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Top 10 Greatest NFL Players Of All Time

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  • Post last modified:June 28, 2023

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In this post, we will check out the top 10 greatest NFL players of all time.

The National Football League (NFL) has seen countless athletes grace its fields, showcasing their exceptional skills and leaving an indelible mark on the sport.

Determining the top 10 greatest NFL players of all time is no easy task, as each era has produced its own legends who have redefined their positions and etched their names into the annals of football history.

These extraordinary individuals possess a combination of talent, longevity, impact on the game, and numerous accolades that have solidified their status as the cream of the crop.

From dominant quarterbacks and elusive running backs to fierce defensive stalwarts and unstoppable receivers, these players have captured the hearts of fans and inspired generations with their incredible feats.

As we embark on this journey to unveil the top 10 greatest NFL players of all time, it is essential to recognize the immeasurable contributions and legacies these individuals have left behind, forever shaping the landscape of professional football.

Top 10 Greatest NFL Players Of All Time

10 Reggie White

Image Credit- Sporting News

Reggie White was an American professional football player who recreated the defensive end in the National Football League (NFL). One of the finest players from a defensive point of view.

He played in NFL for 15 seasons during the 1980s and 1990s. Reggie is also one of the most adored players in NFL history. He started playing professionally for the Memphis Showboats of the United States Football League (USFL).

After the two professional seasons, he was assigned in the first round of the 1984 Supplemental Draft, and then played for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Carolina Panthers.

He later became one of the most awarded defensive players in NFL history. He has emerged in 13 Pro Bowls and 12 All-Pro nods.

On the pitch, he is surely a player who can terrorize the opponent with his presence on the field. He had a blend of strength and speed to chase and block the ball carriers.

Reggie is the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 13-time Pro Bowl, and 13-time All-Pro selection holds second place all-time among NFL career sack leaders with 198.

He was also selected to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, and the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. Reggie White is number 10 in our list of top 10 greatest NFL players of all time.

9 Dick Butkus

Image Credit- Sporting News

Dick Butkus is an American former professional football player and sports commentator. He played football as a linebacker for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) and has been a part of the league from 1965 to 1973.

Butkus was known for his brutal defensive plays in the league. He is also known with the nickname “The Monster of the Midway”.

During his 9 years of play, he was invited to eight Pro Bowls and named a first-team All-Pro six times. He was twice identified as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.

In his NFL career, he intercepted 22 passes and recovered 27 fumbles. He was also accountable for driving many more fumbles with his harsh tackles.

The award for the best linebacker at different levels of play is popularly known as the Dick Butkus Award. He is number 9 in our list of top 10 greatest NFL players of all time.

8 Walter Payton

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Walter Payton was an American professional football player who was a part of the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL).

Many regard him as one of the greatest football players of all time. Payton is recognized as a prolific rusher. He fit completely in the Chicago Bears and is popularly known by the name “The Monsters of the Midway”.

Payton was one of the rare players who played his entire career with one team(Chicago Bears). He began his professional career with the Chicago Bears in 1975. Later Payton cruised to win the 1977 AP NFL Most Valuable Player Award and won Super Bowl XX with the 1985 Chicago Bears.

He was designated to the Pro Bowl nine times and was anointed first-team All-Pro five times. Walter Payton is number 8 in our list of the top 10 greatest NFL players of all time.

7 Peyton Manning

Image Credit- Inc Magazine

Peyton Manning is an American former football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 18 seasons.

He is believed to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Manning spent almost 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and four with the Denver Broncos.

Manning is one of the most recognizable players in the NFL. He is also known by the nickname “the Sheriff“.

He has five Most Valuable Player awards, which is the most in the history of the NFL. Manning was picked first in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Colts, where he performed as their starting quarterback from 1998 to 2010.

He aided and alter the struggling Colts into consistent playoff contenders. He eventually helped the team to 11 playoff runs, eight division titles, three AFC Championship Games, two Super Bowl appearances, and one championship title in Super Bowl XLI.

Manning holds numerous NFL records which include MVP awards, first-team All-Pro selections, 4,000-yard passing seasons, single-season passing yards, and single-season passing touchdowns.

6 Lawrence Taylor

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Lawrence Taylor is an American former professional football player who devoured his entire career as a linebacker for the New York Giants (1981–1993) in the National Football League (NFL).

He is believed to be one of the greatest players in the history of the NFL. Lawrence has emerged in 10 Pro Bowls and won the Super Bowl two times.

He is considered one of the best linebackers in NFL history and revolutionized the way the position is played. He is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Taylor is both the first and currently only NFL player in history to win the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in his rookie season.

He also won three AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards and was designated the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for his performance during the 1986 season.

5 Joe Montana

Image Credit- GQ

Joe Montana is a former football quarterback. He played in the National Football League (NFL) for 16 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

He is popularly known by the nickname “Joe Cool” and “the Comeback Kid“. Montana has the most Super Bowl throws without an interception, at 127.

He was anointed to eight Pro Bowls and twice the NFL MVP. Montana started his successful NFL career in 1979 in San Francisco. He has been a part of the 49ers for almost 14 seasons.

With the 49ers, Montana instituted and won four Super Bowls and was the first player in history to be designated Super Bowl MVP three times.

He has Super Bowl career records for most passes without an interception (122 in four games). Montana also has the all-time highest passer rating of 127.8.

In 1989 and furthermore, in 1990, the Associated Press quoted Montana the NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP), and Sports Illustrated magazine designated Montana the 1990 “Sportsman of the Year”.

4 Barry Sanders

top 10 greatest nfl players of all time
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Barry Sanders is a former American football player who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 10 seasons with the Detroit Lions.

Many believe that Barry Sanders is the greatest running back in the history of American Football. He is well known for quickness and agility.

Sanders united with the Lions in 1989 and immediately helped the team in winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

In 1994, Sanders was anointed as the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award. In 1997, he became just the third player to run over 2,000 yards in a season and was designated the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

He retired as the only player in history to rush for 1,000 yards sequentially in each of their first 10 seasons. He has widely been considered one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. Sanders is surely one of the greatest talents to ever play the game.

3 Jim Brown

top 10 greatest nfl players of all time
Image Credit- Cleveland Browns

Jim Brown is a former American football player and sports analyst. He played majorly as a fullback for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL).

He has been a part of the league from 1957 through 1965. Many Believed him to be one of the greatest running backs of all time and the greatest players to ever grace the game.

In a total span of nine years, he was first-team All-Pro eight times. He’s the only running back in history to average over 100 yards rushing per game.

He was identified as the AP NFL Most Valuable Player thrice and won an NFL championship with the Browns in 1964.

He also guided the league in rushing yards in eight out of his nine seasons, and by the time he finished his career, he had devastated most major rushing records.

2 Jerry Rice

top 10 greatest nfl players of all time

Jerry Rice is a former football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for almost 21 seasons. He is surely one of the greatest NFL players and the greatest wide receiver of all time. Jerry collected 13 Pro Bowl appearances, 10 first-team All-Pro recognition, and 3 time Super Bowl champion.

He is widely considered the greatest wide receiver in NFL history and one of the greatest players overall. His impressive career and numerous accolades solidify his place as one of the greatest players of all time.

He has achieved more points than any other non-kicker in NFL history with 1,256. Rice is also memorized as one of the best clutch players in football history.

As of 2017, Rice holds more than 100 NFL records, the most by any player in history. Jerry Rice is number 2 in our list of the top 10 greatest NFL players of all time.

1 Tom Brady

top 10 greatest nfl players of all time
Image Credit- Tampa Bay Times

Tom Brady is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 22 seasons. Brady is widely considered the greatest quarterback of all time. He evolved as the starting quarterback during his second season with the Patriots and finally led them to win their first Super Bowl title in Super Bowl XXXVI.

His numerous records, astounding statistics, and unparalleled achievements speak volumes about his unparalleled skill and unyielding determination. As a seven-time Super Bowl champion, Brady’s ability to rise to the occasion in the most crucial moments is unmatched.

His leadership, football IQ, and unrivaled work ethic have propelled him to greatness year after year. Brady’s ability to adapt and evolve with the game, consistently performing at an elite level even in his 40s, is a testament to his unparalleled longevity and unmatched competitive spirit.

Brady later led the Patriots to 17 division titles which include 11 consecutive from 2009 to 2019, and 13 AFC Championship Games.

He also had nine Super Bowl appearances and six Super Bowl titles. Brady holds almost every major quarterback record which includes passing yards, completions, touchdown passes, and games started.

He is the oldest player in history to be designated Super Bowl MVP and win a Super Bowl as the starting quarterback at age 43. He tops the list of the top 10 greatest NFL players of all time.

Kamran Khan

A geek, who just loves to update sports, gaming, and tech updates from around the world to the other geeks out there. A passionate sports lover, a tech geek from the mind, and a gamer from the heart.

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