Every generation says they had the best entertainers, politicians and athletes of all time. While we have some fantastic players in the early 21st century, taking a look back at NFL football legends proved that our parents may not be wrong this time around. We’d even give our last chicken wing on game day to see Franco’s Immaculate Reception in real time.
In honor of Wix’s Super Bowl commercial, we took a jog through memory lane to recount the top 10 pros who hold a special place in NFL history.
Lovingly referred to as “The Refrigerator” because of his massive size, Perry holds the record for the largest Super Bowl ring – size 25! In 2011 his massive bling made news after being returned to him by a 10 year old boy who found it for sale and raised money in order to restore it to the rightful owner. Can we say cute! Perry also entered a hot dog eating contest, tried pro-wrestling and was a substitute in the 2006 Lingerie Bowl which is a league of women only players. As much as we want him back on the field, we kind of like the mischief he is getting into post football.
Sometimes life felt a little like middle school for Moon when even after winning the Rose Bowl he wasn’t drafted for the NFL. That didn’t stop true fans from believing in him. He went on to set QB records and snatch up Grey Cups. Finally this underdog was given his deserved recognition and played for not 1 but 4 NFL teams! He ended up scoring himself a SuperBowl ring and industry praise. Now a broadcaster for the Seattle Seahawks we’ll be seeing Moon at the Super Bowl this year off the field.
If you only know one Wide Receiver, know Jerry Rice. Not to brag but he had his name on the top spot for record holders on 100 different lists at once and played an unprecedented 20 NFL seasons. The man knows how to move! Off the field he impressed audiences as 2nd place on“Dancing With The Stars” (like another friend of ours, cough*cough, Emmitt) and appeared as a back-up dancer on “Don’t Forget The Lyrics”. So basically he is a football and dance God all in one. We would love for him to return to playing football and dance with the cheerleaders during halftime, just because he can.
A title we would wear with pride, Sanders is considered the greatest player never to have reached a Super Bowl. Such an elusive running back, Sanders was basically the NFL’s version of Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch-Me-If-You-Can if the movie was based on the football field. Hmmm. Anyway, a testament to his loyalty, he played for only 1 team, the Detroit Lions, and they love the heck out him. Since he won’t play ball for anyone else and he knows how to stick around we thought that post retirement he would be perfect for The Bachelor. Remember, you heard it here first.
Fans of the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective may remember a certain football player missing a field goal during the Superbowl and losing by 1 point. Also the film Buffalo ‘66 has a character out to murder a player for missing a field goal. Yeah, the kicker of that real life blunder was him. No other football pro has inspired fiction writers quite like Scott Norwood. So at least he has that as a part of his legacy. Maybe instead of getting back in the athletic business we could get the Army to name a missile after him, only once the target was destroyed of course.
Running crazy yards with the ball and tough as nails, fans called Csonka the “machine”. He’s so hardcore, in his 5th game he received a concussion and in his 6th game another concussion as well as a broken nose and a cracked eardrum. In one game he was tackled so hard it was shown on ’The Tonight Show.’ This hunk of metal crawled off the field and “walked it off” on the sidelines to then rejoin the game after a few plays. Like, what?! His style of play was to run THROUGH opposing players rather than avoid them, earning him this next nickname, ”bulldozer”. Later in life he was seen building bridges and dams for the US Army Corps of Engineers without a single tool in hand. In other news, he opened barber shops specializing in mustache trimming. New nickname welcome.
Like that friend that packs snacks for a night out on the town – Flutie was clutch. He is remembered for the “Hail Mary” pass at the end of the clock that won the game for Boston College. Lucky Boston. The next year they saw a rise in applications and this phenomenon has since become known as “The Flutie Effect”. He played in the CFL, NFL and ASFL football leagues and for a time held the NFL record as the oldest player to score a touchdown. In 2006 he also performed a dropkick for the extra point-that had not been done since 1941. There must have been something special in those ’Flutie Flakes’!!
Nicknamed “Sweetness” because of the way he was on and off the field, Payton won the MVP Award twice. People looovvvveeeeed to watch him play. He had a unique running style know a the ‘stutter step’ (way to make lemons into lemonade) that confused opponents. He disapproved of touchdown celebrations (how thoughtful). Instead, he preferred to play jokes on his teammates after the game (fair enough), such as locking them out of the locker room while he enjoyed a hot shower. His motto was ‘never die easy’ and was the title of his posthumously published autobiography.
As durable as a solid paper towel, Butkus was always a fan favorite. Besides the fact that he was a two time unanimous All-American in college and “The Most Feared Man in the Game” in a good way, he also was loyal. Playing only for the Bears for the entirety of his NFL career Chicago fans are true to him. After receiving accolades upon accolade and icing out many colleagues with his mega mean reputation, it was time to move to something a bit more lighthearted. Butkus quickly moved into a radio and acting career, playing himself as well as scripted characters in numerous TV shows and films. He seems to be receiving steady work in the entertainment industry but we would guess he’ll have received more football awards than Golden Globes and would happily take him back into the world of sports.
A pro scout once said of Greene, “He’s tough and mean and comes to hit people.” While there is controversy around who invented his nickname the sentiments were proven true as he quickly became known as “mean Joe Greene”. Maybe more famous than his playing is his coined phrase “One for the Thumb” in ‘81 which became the unofficial Steelers rally cry. Though his #75 jersey was retired just last year we are confident we could find a new uniform for this guy, or at least a notepad to come out with some fun new chants.
Last but certainly not least, we give top honorable mention to 5 players we consider the cream of the crop. Love him or hate him Terrell Owens is always ready to entertain with famous touchdown dances and epic press conferences. Brett Favre struggled to retire from the game, but not nearly as much as his fans were struggled to see him go. Larry Allen went from Compton to the Cowboys and proved that he was a pro of Pro Bowls. Franco Harris is the comeback king putting the Steelers back on the map. And Emmitt Smith was a true and loyal Cowboy and a darn good dancer to boot.
If we can’t see these guys dominate the game on any given Sunday at least we can see a few during our Wix Super Bowl commercial.
Let us know who you think should have made the list?
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