Hall of Fame Greatest Athletes List: A well-known proverb reads:
“If you cannot beat they will just pass.”
Most people think that saying holds, but what about the other team?
What if it were you, your friends, and your family members who became one of those athletes who are remembered as greats in sports history?
This list includes some of my favorite ones that I still follow today. It may be a bit outdated for many of us, so here we will try to keep this up to date!
The greatest football players of all time are no longer playing, not even on their respective teams. The best ones will forever remain in the past. As such, these names are immortalized by society, making them important figures in our lives.
They have achieved greatness through hard work, dedication, and determination. We should take pride in having the ability to see these amazing achievements that others have already done and will continue to do to inspire us!
In recognition of these legends, the article lists the top ten greatest NFL players in history. Do not forget to check out Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 Players of All Time! For more information, please visit
Eddie Robinson – Detroit Lions
This iconic footballer once held the record for most receptions (12) in a season during his play with the Chicago Bears. He also holds the record for consecutive games with 20-plus catches.
Eddie played 10 seasons in the NFL before he finally retired after he retired from the league. Now, he has been initiated into the hall of fame.
During his playing days, he was known for leading the Michigan Wolverines to three straight Championship Games, which included winning two World Bowl titles. He was also named MVP six times, receiving 11 accolades.
Dale Garrett – San Francisco 49ers
Dale started off college at Stanford University before switching to the NFL. He went undrafted when he entered the game and became the third overall pick in 1978 when the New York Giants drafted him.
After his rookie season, he led the 49ers to victory in each of four Super Bowls, won the first MVP award, and held on to be captain until 1982, when He missed multiple games due to injury.
In 1982 he broke his right leg, then suffered a torn ACL, had surgery, and left the game for the final time. His name was retired by coach Tom Green.
Duke Johnson – Denver Broncos
Duke was born in Oklahoma on February 22, 1937, and did not take long to make his mark while playing in the CFL. Just over half his career, Duke spent his entire NBA career as the starting number 13 player.
However, in 1979, after signing and recording the second pick overall in the 1980 draft, he announced his intentions to pursue professional basketball.
Due to injuries and a poor start that saw him end his sophomore year early in the spring of 1981, Duke ended his NFL career prematurely by forcing himself back onto the court in hopes of returning as a pro or a Hall of Famer.
Although he finished his career with 15 years of service, he never really made a significant contribution to the League. After retiring, he continued to work as a television broadcaster and author. He passed away on October 1, 1999, following complications caused due to pneumonia.
Bill Parcells – Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Parcells passed away in 1991 before his team came close to defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He was a former Notre Dame star and was considered among the nation’s best defensive coaches. One of his legendary quotes was “Be good. Be confident. Take risks. Do something crazy. Get it done.”
Steve Smith – Kansas City Chiefs
With Bill Parcells gone, Steve Smith took the reigns as head coach of the city of St. Louis Cardinals. When Smith took charge, he changed the lineup from what the previous assistant coach used.
While he only coached the Cards for two seasons, the results were outstanding. Both the offensive and defense improved during his tenure, leading to a total of 14 division titles and nine National Championships. With a chance to retire in 2007, Smith decided to stop his coaching career
Hudson Swoop – Carolina Panthers
Hudson started playing professionally as a kid in 1970 at age 8, with the Baltimore Colts, then moved to the Indianapolis Colts at age 16. At his debut, he caught five passes for 65 yards.
Not too soon, Hudson joined the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Rams in 1981, where he scored 40 touchdowns while catching 17 passes. Like any young player who wanted to get paid, he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1983.
Throughout three Pro Bowl appearances, He achieved numerous franchise records. , including the most tackles and sacks. If anyone thought his exploits would be short-lived, he added another eight wins in 1985.
His most memorable performance was during the 1986 NFC championship run when he recorded 20 receptions—his most ever, all of them in the same season.
Throughout his career, he was voted the “Best Player” in 12 different categories, earning selections in Football Outsiders’ 25 Best Wide Receivers, Sports Illustrated’s 50 Greatest Players, and CBS Sports News’ 75 Greatest Players Ever.
Joe Montana – Montana State Bulldogs
Joe Montana made national headlines when he scored his first touchdown at Florida Atlantic University against the Miami Hurricanes.
That play won him bragging rights and eventually catapulted him into stardom as one of the hottest prospects in college football.
Since then, his talents have exploded leaving him with dozens of honors. But, despite his high praise, he could not avoid suffering a couple of career setbacks.
Starting with the loss of his father Jerry, Joe played fewer than 30 games over 12 seasons, totaling just 499 games. Then there were injuries. Going in, he was the fifth receiver on the Team USA roster behind Reggie White, Terry Bradshaw, Bobby Thompson, and Dwight Clark III. To put the cherry on top, in 1996, a car accident resulted in him wearing a neck brace.
That led to him missing seven weeks of the next season. Despite dealing with personal struggles throughout his childhood, he ended his senior year on the field at home in East Lake, North Carolina with 51 receptions—breaking the school record.
He went to the Senior Bowl the next year at the hands of the defending champions Arizona Cardinals and finished with 39 receptions and 522 yards receiving. He also made the Associated Press College Football Coaches Association Award for Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1988, when he recorded 34 catches for 611 yards and a score.