The Greatest Linebackers of All Time Football Players (American)
Ultimate List
17  reranks 12,433 votes 2,246 voters 100,112 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
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 1
    Up 821
    Down 328

    the people's #1
    Lawrence Taylor

    1959 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 710
    Down 253

    most listed
    Dick Butkus

    1942 More
    95
  3. 3
    Up 777
    Down 339
    1975 More
    90
  4. 4
    Up 475
    Down 196
    1952 More
    88
  5. 5
    Up 445
    Down 170
    1958 More
    86
  6. 6
    Up 305
    Down 155
    1948 More
    79
  7. 7
    Up 273
    Down 164
    1936 More
    76
  8. 8
    Up 287
    Down 203
    1969 More
    75
  9. 9
    Up 334
    Down 125
    1967 More
    73
  10. 10
    Up 150
    Down 147

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Willie Lanier

    1945 More
    67
  11. 11
    Up 419
    Down 171

    ranked low on reranks
    Brian Urlacher

    1978 More
    66
  12. 12
    Up 158
    Down 116
    1934 More
    62
  13. 13
    Up 159
    Down 112
    1925 More
    62
  14. 14
    Up 238
    Down 88

    ranked low on reranks
    Derrick Brooks

    1973 More
    57
    added by: bojanthebest
  15. 15
    Up 109
    Down 133
    1940 More
    57
  16. 16
    Up 94
    Down 103
    1947 More
    51
  17. 17
    Up 72
    Down 114
    1952 More
    48
  18. 18
    Up 214
    Down 112

    ranked low on reranks
    Patrick Willis

    1985 More
    48
    added by: noahjacobs1
  19. 19
    Up 127
    Down 95
    1962 More
    47
  20. 20
    Up 67
    Down 104
    1959 More
    46
  21. 21
    Up 95
    Down 89
    1953 More
    46
  22. 22
    Up 53
    Down 109

    often listed
    Joe Schmidt

    1932 More
    43
  23. 23
    Up 63
    Down 96
    1940 More
    43
  24. 24
    Up 110
    Down 54

    ranked low on reranks
    Zach Thomas

    1960 More
    42
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  25. 25
    Up 54
    Down 95

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Chuck Howley

    1936 More
    42
  26. 26
    Up 108
    Down 39

    ranked low on reranks
    London Fletcher

    1975 More
    41
    added by: EthanWalker
  27. 27
    Up 113
    Down 86
    1982 More
    40
    added by: wiabux
  28. 28
    Up 39
    Down 86
    1941 More
    38
  29. 29
    Up 74
    Down 52
    1965 More
    37
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  30. 30
    Up 39
    Down 82
    1942 More
    37
  31. 31
    Up 63
    Down 56
    1941 More
    37
  32. 32
    Up 50
    Down 65
    1958 More
    37
  33. 33
    Up 55
    Down 46
    1971 More
    36
    added by: wiabux
  34. 34
    Up 46
    Down 83
    1929 More
    36
  35. 35
    Up 83
    Down 70
    1973 More
    35
  36. 36
    Up 39
    Down 30
    1966 More
    33
    added by: TehSauce
  37. 37
    Up 17
    Down 23
    1965 More
    33
    added by: TehSauce
  38. 38
    Up 32
    Down 43
    1975 More
    32
    added by: wiabux
  39. 39
    Up 39
    Down 79
    1930 More
    31
  40. 40
    Up 71
    Down 134
    1989 More
    31
    added by: stokified
  41. 41
    Up 15
    Down 4
    1965 More
    20
    added by: Biscuit420
  42. 42
    Up 8
    Down 4
    1959 More
    19
    added by: ShaneAdkins
  43. 43
    Up 20
    Down 25
    1965 More
    18
    added by: TehSauce
  44. 44
    Up 4
    Down 4
    1962 More
    18
    added by: quantum.svcs
  45. 45
    Up 23
    Down 31

    Chad Greenway

    January 12, 1983 More
    18
    added by: CurtisBrown
  46. 46 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 45 of 45

think you can do better?

Rerank This List
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists