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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    #50-41:

    50. Willie Brown - "I still think about the trouble he gave me. He's got speed, like a lot of good ones, but he also has great quickness and he reacts so fast he doesn't have to play the receiver tight. Thus, he doesn't have to follow all your moves. You can waste a lot of fakes on Willie."

    Lance Alworth

    49. Bill George - "A player must have an instinct for linebacking to be good at it. Bill George has it. He doesn't commit himself too quickly. He's motionless until he senses where a play is going, then -- wham! -- he moves like lightning to the right place."

    Former Bears coach George Halas

    48. John Mackey - "Once he catches the ball, the great adventure begins. Those people on defense climb all over him. The lucky ones fall off. Others might be trampled."

    former Colts assistant coach Dick Bielski, 1969, The Sporting News

    47. Jack Ham - "He is the premier outside linebacker in football. He's the guy you measure other outside linebackers against."

    Former Rams defensive tackle Merlin Olsen, 1977, The Sporting News

    46. Steve Largent - "When I got here and had a chance to watch him on a regular basis, I was amazed. In my mind, you can take every superlative you can think of and apply it to Steve Largent. He's that good."

    former Seahawks G.M. Mike McCormack, 1984, The Sporting News

    45. Herb Adderley - "I'm just thankful he's playing for the Packers. He's the best cornerback I've ever seen."

    Bart Starr

    44. Terry Bradshaw - "You've got to hand it to Bradshaw; he's bursting with talent. My God, his arm is like a rifle."

    former Steelers quarterback Terry Hanratty, 1972, The Sporting News

    43. Larry Wilson - "You can run out of superlatives in talking about Larry Wilson. To me, he typified everything great you could possibly expect in a pro football player."

    Broadcaster and former NFL player Pat Summerall

    42. Willie Lanier - "It (a Willie Lanier tackle) really wasn't much. Part of me landed one place and the rest of me someplace else. I pulled myself together and went on just like a mountain had never fallen on me."

    Former Raiders running back Hewritt Dixon

    41. Bart Starr - "Bart Starr is the best quarterback in football today. And before he's done, which will be soon, I hope, he may become the greatest of all time."

    49ers coach Jack Christiansen, 1967, The Sporting News

    Discuss.
  2. Armenian_Jedi Force Ghost

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    Bart Starr=5 championships in the 60's

    greatest NFL Dynasty of all time.


    I can't believe Fran Tarkenton and Steve Young are both ahead of Favre on this list though.
  3. Onoto Jedi Grand Master

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    I'm going to agree with yankee8255 and say that Favre is not ranked too low. I don't think he's the Greatest Quarterback of All-Time, and I don't think he's even a shoo-in for the Top-10 list. Given how many other positions there are in football and how many players there have been, a ranking of #82 is pretty darned good.
  4. Armenian_Jedi Force Ghost

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    Brett Favre is easily in the top ten off all time QB's... and considering how that position is by far the most important on the field, he should be in the top 25 of this list without a doubt.
  5. Onoto Jedi Grand Master

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    Favre is easily one of the Top-10 quarterbacks, you say? Without even bringing up active players (two of whom could be successfully argued as greater than Favre), let's name some potential candidates for that Top-10 list: Montana, Elway, Marino, Bradshaw, Starr, Staubach, Unitas, Dawson, Tittle, Graham, Luckman, Baugh, Layne, and Van Brocklin. Favre is a great player, don't get me wrong, but I'm not as certain as you are that he exceeds any of those guys enough to be considered a cinch. He's probably in the Top-10, but I sure wouldn't bet my life on it.

    I also don't think that the position should affect the ranking as much as you suggest. I'd compare players relative to their own position. If a guy was a better wide receiver than another guy was a quarterback, I'd put the receiver first. An example from the first batch of players: Biletnikoff was a better at his position than Aikman was at his, so I'm fine with Biletnikoff getting the nod. (I mean, obviously if it comes down to the greatest running back and the greatest punter, you take the running back, but I think you understand my point.)
  6. yankee8255 Chosen One

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    I'll say it again: Favre is a good guy, who has a greta arm and has put up very impressive numbers, but who has, throughout his career, made way too many many mistakes in big games to be mentioned in the same breath as Montana, Marino, Elway, Bradshaw, Staubach et al.
  7. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

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    #40-31:

    40. Raymond Barry - "Me and Gino (Marchetti) would have a dozen beers down after practice and Raymond would still be out on the field catching passes. We'd all be running off the practice field and he'd be chasing us to get somebody to throw him another 50 passes. He was one of a kind."

    Art Donovan, former Colts tackle

    39. Sid Luckman - "I've never seen a player who worked as hard as Luckman. When everyone else left the practice field, he stayed on. He practiced pivoting and ball-handling by the hour. When he went to his room at night, he stood before a mirror and practiced still more. He became a great player simply because he devoted about 400 percent more effort to it than most athletes are willing to do."

    George Halas, 1947

    38. Eric Dickerson - "I can't remember seeing any back with more talent and potential than Eric, and that includes myself and Gale Sayers. He is the best I've seen, and I mean ever."

    O.J. Simpson, 1984

    37. Deion Sanders - "I remember that Atlanta game when he was with us (the 49ers in 1994). He told me that week he was going to bait the guy and let him catch a few -- then he was going to pick one off, run it right in front of their bench and high-step into the end zone. He told me he had a vision. He called it. Then he did it."

    former 49ers director of football operations Dwight Clark, 1998

    36. Mel Blount - "I played in a lot of Pro Bowls. I never saw a cornerback like him. He was the most incredible athlete I have ever seen. With Mel, you could take one wide receiver and just write him off. He could handle anybody in the league."

    Jack Ham

    35. Bronko Nagurski - "There's only one way to defense him -- shoot him before he leaves the dressing room. He is the only back I ever saw who ran his own interference. See these lumps on my head? I got most of them trying to stop Nagurski."

    former Giants player Steve Owen

    34. Alan Page - "When I was with Los Angeles, I thought Merlin Olsen was the best tackle around. And I'm sure (Dallas assistant) Ernie Stautner feels Bob Lilly is the best. But right now, I think Alan is the best tackle I have ever seen. He does everything you ask, and then some."

    Vikings assistant coach Jack Patera, 1970, The Sporting News

    33. Earl Campbell - "The way Campbell runs, it's like trying to stop a truck going downhill without a driver. Now that's hard to stop."

    former Bears coach Neill Armstrong, 1980, The Sporting News

    32. Marion Motley - "He had big, wide shoulders and he was a great blocker. He was big and strong and had great speed for the size of man that he was."

    Former Browns receiver Dante Lavelli, 1999

    31. Lance Alworth - "The good Lord usually takes something away from an individual to keep him from being perfect, but he goofed when he came to Alworth."

    Former Broncos coach Mac Speedie, 1968, The Sporting News

    Discuss.
  8. yankee8255 Chosen One

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    A really great group, though I'd put Dickerson way further down, below Emmit in any event, simply because Smith focused more on his team, whereas Dickerson only cared about his own stats.

    As for Earl Campbell, for those 4 or so years where he was at his prime, he was almost unstoppable.
  9. Django211 Force Ghost

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    Eric Dickerson ran behind one of the greatest lines ever. When he left for Indianapolis, his backup Charles White led the league in rushing. The next year White went down with an injury and his backup Greg Bell led the NFL in rushing touchdowns for the next 2 years, & the year after that his backup Cleveland Gary did the same.

    Dickerson was a notorious fumbler, especially in big games. As a runner he had great speed but when hit hard he would cough it up. As a Bears fan I remember guarantees by Mike Singletary & Dan Hampton on Dickerson fumbles. It wasn't common to see mild mannered Singletary talk like that but he was right on the money when talking about Dickerson. Way too high on the list.
  10. DarthIntegral Game Winner

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    Deion Sanders is so overrated, it's not funny. He was fantastic at the few things he did well, but sucked at everything else. He literally made your team play 11-on-10 football on running downs, because he couldn't/wouldn't tackle. Sure, he had great speed and could return kicks/punts with lethal force, and he could completely eliminate a receiver from a game. But to be great ... at least as great as he's hyped to be ... you have to be at least adequate at all areas of your position. And he's far from adequate on everything but coverage skills as a DB.

    Give me Rod Woodson over Sanders any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.
  11. yankee8255 Chosen One

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    I remember when Montana first retired and worked the pregame for one of the networks, he was asked to assess Deion -- he said the first thing they noticed about him on film is that on running plays to his side he could always be seen backpedaling out of view. They ran at him alot.
  12. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

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    #30-21:

    30. Jack Lambert - "Lambert was equally good against the run as those other great linebackers, but he was dramatically better than any of them against the pass. He called the defensive signals. He set the tone. He was intelligent, all business, a terrific leader."

    Former Steelers linebacker Andy Russell

    29. Roger Staubach - "Every Cowboy, offense and defense, looked to him. They all felt that as long as he was in the game, they had a chance to win. To tell you the truth, his opponents felt the same way."

    Former Cardinals coach Jim Hanifan, 1980, The Sporting News

    28. Forrest Gregg - "Excellent technique and excellent footwork. Forrest always kept himself perfectly centered. He and Rosey Brown were the best technicians of all the offensive linemen. As a run-blocker, he was outstanding."

    Lenny Moore, 1999

    27. Dan Marino - "I'm playing with a legend. Dan Marino is a legend in his own time."

    Former Dolphins receiver Mark Clayton, 1985, The Sporting News

    26. O.J. Simpson - "Jim Brown? I never played against Jim Brown. But not in my wildest imagination do I think Jim Brown could be any better than The Juice."

    Steelers defensive end Dwight White, 1976, The Sporting News

    25. Merlin Olsen - "Merlin didn't talk much. He probably was the best of the Rams front four. He would chase you from here to Georgia just to beat you. He was the key to the foursome."

    Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jim Parker, 1999

    24. Jim Parker - "I loved playing next to Jim. He was the best, man. He played every position along the line and was great at all of them. He was one of those guys who just punished you. He smothered you."

    John Mackey, 1999

    23. Ronnie Lott - "He was one of the best safeties ever to play the game. He had it all. He was as smart as Emlen Tunnell, a great hitter and a great cover guy. He did everything."

    Raymond Berry, 1999

    22. Reggie White - "He's the best I've ever seen. The size, the strength, the speed. He's got everything. He never lets up, either. That's the thing; he's relentless."

    Eagles defensive lineman Mike Pitts, 1988, TSN Pro Football Yearbook

    21. Gayle Sayers - "Sayers is the greatest player I've ever seen. That's right -- THE greatest. I've never been more impressed with one player."

    Dick Butkus, 1965, The Sporting News


    Discuss./>
  13. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

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    #20-11:

    20. John Hannah - "You never have to grade John because you know what he is doing in every game -- playing his guts out. When the game is over, he has nothing left."

    former Patriots coach Raymond Berry

    19. Night Train Lane - "Train will always be the Godfather of cornerbacks. He was as large as some linemen of his era. He also was agile and very fast. His tackling was awesome. He did the clothesline and other tackles that just devastated the ball carrier."

    Lem Barney, 1999

    18. Ray Nitschke - "It's not so much his speed or even his quickness. It's his desire to make the play, an ability to get to the right spot ahead of everybody else. He has all the strength and toughness needed to be truly outstanding and, as a leader, he is without peer."

    Former Rams linebacker Les Richter

    17. Anthony Munoz - "Anthony Munoz was the epitome of what an NFL offensive lineman should be. I've never seen one better."

    Hall of Fame tackle Mike McCormack

    16. John Elway - "He's most dangerous because he has the ability to run to his left and throw the ball back to his right with a lot of mustard on it. When he's running to his right, he can throw it 60 yards on one foot."

    former Raiders cornerback Mike Haynes, 1986, The Sporting New

    15. Gino Marchetti - "He's the greatest player in football. It's a waste of time to run around this guy's end. It's a lost play. You don't bother to try it."

    former Rams coach Sid Gillman, 1959

    14. "Mean" Joe Greene - "He's the best I've seen. He set the standard for us. Physically, he had all the necessary attributes but he also set the standard for attitude. There will never be another Joe Greene. Joe will always be something special."

    Former Steelers coach Chuck Noll

    13. Deacon Jones - "I'm the best defensive end around. I'd hate to have to play against me."

    Deacon Jones

    12. Barry Sanders - "He makes you stand on your toes any time he gets the ball. You watch because you feel something big is about to happen."

    former Lions coach Wayne Fontes, 1990, TSN Pro Football Yearbook

    11. Sammy Baugh - "I like to just sit and watch him. Every time he throws, I learn something. But nobody is ever going to equal him. Not anybody."

    Sid Luckman, 1950


    Discuss./>
  14. Armenian_Jedi Force Ghost

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    Deacon Jones should've probably been in the top ten.


    Same with Nitschke.
  15. LordNyax113 Jedi Knight

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    So far the rankings are ok, but I have a feeling they are gonna put Tom Brady in the top 10, when in reality he should be ranked somewhat lowed (20s if you ask me).
  16. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

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    #10-6:

    10. Bob Lilly - "I've said this before and I'll say it again. In my lifetime, there hasn't been a player as good as Lilly. And I don't expect ever to see another one. He is that once-in-a-lifetime player."

    Tom Landry

    9. Dick Butkus - "If I had a choice, I'd sooner go one-on-one with a grizzly bear. I pray that I can get up every time Butkus hits me."

    former NFL running back MacArthur Lan

    8. Walter Payton - "It's his legs. He's got the strongest legs I've ever seen. They are like springs. . . . If he had played on good teams, oh my gosh, I can't imagine what he would have done."

    Bobby Beathard, 1984, The Sporting News

    7. Otto Graham - "The test of a quarterback is where his team finishes. By that standard, Otto was the best of them all."

    Paul Brown

    6. Don Hutson - "I'd always dreamed of an end who could do the things Hutson did. And out at practice (for the Rose Bowl) at Pasadena that day, there he was."

    Curly Lambeau, on his first sighting of Don Hutson


    Discuss./>
  17. yankee8255 Chosen One

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    Based on reputation (I never saw either of them play) I don't see how you can pt Illy or Hutson over Joe Green.
  18. Armenian_Jedi Force Ghost

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    based on reputation?


    Don Hutson is the only receiver that if put ahead of Jerry Rice on a lit, wouldn't get scoffed at. Don Hutson was way ahead of his time and he dominated the receivers of his day more then Rice did his.

    Consider that in Hutson's best season, he had twice as many yards and twice as many touchdowns then the second best receiver that year.


    And he was a great cornerback to boot. 30 interceptions in 6 seasons as a DB.
  19. darth_gersh Force Ghost

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    E. Smith should be in top 10 players of all time. Holds several records. Same goes to Brett Farve.
  20. Darth Dark Helmet Manager Emeritus

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    Not Smith, even with the record, I'd still put him no higher then 3rd best RB, maybe 4th behind Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and possibly Jim Brown.
  21. Armenian_Jedi Force Ghost

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    QFT
  22. DarthIntegral Game Winner

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    Wait. Are you trying to say that Jim Brown is only possibly the 3rd best RB of all time?

    My friend, Jim Brown is the greatest running back of all time. And while I'll put Payton and Sanders ahead of Emmit, I'll also put OJ ahead of him, and possible a few others.
  23. Armenian_Jedi Force Ghost

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    yeah I didn't notice the "possibly" part when I QFT'd that post. :p

    top 5 RB's IMO:

    5. Eric Dickerson
    4. Ladainian Tomlinson
    3. Walter Payton
    2. Barry Sanders
    1. Jim Brown
  24. yankee8255 Chosen One

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    No way Dickerson. Great talent, but I wouldn't want him on my team, period. Too selfish, too many fumbles.

    I'd put Smith behind Brown and Payton for sure, but it's a tough call for me with respect Sanders. Sanders could break a big play at any time, but Smith was great at getting the 1-2 tough years you needed for a crucuial first down.

    As I said before, to me, Smith is way too low. I wouldn't put him in the top 20 overall, but certainly ahead of Dickerson.
  25. tom Chosen One

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    i just want too say dick butkus ftw. the only footage that's as amazing and fun too watch from nfl history as dick butkus footage is jim brown footage and maybe gale sayers footage. the guy was an absolute beast.
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