as he was. I wonder how Mike Webster compares to other centers/offensive linemen on the list. That'll be a factor of my final opinion of his placement is. I wonder where any other '70s Steelers will end up.
  16. DarthIntegral September Tiemaster

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    The thing about Rod Woodson is this:

    He was arguably the best cornerback in the NFL (either him or Deion Sanders, but I think Rod was more complete, Deion couldn't tackle or do run defense as well). Then, he blew out his knee, and came back as an All-Pro safety, which was a different beast altogether.

    Way too low for him, in my opinion.
  17. yankee8255 Force Ghost

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    Agreed on Woodson.

    And Mike Webster better be way up there. He was the ultimate center for at least a decade.

    As a big Steelers and Franco Harris fan as a child in the 70s, I think he deserves to be higher, though I understand the knocks against him for going out of bounds. Still, his emergence (behind one of the best O_lines ever) turned an up-and-coming team into the greatest dynasty in league history.
  18. yankee8255 Force Ghost

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    QmyselfFT.
  19. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

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    #70-61:

    70. Emlen Tunnel - "He had brains. He knew what was going on out there. He could cover, tackle, do it all. He was so knowledgeable about the position and the defensive schemes he played in.""

    Raymond Berry, 1999

    69. Willie Davis - "Davis is a great pass rusher. He's strong and aggressive. He's always towering over you, coming, coming all the time."

    former Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle

    68. Emmitt Smith - "Emmitt is a great player in a great system, a system that suits him perfectly. He is a hell of a warrior, and he fits the Dallas scheme better than anybody."

    Jim Brown, 1997, TSN Pro Football Yearbook

    67. Buck Buchanan - "I was big, but Buck was bigger and stronger. You don't imagine that a guy that big can be so quick. Other guys I enjoyed playing against, but when you faced Buchanan, you couldn't sleep the night before the game."

    Gene Upshaw

    66. Bobby Bell - "This guy is the best all-around football player I ever saw. He can throw a football 80 yards. He can center the ball back farther and more accurately than anyone in the business. He's the fastest runner you'll ever see. He can block. And he's the best defensive end, corner linebacker and anything else defensively in the whole universe."

    Buck Buchanan

    65. Joe Schmidt - "I've never seen anyone who has a better idea where the other team is going. A player either has that ability or he doesn't have it. Schmidt's got it, but good."

    former Lions coach George Wilson, The Sporting News

    64. Ted Hendricks - "At least once a game (Hendricks) will do something and I won't know how he did it."

    Former Raiders defensive coach Charlie Sumner

    63. Steve Young - "Young is a fine quarterback. He'd be good with anybody. And if I was a poor team and I needed a quarterback, I'd pick Young over Montana at a comparable age because he can do things on his own."

    Sammy Baugh, 1999

    62. Gene Upshaw - "Any time you come into an organization as a rookie, you start all but one game for the next 15 years, your team goes to the Super Bowl in your first year and then two more times, you play with some of the greatest players who ever played the game and you rise above at least 95 percent of them -- you've accomplished something remarkable."

    Raiders owner Al Davis

    61. Ken Houston - "How many times do you have a chance to watch the best there ever was at a position? Many towns are never blessed like that. You only read about the great ones or see them once in a while. But Washington fans have had eight years to study and appreciate Kenny."

    former Redskins coach George Allen, 1980

    Discuss.
  20. DarthIntegral September Tiemaster

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    Emmit Smith is so overrated. he's not even my first or second pick of best running back among his contemporaries. I'll take Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin over him every day of the week.
  21. yankee8255 Force Ghost

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    Could not disagree with you more. He certainly benefited from being on a great team, but he was a tremendous go-to guy. I'll never forget his performance versus the Giants on the last day of the season, playing with a separated shoulder. I love Barry, but I'd take Emmit in a heart-beat. When push comes to shove, he was the guy to get you the yards you needed in tight situations.

    He should be way higher, not top 10, but definitely Top 25.
  22. DarthIntegral September Tiemaster

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    And this is exactly what he's ranked in the sixties. Because some people view him as top 25 all time, and some view him as top 25 overrated of all time. I see him as a system guy who benefited from a Hall-of-Fame Quarterback, WR, Fullback, Coach, and half of his O-Line. True, you have to have talent to succeed in that system, but I don't think he's anywhere near the greatest RB of all time, nor in the top 100 football players of all time in NFL history.
  23. yankee8255 Force Ghost

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    I should point out that I hate the Cowboys, espcially that team. But Emmit was a class act.

    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.
  24. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

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    #60-51

    60. Paul Warfield - "Paul had incredible moves. He was so quick, so fast -- with Paul, there was never traffic. It was fun to throw to him. Invariably, he was open whenever you wanted him."

    former Browns quarterback Frank Ryan, 1999

    59. Fran Tarkenton - "I never saw a quarterback who could do it so many ways, and who worked so hard at it. He will be known as the greatest quarterback by the time he finishes. I don't know if anybody else will be close."

    former Vikings coach Bud Grant, 1976

    58. Bruce Smith - "When other players say something (cocky), it's lip service. They know deep down that they have limitations. But not Bruce Smith. He knows he can be the greatest who has ever played this game."

    former Bills defensive line coach Chuck Dickerson, 1991, TSN Pro Football Yearbook

    57. Roosevelt Brown - "Rosey never did the same things twice. He was incredible. He was my favorite, my idol. Everything I learned, I picked up from him. I wanted to be just like him."

    Jim Parker, 1999

    56. Mike Singletary - "I haven't seen a linebacker play with his intensity since I played with Butkus."

    former Bears defensive tackle Jim Osborne, 1986, The Sporting News

    55. Art Shell - "He was one of those quiet leaders who commanded respect just by being a great player. He never, ever acted like a tough guy. He was always nice and businesslike. But whether you were his teammate or an opponent, you knew this was a man who deserved your deepest respect."

    Former Raiders coach John Madden

    54. Chuck Bednarik - "Bednarik hates to see anybody standing up on the field. Every time he does see a man standing around with the whistle yet to blow halting a play, he knocks him down just for the sheer joy of it. He'll choose anybody."

    Former Redskins coach Joe Kuharich, 1954

    53. Tony Dorsett - "Tony's a guy who's capable of breaking at any time. He just has such tremendous acceleration. He'll see a narrow alley and, suddenly, be gone right through before you know it."

    former Dallas coach Tom Landry, 1978, The Sporting News

    52. Bobby Lane - "He was the greatest two-minute quarterback ever. Bobby Layne simply never lost a game. Sometimes, time just ran out on him."

    former Lions teammate Doak Walker, The Sporting News

    51. Randy White - "He's just mean. That's all you can say. He gets up for games, every game. Off the field, he's a nice guy... one of the nicest guys in the world. But he's mean otherwise."

    fromer Cowboys teammate Harvey Martin, 1980

    Discuss.
  25. DRHJ9 Force Ghost

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    I hope fans remember Art Shell for the great player he was, not the coach. He and Gene Upshaw were probably the most dominant players at their positions during the 70's.
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