Football

The Best NFL Player Nicknames 

Ranker NFL
Updated March 28, 2020 4.2k votes 234 voters 1.5k views 79 items

List Rules Vote based just on the greatness of the nickname.

The best NFL player nicknames evoke everything you need to about the kind of player you're talking about. Whether you're discussing the coolest, slickest old-school players like Red Grange ("Galloping Ghost") and Ed Jones ("Too Tall") or the new-school players with memorable monikers like Travis Kelce ("Zeus") or Russell Wilson ("DangeRuss"), good football nicknames stick in your mind and roll off the tongue.

Some players even became so synonymous with their nicknames that they're better known by the nickname than their real names, athletes like William Perry ("The Fridge") and Carnell Williams ("Cadillac"). Sometimes the nicknames can be funny and weird, like Kirk Cousins' "Captain Kirk" moniker or Jared Lorenzen's somewhat derisive "Pillsbury Throwboy" nickname. Other times, the names are deadly serious, such as Jim Kelly ("Machine Gun Kelly") and Peyton Manning ("The Sheriff").

Either way, great, memorable nicknames become a part of players' stories and of NFL history, with names like Brodway Joe, Beast Mode, and Prime Time immediately bringing to mind some of the best ever to play the game.

So who has the best nickname in NFL history? Which nicknames spring to mind when you think of professional football? Vote below to help decide which famous nicknames belong at the top of the list, then check back to see what other fans thought of these great football names.

list ordered by
1
Dick Lane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Night Train

2
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Prime Time

3
William Perry is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

The Fridge

4
Calvin Johnson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Megatron

5
Walter Payton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Sweetness

6
Marshawn Lynch is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Beast Mode

7
Jerome Bettis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

The Bus

8
Ed Jones is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Too Tall

9
Joe Namath is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Broadway Joe

10
Tyrann Mathieu is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames
Tyrann Mathieu

Honey Badger

11
Reggie White is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

The Minister of Defense

12
Red Grange is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Galloping Ghost

13
Elroy Hirsch is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Crazy Legs

14
Jack Tatum is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

The Assassin

15
Mike Ditka is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Iron Mike

16
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

The Sheriff

17
Billy Johnson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

White Shoes

18
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Joe Cool

19
Mike Alstott is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

A-Train

20
Lawrence Taylor is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames
21
Gale Sayers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Kansas Comet

22
Daryle Lamonica is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

The Mad Bomber

23
Steve McNair is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Air McNair

24
Roger Staubach is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

Captain Comeback

25
Troy Polamalu is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NFL Player Nicknames

The Samoan Headhunter