The Greatest Linebackers of All Time Football Players (American)
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17  reranks 12,727 votes 2,286 voters 102,687 views more info

The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

List Criteria: Only include linebackers based on their on-field accomplishments

The greatest linebackers of all time are not only the best NFL players to ever play the linebacker position but also some of the most respected and most feared football players of all time. These all-time greats have electrified crowds with their energy and leadership and delivered on the field as some of the NFL's best defensive players ever.

It's hard to claim that anyone other than the great Lawrence Taylor is the best linebacker ever. He made an immeasurable impact on the game, changing it for decades to follow and becoming the star of the league which at that time was dominated by quarterbacks. His explosiveness and raw power was in most cases simply unstoppable and easily qualifies him as the best to play the position.

That said, there are plenty of other great linebackers who each had stellar careers of their own. The likes of Dick Butkus, who terrorized offenses during his nine years with the Chicago Bears, Ray Lewis, who served as a perfect combination of talent and heart during his memorable time with the Baltimore Ravens, and Junior Seau, who recorded over 100 tackles for six seasons straight and earned 12 Pro Bowl selections, are all firmly among the best NFL linebackers of all time.

While they don't always get the same level of attention that other positions do, the linebackers are some of the toughest, smartest and most hard working players on any NFL team. Have an NFL linebacker that you adore? Vote for your favorite NFL linebackers below, re-rank this list your way or add any not listed. Then, head over and vote for the greatest tight ends of all time and the greatest NFL punters of all time too!
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 17 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 836
    Down 334

    the people's #1
    Lawrence Taylor

    1959 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 721
    Down 261

    most listed
    Dick Butkus

    1942 More
    95
  3. 3
    Up 792
    Down 348
    1975 More
    90
  4. 4
    Up 483
    Down 200
    1952 More
    88
  5. 5
    Up 449
    Down 175
    1958 More
    85
  6. 6
    Up 309
    Down 160
    1948 More
    78
  7. 7
    Up 276
    Down 168
    1936 More
    76
  8. 8
    Up 291
    Down 208
    1969 More
    75
  9. 9
    Up 338
    Down 129
    1967 More
    73
  10. 10
    Up 152
    Down 151

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Willie Lanier

    1945 More
    67
  11. 11
    Up 425
    Down 176

    ranked low on reranks
    Brian Urlacher

    1978 More
    66
  12. 12
    Up 160
    Down 119
    1934 More
    62
  13. 13
    Up 161
    Down 116
    1925 More
    61
  14. 14
    Up 240
    Down 92

    ranked low on reranks
    Derrick Brooks

    1973 More
    57
    added by: bojanthebest
  15. 15
    Up 110
    Down 137
    1940 More
    57
  16. 16
    Up 97
    Down 106
    1947 More
    51
  17. 17
    Up 73
    Down 117
    1952 More
    48
  18. 18
    Up 218
    Down 117

    ranked low on reranks
    Patrick Willis

    1985 More
    48
    added by: noahjacobs1
  19. 19
    Up 129
    Down 98
    1962 More
    47
  20. 20
    Up 98
    Down 91
    1953 More
    46
  21. 21
    Up 68
    Down 107
    1959 More
    46
  22. 22
    Up 54
    Down 112
    1932 More
    43
  23. 23
    Up 65
    Down 98
    1940 More
    43
  24. 24
    Up 113
    Down 57

    ranked low on reranks
    Zach Thomas

    1960 More
    42
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  25. 25
    Up 56
    Down 97

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Chuck Howley

    1936 More
    42
  26. 26
    Up 111
    Down 42

    ranked low on reranks
    London Fletcher

    1975 More
    40
    added by: EthanWalker
  27. 27
    Up 114
    Down 89
    1982 More
    40
    added by: wiabux
  28. 28
    Up 40
    Down 88
    1941 More
    38
  29. 29
    Up 77
    Down 54
    1965 More
    37
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  30. 30
    Up 40
    Down 84
    1942 More
    37
  31. 31
    Up 64
    Down 59
    1941 More
    36
  32. 32
    Up 51
    Down 67
    1958 More
    36
  33. 33
    Up 48
    Down 85
    1929 More
    36
  34. 34
    Up 56
    Down 49
    1971 More
    36
    added by: wiabux
  35. 35
    Up 85
    Down 72
    1973 More
    35
  36. 36
    Up 40
    Down 33
    1966 More
    33
    added by: TehSauce
  37. 37
    Up 19
    Down 26
    1965 More
    32
    added by: TehSauce
  38. 38
    Up 33
    Down 46
    1975 More
    32
    added by: wiabux
  39. 39
    Up 40
    Down 82
    1930 More
    31
  40. 40
    Up 72
    Down 139
    1989 More
    31
    added by: stokified
  41. 41
    Up 16
    Down 7
    1965 More
    20
    added by: Biscuit420
  42. 42
    Up 9
    Down 7
    1959 More
    19
    added by: ShaneAdkins
  43. 43
    Up 7
    Down 6
    1962 More
    18
    added by: quantum.svcs
  44. 44
    Up 21
    Down 28
    1965 More
    18
    added by: TehSauce
  45. 45
    Up 25
    Down 35

    Chad Greenway

    January 12, 1983 More
    17
    added by: CurtisBrown
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