Top 10 Greatest NFL Players of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Jerry Rice Jerry Lee Rice is a former American football wide receiver who played 20 seasons in the National Football League, primarily with the San Francisco 49ers.

Jerry Rice was the best individual football player ever. The next 4-5 spots are debatable, but Favre, Rodgers, Moss, Peterson, and Deion Sanders are not in the top ten. Favre and Rodgers are both overrated as QBs.

By far the greatest wide receiver of all time. I judge athletes not by team achievements, but by personal achievements and the eyeball test. He holds the hardest records to break in the National Football League (NFL). The best defenders in the world could not lay a finger on him. Wide receivers do not last twenty years like this man did. It's almost hard to name a record he did not break.

2 Tom Brady Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr., is a retired American football quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League. Brady is known for being the only quarterback in history to win 7 Super Bowls, and was often considered one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Brady was also... read more

Tom Brady holds the most Super Bowl rings, seven AFC championships, the most Super Bowl MVPs, the most playoff wins, two MVPs, and is the first ever unanimous MVP. He led the greatest comeback in history and holds most quarterback records, often playing with subpar teams. Some might argue about cheating and mention Joe Montana having less protection, but these points are not strong enough to discredit Brady's accomplishments. Furthermore, he is still playing consistently and will likely continue to prove himself as the best player in NFL history. Yes, he may not be undefeated in the Super Bowl, but he is undefeated against Father Time. It's only a matter of time before Brady is recognized as the greatest player in NFL history.

3 Joe Montana Joseph Clifford "Joe" Montana, Jr., nicknamed Joe Cool and The Comeback Kid, is a retired American football quarterback.

"The Comeback Kid" -- Joe Cool is the coolest quarterback ever! Just take a look at all of his Super Bowl rings, plus all those MVP awards! Yep, all those rings don't lie... agreed? Indeed, Joe was so awesome that throughout his career, he was the most lethal quarterback ever inside the fourth quarter, especially when his team was down, with only minutes or seconds on the clock. That's when he would create his "magic" and score all those legendary game-winning touchdown passes under extreme pressure. And that's what makes him legendary.

Indeed, sometimes it seemed that time would stop just for him. While everybody else was frozen in time, he would take his time, and then -- Boom! Touchdown, Baby! "And the Niners win another Super Bowl"... was the typical comment for four of those big games. Just take a look at the highlights of one of his biggest games ever -- Super Bowl 23. It was so memorable that today, his last play is simply known as "The Catch," a game-winning touchdown with only 30 seconds on the clock, thus winning the Super Bowl! Remember, he was 4-0 in the Super Bowl. Yep, he was "undefeated" in all of his Super Bowl appearances: 4 wins, zero losses. And undefeated with 3 MVPs added to his resume at the Super Bowl. How's that for greatness?

4 Lawrence Taylor

He just dominated, giving huge, fierce hits. He was a defender and was named NFL MVP in 1986. Nobody has done it since. Tell me that isn't something! He was a sack machine. The NFL has never seen a defender like him, and probably never will again.

Without a doubt the best defensive player ever. He was insane! Quarterbacks feared him. Literally, people would get interviewed before the game they were playing against Taylor. The players would say, "He is the scariest player I've played against."

I'm picking Taylor first if I'm starting my All-Time Team. This guy was the premier defensive player in the league's history. He defended against some of the all-time greats and came away from those battles as a champion.

5 Barry Sanders Barry Sanders is a former American football running back who spent his entire professional career with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League.

Barry Sanders was unbelievable. He was amazing and incredible. His flawless plays were breathtaking, like a musical piece. Every single play was a work of art - a masterpiece.

I was not a Lions fan. In fact, I've been a lifelong 49ers fan. Nonetheless, my friends and I would always get together, turn on the TV and the speakers, fire up the grill, and enjoy a few beers with the BBQ. All of this was done while watching the great one do his thing. We would gather only to watch Barry Sanders play, not the Lions - just Barry Sanders. We would never miss a game.

Watching him was like seeing Michael Jordan, not on the basketball courts, but on the green NFL fields. Barry Sanders was untouchable and unstoppable, just like Michael Jordan - legendary. He would create moves that simply don't exist because they are not humanly possible.

Sanders was so fast and so good that he would juke one, two, three, and sometimes even four or five players. He would execute a single one-two combo-play, where he would rush, juke left and then spin right, sprint sideways a few feet, do another spin, and then he would burst forth like a runaway train, a missile, or a rocket. The next thing you know: touchdown!

Indeed, Barry Sanders is most certainly not human. I am convinced he's from another planet. He's like a piece of iron - so explosive and so elusive that I don't think anybody ever tackled him or touched him. This man was incredible. Barry Sanders is not human. He's a machine.

6 Jim Brown James Nathaniel Brown was a former professional American football player and actor. He was a running back for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League from 1957 through 1965.

What is Jim Brown doing all the way down here? I mean, I get Tom Brady being above him, winning seven Super Bowls, and Jerry Rice, playing for however many years and his super skills, but number 7? I mean, he should be like number three! Barry Sanders and Walter Payton are also extremely good running backs, but Jim Brown is, like, next level. He also changed the game because he was Black and most other, well, at least most other famous players of his time were white, so he is also an extreme icon.

There are a few you can argue are the GOATs - Tom Brady, Jerry Rice, Peyton Manning, Barry Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith, but I went with Jim Brown. So far ahead of his time and like Barry Sanders (who I really think it's a tie between Brown and Sanders), he retired in his prime. He could've continued to add to his legacy. Jim Brown is the man.

7 Walter Payton Walter Jerry Payton was an American football running back who played for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League for thirteen seasons.

Payton often gets overlooked because of the Bears' great defense. However, for those of us who had the privilege of watching Walter Payton in the mid-1970s and early 1980s, trust me, the Bears did not have a great defense until the end of his career. In 1982, the NFL went on strike. Payton would have rushed for over 1,000 yards for 10 consecutive seasons if the strike had not happened. Barry Sanders, for comparison, rushed for 1,000 yards for 10 consecutive seasons.

Another fact many do not realize is that Walter Payton played three of his NFL seasons when the league only played 14 games. He rushed for 1,852 yards in 1977, a 14-game season. Imagine if he had two more games like today's players. At the pace he had in 1977, 132 yards per game, he would have had 2,117 yards in a 16-game season. Yes, Emmitt Smith broke his all-time rushing record, but only because Smith played 15 seasons (Payton played 13 seasons) and Smith carried the ball 4,409 times compared to Payton's 3,838 times. Payton is the best football player/running back I have ever seen! Brian Costello

8 Peyton Manning Peyton Williams Manning is a former American football quarterback who played 18 seasons in the National Football League for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos.

Why is Peyton Manning only number 9 on this list? He's a better leader than Randy Moss, Brett Favre, Jim Brown, Walter Payton, and Barry Sanders. Not only is Peyton a better leader than Brady, but if that's not enough to surpass him on this list, then here are some more points to consider.

Manning has a better passer rating than Brady: Manning's is 65.2%, while Brady's is 63.7%. That's one point for Manning and zero for Brady. Manning also has the second-most completions in a single season with 450, while the most Brady had in a season was 401. That makes it Manning 2, Brady 0.

In terms of completions in a single-season playoff, Manning has the second-most with 97, behind only his brother, who had 106. While Brady does have more completions in a playoff career with 553, Manning is the third highest with 481. That takes the score to Manning 3, Brady 1.

Manning has more completions in a single game with 33, compared to Brady's 32. This makes it Manning 4, Brady 1. Brady has just one more touchdown in a single season with 50, making the score Manning 4, Brady 2. Manning has more passing touchdowns in a career with 436, while Brady has 334. This takes us to Manning 5, Brady 3.

In single-season playoff wins, Manning leads with 9, while Brady has 8. This brings the score to Manning 6, Brady 3. Brady has more career playoff touchdowns with 42, whereas Manning has 32. Brady also has more passing yards in a single season with 5,235, while Manning's high is exactly 4,700. The score now stands at Manning 6, Brady 3.

Manning has more career passing yards with 59,487, while Brady has 44,807. That's Manning 7, Brady 3. Manning also has more single-season playoff yards with 1,034, compared to Brady's high of 878. This takes us to Manning 8, Brady 3.

However, Brady has more total yards in a playoff career with 5,949, while Manning's total is 5,679. That moves the score to Manning 8, Brady 4. Finally, Brady has won more Super Bowls with 3,... more

9 Brett Favre Brett Lorenzo Favre is a former American football quarterback who spent the majority of his career with the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.

Let's see his records... Longest pass in Super Bowl history (99 yards), Super Bowl MVP. The oldest quarterback ever in his 40s and was still playing until 2014.

Favre is the number 1 gun in a "town" full of gunslingers. Nobody can deny his greatness or talent. 4 forever!

I don't think Favre is the GOAT, but he is surely one of the best.

10 Randy Moss Randy Gene Moss is a former American football wide receiver who played 14 seasons in the National Football League.

Only shadowed by Jerry Rice in the receiver category, Rice himself said that Moss had the most talent out of any receiver to ever play the game.

Moss carried the Vikings, and they should have won multiple championships.

Randy Moss is a great WR and he is one of the best. He should be ranked higher than 11? You're crazy! And why do you have Tim Tebow at number 26! What? He sucks?

The Contenders
11 Reggie White

He was a machine, just unstoppable. He could probably get around anybody, Anthony Munoz, John Hannah, anybody. It would be mortifying to see Reggie White looking at you across the line of scrimmage. There would be no use in trying to block the destructive Reggie White.

Reggie White should be number 7. He should at least make the top ten. Also, where are Ray Lewis and Tony Gonzalez? For me, Lewis is 2 and Gonzalez is 5.

Reggie White was the best on the Eagles!

12 Adrian Peterson Adrian Lewis Peterson is an American football running back who originally played for the Minnesota Vikings and currently plays for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League.

Child abuse has nothing to do with his stats. He is the best RB ever, possibly.

Everyone gives him crap because he abused his child, but this guy deserves top 10.

13 Johnny Unitas John Constantine Unitas, nicknamed "Johnny U", or "The Golden Arm", was an American professional football player from the 1950s through the 1970s.

Johnny U was amazing. If you look at his stats, you'd never guess he was though. Pass interference wasn't invented (my proof, it's called the Mel Blount rule), and very few penalties against the defense were. There were no doubters that Unitas would make the Hall of Fame.

14 Drew Brees Drew Christopher Brees is an American football quarterback for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. He is the only player to have back to back to back 5,000 yards in three seasons straight. Brees also has the all time best completion percentage with 66.95%.

Think about this for a sec. Drew broke Tom Brady's record for the most consecutive touchdown passes by 52. Plus, he has a 5000+ season average and was considered the most accurate quarterback of all time. This one is a no-brainer and should obviously be higher on the list.

One of the most accurate of all time! He's not my favorite, but he is one of the best at his position.

It's funny that he's been playing less than Tom Brady, but yet he is way, way better in my mind.

15 Ray Lewis Raymond Anthony Lewis Jr. is a former American football middle linebacker who played his entire 17-year career for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League.

Not only do I think that he is the best LB of all time, but I also think he is the 2nd best player EVER behind Jerry Rice. He was awesome. Huge impact on the game.

Best heart of all time. Greatest leader of all-time. Best defensive player of all time. Ray Lewis. 2-time champion.

Greatest defensive end of all time, an absolute monster all around.

16 Deion Sanders Deion Luywnn Sanders, Sr. is a former American football and former American baseball player, who works as an analyst for CBS Sports and the NFL Network.

Probably the greatest athlete on the field at the time that he played. Best to ever play the hardest position on the field.

Deion was the fastest NFL player ever! He has to be in the top ten! Actually, I think Joe Haden can be like that someday.

The other teams' quarterbacks must have thought he was their wide receivers.

17 Aaron Rodgers Aaron Charles Rodgers is an American football quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.

He is easily the most dangerous QB of all time. Brady, Montana, and Rice all have rings because it's a team game. He has also been practically carrying the Packers, including a Super Bowl victory. A person I can compare him to is Dan Marino but with more mobility.

No one can throw the deep ball like my boy Aaron Rodgers! He is definitely going to go down as one of the best. Number 26? Are you kidding me?! More like top 10 material we are working with here. At least better than Brett Favre. We don't see Rodgers leading the league in INTs. Go Pack Go!

18 Calvin Johnson Calvin Johnson Jr. is a retired American football wide receiver who played his entire career for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. He is often called the nickname ''Megatron'' for his rare combination of size, speed, and leaping ability on the field.

Speed, size, strength, catching, and jumping. Not only is this receiver good, he is amazing! Not only is he the best player at wide receiver today, but he is also one of the best players today and ever.

The only or one of the only reasons the Lions are winning games anymore is because they have Calvin Johnson. Without him, I think they would always be out of the playoff picture.

He is unguardable with his hands, strength, and speed. He was breaking records left and right with Matthew Stafford! So, it all balances out like this: GOAT.

19 J. J. Watt Justin James "J. J." Watt is an American football defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Texans with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and played college football at Wisconsin... read more

How is J.J. Watt 84? He's literally one of the best players I've ever seen.

20 Dick Butkus

Roses are red, violets are blue, you better keep Butkus away from you. If you've seen him, you've seen players lying on the ground, defeated. He was the hardest hitter in the history of the game, period. More players would be in the medical facility after facing the Bears with Butkus on their team than anywhere else.

The best defender of his time, with a memorable personality. If you saw him live or on TV back in the day, there's no question.

He is awesome. He should be higher in the ranks, and he schooled everybody on defense.

21 Larry Fitzgerald Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr. is an American football wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. Fitzgerald was drafted 3rd overall to the Arizona Cardinals in 2004, he is considered to be one of the best players of his position to never win a Super Bowl.

Most consistent hands ever, tall, extremely athletic, was blazing fast in his prime, and played the game like no other. When Larry Fitzgerald changed positions into more of an inside receiver instead of a wing player because of his age and the decrease in speed, he still remained one of the best receivers in the league. The only thing that he lacks (as well as the Cardinals) is a Super Bowl ring.

Honestly, he is my favorite player, and 19th! That's all? At least in the top ten, come on! He is amazing on the field and will never stop until he gets a Super Bowl ring. His hands can catch anything and everything. This is probably my longest complaint here. Make Larry 2, behind Jerry Rice, of course.

22 Steve Young Jon Steven Young is a former professional American football quarterback who played 15 seasons in the National Football League and is best known for his 13 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

Steve Young started his NFL career too late. Otherwise, he might have been the greatest player of all time. His seven-year span from 1992-1998 was incredible. Such a fun player to watch. He was basically as accurate as any quarterback there had ever been, and then you add in that he was one of the best running quarterbacks as well. Amazing!

When Joe Montana left, Steve Young replaced him and dominated one of the best 49ers.

23 Michael Irvin
24 Terrell Owens Terrell Eldorado Owens is an American football wide receiver who played for the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League.

He should be in the top five. Don't be mad at a person for speaking his mind. When he found out he's wrong, he came out and said it. Stop hating people. Terrell Owens.

25 Michael Vick Michael Dwayne Vick (born June 26, 1980) is a former American football quarterback who played 13 seasons in the National Football League, primarily with the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles. He played college football at Virginia Tech and was selected by the Falcons as the first overall pick... read more

My favorite QB of all time (From a Packers fan). People hate on him for his history with dog fighting, but everyone makes mistakes, and he lived up to his and spent his time. There are people in the NFL who repeatedly abuse drugs or their girlfriends, and Vick still gets more hate. Anyway, playing-wise, he is the best rushing QB of all time and had one of the greatest arms. Also, he is the greatest player in the history of Madden because of his stats in Madden 2004.

Michael Vick is the best running QB ever.

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