Football is a beautiful and sometimes very physical game. The perfect spiral, the fingertip grab, the amazing run…they are all part of football's history.
Otto Graham was approached by Paul Brown to join the Cleveland Browns in the new AAFC league. His passing abilities and leadership skills helped keep the Cleveland Browns at the top of the standings for 10 years.
Joe Greene went from being unknown to being the most dominating lineman of his time. An integral part of the Steelers defense, Greene was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1969. Read more about the intelligent and friendly Joe Greene.
Forrest Gregg retired from the Green Bay Packers four times; three times he was coaxed back. He was always in peak condition, which allowed him to set a record for the most consecutive games played with 188 in in 1971. Learn about this Hall of Fame tackle.
George Halas was a part of the NFL from its inception in 1920 until 1983 when Halas died. He revolutionized offensive schemes with his T-formation. His initials appear on the jerseys of the Chicago Bears. Read about pro football legend George Halas.
Jack Ham was a small linebacker who never expected his career to last for 12 glory-filled years. He retired in 1982 after amassing 32 pass interceptions and 19 fumble recoveries from opponents.
John Hannah was a small lineman with a big attitude. He was named Offensive Lineman of the Year four times and was also voted onto nine Pro Bowl teams. Read about John "Ham Hocks" Hannah and the feats that got him into the Hall of Fame.
Franco Harris led the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl victories. He retired in in 1984 after amassing 12,120 rushing yards, which was ranked third overall at the time. Read about Franco Harris, the NFL's intelligent and agile fullback.
Roger Staubach, known as "Captain Comeback," led the Cowboys to fourth-quarter comebacks 23 times. In his career, he posted stats of 2,958 attempts 1,685 completions 22,700 yards and 153 touchdowns.
Jim Taylor's accomplishments as fullback for Green Bay were unfortunately overshadowed by the hype around Jim Brown. His greatest season came in 1962, when he posted 1474 rushing yards and topped all players.
Lawrence Taylor redefined the linebacker position with his ability to change the outcome of a game. Taylor played in 10 Pro-Bowls and was named the league MVP after making a career-high 20 sacks.
Jim Thorpe is considered by many to be one the greatest athletes of the 20th century. He was an Olympic champion, a major-league baseball player, an All-American and All-Pro in football and the first President of the NFL.
Y.A. Tittle never won a Super Bowl but he is considered one of the best quarterbacks of his time. He was the Player of the Year in 1963 after throwing 36 touchdown passes that year. Unfortunately a championship eluded him. Learn more about Y.A. Tittle.
Emlen Tunnell was the first African American in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At the time of his retirement in 1961, he held the records for interceptions, interception yardage, punt returns and punt return yardage. Learn more about New York Giant Emlen Tunnell.
Johnny Unitas was voted the NFL's Most Valuable Player three times during his 18-year career. At the time of his retirement Unitas held nearly every passing record with 40,239 passing yards and 290 touchdowns.
Gene Upshaw was one of the first guards to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was offensive captain for the Raiders for eight years and later became Players Association president in 1987. Learn more about dominant Oakland Raider Gene Upshaw.
Nicknamed "the Dutchman," Norm Van Brocklin could do everything on a football field but run. In his career, he passed for 23,611 yards and 173 touchdowns. Van Brocklin also punted 523 times.
Ernie Nevers was dubbed "the football player without a fault" by Stanford coach Pop Warner. He was gifted at nearly every task on the football field, including running, passing and kicking. Learn more about the 1920s football hero Ernie Nevers.
Ray Nitschke was a ruthless middle linebacker but an all-around nice guy off the field. He recovered two fumbles and deflected a pass in the 1962 title game and was named MVP of the game.
Born in Lucca, Italy, Leo Nomellini dominated on both offense and defense. He was a professional wrestler in the off-season and often brought elements of that sport into football. Learn more about Hall of Famer Leo Nomellini.
Defensive tackle Merlin Olsen was with the Rams for eight years and was named to the Pro Bowl 14 times. He was a natural leader that successfully merged his physical skills with his mental abilities.
Defensive tackle Alan Page spent 15 years with the NFL before becoming a judge on the Minnesota Supreme Court. He was the first defensive player selected to be the league MVP in 1972. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988. Learn more about Alan Page.
Hall of Famer Jim Parker was known as Johnny Unitas's bodyguard. He played in eight Pro Bowls and put together a streak of eight years in which he was an All-Pro performer. Find out why and how Jim Parker's knee injury ended his football career.
Walter Payton set records for carries and rushing touchdowns in his 13 years with the Chicago Bears. Payton is arguably the greatest running back to ever play the game of football. Learn about the legendary NFL running back Walter Payton.
Jerry Rice set many records in his 20 seasons of playing football and is considered the greatest receiver of all time. In his career, he amassed amazing totals of 22,895 receiving yards 207 touchdowns and 1,549 receptions.
Coach Eddie Robinson set the record for number of wins when Grambling State University won the Cotton Bowl in 1985. He retired in 1997 with an amazing career record of 408-165-15. His career lasted an amazing 56 years. Learn about Eddie Robinson.