ERIC'S TOP TEN FAVORITE NFL PLAYERS
With the NFL season just around the corner, I thought I'd post my Top Ten Favorite NFL Players list.
Now the criteria here is MY FAVORITE players, not the greatest I have ever seen. Basically, if you played on a team I didn't care for... Cowboys, Steelers, Broncos, you 'aint on the list. (With the exception of Steve Young). Therefore, you won't see Lawrence Taylor, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, Lynn Swann, John Elway, Roger Staubach, etc. And, I'm a Raiders fan, so there's some bias going on here! Here are my Top 10 favorite NFL players.
#10. DERRICK THOMAS- Kansas City Chiefs
Thomas, drafted 4th overall in 1989, played all 11 years of his career with Kansas City. Since KC is my 2nd favorite team, I had to throw a Chief on the list. Thomas once recorded 7 sacks in one game vs. Seattle, in 1990. He tragical died at age 33 from complications of a horrible car wreck. Hall of Fame, class of 2009.
#9 BO JACKSON- Oakland Raiders
Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson was originally drafted by the Tampa bay Buccaneers. He didn't want to play for Tampa, so he simply continued his baseball career with the Kansas City Royals. Tampa forfeited their draft rights in 1987, and Raiders owner Al Davis picked Jackson in the 7th round, 183rd overall. Jackson was not interested in playing for the (Los Angeles) Raiders either, until Mr. Davis presented Bo with the idea of playing both sports. Jackson soon signed with the Raiders, and although his running back career was shortened from a hip injury (game vs. The Bengals, which I attended), it was certainly memorable. Favorite Bo moment: A Monday Night Football game where Bo ran over and through Brian Bosworth, scored a touchdown, and kept running into the players entrance-tunnel. ESPN named Jackson the greatest athlete of all time in 2000. Heisman Trophy winner, Auburn University, 1985. Los Angeles Raiders, 1987-1990.
#8 WALTER PAYTON- Chicago Bears
With the greatest nickname ever, "Sweetness," Payton played for the Chicago Bears from 1975 to 1987. Coming out of Jackson State, Payton is know as one of the most prolific backs in NFL history. This guy was tough! I never recall him running out of bounds to avoid a hit or tackle (Ladainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk). He was a punishing running back for 13 years, missing only one game his rookie season. Super Bowl Champion 1985; 1977, 1985, and 1987 NFL MVP; 9 time Pro Bowl player; Hall of Fame class of 1993.
#7 BRUCE SMITH- Buffalo Bills
Smith had a voracious appetite for Quarterbacks, collecting a total of 200 sacks in his career. Bruce was part of that Buffalo Bills teams that went to 4 straight Super Bowls, something I'm sure we'll never see again in our lifetimes. Drafted 1st overall by the Bills in 1985. Played 19 seasons in the NFL. Hall of Fame class of 2009.
#6 DICK BUTKUS
Named "The most feared tackler" by NFL.COM in 2009, Butkus played 9 seasons for the Bears. In all of those years, the Bears never had a winning season, but Butkus always played with fierce verocity, tossing other players aside like rag dolls. One of Butkus' greatest strengths was his ability to rip the ball from a ball carrier's hands. Although back then the statistic was not kept, it has been noted that Butkus would certainly be one of the all-time leaders in the forced fumbles category. Hall of Fame class of 1979.
#5 RONNIE LOTT- San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lott was a star linebacker for the USC Trojans, graduating in 1981. Played cornerback, free safety, and strong safety for the 49ers from 1981-1990, and for the Oakland Raiders in 1991. Just when you thought his career was over, he led the NFL in interceptions with the Raiders that year he played for them. Almost everyone knows the story of his finger being amputated in 1985. Hall of Fame class of 2000.
#4 JERRY RICE- San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders.
The greatest football player of all time. Rice holds almost every record for receiving there is. The son of a brick layer, he credited his early training to throwing and catching bricks, sometimes up to two stories high, off the roofs of where his Father was working. Played his college ball at Mississippi Valley State University, and was drafted 16th overall by The Niners. He actually struggled a bit his first season, but went on to become the greatest pass catching athlete in history. 3 time Super Bowl Champion, Hall of Fame class of 2010.
#3 STEVE YOUNG- Los Angeles Express (USFL), San Francisco 49ers
The guy made passing look effortless. I once saw a game in the L.A. Coliseum, the USFL's Los Angeles Express, where he ran for about 200 yards and threw for another 300 or more! When the USFL folded, he had a contract that still pays him to this day (1 million in 2014)! His first NFL experience was with the (horrible) Tampa Bay Bucs, was considered a bust, and then was acquired by the 49ers in 1987 as Joe Montana's backup. Finally 1991 Young replaced the injured Montana, and never looked back. Young had even a greater comeback than Jim Plunkett! 7 Pro Bowls, 3 time Super Bowl Champion, Hall of Fame class of 2005.
#2 HOWIE LONG- Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Howard Mathew Moses "Howie" Long played at Villanova University. Drafted in the 2nd round by the Raiders, he played all 13 seasons in The Silver and Black. Nothing was better than watching Howie chase John Elway all over the field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, probably my best football memories! Collected 5 sacks in 1 game vs. Washington Redskins in 1983. Is now probably the best known ex-player/analyst on television. Super Bowl Champion, Hall of Fame class of 2000.
#1 MARCUS ALLEN- Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs.
The greatest short and goal runner in NFL history. At USC, playing tailback, it was almost a forgone conclusion that if handed the ball inside the 5 yard line, Allen would go sailing through the air, over the top of defenders, and into the end zone. He always got up and handed the ball the to refs, never showing off or exuding selfishness, Marcus Allen was one of the classiest players ever. Super Bowl Champion, held the record for most running yards in a Super Bowl until Timmy Smith of the Redskins broke his 192 yard record. Most famous for "17-Bob-Trey-Oh," a broken play in which Allen scored a touchdown vs. Washington in the Super Bowl, 1983. Hall of Fame class of 2003.
Have a great Football Season... Lot's BBQ's, no drinking and driving, root for your team safely,
and GO RAIDERS!