The Greatest Linebackers of All Time Football Players (American)
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17  reranks 11,043 votes 1,935 voters 76,090 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 714
    Down 283

    the people's #1
    Lawrence Taylor

    1959 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 622
    Down 227

    most listed
    Dick Butkus

    1942 More
    95
  3. 3
    Up 673
    Down 291
    1975 More
    89
  4. 4
    Up 415
    Down 173
    1952 More
    87
  5. 5
    Up 396
    Down 151
    1958 More
    85
  6. 6
    Up 273
    Down 137
    1948 More
    78
  7. 7
    Up 251
    Down 146
    1936 More
    76
  8. 8
    Up 257
    Down 187
    1969 More
    74
  9. 9
    Up 293
    Down 112
    1967 More
    73
  10. 10
    Up 136
    Down 131
    1945 More
    67
  11. 11
    Up 368
    Down 160

    ranked low on reranks
    Brian Urlacher

    1978 More
    65
  12. 12
    Up 140
    Down 106
    1934 More
    62
  13. 13
    Up 147
    Down 102
    1925 More
    61
  14. 14
    Up 98
    Down 122

    often listed
    Bobby Bell

    1940 More
    56
  15. 15
    Up 210
    Down 79

    ranked low on reranks
    Derrick Brooks

    1973 More
    56
    added by: bojanthebest
  16. 16
    Up 87
    Down 94
    1947 More
    50
  17. 17
    Up 65
    Down 103
    1952 More
    48
  18. 18
    Up 187
    Down 102

    ranked low on reranks
    Patrick Willis

    1985 More
    47
    added by: noahjacobs1
  19. 19
    Up 114
    Down 86
    1962 More
    46
  20. 20
    Up 61
    Down 93
    1959 More
    46
  21. 21
    Up 89
    Down 80
    1953 More
    46
  22. 22
    Up 51
    Down 99

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Joe Schmidt

    1932 More
    43
  23. 23
    Up 59
    Down 86
    1940 More
    42
  24. 24
    Up 49
    Down 89

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Chuck Howley

    1936 More
    41
  25. 25
    Up 93
    Down 49

    ranked low on reranks
    Zach Thomas

    1960 More
    41
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  26. 26
    Up 97
    Down 33

    ranked low on reranks
    London Fletcher

    1975 More
    40
    added by: EthanWalker
  27. 27
    Up 98
    Down 78
    1982 More
    39
    added by: wiabux
  28. 28
    Up 38
    Down 78
    1941 More
    38
  29. 29
    Up 69
    Down 45
    1965 More
    37
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  30. 30
    Up 48
    Down 56
    1958 More
    37
  31. 31
    Up 35
    Down 74
    1942 More
    36
  32. 32
    Up 56
    Down 49
    1941 More
    36
  33. 33
    Up 43
    Down 76
    1929 More
    36
  34. 34
    Up 47
    Down 40
    1971 More
    36
    added by: wiabux
  35. 35
    Up 73
    Down 62
    1973 More
    35
  36. 36
    Up 16
    Down 17
    1965 More
    33
    added by: TehSauce
  37. 37
    Up 28
    Down 37
    1975 More
    32
    added by: wiabux
  38. 38
    Up 30
    Down 25
    1966 More
    32
    added by: TehSauce
  39. 39
    Up 36
    Down 74
    1930 More
    31
  40. 40
    Up 64
    Down 122
    1989 More
    30
    added by: stokified
  41. 41
    Up 8
    Down 2
    1965 More
    19
    added by: Biscuit420
  42. 42
    Up 16
    Down 19
    1965 More
    18
    added by: TehSauce
  43. 43
    Up 18
    Down 25

    Chad Greenway

    January 12, 1983 More
    17
    added by: CurtisBrown
  44. 44 +

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