In the 103-year history of the NFL, several of the game’s iconic players have stood the test of the time. One of those players is former Cleveland Browns great Jim Brown, who passed away Thursday night at the age of 87. Brown’s football career, which ended in 1965, remains one of the most decorated in league history.
Many who saw Brown play consider him to be not only the best running back in NFL history, but the best player in NFL history. It’s not hard to make Brown’s case, as he dominated his position like few others have. Despite having a relatively short nine-year career, Brown’s time in the NFL continued to be celebrated to the point that the league recently named an award in Brown’s honor recognizing the league’s annual rushing champion.
Is Brown the greatest player in NFL history? We decided to find out by ranking each of the league’s 25 greatest players. Before we dive in, here was the criteria that went into making the list.
Individual success/accolades wonDominance during his eraLongevity and career milestones achieved Enduring impact/legacy Team success/championships wonRanking relative to his position
Without further ado, here’s the list of the greatest 25 players in NFL history:
25. Bruce Matthews, OL (1983-2001): Arguably the greatest interior offensive linemen in NFL history. Matthews was selected to 14 straight Pro Bowls while playing three different positions during that span. In 1999, the then-38-year-old Matthews received his sixth of seven career All-Pro nods while helping the Titans reach the Super Bowl.
24. Night Train Lane, DB (1948-1961): A player who struck fear into opponents, Lane recorded 68 interceptions during his career that included an NFL-record 14 picks during his rookie season. Along with being a cagy pass defender, Lane was a ferocious tackler who inspired several NFL rules.
23. Emlem Tunnell, DB (1948-1961): A pioneer in several…