Can You Identify Modern NFL Stars From a Black and White Photo?

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Gavin Thagard

7 Min Quiz

Are you familiar with this defensive end who had two injury-plagued seasons before returning to form in 2018?

J.J. Watt won three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards in only his first five seasons in the league. During that dominant stage of his career, he twice led the league in sacks and led the league in tackles for a loss three times.

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This young quarterback is coming off an MVP season. Who is he?

In only his first full season as a starter, Patrick Mahomes threw 50 touchdown passes to only 12 interceptions. That puts him in a class of only three quarterbacks, the others being Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, to throw for at least 50 touchdowns in a season.

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Do you know this NFL veteran who had one of the best seasons of his career in 2018?

For the first time in four years, Ben Roethlisberger started all 16 regular-season games in 2018. It wasn't enough to get his team to the playoffs, though, which was the first time he missed them since 2013.

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What's the name of this six-time Super Bowl champion?

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have appeared in four of the last five Super Bowls, walking away from those championship games with three victories. Putting on stellar performances, Brady was named the MVP in two of those Super Bowls.

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Who is this former MVP quarterback?

Cam Newton had a complicated college career, where he was kicked out of the University of Florida only to return to the SEC to play one season at Auburn University. While at Auburn, Newton won both the Heisman Trophy and the BCS National Championship.

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Do you know this quarterback who is now the highest-paid player in NFL history?

Russell Wilson is one of the few players left on the Seattle Seahawks' Super Bowl-winning roster from 2013. At the time, Wilson was simply a game manager, but he has turned himself into one of the best playmakers in the league.

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You might recognize which player shown here for winning the Super Bowl MVP last year?

Offense was hard to come by in Super Bowl LIII, the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in NFL history. That didn't stop Julian Edelman, who earned the Super Bowl MVP after catching 10 passes for 141 yards.

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You might recognize which NFL player shown here for making headlines when he was traded to the Cleveland Browns?

Other than an injury-plagued season in 2017, Odell Beckham Jr. has recorded over 1,000 yards receiving every year he's been in the NFL. That includes his rookie season where he averaged 108 yards per game.

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Do you recognize this quarterback who led his team to the playoffs last year?

Andrew Luck missed the entire 2017 NFL season due to a shoulder injury that was almost career-ending. He managed to return in 2018 and barely missed a beat, throwing for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns.

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Can you name this quarterback who will enter the 2019 season with a new head coach?

Aaron Rodgers has it all on the football field: a powerful arm, great decision making, speed to scramble and a will to win. The one thing he has been criticized for is his leadership, which even former teammates have questioned.

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Few linebackers have been as smart on the field as which one shown here?

After a dominant college career at Boston College, Luke Kuechly was drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. He immediately became a starter for the team and has remained in the position throughout his career.

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How well do you know this receiver who puts up huge numbers each year for the Atlanta Falcons?

Julio Jones appeared in Super Bowl LI with the Atlanta Falcons when they lost in overtime to the New England Patriots. The star of the team, Jones was only targeted four times, which were all receptions totaling 87 yards.

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This running back should be fresh after taking off last season. Who is he?

For two years in a row, the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn't reach a deal with Le'Veon Bell, so the team placed the franchise tag on the star running back. Rather than risk injury in a second year under the tag, Bell decided to not sign it and was ruled ineligible to play.

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Did you watch this receiver light it up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season?

Mike Evans has been one of the best deep threat wide receivers in the NFL since he joined the league in 2014. He averages 15.5 yards per catch throughout his career and had his best season in 2018 where he averaged 17.7 yards per catch.

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What's the name of this record-setting tight end?

Zach Ertz started his first full season in 2018 with the Philadelphia Eagles after the team drafted him in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Last season, he recorded 116 receptions, the most ever by a tight end.

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Is this former Super Bowl MVP a player you recognize?

Despite the double teams he constantly faces, Von Miller continues to put up double-digit sack numbers. In 2018, he recorded 14.5 sacks, which was the second-highest total of his career.

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How familiar are you with this receiver who is known for just putting his head down and getting to work?

DeAndre Hopkins has been the one constant on a Houston Texans team that's gone through a lot of change since he joined the league in 2013. Since his rookie season, Hopkins has put up great numbers while only missing one game.

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The winner of two rushing titles, which star runner is this?

In only three seasons, Ezekiel Elliott has proven he can easily be the best running back in the league when he's on the field. The problem is that off-the-field issues have forced him to miss large chunks of time.

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Can you identify this running back who's one of the best in the business when he's healthy?

In his junior year of college at the University of Georgia, Todd Gurley suffered a devastating ACL tear that ended his college football career. It had little effect on his draft status, however, as he was still a top ten pick.

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Can you identify this defensive stud who proved he was worth the expensive contract he signed last season?

In his first season with the Chicago Bears, Khalil Mack dominated opposing offenses who just couldn't keep him from getting to the quarterback. Not only did he force six fumbles, but the defensive end also recorded 12.5 sacks.

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The holder of the NFL's all-time passing record, who do you see in this image?

Drew Brees started his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers, but an injury saw the Chargers replace him with Philip Rivers. Looking for a starting spot, Brees decided to sign with the New Orleans Saints, where he has become one of the most recognized faces in the city's history.

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Considered one of the best receivers in the game despite being in his 30s, what's this player's name?

After a year full of conflict with fellow players on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Antonio Brown got his wish when the team traded him to the Oakland Raiders in the offseason. The Raiders can definitely use Brown's skillset considering they had one of the worst records in the league in 2018.

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Do you recognize this player who is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year?

Aaron Donald racked up 20.5 sacks over the course of the 2018 season, which set a Rams franchise record. He was only two sacks away from tying the NFL record set by Michael Strahan in 2001.

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Does this offensive tackle responsible for protecting Aaron Rodgers have a familiar face?

Playing at the University of Colorado, David Bakhtiari wasn't highly touted coming out of college. He slipped all the way to the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft but turned out to be a steal considering he started all 16 games as a rookie.

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An offense's worst nightmare, which young defensive star is this?

Myles Garrett was a dominant force during his three years in college, recording 31 sacks while at Texas A&M. With pass rushers being at a premium in the NFL, Garrett was drafted with the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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Have you watched enough football to name this defensive back?

Devin McCourty has spent his entire NFL career, which began in 2010, with the New England Patriots. His longterm tenure with the team is rare considering the Patriots are known for cycling out players year after year.

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This running back proved his worth in 2018 after being selected with the second pick in the draft. Who is he?

In only his first season, Saquon Barkley pilled on 2,028 yards from scrimmage for a New York Giants offense that was otherwise painful to watch in 2018. His play earned him the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

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Few offensive players are as big of a mismatch as which one shown here?

Travis Kelce is a fiery player on the field, and it hasn't always served the veteran tight end well. For example, in 2016, he was thrown out of a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars for arguing a pass interference call with the referees.

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Is this physical cornerback familiar to you?

Evident of his skill level, Patrick Peterson has been selected for the Pro Bowl every season he has been in the NFL, including as a rookie. One reason for this is because of his ability to stay on the field, as Peterson has yet to miss an NFL game.

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Are you familiar with this safety who can easily get a turnover and turn it into a defensive touchdown?

Every defensive player wants to impact a football game, and Malcolm Jenkins has proven throughout his career that he can be impactful by not only playing defense but also by scoring touchdowns. Currently, Jenkins has seven defensive touchdowns.

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What's the name of this defensive star for the New Orleans Saints?

Cameron Jordan is a major reason the New Orleans Saints have improved on defense each of the last three seasons. With Jordan rushing the passer and stuffing the run, the Saints finished with a top 15 defense in 2018.

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Which five-time Pro Bowler at the linebacker position is this?

Bobby Wagner started all 14 of the regular season games he played during the Seattle Seahawks' run at a championship in the 2013 season. He was forced to miss two games, however, due to a high ankle sprain.

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If you needed a defensive tackle to shore up your pass rush, you might find him in which star depicted here?

In Week 17 of the 2018 season, Fletcher Cox had one of the best games of his career against the Washington Redskins. Not only did he have three of his 10.5 sacks on the season, but Cox also forced a fumble and had four tackles for a loss.

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How well do you know this savvy offensive lineman?

The Dallas Cowboys saw the 2014 NFL Draft as a tough decision since owner Jerry Jones wanted to take Johnny Manziel, a quarterback out of Texas A&M. However, the team decided that they should start by building out the offensive line, and Zack Martin became their first-round selection.

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Did you watch enough football in 2018 to name this Pro Bowl-caliber corner?

The New England Patriots are well-known for not overpaying players, but when Stephon Gilmore went on the market in 2017, they quickly threw a bag of money at him. The decision proved to be worth it as Gilmore recorded a career-high 20 pass breakups in 2018.

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The Chicago Bears were almost outbid by the Green Bay Packers in the offseason as they both tried to sign which player depicted in this photo?

Prior to the 2018 season, the Green Bay Packers almost outbid the Chicago Bears for Kyle Fuller, offering him a $56 million contract. Knowing the importance of Fuller to their team, the Bears decided to match the contract, which runs through the 2021 season.

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Who is this defensive leader for the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Like fine wine, Calais Campbell has only gotten better with age. After eight seasons in the league, he recorded his first double-digit sack season in 2017 and again in 2018, showing he can still be an impact player at 32 years old.

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Can you identify this safety who can make open-field tackles and pressure the quarterback?

Jamal Adams was one of the few bright spots on a horrendous New York Jets team in 2018. The Jets finished the season with a 4-12 record, which earned them the third pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

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Are you able to name this center who has been clearing the way for running backs on the Philadelphia Eagles?

Jason Kelce slipped to the sixth round in the 2011 NFL Draft because he was undersized for an offensive lineman, despite having exceptional speed and athleticism. Kelce wasn't discouraged, however, earning a starting spot for the Philadelphia Eagles in his rookie season.

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Are you able to identify this versatile linebacker who has 41 sacks over three seasons?

Chandler Jones started his NFL career with the New England Patriots, where he won Super Bowl XLIX. But the defensive end wasn't really able to shine until the Patriots traded him to the Arizona Cardinals in 2016, where he has been an instrumental part in their defensive schemes.

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Image: Wiki Commons by Keith Allison

About This Quiz

Looking at the world through a black and white lens can sometimes seem like an ancient practice, especially when you consider the world today full of colorful screens from televisions to smartphones. But we decided to bring back the old black and white worldview by applying it to these modern NFL stars. Will you be able to identify them, or is the lack of coloring going to be too much? 

Of course, you should probably first make sure you know the NFL stars of today. These are the players who run the fastest routes, throw the hardest passes and make the most difficult tackles. Their names are constantly brought up throughout football games as they make play after play on the field. Many of them might even be seen in commercials or television shows, meaning their faces are plastered everywhere. 

Now, you get to see those faces in a different light as you try to determine who they are based on these photos. Are you prepared to identify the top offensive and defensive players from all 32 teams around the league?

When you're ready to make a run at this quiz, get started and see if you can get a perfect score. 

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