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NFL All-Time, All-Pro Team- *Offense*
(There have been significant adjustments to my All Time, All NFL Team since I originally wrote the piece in 2009. It’s not that history itself has changed, simply that “new history” is made every year. Also, this time around, more consideration has been made as to how much each player has affected the history of his position and the Sport of Professional Football itself- as well as the System they played under and how much talent surrounded them.)
NFL All-Time All-Pro Team (05/2013)
!= update (previous)
QB- ! Tom Brady (Brett Favre)
RB- Jim Brown
RB- Barry Sanders
WR- Jerry Rice
WR- ! Randy Moss (Don Hutson)
TE- Tony Gonzalez
OT- ! Jim Parker (Forrest Gregg)
OT- Anthony Munoz
OG- John Hannah
OG- ! Bruce Matthews (Jim Parker ((OT))
C- ! Jim Otto (Chuck Bednarik)
KR- ! Gale Sayers
PR- ! Devin Hester
DEFENSE: (see: NFL All-Time, All-Pro Team: Defense)
!- Tom Brady
Tom Brady is a superstar. And isn’t it appropriate that such a superstar be the All-Time representative at Quarterback, the most important of any Position in organized Sport….. and within the sport of Football, the King of American Sports? And like many superstars, Brady is a polarizing figure. Rich, Rock Star like Celebrity, GQ good looks, supermodel wife, a Winner in every way, blah, blah, blah! The man would be so easy to hate, except that it’s so impossible not to like him….or at least respect him. But let’s try: Here are the best attempts to date of hating on the career of Tom Brady, and the simple truths about the “allegations”: #1.“Tom Brady’s such a GQ pretty boy”…..except that he is at his best in the worst weather, in the most important games of his career. And Brady has played through injury just as often as Ben Roethlisberger (legitimate injuries at leastJ). Brady also never casts a teammate under the bus and he earns a good deal of praise by demanding the lion’s share of the blame if the Patriots don’t win. #2. “Tom Brady’s a silver spoon, entitled diva”………except that he’s not. Brady was the backup for much of his career at the University of Michigan, then was a 6th round draft choice, earned the backup position behind Drew Bledsoe, and worked his tail off to recover from his own blown out knee injury. Brady carries himself with the class and dignity that we all wish for our own sons. Does he receive a lot of attention? Yes, but only for living his life like any WINNER would. He doesn’t go out of his way to manufacture attention. #3. “Brady’s just a product of Bellicheck’s system”………. NO. Tom Brady IS the system. No QB has ever been surrounded, year after year, by such a mediocre supporting cast as Brady, and still he thrusts the New England Patriots to the pinnacle of NFL greatness year after year.
In his 11 seasons as the starting QB in New England, Tom Brady has led the Patriots to 5 Super Bowl appearances, winning 3. He and Joe Montana are the only 2 Quarterbacks in NFL history to have multiple NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards in a career. Also Brady and John Elway are the only QBs to have led their teams to 5 Super Bowl appearances. Here is just a glimpse of his dazzling resume: 2x- NFL MVP (2007, 2010), 8x- Pro Bowl nominee, 3x- Super Bowl champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX), 2× Super Bowl MVP (XXXVI, XXXVIII), NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2009) NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, etc, etc, etc.
Brady has had a ridiculous career in the NFL- an All- Time career- and the great part is that he’s still great now, and he’s not through yet....
Tom Brady, I'm proud of you as a University of Michigan alum and also now as my QB of my ALL-TIME, ALL-PRO TEAM!!!
(previously: Brett Favre)
Brett Favre plays the game with a refreshing, child-like enthusiasm, but his on-the-field acumen and off-the-field actions are those of a true man. It was hard for me to choose any quarterback over “Joe Cool” (Montana), but the facts are undeniable. There has never been a better clutch performer than Montana, but Brett Favre holds all the records (by far) and he is also a Super Bowl Champion with ice in his veins. Making Favre’s accomplishments even more impressive is that Favre has spent nearly his entire career playing in the “Frozen Tundra” of Green Bay- hardly the ideal passing conditions. Also, his NFL record of 305 consecutive Games Started may be one of the most incredible feats of toughness, desire, and endurance in sports history! With the great modern day pass-rushers, it’s not as though Favre hasn’t been hit and knocked around. But while this Superman does feel pain and can be hurt, he can not be injured! How can there be any doubt when a man has a resume which includes this list of records and accomplishments:
-NFL record 490 career touchdown passes *2nd Dan Marino- 420
-NFL record 68,276 career passing yards *2nd Dan Marino- 61,361
-NFL record 5,998 career pass completions * 2nd Dan Marino- 4,967
-NFL record 9,683 career pass attempts *2nd Dan Marino-8,358
-NFL record 305 consecutive starts (kickers excluded) *2nd Peyton Manning- 188
-NFL record 179 career victories as a starting quarterback *2nd John Elway- 148
-NFL record 18 consecutive seasons with 3,000+ passing yards
-He led the Packers to seven Divisional Championships and won 2 NFC Championships (in 4 appearances)
-Two Super Bowl appearances- *One Super Bowl Victory (Super Bowl XXXI).
-10 time Pro-Bowl selection
-The only quarterback to have led a team to victory over all thirty-two teams
-The only player to win the AP Most Valuable Player three consecutive years
*Can there be any doubt? Brett Favre is the greatest quarterback in the History of Professional Football!
1. Jim Brown
"For mercurial speed, airy nimbleness, and explosive violence in one package of undistilled evil, there is no other like Mr. Brown”- Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Red Smith. Jim Brown was a 6’2”, 230 pound man among boys with the power of a bull and the grace of a butterfly. Brown is widely accepted as the greatest professional football player ever. (While the records would suggest that Jerry Rice is, I suppose that thousands of experts can’t be wrong.) He is certainly the most dominant player ever. Jim Brown was a one-of-a-kind football player who defines dominance in sports. He was tremendous carrying the ball, catching it, or even throwing it. Brown’s claim to the title of “greatest running back of all time” is supported by the statistics. In 118 career games, Brown averaged 104.3 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry. The only other player to come close to these numbers is Barry Sanders (hence my choice as the other All-Time RB) and even he pales in comparison. And he also may be the most decorated professional athlete of all time. He is not only in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but also the College Football Hall of Fame and The Lacrosse Hall of Fame from his exploits at SyracuseUniversity. The only reason that Brown doesn’t hold all of the rushing records is the longevity of other backs, such as Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton. Brown played for only 9 seasons and never missed a game, until he retired in his prime at age 30. Brown was voted to the Pro Bowl each of his 9 seasons, won NFL Rookie of the Year in 1957, won 4 NFL MVP awards, and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 5 of his 9 seasons he led the NFL in net yards from scrimmage.
* Some question the deservedness of the vast quantity of praise heaped on Brown for his football prowess. But after researching for this story, I’m convinced- Jim Brown definitely is the greatest Running Back, and most dominant performer, in the history of Professional Football! I plan to line him up, behind Farve (! Brady) and in front of Barry, in the backfield of my All-Time, All-Pro Team.....and see what Brown can do for me:-)
2. Barry Sanders
While Jim Brown may be the best RB ever due to the dominance of his era, Barry Sanders may very well be the most exciting player to ever play the game. His unbelievable elusiveness and his ability to instantly go from a dead stop to full speed are unrivaled. Barry averaged an amazing 99.8 yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry, making him the only player to even approach Jim Brown’s dominating career. And making his accomplishments all the more amazing, he spent his entire career on the dreadful Detroit Lions, running behind a very pedestrian O-line. Barry played for ‘only’ 10 seasons before unexplainably retiring while still in his prime- only 1 season after his MVP season in 1997, which was possibly the greatest single season of any running back- EVER! Sanders was on track to easily overtake all of Walter Payton’s records (since broken by Emmitt Smith) until he retired early. I believe that he can claim the greatest single seasons in both Professional and College Football history. Sanders’ amazing football career began with his Heisman Winning season in 1988, while playing for OklahomaState. Sanders set 34 NCAA Football records that season. He still holds the national college single-season rushing record with 2,628 rushing yards. He averaged an amazing 7.6 yards/carry, and scored 37 Touchdowns! Barry was in the midst of a dazzling Pro career when he exploded for the season of all-time in 1997. He rushed for 2,053 yards and 11 TDs, averaging a mind-boggling 6.1 yards per carry! He added 305 yards and 3 TDs receiving. During the final 14 games alone he totaled exactly 2,000 yards, averaging 6.5 yds/carry. Sanders went to the Pro Bowl in each of his 10 seasons, was NFL Rookie of the Year in 1989, was NFL MVP in 1997, and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He rushed for 1500 yards or more an NFL record 5 times. Had and NFL record 25 games of 150 yards or more. He also holds the NFL record with 15 TD runs of 50 yards or more.
*It would seem to me that the best “Running Backs” in history, should be the best runners- those who are the benchmarks of the skills of running over defenders and/or making them miss. In that case, it’s CLEAR that, along with Jim Brown, Barry Sanders is one of the two best Running Backs of All-Time!
1. Jerry Rice
There is no player who has so distanced himself from the next best player to ever play his position as Jerry Rice. He had such a dominating career from his Wide Receiver position that he helped to usher in a new way to successfully win at the sport of Professional Football. Consider these amazing facts about the unbelievable career of Jerry Rice:
1. At the time of his retirement, his 1,549 receptions were 447 receptions ahead of the second place record held by Marvin Harrison.
2. His 22,895 receiving yards were 7,961 yards ahead of the second place spot held by Tim Brown.
3. His 197 touchdown receptions are 65 scores more than the 132 touchdown receptions by Terrell Owens
4. His 208 total touchdowns were 33 scores ahead of Emmitt Smith's second place 175.
Rice excelled due to his incredible work ethic and his football intelligence, more so than by pure athletic ability (he was clocked in the 4.7 range in the 40-yd. dash). He is considered the best WR ever at not only catching the ball, but also blocking and route running. Rice is the all-time leader in (literally) every major statistical category for wide receivers, including Receptions (1,549), Receiving yards (22,895), Touchdown receptions (197), Receiving touchdowns in a game (5), and Games with at least 100 yards receiving (76). Not only that, but he holds records over the entire NFL in several stats, including All-purpose yards (23,546) and Total touchdowns (208) [197 receiving, 10 rushing, 1 fumble return]. Also, he comes up huge when the lights are brightest, holding many of the Offensive records in Postseason and Super Bowl History. Rice was selected to the Pro Bowl 13 times, won three Super Bowl rings with the 49ers, and was the 1988 NFL MVP. During his 20 year NFL career he played in 303 games, missing only 10.
*As mentioned earlier, there is no more of a landslide selection to the All-Time Team than Jerry Rice, the Greatest Wide Receiver in the history of Professional Football.
2. ! Randy Moss
Based on his off the field behavior alone, Randy Moss is an a**hole malcontent, right from his fights throughout school to his running over a traffic cop to finally being such a jerk to the catering staff that the Vikings straight cut him from the team! But for this exercise, my All Time, All PRO Team- I don’t care! I’m not a babysitter or a judge of social character. I’m simply putting together a team of the BEST, most INFLUENTIAL professional football players in history and Randy Moss is 2nd only to Jerry Rice at the Wide Receiver position.
As an athlete Randy Moss is 2nd to none. He is the prototypical Wide Receiver at 6’4”, 205 lbs, with track star speed, the ability to out-jump anyone of the field, and amazing body movement and hand-eye coordination, Moss left many a Cornerback sleepless and in a cold sweat the night before their matchup. Jerry Rice was just the unquestioned Elite at the position- the Great One- but Randy Moss is the godfather of 2 huge facets of the game for any wide receiver: he is the greatest deep ball/ home run threat ever, and his huge, springy, coordinated body made him the ultimate Red Zone threat, allowing his QB to just lob the ball really high where no one but Randy could catch it. And he usually did. Consider this: Randy Moss is 2nd all time with 156 Touchdown reception, including an otherworldly 23 in the magical 2007 season (in which his QB, Tom Brady, passed for 50 Tds)!!! When it comes to a Wide Receiver and scoring Touchdowns, Randy Moss did it best, and he holds most of the records for scoring (per play/per season, not longevity). Moss has averaged at least one receiving touchdown/ game in four different seasons: 1998 (17 TDs in 16 games), 2003 (17 in 16), 2004 (13 in 13), and 2007 (23 in 16). Overall, from any position player, Randy Moss is 4th All Time with 157 total touchdowns scored, 6th all time with 15,292 receiving yards, and 10th in history with 954 career receptions. Granted, Moss isn’t in the top-2 of every statistical category, but he was an enigma- Dangerous- to society, food catering services, probably himself, and certainly the Secondaries trying to cover him. He singlehandedly changed the position of Wide Receiver from being a position of technicians like Jerry Rice or Marvin Harrison to physical freaks like himself or Calvin Johnson (and Megatron himself will threaten Moss' spot on my team if he keeps it up).
Over the course of his tumultuous, yet brilliant 14 year NFL career, Moss has spent time with the Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, and San Francisco 49ers. Moss was a 7× Pro Bowl selection, a 5× All-Pro, won AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Comeback Player of the Year (2007). He was voted to the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team,
…..and even more prestigious: Randy Moss has been selected to Daniel Austhof’s ALL TIME, ALL PRO TEAM!!!
(previously: Don Hutson)
Don Hutson DEFINED what it means to be a Wide Reciever in the game of Football. He was extremely influential in rescuing Professional Football from the “3 Yards and a Cloud of Dust” drudgery it was mired in. Granted, the Passing game took many years after Hutson’s career had ended before it began to become a vital part in winning football teams’ gameplans, but he was a true NFL pioneer- a revolutionary who’s genius was well ahead of his time. Hutson played for the Green Bay Packers from 1935-1945 and was Football’s first true Star player who’s main role was catching the ball. He is credited with creating many of the pass routes which are used in today’s NFL “Passing Era.” When Hutson retired in 1945, after an 11 year pro career, he held 18 major NFL records- several of which stood for decades. In fact, several of his NFL records still stand today: Most seasons leading the league in receptions (8); most seasons leading the league in receiving yards gained (7); most seasons leading league in receiving touchdowns (9); most seasons leading league in scoring (5); and most consecutive seasons leading league in scoring (5).
*Do you really think that the NFL would have far surpassed Baseball as “America’s Game” if pioneers like Hutson had not shown us that passing the football down the field is more than a novelty act of desperation?! This is the rhetorical question which gives Don Hutson a firm spot on my All-Time, All-NFL Team!
Tight End is a position which is hard to compare in its greatness over the History of Professional Football. I suppose that by one definition, the greatest Tight End in NFL history may have rarely caught the football but was a fabulous blocker- a 6th member of his Offensive Line. Well since that sucks, my definition of the greatest Tight End in NFL history excels in every aspect of the position, with not only blocking skills, but speed, strength, route running ability, and superb pass catching skills as well. Kellen Winslow, from the Dan Fouts led Chargers’ days, was one of the first to fit my definition, and Shannon Sharpe took the reins from him and grew the position even more. But no one has ever done all of the aforementioned things as well as Tony Gonzalez.
A remarkable athlete and physical specimen, Gonzalez is a 13 time Pro Bowl-er and is still building on his NFL record setting career. He spent the first 12 years of his career playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, and (remarkably) he is still one of the best TE’s in football, playing for the Atlanta Falcons. As of June 11, 2013, Gonzalez holds the All-Time NFL records for Career receiving yards for a TE (14,268), Career receptions for a TE (1,242), and Career TD receptions for a TE (104). Voted to the NFL 2000s All Decade Team, Tony is certainly a 1st ballot Hall of Famer. Perhaps the most amazing thought is that Tony Gonzalez has the 2nd most receptions for any position in the History of Pro Football!!!
*According to the true definition of the position- mine- Tony Gonzalez is the Greatest Tight End in NFL History!
1. Anthony Munoz
Munoz is widely considered the best Offensive Tackle of All-Time. He was the best in the NFL at his position for the entire decade of the 1980’s while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals, leading them to 2 Super Bowl appearances. During his 13 year NFL career, he was named to the Pro Bowl 11 times (all consecutive). In the 1999 Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest NFL players of All-Time, he was ranked #17- the highest spot of any Offensive Lineman. Munoz was a skilled athlete for his size, not only protecting Boomer Esiason’s blind-side, but also catching 4 touchdown passes in his career.
*Anthony Munoz has my vote for the #1 Offensive Tackle in NFL history, and is the cornerstone for my O-line on the NFL’s All-Time, All-Pro Team.
2. Jim Parker
Jim Parker was an Offensive Tackle and Guard for the Baltimore Colts from 1957-1967, and was selected for 8 Pro Bowl appearances. Parker played Offensive Tackle from ’57-’62, before making the switch to Guard. He was strong in the running game, but his specialty was pass-blocking for the legendary Johnny Unitas. In 1973, Parker was the first full-time Offensive Lineman elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Parker was named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, and he was ranked #24 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
*This is all that I needed to know to name him to my All-Time Team.
(previously: Forrest Gregg)
While undersized for an offensive lineman, at 6’4”, 249 lbs, Gregg made himself into one of the greatest Offensive Tackle’s of all-time by out-thinking, out-preparing, out-positioning, and simply out-playing every Defensive Linemen which he lined up against. While playing for 7 NFL championship teams during his 15 year career from 1956-1971, Gregg was named to the 1st Team, All-NFL Team 8 straight seasons, and was one of the cornerstones of the dominant Green Bay Packers’ dynasty in the 1960’s. Just how good was he? None other than the legendary VINCE LOMBARDI (in his book, "Run to Daylight") stated: "Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached!"
*If Forrest Gregg is in Vince Lombardi’s Top 1 of all-time, he certainly qualifies for my All-Time, All-NFL Team.
1. John Hannah
John “Hog” Hannah, a member of the 75th Anniversary NFL Team and NFL Hall of Fame, was a stalwart of the New England Patriots Offensive Line from 1973-1985. He was elected to 9 Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL All Decade Teams for both the 1970’s and ‘80’s. On its August 3, 1981 cover, Sports Illustrated dubbed him "The Best Offensive Lineman of All Time." In 1999, The Sporting News ranked him #20 on its 100 Greatest Football Players.
*If a man can garner all this praise while playing as low profile a position as Guard, he certainly belongs on my NFL’s All-Time, All-Pro Team!
2. ! Bruce Matthews
Bruce Matthews is a highly decorated veteran of 19 NFL seasons, playing Guard for the same franchise which changed from the Houston Oilers to the Tennessee Titans. He spent time blocking for the great Earl Campbell while with the Oilers. He holds the all time record for games played by an offensive lineman with 296! But the career of Bruce Matthews was about more than simply durability and quantity. He was a Great player in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. He was voted to the Pro Bowl as both Guard and Center a total of 14 times, 10x an All-Pro. Matthews was voted to the NFL’s All Decade team of the 90’s and has had his #74 retired by the Titans (Oilers). Bruce Matthews is also an inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He now serves as the Offensive Line coach- fittingly for the Tennessee Titans, and is part of a great family lineage of Matthews’ Football players. Bruce is the son of Clay Sr., the brother of Clay Jr,, the uncle of the Packers’ Clay III, the Eagles’ Casey, and also of young Kyle (with USC). His own son, Jake Matthews, is a top prospect at Offensive Tackle, currently for Texas A&M- soon to be a top-10 NFL draft pick himself.
*Bruce Matthews is a proud addition to my All Time, All NFL Team, and he continues to pave the way for NFL greatness!!!
! Jim Otto
Jim Otto was the Center for the great Oakland Raiders’ teams from 1960-1974. Otto was the only player in the history of Pro Football to wear the number 00, permitted because phonetically in pronounced his name “ought- O”. There’s your fun fact. The real fact is that Jim Otto was one of the mainstays for a powerful Raiders teams which won the AFL Championship in ’67 but lost 5 Super Bowls, in 1968, 1969, and 1970, 1973, and 1974. Otto was one of the figureheads which embodied the signature Raiders’ toughness and nastiness. He was 10x All AFL, 3x All Pro, voted to the AFL All Time Team, and voted the #63 Professional Football Player of All Time by the NFL Network.
Jim Otto is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and deservedly snaps the ball for my All Time, All NFL Team.
Chuck Bednarikis far better known for his prowess as a Linebacker on Defense for the Philadelphia Eagles, from 1949-1962, but he was a star as the Center for the Offense as well. Bednarik is considered the last of the NFL's "Sixty-Minute Men"- players who played both offense and defense on a regular basis. His “calling card” is the most famous tackle in NFL history, a vicious hit that knocked out Frank Gifford and effectively ended his playing career. Known as one of the most ferocious tacklers in NFL history, he is also regarded as one of the greatest Offensive Linemen as well. A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Bednarik was voted to the Pro Bowl 8 times and was selected to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. He was one of the team leaders on the Eagles' NFL Championship teams in 1949 and 1960.
*I’m nominating Bednarik to my All-Time, All-NFL Team, largely, for that one fantastic tackle, but his resume more than speaks for itself. (I don’t know if he was actually the best Offensive Center in NFL history, but he was a stud at the position- and the Linebacker position is pretty stacked.)
- ! Gale Sayers
Sayers’ nickname, “The Kansas Comet”, is very fitting of his Shooting Star career. He shined brighter than anyone, but his career was tragically cut short by 2 devastating knee injuries. He played only 7 seasons (the last 2 cut very short), but Sayers was still elected, the youngest ever, into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And how is this for respect?: despite the shorted career, Gale Sayers was still voted as the #22 Football Player of All Time by the NFL Network. Now I’m sure he was good- I even voted for him on my All-Time, All NFL Team, but I don’t know about #22!?
Anyway, Gale Sayers was a highly esteemed football player both as an electrifying running back and also as a kick returner. Sayers is a 4× Pro Bowler, 5× All-Pro, and 2× NFL Rushing champion. He was selected for the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team. He hold the NFL record most touchdowns in one season by a rookie (22) and has had his Chicago Bears #40 retired. Sayers is also known to the more recent generations by his supporting character in the story/movie “Brian’s Song”, the tragic and inspiring story of his relationship with his former (always) teammate Brian Piccolo.
- ! Devin Hester
Devin Hester’s Pro career began in 2006 when he was drafted in the 2nd Round by the Chicago Bears, as a CB, from the University of Miami. He has since made the conversion to WR, but his claim to fame is his ridiculous Return abilities. Hester has great speed, an explosive burst, and elite vision to anticipate openings in coverage. His records don’t translate well to paragraph form (maybe they’re just too amazing), so I’ll just list them:
- Combined special teams return touchdowns- career: 18 (12 punts, 5 kickoffs, 1 missed field goal)
- Most regular season kick and punt return touchdowns- career: 17
- Punt return touchdowns, career: 12
- Punt return touchdowns, season: 4
- Kickoff return touchdowns, game: 2
- Combined kick return touchdowns- season: 6 (2007) (4 punts, 2 kickoffs)
- Combined kick return touchdowns- rookie, season: 5 (2006) (3 punts, 2 kickoffs)
- Combined kick return touchdowns- game: 2, twice
- Non-offensive touchdowns- season: 6, twice: 6, 2006 (3 punts, 2 kickoffs, 1 missed field goal) 6, 2007 (4 punts, 2 kickoffs)
*It's that type of explosive, game changing talent that makes Devin Hester a shoo-in at Kick Returner for my All Time, All Pro Team!
***To see my Defensive selections: (see: NFL All-Time, All-Pro Team: Defense)