How Well Do You Remember the Best NFL Players of the ’90s?

SPORTS

Gavin Thagard

7 Min Quiz

No one showed up for big moments like Deion Sanders, who earned what nickname?

Deion Sanders created his "Primetime" persona to bring attention to his play on the field, which was beyond spectacular. To garner that attention, though, Sanders had to not only play well but also live a life of glamour, flashy clothes and all, when he wasn't playing. His aim was to always stay in the spotlight.

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No skill player has had quite the same level of talent as Barry Sanders, who played what position throughout the '90s?

With the ability to stop on a dime before hitting the accelerator, Barry Sanders was a unique talent never before seen in the NFL. However, his career was wasted in Detroit, where he barely made the playoffs each season. Sanders retired after only ten seasons in the league.

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Defenders had trouble tackling Jerome Bettis, earning him what nickname?

In his prime, Jerome Bettis was a powerhouse running back who could carry multiple defenders on his back as he gained yards, which earned him the nickname "The Bus." His best years were with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he became a champion after winning Super Bowl XL.

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Entering the league in 1995, Warren Sapp quickly became a star in which defensive scheme used by head coach Tony Dungy?

The Tampa 2 defensive scheme is credited to Tony Dungy, but even Dungy has stated that many of the concepts can be traced back to the '70s Steelers. That defense, led by Jack Lambert, was one of the main reasons the Steelers won four Super Bowls during the '70s.

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With 11 Pro Bowl appearances as proof, Rod Woodson was one of the best players to ever take the field at which position?

During the final seasons of his career, Rod Woodson was moved from cornerback to safety as his speed began to decline. However, during these years, Woodson twice led the league in interceptions, proving he still had something left in the tank.

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Shannon Sharpe was the first player to record over 10,000 receiving yards at what position?

Shannon Sharpe revolutionized the way that tight ends were used on the football field. In many ways, Sharpe was more valuable as a receiver than he was as a blocker, setting the stage for future receiving tight ends like Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates.

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Ray Lewis started his Hall of Fame career in 1996 with which team?

The Baltimore Ravens were entering their inaugural season in 1996 when they selected Ray Lewis with the 26th pick in the draft. He was the Ravens' second draft pick, following Jonathan Ogden, who was taken with the fourth pick in the draft.

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After his rookie season, Brett Favre found a more permanent home in Green Bay once he was traded from where?

From the moment the Falcons drafted Brett Favre, he had everything working against him in Atlanta, including head coach Jerry Glanville. Favre only threw four passes in Atlanta, with two resulting in interceptions, before it became clear that his future was elsewhere.

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Can you identify this Hall of Famer who was taken with the first pick in the 1997 NFL draft?

Orlando Pace became a centerpiece on the offensive line for the Rams when they won Super Bowl XXXIV. Throughout the season, Pace was responsible for pass blocking for Kurt Warner, who threw for 4,353 yards that season.

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Are you familiar with this gridiron legend who never won a Super Bowl to top off his accomplished career?

Dan Marino played his final season in the NFL in 1999, where he started 11 of the 16 regular season games and led the Dolphins to another playoff appearance. The Dolphins won the first game against the Seahawks but were blown out by the Jaguars in the second round, sending Marino out on a losing note.

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What number did Junior Seau wear while playing for the Chargers throughout the '90s?

At the end of Junior Seau's Hall of Fame career where he reached 12 Pro Bowls, the Chargers honored the linebacker by retiring his No. 55. The team also added him to their own Hall of Fame, which makes sense considering he might be the best player in the team's history.

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Peyton Manning set several rookie records for a quarterback after he was taken with the first pick out of which college in 1998?

Holding the first pick in the 1998 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts looked at two star college quarterbacks: Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. Manning proved to be the right choice, as he went on to have a Hall of Fame career while Leaf was out of the league by 2002.

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After winning four Super Bowls with the 49ers, Joe Montana finished his NFL career with what team?

By the time Joe Montana requested a trade from the 49ers, his body was already failing him, and San Francisco had a younger star quarterback in Steve Young. However, his time with the Kansas City Chiefs wasn't wasted, as he led the team to the playoffs both seasons.

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Marshall Faulk joined the Rams in 1999, where he became the centerpiece of which offense?

Marshall Faulk spent the first five years of his career in Indianapolis where he had some productive years behind a weak offensive line. His time with the Rams turned him turned him into a Hall of Famer, though, as he averaged over five yards per carry his first three seasons with the team and won a Super Bowl during the 1999 season.

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Thurman Thomas was part of a statistically dominant Buffalo Bills team that lost how many Super Bowls in a row?

The Buffalo Bills lost back to back Super Bowls to the Dallas Cowboys in the final two years that they made the championship game. During those games, Thurman Thomas had two of the worst performances of his career, totaling only 56 rushing yards between both games.

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You weren't going to outwork Jerry Rice on the field, which was a major reason he finished his career as the all time leader in what?

When people talk about the greatest players of all time, you often have to break it down by position in the NFL. For most positions, the argument is up for debate. For wide receiver, Jerry Rice was clearly the best, holding every major record from career receptions to receiving yards to receiving touchdowns.

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Despite playing in five Super Bowls, John Elway finished his career with how many rings?

John Elway's first three attempts at a championship ended in failure as the '80s came to a close. However, the end of the '90s would be more generous to the veteran quarterback, as he was lucky enough to retire after winning his second title in a row in the 1998 season.

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Do you know which team added Randall McDaniel to their Ring of Honor?

Randall McDaniel played every season throughout the '90s with the Minnesota Vikings. For every one of those years that he was with the team, McDaniel was named to the Pro Bowl and only missed making First Team All Pro once.

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Which team did Bruce Matthews follow when they moved cities after the 1996 season?

The Oilers move to Nashville, Tennessee was the first change for the franchise since it began in 1960. Only a few years after the move, the team renamed itself the Titans, a reference to Nashville being called "The Athens of the South."

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How far did the Denver Broncos advance in the playoffs during Steve Atwater's final season with the team in 1998?

The Denver Broncos defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. The victory marked the last time the Broncos reached the Super Bowl until Peyton Manning carried them there during the 2013 season.

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The Dallas Cowboys put together a dynasty in the '90s with Michael Irvin as one of their stars. What was his nickname?

Michael Irvin's playmaking days ended when he was tackled in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999. The tackle caused a spinal cord injury that forced Irvin to leave the field on a stretcher, which was the last time he saw the field as a player.

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Where did Randy Moss have a controversial college football career that caused him to slip to the end of the first round when he was drafted?

Randy Moss started his college football career at Florida State, but legal troubles forced him to transfer schools. Moss decided on Marshall, which was near his hometown, because he didn't have to sit out a season after the transfer.

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Prior to being one of the hottest stars of the '90s, Tim Brown was the first wide receiver to earn which college award?

Traditionally, the Heisman Memorial Trophy has gone to either a quarterback or running back. The fact that Desmond Howard is the only wide receiver since Tim Brown to win the trophy shows that catching passes isn't as valued in college football.

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Even though he only played five seasons in the '90s, Ronnie Lott was named to the 1990s All Decade Team at which position?

Ronnie Lott was as smart on the field as he was athletic, which is why he's regarded as one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game. Lott's intelligence came from studying opposing teams, which allowed him to determine a play before the ball was snapped.

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Andre Reed scored three touchdowns in the second half of a Wild Card game against the Houston Oilers at the end of the 1992 season to help the Buffalo Bills secure a victory. Do you remember how he scored those touchdowns?

Despite being down 35-3 in the third quarter, the Buffalo Bills fought back to complete one of the greatest comebacks in NFL Playoff history. The comeback was in large part thanks to Andre Reed's three receiving touchdowns in the second half, which sent the game into overtime.

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Entering the league in 1991, Aeneas Williams spent the entire decade playing on what team?

The Arizona Cardinals made the playoffs only once throughout the '90s, and that was in 1998 under head coach Vince Tobin when the team went 9-7. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys in the Wild Card round but lost to the Vikings a week later.

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What position did Willie Roaf play as he became the most decorated Saints' player of the '90s?

For three straight years from 1994 until 1996, Willie Roaf was named a First Team All Pro. However, Roaf's play during those years wasn't enough to lift a struggling Saints team that had three consecutive losing seasons.

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Few players have rushed for over 2,000 yards in a season, and Terrell Davis was one of them. When did he hit that mark?

Terrell Davis followed up a Super Bowl winning season in 1997 with an MVP season in 1998, as well as another Super Bowl appearance. However, it would be the last year that Davis played every game because an ACL tear ultimately forced him out of the league.

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A star at the cornerback position, Darrell Green was most known for what?

Darrell Green was one of those rare players who was lucky enough to spend his entire career with one team, the Washington Redskins. His speed and longevity with the Redskins are the main reasons he holds the franchise record for interceptions.

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This center cleared a path for Steelers' running backs throughout the '90s. Who is he?

After 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dermontti Dawson was released by the team after injuries kept him out much of the 2000 season. Still, his play throughout the '90s helped Dawson earn a spot on the NFL 1990s All Decade Team and a trip to the Hall of Fame.

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In only his second season in the NFL, Derrick Thomas led the league in sacks by taking the quarterback down how many times?

The 20 sacks that Derrick Thomas recorded in 1990 was bolstered by the seven sacks he had in a single game against the Seattle Seahawks. Those seven sacks remain an NFL record to this day.

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1996 was a stellar year for Kevin Greene, who led the league in sacks and earned Defensive Player of the Year honors from the Newspaper Enterprise Association while playing for which team?

In only Carolina's second season in the NFL, the Panthers finished with a 12-4 record, winning the NFC West and a trip to the NFL Playoffs. Their success was in large part thanks to Kevin Greene, who led a linebacking corps that also included Lamar Lathon and Sam Mills.

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When was Curtis Martin named the Offensive Rookie of the Year after rushing for 1,487 yards and 14 touchdowns?

In terms of rushing yards, 1995 was Curtis Martin's third best season of his career, which lasted until 2006. Martin mainly played for the New York Jets and finished his career with 14,101 rushing yards and 90 touchdowns.

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After posting 154 kickoff return yards and a touchdown, Desmond Howard was named the MVP of which Super Bowl?

Desmond Howard was the first return specialist to be honored with the Super Bowl MVP. The award wasn't just given to him, however, as he had to earn it with some tough returns, including a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

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Near the end of his career and while playing for the Minnesota Vikings, Warren Moon tied his own career mark for the most touchdowns in a season. How many did he throw?

After leaving Minnesota in 1997, Warren Moon had one more great year with the Seattle Seahawks, where he threw for over 3,600 yards and 25 touchdowns. His production declined after that as he only played a backup role.

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With hands that the ball seemed to just stick to in the end zone, how many times did Cris Carter lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns during the 1990s?

When he retired with 1,101 receptions, Chris Carter sat behind only Jerry Rice in terms of career receptions. As the NFL became more of a pass heavy league, receivers like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens passed Carter as well.

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Can you remember how many consecutive Pro Bowls Troy Aikman made in the '90s?

After making his sixth Pro Bowl, Troy Aikman had a few more productive years, but overall, his output began to decline, especially when it came to his completion percentage. Multiple concussions ended Aikman's career in 2000, but he left a legacy in Dallas that will always be remembered.

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Putting up another outstanding defensive season, what year did Bruce Smith win his second NFL Defensive Player of the Year award?

In 1996, Bruce Smith only put up 13.5 sacks, which was nowhere near the highest total of his career, but he did make 90 tackles while forcing five fumbles. The Bills also reached the playoffs thanks in part to his play, but they lost in the Wild Card round.

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Steve Young was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX after throwing how many touchdowns?

Steve Young's six touchdowns in Super Bowl XXIX set an NFL Super Bowl record that Young still holds. The victory also helped Young secure his spot as a 49ers' legend, which was a huge deal considering he was following in the footsteps of Joe Montana.

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Before finishing his career as the NFL's all time rushing yards leader, which pick was used to take Emmitt Smith in the 1990 NFL draft?

No one doubted Emmitt Smith's talent coming out of the University of Florida, but they did doubt his durability and size. The Cowboys, however, saw his potential and moved up from the 21st pick to take Smith at number 17.

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Image: Wiki Commons by Tech. Sgt. Marc Barnes

About This Quiz

Depending on who you ask, football fans will argue about the Golden Age of the NFL, but the 1990s has as much a right as any decade to lay claim to the title. With star-studded teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers, the '90s gave us some of the greatest competition, most exciting moments and most entertaining players. How much do you know about these players who defined the decade? With this quiz, you can test your knowledge on just that. 

From quarterbacks like Brett Favre and Dan Marino to defensive machines like Bruce Smith and Junior Seau, the '90s definitely weren't short on talent of any kind. These talented players are the reason fans tuned in for games throughout the fall and stayed around for the playoffs in the winter. Not only were they fun to watch, but they also helped the sport evolve, as pass-heavy offenses became a staple in the NFL. 

What do you really know about these players from the '90s and their contributions to football? Will you be able to recognize their accomplishments, like who won the MVP and who led their team to a Super Bowl victory? 

When you're ready to reflect back on the NFL in the '90s, begin this quiz and see how well your football knowledge stacks up against others. 

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