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75.2k voters

The Best Football Players Ever

Updated April 9, 2020 986.4k votes 75.2k voters 1.0m views1.3k items

List RulesOnly pro football players. Please vote for the players based on his career accomplishments.

One of the hot topics of debate not only among NFL fans but pundits as well is who is the best football player of all time. Fans will also enjoy the best NFL coaches of all time and the best NFL quarterbacks currently in the league. It's a very difficult question to answer and one that can't be answered very easily. Would you rank a quarterback above an offensive lineman or a defensive end versus a wide receiver? Many of the players on this list have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, so this is a list of the best of the best NFL players.

All time greats like Jim Brown and Jerry Rice and legends like Joe Montana and Lawrence Taylor deserve to be on this list. These players were famous stars in the league when they played, causing chaos on the field, terrorizing opponents, and breaking their fans' hearts. Fans of American football can agree that regardless of position, the players on this list should be considered among the best football players ever. These players' stats and overall influence on the way the game was played factor into why they're considered the 100 best ever.

Vote for the football player you consider to be the greatest of all time. It's not an easy choice and you pretty much can't go wrong with any of these superstar NFL players. There's a reason why they're considered the best football players ever and this your chance to choose who is the best of the best.

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  • 1
    15,435
    6,481

    Lawrence Taylor

    Linebacker
  • 2
    23,604
    12,234

    Tom Brady

    Quarterback

    More Tom Brady 

    The Funniest Tom Brady Memes For Football Fans#3 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

  • 3
    11,469
    5,322

    Deion Sanders

    Cornerback, Punt returner

    More Deion Sanders 

    #132 of 149 The Greatest New York Yankees Of All Time#28 of 106 The Best Atlanta Braves Of All Time

  • 4
    20,929
    11,282

    Jerry Rice

    Wide receiver

    More Jerry Rice 

    #3 of 15 The Worst NFL Trades Ever Made#4 of 58 The Best College Football Wide Receivers of All Time

  • 5
    10,723
    5,634

    Randy Moss

    Wide receiver

    More Randy Moss 

    #59 of 85 Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire#52 of 71 Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments

  • 6
    9,304
    4,505

    Bo Jackson

    Running back

    More Bo Jackson 

    #2 of 83 The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time#192 of 582 The Greatest Baseball Players Of All Time

  • 7
    7,037
    3,454

    Drew Brees

    Quarterback

    More Drew Brees 

    #16 of 119 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time#1 of 70 The Best Quarterbacks in the NFL Right Now

  • 8
    9,252
    4,907

    Ray Lewis

    Linebacker

    More Ray Lewis 

    #16 of 66 The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History#29 of 60 Famous Athletes Who Could Have Dominated a Second Sport

  • 9
    5,408
    2,841

    Larry Fitzgerald

    Wide receiver

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    #32 of 41 The 41 Hottest Men in the NFL#15 of 53 Who Is the Best Wide Receiver in the NFL Right Now?

  • 10
    17,398
    9,507

    Barry Sanders

    Running back
  • 11
    8,217
    4,448

    Joe Greene

    Defensive Tackle

    More Joe Greene 

    #1 of 83 The Greatest Defensive Tackles of All Time#6 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History

  • 12
    3,784
    1,952

    Gale Sayers

    Running back, Return specialist
  • 13
    13,941
    7,632

    Jim Brown

    Running back, Fullback

    More Jim Brown 

    #287 of 289 The Coolest Actors Ever#196 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

  • 14
    5,749
    3,033

    Calvin Johnson

    Wide receiver

    More Calvin Johnson 

    #4 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time#1 of 80 The Best NFL Player Nicknames

  • 15
    4,557
    2,400

    Tony Gonzalez

    Tight end
  • 16
    17,070
    9,662

    Walter Payton

    Running back

    More Walter Payton 

    #1 of 144 The Greatest Chicago Bears of All Time#4 of 27 The Best NFL Running Backs of the 70s

  • 17
    7,657
    4,184

    Dick Butkus

    Linebacker, Center
  • 18
    8,446
    4,600

    Emmitt Smith

    Running back

    More Emmitt Smith 

    #855 of 1,424 The Best Athletes Of All Time#11 of 206 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

  • 19
    4,087
    2,162

    Ed Reed

    Free Safety

    More Ed Reed 

    #3 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time#2 of 95 The Best Baltimore Ravens of All Time

  • 20
    3,303
    1,761

    Jim Thorpe

    Running back, Punter

    More Jim Thorpe 

    The Life And Legacy Of Jim Thorpe#443 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • 21
    13,881
    7,939

    Peyton Manning

    Quarterback

    More Peyton Manning 

    #153 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities In The World#3 of 120 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time

  • 22
    2,276
    1,178

    Anthony Muñoz

    Offensive tackle

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    #14 of 28 The Best NFL Players With The Most Pro Bowl Appearances#9 of 51 The Best NFL Players From California

  • 23
    7,052
    3,995

    Ronnie Lott

    Cornerback, Safety

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    #1 of 104 The Best USC Trojans Players of All Time#3 of 99 The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time

  • 24
    10,321
    5,934

    Reggie White

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

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    #1 of 48 The Best University of Tennessee Football Players Ever#28 of 98 The Greatest Out of Shape Athletes in Sports

  • 25
    4,127
    2,275

    Jack Lambert

    Linebacker

    More Jack Lambert 

    #5 of 77 The Best Athletes Who Have Used Performance Enhancing Drugs#2 of 154 The Greatest Linebackers of All Time