Pro Football Reference Blog

Archive for the 'Top Lists' Category

15 Best Left Guards of All Time

17th May 2024

The offensive line acts as the wall protecting the quarterback and creating running lanes, and left guards to play a crucial role in this formidable structure. These unsung heroes anchor the left side, locking horns with defensive tackles and linebackers. This post delves into the realm of the NFL’s greatest left guards of all time.

We’ll journey through gridiron history, uncovering the legendary figures whose dominance and skill cemented their place in football lore. From dominant run blockers to impeccable pass protectors, we’ll analyze their impact on the game and dissect their unique play styles.

So, settle down in your best three-point stance, be prepared to fire out, and be awestruck by the feats of these remarkable athletes. Let’s unveil the Best NFL left guards of all time!

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Top Lists | Comments Off on 15 Best Left Guards of All Time

12 Best Right Tackles of All Time

19th April 2024

In the gladiator arena of the NFL, the quarterback reigns supreme. But without his loyal guardian on the right side, his reign can be short-lived. Enter the offensive right tackle, a stalwart warrior tasked with a singular mission: protecting the quarterback’s blindside.  These titans of the offensive line excel in the trenches, wielding their strength, technique, and unwavering focus to neutralize some of the league’s most ferocious pass rushers.

Today, we embark on a journey through gridiron history, unveiling the legendary right tackles who kept quarterbacks upright and paved the way for offensive dominance.  From the immovable mountains who anchored rushing attacks to the nimble technicians who neutralized elite speed rushers, get ready to be introduced to the pantheon of the NFL’s most dominant right tackles.  Who will claim the top spot?  Let the debate begin!

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Top Lists | Comments Off on 12 Best Right Tackles of All Time

11 Best Centers of All Time

29th March 2024

From snapping plays to anchoring the offensive line, the center position commands respect and responsibility in the NFL. In the heart of the trenches, they’re the silent quarterbacks, orchestrating plays, protecting their fellow linemen, and paving the way for legendary runs and game-winning throws. But who reigns supreme in this realm of snapping giants?

Joining us today is a quest to uncover NFL history’s most dominant, impactful, and celebrated centers. We’ll dive into their legacies, examining not just statistics and accolades but their leadership, versatility, and undeniable impact on the game to try and determine the highest NFL center rankings. Whether it’s the legendary leadership of Mike Webster or the sheer dominance of Jim Ringo, prepare to be transported through decades of gridiron battles as we uncover the actual dominant snap initiators and the best center of all time in the NFL.

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Top Lists | Comments Off on 11 Best Centers of All Time

10 Best Nose Tackles of All Time

27th March 2024

Introduction

In the trenches of professional football, a battle rages on every snap. The nose tackle stands as an immovable force among the gladiators in this clash. These behemoths are the defensive line’s anchors, occupying multiple blockers, disrupting plays, and freeing up their teammates to make tackles. But who, among these giants, have cemented their place as the greatest nose tackles of all time?

This article delves into the annals of NFL history, analyzing the careers of legendary nose tackles. We’ll explore their dominance on the field, their impact on the game, and the unique skill sets that separated them. From the immovable walls that clogged running lanes to the disruptive forces that wreaked havoc in opposing backfields, prepare to be introduced to the pantheon of the NFL’s best nose tackles.

The nose guard goes by multiple monikers in football circles. Common alias’ to the defensive line player positioned between the “A” gaps are nose tackle, “zero technique,” nose guard, and middle guard.

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Top Lists | Comments Off on 10 Best Nose Tackles of All Time

10 Best Free Safeties of All Time

23rd March 2024

Generally speaking, the safety position in the NFL is broken into two roles: a strong safety and a free safety. Both of these defenders have to be just about the most athletic guy on the field. A strong safety is typically a little bigger than a free safety. They tend to play closer to the line of scrimmage and be more involved in stopping the run. Usually they line up on the strong side, where the tight end starts off for the offense, and they at times cover tight ends and/or fullbacks. A free safety is usually faster and a little rangier than a strong safety. In addition to providing run support, they are expected to help cornerbacks in pass coverage more often, and they even have to shadow slot receivers occasionally. A lot of the time they are the center fielders of the defense.

We are going to identify the best free safeties of all time. Keep in mind that many defensive backs rotate positions throughout their careers, so classifying these elite athletes can be difficult. To be eligible for this list, a player had to be listed as a free safety for the majority of their career, not a corner or a strong safety. Without further delay, here are some of the fiercest hitters and most versatile players to ever grace the gridiron: ten of the best free safeties in NFL history.

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Top Lists | Comments Off on 10 Best Free Safeties of All Time

14 Best Left Tackles of All Time

10th March 2024

Protecting the Blind Side: A Salute to the Greatest Left Tackles in NFL History

They stand tall and resolute, guardians of the quarterback’s blind side, facing the fiercest pass rushers with unwavering determination. Left tackles: the unsung heroes of the gridiron, their impact often measured in silence averted rather than sacks recorded. With this in mind, we embark on a journey through the trenches of NFL history, celebrating the titans who have mastered this demanding position, the men who have redefined the art of pass protection.

From the pioneering prowess of Rosey Brown and Art Shell to modern marvels like Walter Jones and Jonathan Ogden, we’ll delve into the careers of these legendary blockers. We’ll dissect their techniques, analyze their impact on their teams’ success, and relive the iconic moments that cemented their place among the game’s elite.

But this isn’t just a nostalgic trip down memory lane. We’ll also explore the evolution of the left tackle position, examining how the changing landscapes of offensive and defensive schemes have shaped the skillset required for dominance. Along the way, we’ll uncover hidden gems, debate controversial selections, and spark lively discussions about who deserves the title of “Best Left Tackle in the NFL.”

So, buckle up, football fans, as we gear up for an in-depth exploration of the men who stood their ground, blew open running lanes, and kept quarterbacks upright.

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Top Lists | Comments Off on 14 Best Left Tackles of All Time

10 Best Strong Safeties of All Time

9th March 2024

In the defensive backfield, the aptly named safety is the last line of defense. In order to be one of the top strong safeties in the NFL, a player needs the speed to cover receivers, and strength and tackling ability to cover tight ends and stop the run. Here is our list of the 10 best strong safeties of all time, using data and statistics from the Pro Football Reference database.

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Top Lists | Comments Off on 10 Best Strong Safeties of All Time

10 Best Defensive Ends of All Time

26th February 2024

Defensive end is one of the most difficult and demanding positions to play in football. It’s the most important player on an NFL defense vs tight ends and tackles. For this reason, they need an exceptional combination of size, strength and athleticism to be able to rush the passer, jam tight ends and drop back in coverage. 

Many of the all-time greatest defensive players in NFL history have played defensive end. Who are the very best NFL defensive ends to ever play? Here are our top 10 using stats from Pro Football Reference. Who is your top NFL defensive end? 

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Top Lists | Comments Off on 10 Best Defensive Ends of All Time

11 Best Long Snappers of All Time

17th February 2024

Imagine having a job where you are successful only if you get little recognition. Many of us may relate. The position of the NFL specialty player called the long snapper fits this criteria to a tee.

While “playmakers” such as quarterbacks and wide receivers steal the spotlight, the NFL’s hidden gem often goes unnoticed. This specialist, responsible for snapping the ball accurately and consistently to the punter or holder, plays a crucial yet frequently underappreciated role in the game’s flow.

Unlike other positions, an NFL long snapper’s success lies not in statistics or highlight-reel plays but in flawless execution. A perfect snap, delivered with precision and timing, is crucial for punts, field goals, and extra points. A single errant snap can have disastrous consequences, stalling drives, creating turnovers, and costing teams precious points.

The long snapper’s value extends beyond technical expertise. They must possess exceptional mental fortitude, remain calm under pressure, and perform flawlessly amidst the crowd’s roar. They must also be versatile, adapting to different formations and snap counts to meet the demands of various plays.

While the spotlight rarely shines on them, long snappers are the silent heroes of the gridiron. Their dedication, precision, and pressure-proof mentality are essential ingredients in any successful football team. They are the cornerstone of special teams, ensuring smooth execution and laying the foundation for crucial scoring opportunities.

In this article, we will highlight some of the standouts of these unsung gridiron heroes.

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Top Lists | Comments Off on 11 Best Long Snappers of All Time

Teams with Worst Records in NFL History

1st February 2024

This is the kind of article that should come with a warning label. The following teams make you wince, laugh, and maybe even cry (depending on your rooting interests). It takes a special kind of…um…something to be this bad. So, for that, congratulations to our winners at losing.

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Top Lists | Comments Off on Teams with Worst Records in NFL History