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The Best NFL Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Updated August 2, 2019 12.2k votes 200 voters 1.1k views146 items

List RulesVote up the best NFL players to have their legendary number retired for all time.

These are the best NFL players to have their numbers retired by the team where they made the biggest impact. Not every player in the NFL gets their jersey retired, it is an honor bestowed upon the best players of a franchise. The Chicago Bears have the most retired jerseys, with 14 numbers never to be worn again. Does that mean a Chicago Bear like Walter Payton will be voted to the top of this list? While all of these football players are great at the game, having your number retired does not automatically get you into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Players on this list that have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame are noted.

On a side note, Reggie White is the only player in the NFL to have his number retired by two teams, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers.

Look below to see all the numbers retired in the NFL and if your favorite player has had their number retired. Then vote up the players that you think played the game the best. This list does not have current players because they are still using their numbers and it does not have numbers that were retired for coaches, managers, or owners. This list is for players only and will determine the best NFL players to have had their number retired.

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  • 1
    Joe Greene

    Number: 75

    Years With Franchise: 1969–1981

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 2
    Johnny Unitas

    Number: 19

    Years With Franchise: 1956–1972

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • 3
    John Elway

    Number: 7

    Years With Franchise: 1983–1998

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 4
    Dick Butkus

    Number: 51

    Years With Franchise: 1965–1973

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 5
    Bart Starr

    Number: 15

    Years With Franchise: 1956–1971

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 6
    Steve Largent

    Number: 80

    Years With Franchise: 1976–1989

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 7
    Deacon Jones

    Number: 75

    Years With Franchise: 1961–1971

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

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  • 8
    Gale Sayers

    Number: 40

    Years With Franchise: 1965–1971

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 9
    Mike Ditka

    Number: 89

    Years With Franchise: 1961–1966

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 10
    Fran Tarkenton

    Number: 10

    Years With Franchise: 1961–1966, 1972–1978

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

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  • 11
    Jack Youngblood

    Number: 85

    Years With Franchise: 1971–1984

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

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  • 12
    Doug Atkins

    Number: 81

    Years With Franchise: 1967–1969

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 13
    Ray Nitschke

    Number: 66

    Years With Franchise: 1958–1972

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

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  • 14
    Merlin Olsen

    Number: 74

    Years With Franchise: 1962–1976

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

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  • 15
    Chuck Bednarik

    Number: 60

    Years With Franchise: 1949–1962

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 16
    Bronko Nagurski

    Number: 3

    Years With Franchise: 1930–1937, 1943

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

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  • 17
    Brian Piccolo

    Number: 41

    Years With Franchise: 1965–1969

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  • 18
    Jim Taylor

    Number: 31

    Years With Franchise: 1967

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

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  • 19
    Larry Csonka

    Number: 39

    Years With Franchise: 1968–1974, 1979

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 20
    Jim Brown

    Number: 32

    Years With Franchise: 1957–1965

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

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  • 21
    Len Dawson

    Number: 16

    Years With Franchise: 1962–1975

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 22
    Joe Namath

    Number: 12

    Years With Franchise: 1965–1976

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

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  • 23
    George Halas

    Number: 7

    Years With Franchise: 1920–1929

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

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  • 24
    Floyd Little
    80
    25

    Floyd Little

    Number: 4

    Years With Franchise: 1967–1975

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More 

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  • 25
    Art Donovan

    Number: 70

    Years With Franchise: 1950, 1953–1961

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame