AKA Mr. Steel Arm, Terry Bradshaw quarterbacked the Pittsburg Steelers to four Super Bowl titles over a six-year span. Bradshaw was the first pick of the 1970 draft and went on to enjoy a
14-year career in the NFL.
Some say this former Cleveland Brown running back retired much too soon. At the time of his retirement after only nine seasons, he left the game as the all-time leading rusher. He also held the mark for the single-season rushing record, running for 1,863 yards. Doing so in a time when the NFL’s regular season schedule was only 12 games, not the 16 as it is today. He was also the first player to ever score 100 touchdowns and he is the only player in history to average 100 yards per game for his career. Perhaps the amazing stat: Jim Brown never fumbled during his entire career.
Best known for his tenor at the University of Alabama. Paul William “Bear” Bryant won six national titles during his 25 years coaching the Crimson Tide. He also played on the 1934 University of Alabama National Championship team. At the time he retired, he held the record for the most wins as a coach.
The former coach was also known as “Iron Mike.” Ditka is one of only two people (Tom Flores) to have won a Super Bowl as a player, an assistant coach and as a head coach. In 1988 he became the first tight end to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
John Elway was originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1983 and he also played two years of minor league baseball. He used baseball to his advantage when he forced the Colts to trade him to the Denver Broncos. Threatening to go back to baseball, Elway stated he wouldn’t play for the Colts because they wouldn’t allow him to be successful. In 1987, Elway conducted what will forever be known as “The Drive” -a 98-yard game-tying drive in
the AFC Championship game. The Broncos won that game but ended up losing the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. That would not be Elway’s last shot at a ring. John Elway started in a record five Super Bowls, winning two championships.
The NFL’s Iron Man, Favre was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 1991 draft. The following year, he was traded to the Green Bay Packers and this is when the Iron Man legend began. Favre had an incredible run starting in every single game since the fourth game of the 1992 season. He holds almost every NFL quarterback record, including passing yards, passing touchdowns, pass completions, pass attempts, interceptions thrown and victories as a starting quarterback.
Some say Dan Marino is the greatest quarterback to never win a Super Bowl title. Having one of the quickest releases and a strong arm to go with it, Marino was one of the best quarterbacks of his era. Marino was the first rookie to ever start at quarterback in the Pro Bowl. He played from 1983 – 1999 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
This two-time MVP led his teams to 31 fourth quarter comefrom-behind wins. Montana started four Super Bowls and never lost. In 1999, ESPN named Montana the greatest athlete of the 20th century.
Also known as “Broadway Joe,” this former American Football League quarterback is most famous for guaranteeing his New York Jets would upset the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. At the time, people thought this was laughable. The Colts belonged to the NFL and the Jets were representing the supposedly weaker AFL. Namath made true on his promise as his Jets upset the coaching great Don Shula’s Colts and along the way the game’s first media superstar was born.
With his graceful running style and almost perfect balance, Walter Payton earned the nickname “Sweetness.” Named to nine Pro Bowl selections, Sweetness once held the all-time rushing yard record. He also held the records for the most rushing touchdowns. Selected to the Hall of Fame in 1993, Payton was also known for the type of person he was off the field. The NFL hands out the “Walter Payton Man of The Year” award annually to a single player who impacts his community through volunteer work as well as charitable contributions.
Statistically the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game. The G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) owns three Super Bowl Rings and is the record holder in almost every statistical category for wide receivers.
Best known for his tenor as the Miami Dolphins head coach, Don Shula holds the distinctive honor of coaching the only undefeated team in NFL history. This two-time Super Bowl winning coach holds the record for the most coaching victories with 347. Shula coached for 32 seasons.
Nicknamed “The Juice,” Simpson was the first player to ever rush for 2,000 yards in a single season. It should be noted that he accomplished this feat while the NFL played a 14-game season. He also averaged an unheard of 143 yards per game during that season which is also a record. Simpson later became the focus of many legal battles, most notably the 1995 murder trial of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
This former University of Florida All-American is the all-time leading rusher in NFL history. Smith is the only player in history to have won the rushing title, Super Bowl title, Super Bowl MVP and League MVP all in the same season. Smith helped his Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles in the 1990s.
It has been said “Johnny U” is one of the greatest to play the game. Playing from the 1950s – 1970s, Unitas held the NFL record for throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games. A four-time league MVP, Unitas was the quarterback in the first ever overtime game in NFL history. Some dubbed this the “Greatest Game Ever Played.” Some point to this game as the start of the league’s popularity.
Nicknamed “The Minister of Defense,” Reggie White won two Defensive Player of the Year awards. While being named to 13 Pro Bowls, White amassed 198.5 career sacks which ranks second all time. White earned his nickname for being the most feared player on defense on the field and being a minister off of it. White was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2006 posthumously.
Steve Young holds the distinct honor of being the first lefthanded quarterback to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Young, a two-time league MVP also won the Super Bowl MVP award in 1994 with the San Francisco 49ers