2(20) QB Johnny Unitas (Bal Colts) [4x MVP, 3x champion, 7x All-Pro, Hall of Famer, #6 player all-time]
In my opinion, the greatest QB in NFL history. He holds football's equivalent of DiMaggio's 56 game hit streak, 47 consecutive games with a TD pass. The fact that it occurred between '56-60 (a time when running dominated the game, not passing) makes it all the more spectacular. Only 5 players have a streak longer than 30, and the other 4 played in a much more pass-dominated era: Marino (30), Brady (32), Favre (36), Brees (43). Creator of the 2 minute offense. #19 is retired by the Colts
"There is a difference between conceit and confidence. Conceit is bragging about yourself. Confidence means you believe you can get the job done." -Johnny Unitas
1(1) RB Jim Brown (Cle Browns) [4x MVP, 1x champion, 9x All-Pro, Hall of Famer, #2 player all-time]
In 9 year career, led the league: in rushing 8 years, in rushing yards per game 8 years, in scrimmage yards 6 years, in TDs 5 years. Only back to average 100+ yards per game for career (104.3 ypg). Only player to score 4 TDs in 6 games. Highest yards per carry in league history of RBs (min 600 att): 5.2 ypc. Despite playing only four 12-game seasons & five 14-game seasons, his career ranks: rushing TDs (5th), rushing yards (9th), total TDs (10th). A RB has never so thoroughly dominated an era quite like Jim Brown. #32 is retired by the Browns.
"God ain't got nothing to do with winning a damn football game." -Jim Brown
4(40) RB Gale Sayers (Chi Bears) [5× All-Pro, Hall of Famer, #22 player all-time]
Scored 22 TDs his rookie year (14 game season). All-time leader in kickoff return average. Highest TD/return in league history. His 14-game 1966 season (2440 All-Purpose yards) falls only 256 yards short of the record, which was set in 16 games [174.3 ypg vs. 168.5 ypg]. Only player with two performances in the top 10 single game all-purpose yards. One of only 3 players to score 6 TDs (4 rush, 1 rec, 1 punt ret) in one game [336 All-Purpose yards that game]. #40 is retired by the Bears.
"I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it." -Gale Sayers
Caught 12 passes for 178 yards & a TD in the "Greatest Game Ever Played." Dropped only two passes, and fumbled only once in his 13 year career. His dedication to the game (along with Unitas) originated timing passes. Led the league in receptions & yards three times each. In the Colts '59 championship year, he accomplished something only 6 other players have ever done, win the WR Triple Crown (lead league in recs, rec yards, rec TDs). #82 is retired by the Colts
"I go to bed every night thinking 'Unitas to Berry. Unitas to Berry. Unitas to Berry.' I got tired of hearing the announcers say it. You couldn't stop them." -Sam Huff
24(240) WR Sterling Sharpe (GB Packers) [5x All-Pro]
In a brilliant career, unfortunately shortened to only 7 seasons due to a neck injury, led NFL in rec TDs twice & receptions 3 times.Twice set the record for receptions in a single season (108 & 112). First player to have back-to-back 100 reception seasons. In '92, he joined Hutson, Berry & Rice as winners of the WR Triple Crown (lead league in recs, rec yards, rec TDs). He only played three seasons [314 rec, 3854; 42 TD] with Favre (none of them his 3 consecutive MVPs seasons), and four seasons [281 rec, 4280; 23 TD] with a combination of Randy Wright, Don Majkowski, Anthony Dilweg, Mike Tomczak & Blair Keil. Imagine what he'll look like with Unitas throwing him the ball.
"I don't mind catching the ball between LB; I just want to catch the ball." -Sterling Sharpe
11(101) TE John Mackey (Bal Colts) [1x champion, 3x All-Pro, Hall of Famer, #42 player all-time]
15.8 yards per reception is highest for a TE by a wide margin. Revolutionized the TE position, changing it from 6th offensive lineman, to offensive threat. 30.1 yards per kickoff return. 1st president of NFLPA.
"Jim Brown told me, 'Make sure when anyone tackles you he remembers how much it hurts.' He lived by that philosophy and I always followed that advice." -John Mackey
First pure offensive lineman inducted to Hall of Fame. Pro Bowler at both T & G. Member of the Ravens Ring of Honor, despite never playing for the Ravens. #77 is retired by the Colts.
"When I heard the news [of Unitas' heart attack], I drove out to the country, parked my truck, and sat and thought awhile. What about? This was the only time I couldn't protect him. I loved John Unitas to death." -Jim Parker
Anchored both OL & DL of the Packers first three-peat. First G elected to HOF. Convinced Curly Lambeau to use himself & other FBs at G, to much success. Blocked for 2 HOF RBs (Grange, McNally). Played whole career with an undiagnosed abdominal hernia.
14(140) C Mel Hein (NY Giants) [1x MVP, 2x champion, 13x All-NFL, Hall of Famer, #96 player all-time]
Played every snap (all 60 minutes) for every game of his 15 year career. Called timeout only once: to tape up his broken nose. Only center to ever be named MVP. Often covered Don Hutson on defense! #7 is retired by the Giants.
"Mel Hein is the best player of the Giants first 50 years." -Wellington Mara, NYG owner
At the time of his retirement, he was a blocker for the #1 & #4 all-time leading rusher. He blocked for three Hall of Fame RBs (Brown, Kelly, Mitchell). He never experienced a losing season in his 16 year career.
"He was a great pulling guard because he had real fine speed. He could get downfield. That’s why we had those high averages. You don’t get that if you don’t have a line that can get downfield and throw when they get down there." -Jim Brown
Played in 13 (11 as T) title games. Elected to 9 Pro Bowls. Played T/K for 14 years, retired for the '60 season & returned as the Browns K for 7 additional seasons. Led the NFL in FGs 5 times, and led league in scoring twice. Kicked the winning FG of the '50 Championship game with :28 remaining, to make it 30-28. #76 is retired by the Browns.
3(21) DE Bruce Smith (Buf Bills) [3x DPotY, 11x All-Pro, Hall of Famer, #31 player all-time]
10(100) DT Buck Buchanan (KC Chiefs) [1x champion, 7x All-Pro, Hall of Famer, unbelievably not on the list]
#86 is retired by the Chiefs.
13(121) DE Carl Eller (Min Vikings) [1x DPotY, 7x All-Pro, Hall of Famer]
#78 is retired by the Chiefs.
17(161) CB Dick LeBeau (Det Lions) [3x All-Pro, Hall of Famer]
7(61) CB Herb Adderley (GB Packers) [6x champion, 7x All-Pro, Hall of Famer, #64 player all-time]
81 career interceptions, most all-time. Had 12 INT his rookie season, and had 7 straight games with an INT. 14 consecutive seasons, he recorded at least 2 INTs.
Most consecutive starts by a safety (163)
21(201) P Ray Guy (Oak Raiders) [3x champion, 8x All-Pro]
23(221) K Sebastian Janikowski (Oak Raiders)
Longest FG (63), longest OT FG (57), most FGs, quarter (4), most 60+ yard FG, career (2), most 50+ FGs, game (3)
Bonus picks & UDFA:
26(251) CB Jack Butler (Pit Steelers)
27(268) WR Fred Biletnikoff (Oak Raiders)
28(269) MLB Bill George (Chi Bears) #40 is retired by the Bears.
29(286) G/LB Les Richter (LA Rams)
30(287) DE Alex Karras (Det Lions)
OC Weeb Ewbank
DC Hank Stram
QB Otto Graham
RB Doak Walker
FB Marion Motley
C Pete Henry
T Cal Hubbard
DE Fred Dean
DT Art Donovan