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Best Football Player Of All Time In NFL History!

The National Football League (NFL) has a rich history that can be traced all the way back to the 1920s. We have been able to see firsthand, as time has passed, the cutthroat competition that the finest players on the gridiron engage in. So, who is the best football player of all time?

Excellent players in a variety of positions are produced throughout each time because of the varied game regulations. Making just one decision wouldn’t be an easy task at all. It is necessary for us to take into account the factors, statistical titles, and influences of each individual.

With this post, we have prepared a list of the top football players in the history of the game. Continue reading to find out more!

Who Is The Best Football Player Of All Time In the NFL?

Our list features excellent players who have played for a variety of positions and eras throughout the history of football. On the field, there will be stars from the previous century as well as stars from the current day that you can still see. Now that we have everything set up, let’s find out who is in the lead.

11- Drew Brees

Best Football Player Of All Time

Years:  2001-Present

Position:  Quarterback

Teams:  San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints

Achievements:

  • Super Bowl Champion XLIV
  • NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2004)
  • Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2006)
  • First-team All-Pro (2006)
  • 2× Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year (1998, 2000)
  • 2x NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2008, 2011)
  • 4× Second-team All-Pro (2008, 2009, 2011, 2018)
  • 13× Pro Bowl (2004, 2006, 2008–2014, 2016–2019)
  • 12 Pro Bowls
  • 2× NFL passer rating leader (2009, 2018)
  • 4× NFL passing touchdowns leader (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012)
  • 6× NFL completion percentage leader (2009–2011, 2017–2019)
  • 7× NFL passing yards leader (2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014–2016)
  • Maxwell Award (2000)
  • Chicago Tribune Silver Football (2000)
  • George Halas Award (2007)
  • Bert Bell Award (2009)
  • AP Athlete of the Year (2010)
  • Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year (2010)
  • Bart Starr Award (2011)
  • Art Rooney Award (2018)

NFL records

  • Most touchdown passes in a game: 7 (tied)
  • Most consecutive games with a touchdown pass: 54
  • Highest completion percentage in a game: 96.7
  • Highest completion percentage in a season: 74.4

10- Reggie White

Best Football Player Of All Time

Years:  1985-2000

Position:  Defensive End

Teams:  Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers

Achievements:

  • Super Bowl champion (XXXI)
  • 13× Pro Bowl (1986–1998)
  • 2× NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1987, 1998)
  • 2× NFL sacks leader (1987, 1988)
  • 5× Second-team All-Pro (1992–1994, 1996, 1997)
  • 8× First-team All-Pro (1986–1991, 1995, 1998)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame
  • Green Bay Packers No. 92 retired
  • First-team All-SEC (1983)
  • SEC Player of the Year (1983)
  • Unanimous All-American (1983)
  • First-team All-USFL (1985)
  • Bart Starr Award (1992)
  • 3× NFC Defensive Player of the Year (1987, 1991, 1995)
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Philadelphia Eagles 75th Anniversary Team
  • Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame
  • Philadelphia Eagles No. 92 retired
  • Tennessee Volunteers No. 92 retired

NFL records

  • Most seasons leading the league in sacks: 2 (tied)
  • Most consecutive seasons with 10+ sacks: 9
  • Most consecutive seasons leading the league in sacks: 2 (tied with Mark Gastineau and T. J. Watt)

“The Minister of Defense” is the worst possible opponent for any gamer to face. The most glaring evidence of this is the fact that he was awarded two AP Defensive Player honors. Additionally, he was a part of the Green Bay Packers team that won the Super Bowl.

Reggie White is an absolute beast when he’s out there playing the game. He has the outstanding speed necessary to tackle players who have possession of the ball as well as the great force necessary to prevent them from blocking.

9- Deion Sanders

Years:  1989-2000, 2004-05

Position:  Cornerback

Franchises:  Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens

Achievements:

As a player:

  • Atlanta Falcons (1989–1993)
  • Dallas Cowboys (1995–1999)
  • San Francisco 49ers (1994)
  • Baltimore Ravens (2004–2005)
  • Washington Redskins (2000)
  • 6× First-team All-Pro (1992–1994, 1996–1998)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro (1991, 1999)
  • 8× Pro Bowl (1991–1994, 1996–1999)
  • 2× Super Bowl champion (XXIX, XXX)
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1994)
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL kickoff return yards leader (1992)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1989)
  • Jim Thorpe Award (1988)
  • 2× Unanimous All-American (1987, 1988)
  • Florida State Seminoles Jersey No. 2 honored
  • Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor
  • Prime Prep Academy (2012–2013)

As a coach:

  • 2x SWAC East Division champion (2021, 2022)
  • 2x SWAC champion (2021, 2022)
  • 2x SWAC Coach of the Year (2021, 2022)

Head coach:

  • Offensive coordinator
  • Trinity Christian School (TX) (2017–2020)
  • Jackson State (2020–2022)
  • Colorado (2023–present)

The player Deion Sanders has a wide range of skills. He is one of the very few athletes that are capable of playing both baseball and football. Sanders played in Major League Baseball for a total of nine full seasons during the course of his career. He is the only athlete to have competed in both the World Series and the Super Bowl. He holds the record for most career wins.

Watch the following video to have a better understanding of his abilities.

8- Dick Butkus

Years:  1965-1973

Position:  Linebacker

Team:  Chicago Bears

Achievements:

  • Big Ten Most Valuable Player (1963)
  • 2× Consensus All-American (1963, 1964)
  • UPI Lineman of the Year (1964)
  • George Halas Award (1974)
  • 8× Pro Bowl (1965–1972)
  • 2× NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1969, 1970)
  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (1966, 1967, 1971)
  • 5× First-team All-Pro (1965, 1968–1970, 1972)
  • NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
  • 100 greatest Bears of All-Time
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Chicago Bears No. 51 retired
  • Illinois Fighting Illini No. 50 retired

Since the very first round of the draught, Dick Butkus has been a shining example. Both the Denver Broncos and the Chicago Bears selected him in the draught, but he ultimately chose to play for the Bears.

Butkus was honored as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1970, despite the fact that his team only achieved a single victory during that season. The AP Defensive Player of the Year award wasn’t presented for the first time until 1971. Butkus owned the record for the highest amount of forced nets in the history of the NFL when he retired from the league.

7- Johnny Unitas

Years:  1956-1971

Position:  Quarterback

Teams:  Baltimore Colts, San Diego Chargers

Achievements:

  • Super Bowl champion (V)
  • 10× Pro Bowl (1957–1964, 1966, 1967)
  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (1957, 1960, 1963)
  • 5× First-team All-Pro (1958, 1959, 1964, 1965, 1967)
  • 3× NFL Most Valuable Player (1959, 1964, 1967)
  • 3× NFL champion (1958, 1959, 1968)
  • NFL Man of the Year (1970)
  • 4× NFL passing yards leader (1957, 1959, 1960, 1963)
  • 4× NFL passing touchdowns leader (1957–1960)
  • 2× NFL passer rating leader (1958, 1965)
  • NFL completion percentage leader (1967)
  • NFL 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • 3× Bert Bell Award (1959, 1964, 1967)
  • Louisville Cardinals No. 16 retired
  • Indianapolis Colts No. 19 retired

The next face, “Golden Arm,” may be found in seventh place. Many people believe that he was Tom Brady’s predecessor in the position he now holds.

It’s possible that other NFL players’ records are more impressive, but even if they are, his numbers are still acceptable. It wasn’t until 2012 that Drew Brees was able to break his record of 47 straight games in which he scored a touchdown.

6- Walter Payton

Best Football Player Of All Time

Years:  1975-1987

Position:  Running Back

Franchise:  Chicago Bears

Achievements:

  • Super Bowl champion (XX)
  • NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1977)
  • NFL Man of the Year (1977)
  • NFL Most Valuable Player (1977)
  • 5× First-team All-Pro (1976, 1977, 1980, 1984, 1985)
  • 9× Pro Bowl (1976–1980, 1983–1986)
  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (1978, 1979, 1986)
  • 4× NFL rushing attempts leader (1976–1979)
  • NFL rushing touchdowns leader (1977)
  • NFL rushing yards leader (1977)
  • NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Bert Bell Award (1985)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • 100 greatest Bears of All-Time
  • Chicago Bears No. 34 retired

NFL record

  • Most consecutive starts by a running back: 170 (178 including playoffs)

It’s hard to believe that a guy who is capable of holding his own in any situation would be given the nickname “Sweetness,” yet the moniker is spot on. In spite of his ability to break through defenses and serve as a major line of defense, Walter Payton maintains a courteous approach and speaks in a low voice. The Chicago Bears are the only club that this running back has ever played for throughout his professional career. A serious disease took his life in 1999 when he was 45 years old, and he died away.

5- Lawrence Taylor

Years:  1981-1993

Position:  Linebacker

Team:  New York Giants

Achievements:

  • 2× Super Bowl champion (XXI, XXV)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro (1987, 1990)
  • NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (1981)
  • NFL Most Valuable Player (1986)
  • 3× NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1981, 1982, 1986)
  • 8× First-team All-Pro (1981–1986, 1988, 1989)
  • 10× Pro Bowl (1981–1990)
  • ACC Player of the Year (1980)
  • Unanimous All-American (1980)
  • 2× NFC Player of the Year (1983, 1986)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1981)
  • Bert Bell Award (1986)
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL sacks leader (1986)
  • New York Giants Ring of Honor
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • New York Giants No. 56 retired
  • North Carolina Tar Heels Jersey No. 98 honored

If Lawrence Taylor did not make it into this list, it would be a pity since he is one of the very few defensive players to ever win the Most Valuable Player title. In addition to that, he is a leader in his job. If Taylor had been able to play for a longer period of time, it is likely that he would be positioned higher on this list.

4- Joe Montana

Years:  1979-1994

Position:  Quarterback

Franchises:  San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs

Achievements:

  • 3× Super Bowl MVP (XVI, XIX, XXIV)
  • 4× Super Bowl champion (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • 8× Pro Bowl (1981, 1983–1985, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993)
  • NFL Comeback Player of the Year (1986)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro (1981, 1984)
  • NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1989)
  • 2× NFL Most Valuable Player (1989, 1990)
  • 3× First-team All-Pro (1987, 1989, 1990)
  • 5× NFL completion percentage leader (1980, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1989)
  • 2× NFL passer rating leader (1987, 1989)
  • 2× NFL passing touchdowns leader (1982, 1987)
  • 2× George Halas Award (1988, 1994)
  • San Francisco 49ers No. 16 retired
  • San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame
  • A national champion (1977)
  • 2× AP Athlete of the Year (1989, 1990)
  • Bert Bell Award (1989)
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year (1990)

When one considers that Joe Montana was selected 82nd overall in the draught in 1979, the position in which he was placed is quite humorous. Things didn’t start going his way until he won the national title while playing quarterback for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. After that, Joe Montana continued to improve his game and eventually became one of the greatest quarterbacks of his period.

Montana is the only player in the history of the NFL to get the Most Valuable Player award in the Super Bowl more than once. The manner in which this quarterback played the game had a significant impact on how football was played in the years that followed.

3- Jim Brown

Best Football Player Of All Time

Years:  1957-1965

Position:  Running Back

Team:  Cleveland Browns

Achievements:

  • NFL champion (1964)
  • 9× Pro Bowl (1957–1965)
  • 3× NFL Most Valuable Player (1957, 1958, 1965)
  • 8× First-team All-Pro (1957–1961, 1963–1965)
  • NFL Rookie of the Year (1957)
  • 8× NFL rushing yards leader (1957–1961, 1963–1965)
  • 5× NFL rushing touchdowns leader (1957–1959, 1963, 1965)
  • NFL scoring leader (1958)
  • Second-team All-Pro (1962)
  • Bert Bell Award (1963)
  • NFL 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Second-team All-American (1955)
  • Unanimous All-American (1956)
  • Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor
  • Cleveland Browns No. 32 retired
  • CFB150 Greatest college football player ever (2020)
  • Syracuse Orange No. 44 retired

Jim Brown is the only guy that a lot of people can think of when they hear the phrase “NFL legend.” Eight times throughout his nine years of participation in the competition, he finished first on the All-Pro list.

This fantastic running back can cover 104.3 meters throughout the course of a typical game on average. It is simple for us to determine how wonderful this Super Bowl winner is by looking at everything that he has accomplished. Even going into his last season in 1965, Brown led the league in a variety of statistical categories, including long shots, sprints, touchdowns, and more.

2- Jerry Rice

Years:  1985-2004

Position:  Wide Receiver

Franchises:  San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks

Achievements:

  • Super Bowl MVP (XXIII)
  • 13× Pro Bowl (1986–1996, 1998, 2002)
  • 3× Super Bowl champion (XXIII, XXIV, XXIX)
  • 10× First-team All-Pro (1986–1990, 1992–1996)
  • 2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1987, 1993)
  • Second-team All-Pro (2002)
  • 2× NFL receptions leader (1990, 1996)
  • 6× NFL receiving yards leader (1986, 1989, 1990, 1993–1995)
  • 6× NFL receiving touchdowns leader (1986, 1987, 1989–1991, 1993)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1985)
  • NFL scoring leader (1987)
  • Bert Bell Award (1987)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • 2× First-team I-AA All-American (1983, 1984)
  • San Francisco 49ers No. 80 retired

NFL records

  • Most career receiving touchdowns: 197
  • Most career total touchdowns: 208
  • Most career receptions: 1,549
  • Most career receiving yards: 22,895

When it comes to wide receivers, it is quite difficult to find a player with a more dominating position than Jerry Rice. He holds the record for the most career-receiving touchdowns. When compared to other athletes over his whole career who has accomplished notable things, he has a significant advantage.

At first sight, these figures may not strike you as particularly surprising. Compare his accomplishments to those of other players that came after him in the annals of NFL history. Jerry Rice had 33 more touches than the next closest player and received 6961 more yards. That is a rather intimidating amount.

Rice’s long life and consistently high level of performance also contribute to his one-of-a-kind status. Because of their small height and increased likelihood of being hurt, wide receivers often don’t reach a ripe old age very quickly. Despite all of this, this guy continued to fight until he was 41 years old.

Jerry Rice resigned from the NFL with 36 records, none of which have been broken in the next sixteen years.

1- Tom Brady

Best Football Player Of All Time

Year:  2000-Present

Position:  Quarterback

Team:  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (now), New England Patriots

Achievements:

  • NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 2010s All-Decade Team
  • 15× Pro Bowl (2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009–2018, 2021)
  • NFL completion percentage leader (2007)
  • 2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2007, 2010)
  • 2× NFL passer rating leader (2007, 2010)
  • NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2009)
  • 5× NFL passing touchdowns leader (2002, 2007, 2010, 2015, 2021)
  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (2005, 2016, 2021)
  • 4× NFL passing yards leader (2005, 2007, 2017, 2021)
  • 3× First-team All-Pro (2007, 2010, 2017)
  • New England Patriots All-2000s Team
  • New England Patriots All-Dynasty Team
  • New England Patriots All-2010s Team
  • Bert Bell Award (2007)
  • A national champion (1997)
  • 2× Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year (2005, 2021)
  • Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year (2007)
  • New England Patriots 50th Anniversary Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team

NFL records

  • Most career quarterback wins: 249
  • Most career passing touchdowns: 640
  • Most times sacked: 561
  • Most career passing completions: 7,610
  • Most career passing attempts: 11,841
  • Most pass completions in a season: 485 (2021)
  • Most career passing yards: 87,852
  • Longest touchdown pass: 99 yards (tied)

By winning his sixth title at the age of 41 in Super Bowl 53 in 2019, Tom Brady cemented his place as the GOAT in the annals of NFL history. Additionally, he is the recipient of a multitude of trophies in addition to his four NFL Most Valuable Player crowns.

When Tom Brady made the move from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he created history once again on the Super Bowl record by capturing his seventh title. In addition, he was a big reason why the Buccaneers were able to pull off the unprecedented feat of winning the championship at home.

The path that Tom Brady has taken from being the seventh overall draught selection to becoming a superstar has not been an easy one. He had to put in a lot of effort and wait with great patience before he could finally shine. Because of his expertise, physical strength, and natural leadership abilities, Brady is an obvious choice for the position.

Conclusion!

Who is the best NFL football player of all time? We really hope that this post of ours has provided you with the solution that you were looking for.

Each individual will have a champion that best represents them, based on their opinions and perspectives. The fact that they all battled against one another and provided the spectators with the most entertaining bouts is the most essential thing. Read more

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