Gridiron Goliaths: The Best Players in NFL History


By: Nathan Chandler

5 Min Quiz

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

Only a few great college players go on to become equally potent in the NFL. Although there are many tall tales in the NFL, just a handful of players have the numbers to back up their conquests -- how much do you know about these NFL greats?

In which round of the NFL draft was QB Tom Brady selected?

Brady famously evolved from a sixth-round pick to perhaps the best player in NFL history. He's on track to surpass many of the league's most prestigious records.


As of 2016, punter Shane Lechler has the all-time highest average for yards per punt. What is his average?

Lechler has the highest average all-time with 47.5 yards per punt. Thanks to Houston's often lackluster offense, his services are often required.


What was Bob Hayes' NFL nickname?

Hayes was a world class sprinter who turned out to be an amazing NFL receiver. As the "Bullet," he caught 71 touchdown passes during his career.


Peyton Manning completed more passes than anyone in history.

As of 2016, Manning is in second place all-time for completed passes. He finished nearly 200 passes short of the record.


Which QB completed the most passes in history?

Brett Favre threw the ball more than just about anyone else, and he completed many passes, too. He finished with 6,300 completions, more than any other QB.


As of 2016, which active quarterback is likely to be the first to overtake Manning with the second highest number of completions?

Like Favre, Drew Brees frequently airs it out. He already has more than 5,800 completions and shows no signs of slowing down in the twilight of his career.


How many passes did Joe Montana attempt during his career?

Montana played in the pass-heavy West Coast offense but his career attempts still trail far behind Favre, who attempted a whopping 10,169 passes.


Which placekicker made the most field goals?

Morten Andersen made 565 field goals in his 382-game career. For good measure, he tacked on 849 extra points.


In 382 games, Morten Andersen made 849 extra points. How many did he miss?

It's nearly impossible to believe, but from 1982 to 2007, Andersen missed just 10 extra points. In his final year (age 47) he didn't miss a single extra point attempt, and he kicked 25 of 28 field goal attempts.


For how many different teams did QB Dan Marino play?

The Dolphins drafted Marino in 1983 and were smart enough to seal the deal for the rest of this storied player's career. Marino played to the end of the 1999 season.


For how many teams did the great Reggie White play?

White achieved iconic status with the Eagles and then played six seasons in Green Bay. His final season found him in Carolina, where he was a shadow of his former self.


Reggie White was a terror during the 1987 season. How many sacks did he generate that year?

White was a one-man wrecking crew in '87, accounting for 21 sacks. Even crazier is the fact that only 12 games were played that year due to a strike.


Which player is the all-time leader in interceptions?

Favre was a notorious risk-taker, and he also threw the ball more than anyone else. It's no wonder he threw 336 interceptions. That's nearly 100 more than Warren Moon and John Elway.


Two-point safeties are a rare event in the NFL. What's the record for the most safeties ever generated by a single player in his career?

Three NFL players have managed to create four career two-point safeties. They are Ted Hendricks, Doug English and the still-active Jared Allen.


Who has the most kick returns for TDs?

Leon Washington and Josh Cribbs ended their careers tied for 8 TDs. Several active players are stuck on 5 TDs.


Who has the most punts in history?

In large part due to his longevity, Jeff Feagles punted more than anyone else. He kicked 1,713 times in 352 games.


Which running back had the most rushing attempts?

Emmitt Smith played for 14 seasons and racked up 4,409 rushing attempts during his career. Most of his glory days were with the Cowboys.


As of 2016, which active player is closest to beating Smith's record for rushing attempts?

Frank Gore has been playing since 2005 and has around 3,000 rushing attempts. He's not a huge factor on the field anymore, meaning Smith's record will likely stand for years.


Who is the all-time leader in fourth-quarter comebacks?

No lead was safe with Manning on the field. On 45 occasions, he rallied his team to fourth-quarter comebacks.


Who returned more fumbles for TDs than anyone else?

Jason Taylor played defensive end from 1997 to 2011. He grabbed six fumbles and returned them for TDs.


Which player has the most fumbles of all time?

Brett Favre was both amazing and awful (sometimes both at once). With 166 all-time fumbles, he has more than anyone else.


Who returned the most interceptions for touchdowns?

Rod Woodson was a demon in Pittsburgh's secondary. As a speedy defensive back, he snagged 12 interceptions for TDs.


Which QB threw for four TDs in Super Bowl XLIX?

Tom Brady, always machine-like, threw four TDs in this Super Bowl. It was just enough to edge the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.


Who had the most QB sacks?

Defensive end Bruce Smith was a huge reason that Buffalo went to four straight Super Bowls. He had 200 sacks in 279 games.


1995 was a standout year for RB Emmitt Smith. How many TDs did he rush for that year?

Smith's numbers boggle the mind. Few current players can even dream of rushing for 25 TDs in a single season, as Smith did for the Cowboys.


Which great running back played college ball at Jackson State?

Walter "Sweetness" Payton found glory with the Chicago Bears. But before his pro days he played for Jackson State. He died at just 45 years old.


Why did Peyton Manning miss the entire 2011 season?

After years of on-field punishment, Manning's neck was a mess. He had major surgery and then the Colts traded him to Denver, an act they'd come to regret.


Peyton Manning took every snap of the final game of his career.

Manning was struggling to walk at the end of the regular season and lost his starting position. But he overcame his pain for the playoffs and then took every snap in Denver's Super Bowl victory.


Behind Emmitt Smith, who has the second most rushing TDs?

Smith had 164 rushing TDs, and Tomlinson managed 145. Smith played in 226 games … Tomlinson, just 170.


Which great running back had the most fumbles?

Franco Harris made a legend for himself with the Steelers, but he also frequently dropped the ball. He had 90 fumbles in his career. He shares that record with Cowboys great Tony Dorsett.


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