Time to banish LT from the All-Time 11?

Cold, Hard Football Facts for May 06, 2010



A few years ago, the Cold, Hard Football Facts crew created the All-Time 11. It was our effort to create the greatest collection of two-way talent in history. And Lawrence Taylor made the cut at LB and TE. Given the charges of rape against him, is it time to pull LT off the list? Write to us here or discuss it in the CHFF Fabulous Football Forum.
 
The Cold, Hard Football Facts crew
assembles the greatest collection of talent
in pro football history.
 
 
By the Cold, Hard Football Facts staff
 
We tend to avoid challenges – unless they involve things like funneling beer and arm-wrestling old ladies.
 
Still, we couldn't resist issuing ourselves a challenge a couple months ago, one that would test the known limits of human wisdom and endurance here on Planet Pigskin. It was a challenge nobody else, as far as we know, has ever undertaken: We had to compile the greatest collection of football talent ever assembled.
 
Seems easy enough, right?
 
But there was a catch: We could pick just 11 players.
 
Eleven men culled from the thousands who have played during the entire 86-year history of professional football. They had to play offense. They had to play defense. They had to play special teams. And we get just 11 players to build a perfect team that could run, pass, catch, kick, punt, block and tackle better than any other 11 you could put in front of them. 
 
It had to be the biggest, fastest, meanest, toughest, most productive, most dominant and most versatile collection of football talent ever assembled, and all of this talent had to be pulled from the bodies of just 11 men.
 
Creating all-time all-star teams is certainly nothing new. But many of these all-star teams seem like popularity-contest laundry lists. The NFL's 75th anniversary all-time team, for example, included eight offensive linemen ... and seven running backs!
 
The All-Time 11 simply has no room for dead weight, stragglers or players who were merely awesome. The entire All-Time 11 is found below, with detailed biographies of each player. You can read more about the All-Time 11 here.
 
The basics of the exercise are this: We've compiled highly versatile, athletic and proven NFL performers who played multiple positions in the NFL or who convinced us, through their spectacular athleticism, that they could play the multiple positions we demand of them.
 
Certainly there will be some debate. In fact, there was plenty of internal debate among the Cold, Hard Football Facts trolls. We welcome and encourage your comments.
 
But we also challenge anyone to compile a list of 11 other players who could beat our All-Time 11 on the fictional gridiron battlefield. If you can field 11 better players, we want to meet them
 
We're certain our All-Time 11 will crush your puny, insignificant 11.
 
THE ALL-TIME 11
Offense
Player
Defense
QB
FS
RB
SS
RB
OLB
TE
OLB
WR
CB
WR
CB
RT
DE
LT
DT
LG
DT
RG
DE/LB
C
MLB
Kicker
 
 
Baugh
Punter
 
Slingin' Sammy Baugh (6-2, 185)
Washington Redskins (1937-52)
All-Time 11 positions: quarterback, free safety, punter
All-NFL: 7 times
MVP: n/a
NFL champion: 1937, 1942
Hometown: Temple, Texas
College: Texas Christian
Hall of Fame: 1963 (charter member)
 
Wait no more for the Pigskin Messiah, friends of the Cold, Hard Football Facts. The Gridiron Gods have already given us the perfect all-purpose football player, and his name is Sammy Baugh. He could throw like Dan Marino, run like Michael Vick, pick off passes like Ronnie Lott and punt the ball better than Ray Guy. Baugh is the obvious choice to lead the offense of the All-Time 11. He also plays defensive back and, in the rare case that we find ourselves unable to convert a third down, he pins our opponents deep with his electrifying punts.
 
A two-time All-American at TCU, Baugh joined the NFL as a single-wing tailback. By the 1940s, he had become one of the first "quarterbacks" as we know them today – as passing specialists. Many historians credit him with creating the modern quarterback position.
 
His passing numbers have stood the test of time. In 1945, he completed 70.3 percent of his attempts and posted a very modern-looking 109.9 passer rating. His amazing 70.3 completion percentage has been surpassed only once, by Cincinnati's Ken Anderson (70.6) in the Live Ball Era season of 1982. The 109.9 passer rating in 1945 is the second-best passing season in the history of the NFL when compared with the league-wide rating that year (47.4).
 
Baugh was also a two-way iron man who intercepted 31 passes as a defensive back. He still stands as arguably the greatest punter in NFL history. His career punting average of 45.1 is second all-time to current Oakland punter Shane Lechler's 45.9. He averaged an amazing 51.4 yards per punt in 1940 – still an NFL record – and led the league in punting a record four different seasons (1940-43).
 
As good as he was in 1945, Baugh's signature season was 1943. In that 10-game campaign, he led the NFL in passing (1,754 yards), interceptions (11) and punting (45.9 average) and became one of just three "Triple Crown" winners in NFL history.
 
Jim Brown (6-2, 232)
Cleveland Browns (1957-65)
All-Time 11 positions: running back, strong safety
All-NFL: 8 times
MVP: 1958, 1965
NFL champion: 1964
Hometown: St. Simons, Georgia
College: Syracuse
Hall of Fame: 1971
 
Jim Brown's awesome physical skills make him an obvious choice on our All-Time 11 as a running back – where he dominated the position like no other. We're convinced his amazing size, speed and physicality will make him a dominant performer at safety, as well. Brown is the greatest running back in NFL history, stands as one of the most versatile athletes in the history of North American sports and was declared football's "All-Time Alpha Male" by the Cold, Hard Football Facts in 2005.
 
Brown did not play defense in the NFL, but there is a precedent for him on that side of the ball. He played a roving linebacker/strong safety position at Syracuse. He was also the team's placekicker and, in his spare time, lettered in lacrosse, basketball and track. Brown is a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, which says he's "considered by many to be the greatest to ever play the game."
 
Most of Brown's total rushing records have been surpassed. But nobody matches him for sheer dominance. He led the NFL in rushing in eight of his nine years in the league, played in the Pro Bowl every single season and averaged a record 5.2 yards per carry over the course of his career. To put that figure into perspective, among the Top 10 rushers of all time, only one other player averaged more than 4.4 yards per carry (Barry Sanders, 5.0). Brown also caught an average of 29 passes per season and is our primary receiving threat out of the backfield.
 
Brown was the unanimous selection as NFL Rookie of the Year in 1957 and picked up MVP awards in 1958 and in 1965, his final year in the league. He abruptly quit the game at the height of his powers. In that final year, he rushed for 1,544 yards in 14 games, averaged 5.3 yards per carry and scored 21 TDs (17 rushing, 4 receiving).
 
Brown's signature season, however, came in 1963, when he rushed for 1,863 yards (133.1 YPG, second best all-time) and averaged a truly amazing 6.4 yards per attempt.
 
Bronislaw "Bronko" Nagurski (6-2, 225)
Chicago Bears (1930-37, 1943)
All-Time 11 positions: running back, linebacker
All-NFL: 5 times
MVP: n/a
NFL champion: 1932, 1933, 1943
Hometown: Rainy River, Ontario
College: Minnesota
Hall of Fame: 1963 (charter member)
 
Bronko Nagurski is one of the most intimidating and most versatile performers in football history, and he could play any position on the field if we asked him to do so. He plays outside linebacker on defense and we've have paired him with Jim Brown on offense, which gives the All-Time 11 the most punishing offensive backfield ever assembled. It's hard to imagine a more fearsome ball carrier – an athletic, 225-pound back from an era that produced 200-pound Hall of Fame linemen. His is an oversized, Paul Bunyanesque legend from the North Woods that has continued to grow with time.
 
"Nagurski is the greatest NFL player before 1950, hands down and without question," said Cold, Hard Football Facts contributor Allen Barra.
 
Famed sportswriter Grantland Rice would agree. Fielding a team of Nagurskis, Rice wrote back in the 1930s, would be "something close to murder and massacre." Sounds like our kind of team.
 
Statistics from the primitive early era of pro football were not kept well – and even if they were, yards and points were hard to come by. So Nagurski's numbers do not stack up to those of the players who came afterward. But we do know this: His versatility is unmatched in gridiron annals.
 
In college, Nagurski earned the rare honor of being named All-America as a fullback and as a defensive tackle. In the NFL, he's the only player in history who was named All-Pro at three different positions (DL, OL and RB). In his spare time, he became a three-time heavyweight champion of professional wrestling. Nagurski returned to the NFL in 1943 after a five-year retirement and, as a fullback and two-way tackle, helped guide the Bears to his third NFL championship.
 
Nagurski's signature season came in 1933, when he rushed for 533 yards on 128 carries, led a defense that surrendered just 6.3 PPG and helped power the Bears to a league-best 10-2-1 record and a West division crown. He capped the season with pair of TD passes as the Bears beat the Giants, 23-21, in the first ever NFL title game.
 
Lawrence "L.T." Taylor (6-3, 237) 
N.Y. Giants (1981-1993)
All-Time 11 positions: outside linebacker, tight end
All-NFL: 9 times
MVP: 1986
NFL champion: 1986, 1990
Hometown: Williamsburg, Virginia
College: North Carolina
Hall of Fame: 1999
 
Lawrence Taylor virtually invented the seek-and-destroy outside linebacker that we know today. He plays weak-side linebacker in the All-Time 11's base 4-3 and becomes our pass-rushing outside linebacker opposite DE/LB Bobby Bell when we move into a 3-4. Though he never played tight end in the NFL, Taylor's size, speed and rare athleticism make him ideal at the position after the All-Time 11 destroys opposing offenses on three straight plays and then takes over the ball.
 
Taylor's impact on the NFL was immediate. He was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1981, and a Giants defense that surrendered 425 points in 1980 gave up just 257 points in 1981. Teams soon found that they had to build offensive game plans to account for this disruptive defensive powerhouse. Some say it was Taylor who prompted Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs to adopt the inventive one-back offense in Washington, which is incredibly common today.
 
Taylor is one of just a handful of Live Ball Era defensive players who have made it so far into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was also named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team in 1994.
 
Taylor's signature season came in 1986, when he recorded 20.5 sacks, became the last defensive player to win the NFL Most Valuable Player award and led the Giants to their first Super Bowl victory and first NFL championship since 1956.
 
Don Hutson (6-1, 183) 
Green Bay Packers (1935-1945)
All-Time 11 positions: wide receiver, cornerback
All-NFL: 9 times
MVP: 1941, 1932
NFL champion: 1936, 1939, 1944
Hometown: Pine Bluff, Arkansas
College: Alabama
Hall of Fame: 1963 (charter member)
 
No receiver in history – not even Jerry Rice – dominated the position like Don Hutson. He was also a stellar defensive back and a clear choice to make any superstar team, including our All-Time 11, where he shreds defenses at wide receiver and shuts down opposing offenses at cornerback.
 
Hutson joined the NFL in its offensive Stone Age but put up remarkably modern numbers. When measured against the standards of his era, no pass catcher can match Hutson for sheer dominance. Compare Hutson, for example, to Rice, the player universally proclaimed by modern football fans as the greatest wideout of all time: 
  • Rice led the league in receptions twice (in 20 seasons).
  • Hutson led the league in receptions a record eight times (in 11 seasons).
  • Rice led the league in receiving yards six times.
  • Hutson led the league in receiving yards seven times, including a record four years in a row (1941-44).
  • Rice had four 200-yard receiving performances in 303 career games.
  • Hutson had four 200-yard receiving performances in 116 career games.
Hutson was also a superb defensive back who picked off 30 passes in the six seasons in which the stat was kept. His 30 INTs in 63 games (0.48 INTs per game) puts his theft rate above that of almost every great defensive back in history. All-time interception leader Paul Krause, for example, picked off 81 passes in 226 games (0.36 INTs per game). Ronnie Lott, the first Live Ball Era defensive back in the Hall of Fame, picked off 63 passes in 192 games (0.33 INTs per game).
 
The knock against Hutson is that he feasted on subpar competition during the war years. There's certainly some merit to this argument. But his Packers won two NFL championships in the pre-war years (1936, 1939) and he led the league in TDs every year of his career except two (1939, 1945).
 
Hutson's signature campaign was 1942, when – in an 11-game season – he intercepted seven passes and hauled in a Ruthian 74 receptions for 1,211 yards (16.4 YPC) and 17 TDs. Projected over a 16-game season, that's one of the greatest receiving seasons ever: 108 catches for 1,761 yards and 25 TDs.
 
Deion "Prime Time" Sanders (6-1, 198)
Atlanta (1989-93); San Francisco (1994); Dallas (1995-1999); Washington  (2000); Baltimore (2004-05)
All-Time 11 positions: wide receiver, cornerback, kick returner
All-NFL: 5 times
MVP: none
NFL championships: 1994, 1995
Hometown: Ft. Myers, Florida
College: Florida State
Hall of Fame: Eligible in 2010
 
Old-school, dirt-and-spittle football is well represented by numerous members of the All-Time 11. Sanders, our most contemporary performer, gives the squad the glitz and glamour that's come to define modern pro football. He also gives us the definitive "shutdown corner," one of the speediest wideouts in history and a mesmerizing kick and punt returner who electrifies the massive crowds that come to watch us roll to victory game after game. He's the fastest player on our team, running the 40 in as little as 4.17 seconds. And, as far as we can tell, he's the only player on the team to record a highly unsuccessful rap album.
 
Like Jim Brown and other members of the All-Time 11, Sanders' athleticism was not limited to the football field. He was a two-time gridiron All-America at Florida State and played in the College World Series. He then brought his two-sport stardom to the next level: "Prime Time" is the only athlete to play in both a Super Bowl and a World Series. In fact, as an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves, he batted .533 in the 1992 World Series. After the Fall Classic was over, he returned to the football field and led the NFL with 26.7 yards per kick return.
 
Sanders holds the NFL record with 19 returns for touchdowns, including nine interceptions, six punts, three kickoffs and one fumble. His nine INT returns for TDs is tied for second all-time, behind only Rod Woodson (12). In 1996, he became the NFL's first regular two-way contributor since All-Time 11 captain Chuck Bednarik when he played a full slate at cornerback for the Cowboys and 8 games at wide receiver, catching 36 passes for 475 yards and 1 TD.
 
Sanders' signature season came with San Francisco in 1994. He intercepted six passes, tied a franchise record by returning 3 for TDs, averaged 50.5 yards per INT return and won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award. He picked off another pass in Super Bowl XXIX as the 49ers cruised to an easy 49-26 victory over San Diego.
 
Playing for the Cowboys in 1995, he caught a 47-yard pass in a Super Bowl XXX victory over Pittsburgh, becoming the first player to catch a pass and intercept a pass in football's biggest showcase game.
 
Lou "The Toe" Groza (6-3, 240)
Cleveland Browns (1946-59, 1961-67)
All-Time 11 positions: offensive tackle, defensive end, kicker
All-NFL: 6 times
MVP: 1954
NFL champion: 1950, 1954, 1955, 1964 (AAFC champion, 1946-49)
Hometown: Martins Ferry, Ohio
College: Ohio State
Hall of Fame: 1974
 
Groza ia one of two players on the All-Time 11 raised in the Gridiron Breadbasket and, with Jim Brown, one of two players we drafted from the great Cleveland dynasty of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The Browns are the only team represented twice here among the finest collection of football talent ever assembled.
 
Groza gives us a dominant offensive tackle along with one of the best kickers ever. (Sure, Jan Stenerud was more accurate. But you ask Stenerud to protect Sammy Baugh from Deacon Jones or Reggie White.) Groza switches to defensive end after we score yet another touchdown against the pathetic defenses fruitlessly trying to stop us.
 
Few players had a more illustrious, more colorful and more successful career than The Toe. He played 21 seasons and appeared in more pro football championship games than any player in history (13 – four in the AAFC, nine in the NFL). His team won eight of those games. The Browns won the AAFC championship in all four years of the league's existence (1946-49), and then appeared in six straight NFL title games.
 
The Browns quickly proved they belonged in the big leagues by marching through the 1950 NFL season with a 10-2 record. They faced the L.A. Rams in the title game and it was Groza's last-second, 16-yard, do-or-die field goal that provided the winning margin in a 30-28 victory. The clutch kick, and many more that followed, earned Groza a reputation as one of the great kickers in history.
 
The Toe retired after the 1959 season, having earned All-NFL honors six times in his 14 years as an offensive tackle. He returned to the NFL in 1961 and spent seven seasons as one of the game's first kicking specialists. He quit the game for good as pro football's all-time leading scorer (1,608 points), a record since surpassed by several players. 
 
Groza's signature season came in 1954, when he was named NFL Player of the Year as a powerhouse offensive tackle and steady straight-ahead kicker who converted 16 of 24 field goals and 37 of 38 extra points. The season ended with Groza leading the way for the Cleveland offense in a 56-10 destruction of Detroit in the NFL championship game.
 
Bobby Bell (6-4, 228) 
Kansas City (1963-74)
All-Time 11 positions: defensive end, linebacker, offensive guard
All-AFL/NFL: 9 times
MVP: none
NFL champion: 1969 (AFL champion, 1966)
Hometown: Shelby, North Carolina
College: Minnesota
Hall of Fame: 1983
 
Bell is the second member of the All-Time 11 to come out of the University of Minnesota (along with Bronko Nagurski) and our team's lone AFL representative. He's also one of the All-Time 11's truly gifted athletic marvels.
 
Bell plays defensive end, where his speed around the edge is impossible to contain by merely human offensive tackles and where he frequently bats down the passes of frightened, overmatched quarterbacks. He moves to OLB opposite Lawrence Taylor when we drop into a 3-4, while Bronko Nagurski slides into the middle beside Chuck Bednarik. It gives the All-Time 11 the most intimidating collection of linebackers ever assembled. Bell plays guard on offense after our defense forces another impotent three-and-out effort. His strength and speed as a pulling guard, meanwhile, make him a true weapon leading BrownNagurksi or Baugh on their long TD jaunts around the edge of the defense.
 
Bell actually began his college career at quarterback, after earning All-State honors at the position in North Carolina high school play. He was moved to the line at Minnesota, became a two-time All-America and won the Outland Trophy as college football's outstanding lineman. Bell is also one of just five offensive linemen to finish in the top three in Heisman voting (Bednarik is among the others).
 
Bell won All-AFL honors at defensive end in 1965. He then earned All-AFL or All-NFL recognition at linebacker every season from 1965 to 1971. He would often switch between the two positions for innovative coach Hank Stram, giving the Chiefs one of the NFL's earliest 4-3/3-4 hybrid defenses. Bell picked off a very impressive 26 passes in his career and scored an incredible 9 TDs – 6 on INT returns, two on fumble recoveries and one on a kick return.
 
Bell's signature campaign was 1969, when he helped the Chiefs field the No. 1 scoring defense in the AFL (12.6 PPG). The season ended with a 23-7 humiliation of NFL powerhouse Minnesota in Super Bowl IV. The Chiefs entered the game as two-touchdown underdogs, while the Vikings boasted a 12-2 record, the NFL's No. 1 scoring offense, No. 1 scoring defense and a scoring differential that made them one of the most dominant teams in history. Bell & Co. foiled the best the old NFL could throw their way by forcing five turnovers. Bell also registered a 53-yard touchdown in 1969 after recovering an onside kick, and he was named to the AFL's all-time team at the end of the season.
 
Mean Joe Greene (6-4, 275)
Pittsburgh (1969-1981)
All-Time 11 positions: defensive tackle, offensive guard
All-NFL: 9 times
MVP: none
NFL champion: 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979
Hometown: Temple, Texas
College: North Texas State
Hall of Fame: 1987
 
"Mean" Joe Greene was the best defender on arguably the best defense ever, Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain of the 1970s. That's no small accomplishment – the Steel Curtain sent four of its members on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is also one of two members of the All-Time 11 from the small central Texas city of Temple (Baugh is the other).
 
Greene gives us an immovable object to anchor the defensive front wall and switches to guard after we slaughter another opposing offense on three straight plays, while sending so many of their players off the field on stretchers. Though he played only defense in the NFL, we believe his amazing size, speed, strength and quickness, as well as his proven ability to overpower opponents in the trenches, give us a truly tremendous offensive performer. Greene also serves as our spokesman for Coke, which – mixed with a little bourbon – is the official sports drink of the All-Time 11.
 
With Greene as its greatest star, the Steelers defense finished in the Top 10 in scoring every year from 1972 to 1979, and fielded the league's stingiest defense in both 1976 and 1979. Paced by this defense, Pittsburgh won an unprecedented four Super Bowls in a six-year period (1974-79). In the final nine games of the 1976 season, Greene and his Steelers teammates put on the greatest display of defensive dominance in modern NFL history, surrendering just 28 points (3.1 PPG) and pitching five shutouts.
 
Greene's signature season was 1974. He led Pittsburgh to its first of four Super Bowl titles, confused opponents  with his unusual practice of lining up at an angle to the offensive line (before overpowering them) and played a major role in Pittsburgh's 16-6 throttling of Minnesota in Super Bowl IX. The Vikings entered the game with the league's No. 5 offense, but were held to 119 total yards, including just 17 on the ground, while Greene recorded both an INT and a fumble recovery. He also won his second of two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards that season (the other was in 1972).
 
Robert "Cal" Hubbard (6-2, 253)
New York Giants (1927-28, 1936; Green Bay Packers, 1929-33, 1935; Pittsburgh Pirates, 1936)
All-Time 11 positions: offensive tackle, defensive tackle
All-NFL: 6 times
MVP: n/a
NFL champion: 1927, 1929, 1930, 1931
Hometown: Keytesville, Missouri
College: Centenary, Geneva
Hall of Fame: 1963 (charter member)
 
Cal Hubbard was arguably the most dominant lineman of the one-platoon era. He was an overpowering behemoth who weighed in at more than 250 pounds when 200-pound linemen were the norm (some sources list him as tall as 6-5), and he was the best player on pro football's first great dynasty. He was named the NFL's all-time offensive tackle on its 50th anniversary team in 1969 and has been welcomed into the fold of the All-Time 11. He protects Sammy Baugh's blind side at left tackle and, with Joe Greene, creates a formidable, overpowering wall at the interior of our defense.
 
Our coach, George Halas, once described Hubbard as the best lineman in pro football history.
 
While playing for little-known Geneva College, Hubbard helped lead a shocking upset of powerhouse Harvard in 1926. He likewise experienced nothing but success his first several years in the NFL. As a rookie in 1927, he led a Giants defense that pitched 10 shutouts in 13 games while surrendering just 20 points the entire season, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Web site (early NFL scoring data is extremely hard to come by). The Giants finished with the best record in the league (11-1-2) and claimed the NFL championship.
 
Hubbard also boasts the versatility we demand of every member of the All-Time 11. He was an All-Pro every year from 1928 to 1933 at two different positions: guard and tackle. He started with the Giants as an end and also spent much of his career playing linebacker on defense. When his playing days were over, he became an American League umpire and eventually developed into one of baseball's most well-known figures. Today, he's the only person who's a member of both the Baseball and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
 
The signature stretch of Hubbard's career came when he moved to the Packers in 1929. He was a two-way tackle under Curly Lambeau and the best player on the first of just two teams in history to win three straight NFL championships (1929-31).
 
Chuck Bednarik (6-3, 233)
Philadelphia Eagles (1949-62)
All-Time 11 positions: center, middle linebacker
All-NFL: 9 times
MVP honors: none
NFL champion: 1949, 1960
Hometown: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
College: Pennsylvania
Hall of Fame: 1967
 
It's only fitting that the NFL's last great iron man was born in a city synonymous with steel – and in the heart of the Gridiron Breadbasket, no less. The ferocious and heroic Chuck Bednarik is an obvious choice to make any team. The Cold, Hard Football Facts named him "The Greatest Eagle Ever" in 2005, and we crown him here as the captain of the All-Time 11. He calls out the blocking assignments at the center of our dominant offensive line and, as our middle linebacker, rules the huddle and issues orders to the greatest defense ever assembled.
 
Bednarik's legend is that of the NFL's last full-time two-way player. The complete story is far more impressive.
 
Bednarik finished third in the 1948 Heisman Trophy race and is just one of five offensive lineman in the history of the award to finish in the top three in Heisman voting (one of the others is All-Time 11 teammate Bobby Bell).
 
Philly made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 1949 draft, one a small handful of offensive lineman in history taken with the first pick, and his impact on the NFL was immediate – the Eagles won the championship that season. Bednarik became an All-Pro center in 1950 and then an All-Pro linebacker every year from 1951 to 1957 and again in 1960.
 
Bednarik's signature season was 1960, when, at age 35, he became the NFL's last "60-minute man." He played some 600 minutes of Philadelphia's 720 minutes of football in that 12-game season. In the final play of the 1960 season – and the final play by the NFL's last full-time, two-way player – Bednarik wrestled Green Bay's Hall of Fame fullback Jim Taylor to the ground on the 9-yard line and prevented what would have been a game-winning touchdown for the Packers. His tackle after playing 58 minutes of football preserved Philly's 17-13 victory and its last NFL championship. It was the only postseason loss the Packers would suffer under Vince Lombardi.
 
It was also in the 1960 season that Bednarik laid out N.Y. Giants future Hall of  Famer Frank Gifford with one of the most brutal hits in the history of the NFL. Gifford missed the entire 1961 season as a result of the hit and the photo (seen above) is arguably the most famous in NFL history.
 
Amazingly, all this success on the football field was just a postscript to the most heroic period of Bednarik's life. Before becoming a star at the University of Pennsylvania, Bednarik spent two years in the Army Air Corps during World War II and flew 30 bombing missions over Europe as a waist gunner on a B-24 (that's Bednarik, circled in the photo, with his crew; photo courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame).
 
***
 
THE ALL-TIME 11 spans nearly the entire length of NFL history, from 1927 (Cal Hubbard's first year in the NFL) to 2005 (the last year for Deion Sanders).
 
 
***
ALL-TIME 11 BONUS MEMBERS
Coach: George Halas. No. 2 on the all-time victories list, the former end slips on a helmet any time one of our players needs a break.
 
Broadcasters: Pat Summerall, John Madden. Summerall, a former Giants kicker (and two-way end in college), can come out of the booth and spell Groza or one of our lineman in a pinch. Madden, a two-way player at Oregon and Cal Poly in college, also went on to become one of the NFL's most successful coaches. He can assist Halas in practice, or even step on the field in an emergency.
 
Beat writer: George Plimpton. The famed sports writer and man of letters took a few preseason snaps in his day for the Lions and Colts and can serve on the All-Time 11 taxi squad in between penning his glowing tributes to the team's greatness and endless string of victories
 
Waterboy: Bobby Boucher. Like the coach, broadcasters and beat writer, our waterboy can come off the bench to spell our players.
 
Home field: The Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio (yeah, it's a college arena, but it's the only stadium in the Gridiron Breadbasket – and close to the Hall of Fame – that's big enough to house the massive crowds that come to see us play).
 

From our partners




Team Pages
AFC East NFC
South
North
West

Connect With Us
Sign up for our newsletter to recieve all the latest news and updates...




The Football Nation Network

© Copyright 2014 Football Nation LLC. Privacy Policy & Terms of Use   Logout
Some images property of Getty Images or Icon/SMI