The Best Football Players Ever

Over 80.5K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Football Players Ever
Voting Rules
Only 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.

Most divisive: Odell Beckham Jr.
Ranked by
  • Lawrence Taylor
    28,698 votes
    • Birthplace: USA, Virginia, Williamsburg
    • Age: 64
    • Teams: North Carolina Tar Heels football, New York Giants

    A force to be reckoned with, Lawrence Taylor redefined the role of outside linebacker during his time in the NFL, striking fear into the hearts of opposing quarterbacks. As the cornerstone of the New York Giants' defense in the 1980s and early 1990s, he spearheaded two Super Bowl victories and changed the way offenses approached the game. Taylor's unmatched combination of speed, agility, and sheer power solidified him as one of the most dominant and game-changing players ever to step foot on the gridiron.

  • Jerry Rice
    Wide receiver
    39,815 votes
    • Birthplace: USA, Mississippi, Crawford
    • Age: 60
    • Teams: Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils football, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers

    There is little argument that Jerry Rice holds the title as the greatest wide receiver of all time. With an unrivaled work ethic and meticulous attention to detail, he spent an incredible 20-year career racking up records and delivering jaw-dropping performances. Known for his remarkable route-running and vice-like grip, Rice was an artist on the field, transforming the aerial attack and inspiring countless future players to aspire to his greatness.

  • Tom Brady
    44,044 votes
    • Birthplace: San Mateo, California
    • Age: 46
    • Teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots

    When discussing the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Tom Brady's name inevitably finds itself at the top of the list. Known for his uncanny ability to thrive under pressure and dissect defenses with surgical precision, this consummate winner has demonstrated time and time again that no deficit is insurmountable when he's leading the charge. As the centerpiece of the New England Patriots' two-decade-long dynasty, Brady's legacy is marked by numerous iconic playoff performances and thrilling Super Bowl victories.

  • Barry Sanders
    Running back
    33,415 votes
    • Birthplace: USA, Wichita, Kansas
    • Age: 55
    • Teams: Oklahoma State Cowboys football, Detroit Lions

    In a class of his own, Barry Sanders was a human highlight reel who left defenders grasping at air with his dazzling moves, agility, and breakaway speed. A paradigm of humility and grace, Sanders' quiet demeanor off the field belied his relentless determination and unparalleled ability to turn broken plays into jaw-dropping touchdown runs. While his career was relatively short-lived, his impact on the sport is timeless, as he continues to be celebrated as one of the most electrifying running backs in NFL history.

  • Walter Payton
    Running back
    32,931 votes
    • Birthplace: Columbia, Mississippi, USA
    • Age: Dec. at 45 (1954-1999)
    • Teams: Chicago Bears

    Affectionately known as "Sweetness," Walter Payton was the epitome of grace, power, and determination throughout his illustrious career. With a never-quit attitude and unmatched heart, Payton set the gold standard for what it meant to be a running back and secured his place among the NFL's elite. Even in the face of adversity, his unwavering dedication to his craft and commitment to punishing defenders made Payton one of the most beloved and respected players in league history.

  • Deion Sanders
    22,614 votes
    • Birthplace: Fort Myers, Florida
    • Age: 56
    • Teams: Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers

    Prime Time Deion Sanders was the epitome of a shutdown cornerback, demoralizing opposing quarterbacks who dared to challenge him with his incredible athleticism and mind-boggling instincts. But he didn't just dominate on defense; Sanders' electrifying speed and swagger were also on full display when he returned kicks for touchdowns or took the field as a wide receiver. Truly one of a kind, Sanders' dynamic skills and infectious charisma cemented his status as an NFL icon and transcendent cultural figure.