Top 10 NFL Players of the 50s

The Top Ten
1 Raymond Berry

Here's a Cinderella story: a man with poor eyesight and a lack of athleticism made the Colts in 1955 through hard work and practice to become the main player of that decade. His pairing with Johnny Unitas made them the best quarterback-wide receiving duo of the decade. His breakthrough performance came in the 1958 NFL Championship game as he caught 12 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown as the Colts won their first world championship and Baltimore's first pro sports world championship.

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2 Otto Graham Otto Everett Graham Jr. was an American football quarterback who played for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference and National Football League.

Otto's 1950 NFL debut was big, the Philadelphia Eagles was expecting a cakewalk win over the Browns. Instead Otto delivered with a 21-for-38 346 yard performance and a 35-10 win over the Eagles setting the stage for the Browns to rule the NFL throughout the 50s. Among the highlights we're the 1950 NFL Championship, and a revenge game in the 1954 NFL Championship in which his Browns beat the Lions 56-10 after what the Lions did to them in the previous 2 NFL Championship Games. Otto, one of the all-time greats.
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I haven't heard about him but it sounds like does not get enough fame

3 Chuck Bednarik

He was the greatest Philadelphia Eagles ever according to the NFL Network Top 10. Concrete Charlie was tough AND an American hero serving for our country in World War II. He's a no nonsense guy who once confronted Chuck Noll before his coaching days in Pittsburgh. He intercepted 20 passes and played through the Eagles lean years in the 1950s and for his great efforts earn him a berth in the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team. Bednarik, a 1966 Pro Football Hall of Famer.
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4 Tom Fears

He turned pro in 1948, and within two years had emerged as one of the best rising stars in the game, but that set the stage for 1950, the year that the Rams light up the scoreboard in record numbers, previously not seen in professional football and Fears was a big part of it when he caught 84 passes (a then NFL record) including 18 in a game against the Green Bay Packers on November 12. He also helped the team reached the NFL Title game after catching two touchdowns in a Western Conference tie breaker against the Bears.
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5 Elroy ''Crazylegs'' Hirsch

He was the Hollywood like Marque player of the Modern era. He was charming and most of all he was great. So great that Hollywood came calling and in 1953 HE starred in the film titled simply Crazylegs. Even in retirement, he still shined in the Movies and on TV, including a guest appearance in an 1965 episode of The Munsters. Unlike nearly all players, he retired at the top of his game in 1958 and left with 343 receptions for 6,299 yards and 53 touchdowns. He played on that fabled 1951 Rams Championship team.
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6 Gino Marchetti

He was the heart and soul of the Baltimore Colts. His defense was also the heart and soul of a city that welcomed its team in 1953, and within 5 years we're challenging for a NFL Championship. At that title game, he made a critical tackle on New York's Frank Gifford on third down late in the game and suffered a fractured ankle, but as team captain he stayed and that epic photo of him rooting on his team to win the Championship is one of the Iconic photos in NFL history.
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7 Ernie Stautner

A Steeler that gave you everything he had and more. He was one of the best defensive line man of his day, and became the cornerstone of the Steelers' bruising defense. He played hurt and was the guts and glory of a team that at times came close of making the playoffs in some good years for the team. His efforts were rewarded with 9 trips to the Pro Bowl, the 1957 NFL line man of the year, named to the Steelers' 50th and 75th anniversary team and induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in 1969.
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8 Sam Huff Robert Lee "Sam" Huff is a former professional American football linebacker in the National Football League for the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.

He was the backbone of the great 1950s New York Giants defense. 1956, was a year no fan will ever forget, in his rookie year, he played in the role in the success of the 4-3 defense that led the Giants to a successful season and hosting the NFL championship Game against the Chicago Bears. It was no contest as the Giants beat the Bears 47-7. Huff remembers the 4-3 defense success. "Landry built the 4-3 defense around me. It revolutionized defense and opened the door for all the variations of zones and man-to-man coverage, which are used in conjunction with it today."
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9 Norm Van Brocklin

Norm was the head coach in the 1960s and 70s bad mouthing the officials and players. BUT go back one decade ago, he was like a general leading his teams to battle as a quarterback he won a lot of games with the Los Angeles Rams. 1951 was a year no Rams fans will ever forget, on September 28 he was a one man army as he replaced Bob Waterfield who was injured and there he was as he completed 27 of 41 attempts with five touchdown passes AND a still NFL record 554 yards passing. Yes the Rams won that game and later the championship.
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10 Joe Schmidt

Joe was the heart and soul of the Lions during the 1950s. When Joe or Bobby Layne or both play well The Lions win, and during his stay The Lions win. He played in 10 straight Pro Bowls and in his rookie year we knew he was something special as his leadership on defense led the LIons to an NFL championship win over the mighty Cleveland Browns. They would do it again in 1957, and though Layne was out for the season, his defense carried the load as he led them to an another NFL Championship and he himself was the Lions MVP for the second time in 3 years. A true Lions warrior.
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The Contenders
11 Bobby Layne

Bobby wasn't the perfect NFL passer for this decade, but he was the perfect big time winner for the Detroit Lions. The 1953 NFL Championship Game was one of many great clutch games he had in his pro career. His Lions trailing by 6 drove the ball 80 yards to set up a game winning touchdown pass from Layne to Jim Doran from 33 yards out with 2 minutes left to play to secure The Lions as back to back champions. He's a major member of the 1950s NFL ALL-Decade Team. Peter Bonventre once wrote "The Detroit Lions of the Layne era were the best team in football on Sunday afternoon and the best party in town Sunday Night."
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12 Lou Groza

Browns fans may remember him as the man who kicked the game winning field goal in the 1950 NFL Championship Game. But Browns fans will also remember him as a gutty place kicker who for good or bad he give it his best. He competed in the 1952 NFL Championship despite having cracked ribs and it showed by missing 3 field goals. The next year, now healthy he kicked a NFL record of 23 field goals in a season and a 88.5 percent rate, a record that stood for 28 years. Groza's great 1954 season was so amazing that The Sporting News named him the NFL Most Valuable Player. An original GREAT Brown.
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13 Bill Willis
14 Dan Towler
15 Lou Creekmur
16 Bill George
17 Jack Christensen
18 Andy Robustelli
19 Rick Casares
20 Bobby Dillon
21 Arnie Weinmeister
22 Leo Nomellini
23 Alan Ameche
24 Yale Lary

Yale is not just a name for College, but Yale Lary was one of the best players you don't hear anymore. But Yale hold his own and became the best he can be. At safety, he intercepted 50 passes for 787 yards. He was great as a punter, long before the Ray Guy era in Oakland. He played in 9 Pro Bowls, and led the NFL in punting three times and had a great 44.3 yards per punt. A first team NFL All-pro an impressive 5 times. He even played a great part in the Detroit Lions winning the 1957 NFL Championship.
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25 Lenny Moore
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