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Top 10 NFL Players of All Time Rankings

Ranking the Best Players in NFL history such as Walter Payton, Lawrence Taylor, Jerry Rice, and many more as Tom Brady leads the way as the best NFL Player of All-Time

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By Fan Rankings | November 13, 2022 - 06:13 PM

The game of football has evolved into the most popular sport in America as the National Football League has taken over as the most popular sports league.

As the game continues to evolve, players get bigger, stronger, and faster, and the league continues to expand many great NFL players have put together stellar resumes.

One debate that continues to be argued is who warrants a spot on the NFL Top 10 Players All-Time Rankings list. A list that includes a long list of great quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and game changing defensive players. 

 

When you look at the greatest NFL players All-Time, one player that stands out whose NFL career continues to go on and on is the great Tom Brady.

While Brady continues to add to his long Pro Football Hall of Fame resume, other great NFL players include the long time New York Giants standout defensive star Lawrence Taylor, the GOAT Jerry Rice, four-time Super Bowl and three-time Super Bowl MVP as well as trio of talented running backs. Here is a look at the Top 10 NFL Players All-Time Rankings.




Honorable Mention

Johnny Unitas

Team(s): Baltimore Colts & San Diego Chargers

Quarterback Rankings: #4 Ranked All-Time

Landing just outside of the Top 10 NFL Players All-Time rankings list is the Baltimore Colts great Johnny Unitas. Unitas, who led the Colts to three NFL Championships and one Super Bowl Championship, is credited with the evolution of the quarterback position and allowing quarterbacks to call their own plays.

The Colts All-Pro threw for 40,239 yards to go along with 290 touchdowns in an ERA where passing was not what it is compared to modern day NFL football.

Accolades:
  • Super Bowl champion (V)
  • 3× NFL champion (1958, 1959, 1968)
  • 3× NFL Most Valuable Player (1959, 1964, 1967)
  • NFL Man of the Year (1970)
  • 5× First-team All-Pro (1958, 1959, 1964, 1965, 1967)
  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (1957, 1960, 1963)
  • 10× Pro Bowl (1957–1964, 1966, 1967)
  • 4× NFL passing yards leader (1957, 1959, 1960, 1963)
  • 4× NFL passing touchdowns leader (1957–1960)
  • 2× NFL passer rating leader (1958, 1965)
  • NFL completion percentage leader (1967)
  • NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • 3× Bert Bell Award (1959, 1964, 1967)
  • Indianapolis Colts No. 19 retired
  • Louisville Cardinals No. 16 retired



Deacon Jones

Team(s): Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers & Washington Redskins

Defensive End Rankings: #3 Ranked All-Time

On the defensive side of the football field Deacon Jones is one of the most iconic defensive players of All-Time and the one man credited with the term “Sacking the Quarterback”.

While Jones was a menace to opposing quarterbacks, the sack stat was not an official stat in till the 1982 NFL meaning all of his career sacks were unofficial.

Nonetheless, Jones was still a remarkable defensive player who many considered one of the greatest defensive ends of All-time while racking up an unofficial 173.5 career sacks.

Accolades:
  • 2× NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1967, 1968)
  • 5× First-team All-Pro (1965–1969)
  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (1964, 1970, 1972)
  • 8× Pro Bowl (1964–1970, 1972)
  • 5× NFL sacks leader (1964, 1965, 1967–1969)
  • NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • St. Louis Football Ring of Fame
  • Los Angeles Rams No. 75 retired



Top 10 NFL Players

10. Joe Greene

Team(s): Pittsburgh Steelers

Defensive Tackle Rankings: #1 Ranked All-Time

Landing at number 10 on the Top 10 NFL Players All-Time Rankings list is the former Pittsburgh Steelers great and NFL Hall of Famer Mean Joe Greene.

Greene who was a key member of the Steelers Steel Curtain defense played a dominant role in helping the team win four Super Bowl Championships during his playing career between 1969 and 1981.

The Steelers defensive tackle who was selected 4th overall during the 1969 NFL draft, racked up 77.5 unofficial sacks to go along with one interception and 16 fumble recoveries.

Accolades:
  • 4× Super Bowl champion (IX, X, XIII, XIV)
  • 2× NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1972, 1974)
  • NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (1969)
  • NFL Man of the Year (1979)
  • 5× First-team All-Pro (1972–1974, 1977, 1979)
  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (1971, 1975, 1976)
  • 10× Pro Bowl (1969–1976, 1978, 1979)
  • NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team
  • Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Honor
  • Pittsburgh Steelers No. 75 retired




9. Barry Sanders

Team(s): Detroit Lions

Running Back Rankings: #1 Ranked All-Time

When it comes to the greatest running backs of All-Time, Barry Sanders is considered one of the best if not the best depending on who you ask.

The longtime Detroit Lions running back was as elusive as any player to play the game while making it nearly impossible for opposing defenses to tackle him.

The Lions All-Pro racked up 15,269 yards on the ground to go along with 99 rushing touchdowns all while leaving the NFL at just 30 years old.

Over his career, Sanders posted at least 1,100 yards in all 10 of his NFL seasons including 1,491 yards in his final season in 1998.

Accolades:
  • NFL Most Valuable Player (1997)
  • 2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1994, 1997)
  • NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1989)
  • 6× First-team All-Pro (1989–1991, 1994, 1995, 1997)
  • 4× Second-team All-Pro (1992, 1993, 1996, 1998)
  • 10× Pro Bowl (1989–1998)
  • 4× NFL rushing yards leader (1990, 1994, 1996, 1997)
  • NFL rushing touchdowns leader (1991)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1989)
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • 2× Bert Bell Award (1991, 1997)
  • Pride of the Lions
  • Detroit Lions 75th Anniversary Team
  • Detroit Lions All-Time Team
  • Detroit Lions No. 20 retired




8. Peyton Manning

Team(s): Indianapolis Colts & Denver Broncos

Quarterback Rankings: #2 Ranked All-Time

If it wasn’t for the number of Super Bowls won, the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos Pro Bowl quarterback would be at the top spot on the list.

However, the weight that winning the Super Bowl has and the importance, lowers Manning to number eight on the list of the Greatest NFL players All-Time.

Manning’s career resume includes leading the NFL in passing touchdowns in four different seasons, 14 Pro Bowl selections, five NFL MVP awards, two Super Bowl Championships, and a Super Bowl MVP award. Manning finished his career throwing for 71,940 yards with 539 touchdowns and a 96.5 passing rating.

Accolades:
  • 2× Super Bowl champion (XLI, 50)
  • Super Bowl MVP (XLI)
  • 5× NFL Most Valuable Player (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013)
  • 2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2004, 2013)
  • NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2012)
  • Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2005)
  • 7× First-team All-Pro (2003–2005, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013)
  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (1999, 2000, 2006)
  • 14× Pro Bowl (1999, 2000, 2002–2010, 2012–2014)
  • 3× NFL passing yards leader (2000, 2003, 2013)
  • 4× NFL passing touchdowns leader (2000, 2004, 2006, 2013)
  • 3× NFL passer rating leader (2004–2006)
  • 2× NFL completion percentage leader (2003, 2012)
  • NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1998)
  • Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor
  • Indianapolis Colts No. 18 retired
  • Denver Broncos Ring of Fame
  • Denver Broncos No. 18 honored
  • Bart Starr Award (2015)
  • 3× Bert Bell Award (2003, 2004, 2013)




7. Walter Payton

Team(s): Chicago Bears

Running Back Rankings: #3 Ranked All-Time

Sweetness is considered one of the greatest running backs of All-Time and one of the best players to play football.

The Chicago Bears Walter Payton who was selected with the team’s 4th overall pick during the 1975 NFL draft out of Jackson State, racked up 16,726 career rushing yards and 110 rushing touchdowns over his NFL career.

His dominance on the field included posting over 1,000 rushing yards in 10 different NFL seasons while finishing his career as the NFL record holder in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.

Accolades:
  • Super Bowl champion (XX)
  • NFL Most Valuable Player (1977)
  • NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1977)
  • NFL Man of the Year (1977)
  • 5× First-team All-Pro (1976, 1977, 1980, 1984, 1985)
  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (1978, 1979, 1986)
  • 9× Pro Bowl (1976–1980, 1983–1986)
  • NFL rushing yards leader (1977)
  • NFL rushing touchdowns leader (1977)
  • 4× NFL rushing attempts leader (1976–1979)
  • Bert Bell Award (1985)
  • NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Chicago Bears No. 34 retired
  • 100 greatest Bears of All-Time



6. Reggie White

Team(s): Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers & Green Bay Packers

Defensive End Rankings: #1 Ranked All-Time

Another defensive star that dominated the NFL while forcing havoc on the opposing quarterback is the long time great defensive end Reggie White.

White who played his career for the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, and Green Bay Packers, was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year award winner, led the NFL in sacks in two different seasons and was a 13 time Pro Bowl teammate.

The Minister of Defense wrapped up his career as the NFL All-Time sack leader while posting 198 total sacks.

Accolades:
  • Super Bowl champion (XXXI)
  • 2× NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1987, 1998)
  • 8× First-team All-Pro (1986–1991, 1995, 1998)
  • 5× Second-team All-Pro (1992–1994, 1996, 1997)
  • 13× Pro Bowl (1986–1998)
  • 2× NFL sacks leader (1987, 1988)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Philadelphia Eagles Football HOF
  • Philadelphia Eagles 75th Anniversary Team
  • Philadelphia Eagles No. 92 retired
  • Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame
  • Green Bay Packers No. 92 retired
  • 3× NFC Defensive Player of the Year (1987, 1991, 1995)
  • Bart Starr Award (1992)



5. Jim Brown

Team(s): Cleveland Browns

Running Back Rankings: #2 Ranked All-Time

Cutting his way into the top five on the Top 10 NFL Players All-Time Rankings list is the Cleveland Browns talented running back Jim Brown. Brown, who is considered one of the best athletes of All-Time, is also considered one of the best NFL players All-Time.

Brown, who played his entire NFL career with the Browns won three NFL MVP awards, led the NFL eight different times in rushing yards, and was an eight time first-team All-Pro selection. 

Overall Brown rushed for 12,312 rushing yards to go along with 106 rushing touchdowns and 20 touchdown receptions.

Accolades:
  • NFL champion (1964)
  • 3× NFL Most Valuable Player (1957, 1958, 1965)
  • NFL Rookie of the Year (1957)
  • 8× First-team All-Pro (1957–1961, 1963–1965)
  • Second-team All-Pro (1962)
  • 9× Pro Bowl (1957–1965)
  • 8× NFL rushing yards leader (1957–1961, 1963–1965)
  • 5× NFL rushing touchdowns leader (1957–1959, 1963, 1965)
  • NFL scoring leader (1958)
  • NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Bert Bell Award (1963)
  • Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor
  • Cleveland Browns No. 32 retired




4. Joe Montana

Team(s): San Francisco 49ers & Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback Rankings: #3 Ranked All-Time

Joe Montana is considered by many to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of All-Time and was once the holder of the most Super Bowl titles won by a quarterback.

Montana, who played his career with the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, was also a great quarterback leading up to the 1979 NFL draft with the Notre Dame Fightin Irish.

Montana would go on to help guide the 49ers to four Super Bowl Championships in each of his four Super Bowl appearances.

In addition to winning four Super Bowl titles, Montana was a two-time NFL MVP, eight-time Pro Bowler, and three time first-team All-Pro. Montana threw for 40,551 yards over his career with 273 passing touchdowns.

Accolades:
  • 4× Super Bowl champion (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV)
  • 3× Super Bowl MVP (XVI, XIX, XXIV)
  • 2× NFL Most Valuable Player (1989, 1990)
  • NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1989)
  • NFL Comeback Player of the Year (1986)
  • 3× First-team All-Pro (1987, 1989, 1990)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro (1981, 1984)
  • 8× Pro Bowl (1981, 1983–1985, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993)
  • 2× NFL passing touchdowns leader (1982, 1987)
  • 2× NFL passer rating leader (1987, 1989)
  • 5× NFL completion percentage leader (1980, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1989)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame
  • San Francisco 49ers No. 16 retired
  • Bert Bell Award (1989)
  • 2× George Halas Award (1988, 1994)



3. Lawrence Taylor

Team(s): New York Giants

Outside Linebacker Rankings: #1 Ranked All-Time

When it comes to the top three players on the Top 10 NFL Players All-Time Rankings list, each is considered the Greatest of All-Time at the position they play. While each warranted the top spot, only one player could while Lawrence Taylor lands at number three.

Taylor who is known for his gruesome hit on Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann is also credited with the evolution of the left tackle position or blind side on the offensive line. 

Taylors long list of accomplishments includes winning both the Defensive Player of the Year award and Rookie of the Year award in the same season.

Other accolades include posting 142 career sacks, making 10 NFL Pro Bowl teams, and winning the 1986 NFL MVP award.

Accolades:
  • 2× Super Bowl champion (XXI, XXV)
  • NFL Most Valuable Player (1986)
  • 3× NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1981, 1982, 1986)
  • NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (1981)
  • 8× First-team All-Pro (1981–1986, 1988, 1989)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro (1987, 1990)
  • 10× Pro Bowl (1981–1990)
  • NFL sacks leader (1986)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • New York Giants Ring of Honor
  • New York Giants No. 56 retired
  • 2× NFC Player of the Year (1983, 1986)
  • Bert Bell Award (1986)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1981)




2. Jerry Rice

Team(s): San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders & Seattle Seahawks

Wide Receiver Rankings: #1 Ranked All-Time

The GOAT Jerry Rice is one of the most gifted and greatest wide receivers and players to play the game of football.

Rice who played for the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, and Seattle Seahawks was nearly unguardable by opposing members of the secondary while also being one of the best route runners to play in the NFL.

Rice finished his career with the most career receptions, most career receiving yards, most career receiving touchdowns, most career touchdowns, and the most all-purpose yards.

The longtime member of the 49ers racked up 22,895 yards receiving to go along with 197 touchdown receptions and 1,549 career receptions.

Accolades:
  • 3× Super Bowl champion (XXIII, XXIV, XXIX)
  • Super Bowl MVP (XXIII)
  • 2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1987, 1993)
  • 10× First-team All-Pro (1986–1990, 1992–1996)
  • Second-team All-Pro (2002)
  • 13× Pro Bowl (1986–1996, 1998, 2002)
  • 6× NFL receiving yards leader (1986, 1989, 1990, 1993–1995)
  • 2× NFL receptions leader (1990, 1996)
  • 6× NFL receiving touchdowns leader (1986, 1987, 1989–1991, 1993)
  • NFL scoring leader (1987)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1985)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame
  • San Francisco 49ers No. 80 retired
  • Bert Bell Award (1987)





1. Tom Brady

Team(s): New England Patriots & Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quarterback Rankings: #1 Ranked All-Time

When you win seven Super Bowl Championships as the starting quarterback it is easy to slot that player into the top spot as the greatest NFL player All-Time.

Brady over his career has guided the New England Patriots to six Super Bowl titles and also guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his first season to another Super Bowl title. Over his career Brady has racked up over 85,000 passing yards to go along with 627 touchdowns.

Currently Brady holds a long list of NFL records including the most pass completions during a single season, most career passing touchdowns, most career passing yards, and most career wins as a quarterback.

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Accolades:
  • 7× Super Bowl champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, LIII, LV)
  • 5× Super Bowl MVP (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX, LI, LV)
  • 3× NFL Most Valuable Player (2007, 2010, 2017)
  • 2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2007, 2010)
  • NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2009)
  • 3× First-team All-Pro (2007, 2010, 2017)
  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (2005, 2016, 2021)
  • 15× Pro Bowl (2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009–2018, 2021)
  • 5× NFL passing touchdowns leader (2002, 2007, 2010, 2015, 2021)
  • 4× NFL passing yards leader (2005, 2007, 2017, 2021)
  • 2× NFL passer rating leader (2007, 2010)
  • NFL completion percentage leader (2007)
  • NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 2010s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • New England Patriots All-2000s Team
  • New England Patriots All-2010s Team
  • New England Patriots 50th Anniversary Team
  • New England Patriots All-Dynasty Team
  • Bert Bell Award (2007)



How would you rank the greatest NFL players in history? Rank below to be added in the NFL Power Rankings.

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