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The 'Skins historically have had some solid inside linebackers capable of both stopping the run and being reliable in coverage. 14, Hardy Nickerson (Steelers/Bucs/Jaguars/Packers) (1987-2002) *Five-time Pro Bowler *Two-time 1st team All-Pro *Two-time 2nd Team All-Pro. 17 Reasons why Jordan is greater than Lebron, 16 Reasons why Lebron is greater than Jordan, The 18 greates Coaches in College Football History, The Top 21 Offensive Linemen in NFL History, The Top 10 Seattle Mariners of all Time, 19 undeniable Lies in Disney's Remember the Titans, If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into The Grueling Truth sports shows, Where the legends speak. 1986 Boston Celtics - Were they the greatest Team? As also playing DE should tell you, he was very versatile and could play many different positions. 17, Brian Urlacher* (Bears) (2000-Present) *Six-time Pro Bowler *Four-time 1st Team All-Pro. Thats an outstanding number. Woodrow Lowe, Alabama (1972-75) Respected as college football's top linebacker in the early 1970s, Lowe was the first . His 32 career INTs lead the way for linebackers. The thing about Derrick Thomas that is the most remarkable was how nice of a person he was off the field. In 1993 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker, Nickerson piled up an astounding 214 tackles. Mike Singletary was the leader of the most dominating defense the NFL has ever seenthe 1985 Bears. Ray Lewis is another one of the three players on the list to win Defensive Player of the Year twice in his career. Mecklenburg was never a cocky player, but just a guy who would show up on Sundays. Sam Huff. Lambert won four Super Bowls with the Steelers in the 1970s playing in the Steel Curtain. Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. 2, Ray Lewis* (Ravens) (1996-Present) *Eleven-time Pro Bowler *Seven-time 1st Team All-Pro *Two-time 2nd Team All-Pro. In only five seasons, Wares already totaled up 64.5 sacks, including 20 in 2008. For most other franchises, a resume like this would make Jack Ham the greatest linebacker in thier history by a wide margin. In this Article . He was a tackle machine and a very big hitter. Ham is the only linebacker other than Tom Jackson to have seven INTs in a single season. Zach Thomas. His best season was his first year with the Bills where he had 17.5 sacks, 70 tackles, two INTs, and three forced fumbles. 40, Bryce Paup (Packers/Bills/Jaguars/Vikings) (1990-2000) *Four-time Pro Bowler *One-time 1st Team All-Pro. Lamberts signature toothless snarl struck fear into the hearts of the opposition and lends credence to his legendary status as one of the toughest players all-time. Less of a nod goes to pass rushers, linebackers and safeties. He was a hard worker, good tackler, and had great hands. No. 7. In his time in the NFL, he intercepted 25 passes and returned six of them for touchdowns with three of those in 2002 alone. He also is the only linebacker to ever win a Super Bowl MVP and be named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in the same season (2000). Thats right, seven. 10. The transition from college football to the NFL . Top 25 SEC LBs of all-time: 15-11. (Photo: David Boss, Getty) Historians will tell you that McAdams is one of the best linebackers to ever play at The University of Oklahoma. McAdams was a two-time All-American . This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. AP Sports SummaryBrief at 7:03 a.m. EST. Some of you will say hes too low. He was never the most athletic player on the field, but he was always the hardest working. He had 885 career solo tackles, which is impressive on a defense filled with swarming the ball, shown by his 1,488 career tackles. Derrick Brooks may be the most accomplished linebacker on this list. For a four-year span with Seattle, Young was arguably the best Seahawks linebacker of all-time. Bryan Cox was an all-around package at linebacker. He ran a 4.6 40 yard dash, which is outstanding for a linebacker, especially at that time period. But, if you didnt know, Jackson was once an outstanding linebacker for the Denver Broncos Orange Crush defense. Derrick Thomas still holds the NFL record for most sacks in a single NFL game with seven, against the Seattle Seahawks in 1990. 1970s A 1-13 record in 1969 gave the Steelers the first overall choice in the 1970 draft, with which Noll addressed the offense by selecting quarterback Terry Bradshaw, another Hall of Famer, after the Steelers won the first selection by winning a coin toss with the Chicago Bears. Undersized height wise, but an overabundance of heart made him more than a handful to deal with. No. I have combined outside and inside linebackers on the list and factored in the players ability to stop the run, drop into coverage and leadership. Patrick Willis is everything you look for in a linebacker. Zach Thomas is exactly what you want in a player and a linebacker. A five-time pro bowler, Wilson was one of the best linebackers in the league during the early 2000s. Randy Gradishar played along with Tom Jackson in the Denver Broncos Orange Crush defense. He should still improve this season with Ndamukong Suh in front of him to help free him up. Well have to see how he does, but he could either climb up or fall off this list based on his performance in 2010. T&Cs apply. Mike Singletary had the whole package. Mike Singletary had the whole package. Taylor is one of only two defensive players (DT Alan Page, 1971) in the history of the NFL to be named NFL MVP. He also took over Lloyds role in pass coverage as the only linebacker in the Steelers nickel defense. Paup was a complete linebacker, who was especially great at rushing the passer. 47, Fredd Young (Seahawks/Colts) (1984-1990) *Four-time Pro Bowler *One-time 1st Team All-Pro. No. The only reason Brooks isnt higher up on this list is because he had a fantastic surrounding cast which includes, most notably, Warren Sapp taking up blockers on the line. Gambling Problem? 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Offerdahl was a blue collar type of player who was an even better person off the field. He has been one of the most intimidating players in the NFL his entire career. AP. He left everything he had on the field of play, and even though he was a tenacious player on the field, he was one of the most genuine and nice guys off the field. How NFL Players Have Evolved. No. Please play responsibly. Paul Naumoff. 42, Chip Banks (Browns/Chargers/Colts) (1982-1992) *Four-time Pro Bowler *One-time 1st team All-Pro. Anything you asked him to do, he would do. Jackson had 40 forced fumbles, just one short of the NFL record. No. It seemed like he knew where the ball was going at all times. He has already had three 100 tackle seasons in his first three years, and also has already forced 10 turnovers (four INTs, six forced fumbles). Robertson was one of the NFLs most athletic linebackers. 36, Jeremiah Trotter (Eagles/Redskins/Bucs) (1999-2007 & 2009) *Four-time Pro Bowler *One-time 1st Team All-Pro *One-time 2nd Team All-Pro. No. Taylor changed the way football is played today. Theres not much Brooks doesnt have. A shot of Jameson for Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. In 1976, Jackson had seven INTs. Over the past 50 years, the Steelers have tallied 36 winning seasons . He was a good pass rusher, having at least 5.5 sacks in 10 straight years, but he was also good against the run and in coverage. Banks was a player that any coach would want on their team. He was one of the most feared players in the game. Lambert wasnt just great on the inside, he was an outstanding coverage linebacker. He could do it all. Hardy Nickerson makes it this high on the list mainly because of one ridiculous season he had. No. He always tried to better himself and did it effectively. Republican Rep. James Comer suggested during a right-wing podcast earlier this week that President Joe Biden's deceased son Beau Biden should have been investigated in connection with a long-settled case on "campaign donations" from a backer who was eventually indicted. Robert "Dr. Doom" Brazile is another one of those underrated linebackers. No. He had 1,301 tackles and 25 forced fumbles in his career. Next up, we look at a much better-rated unit in the linebackers. The next year at the Pro Bowl, Thomas remembered him by name. In 2006, he had an amazing season and won defensive MVP, which is a very high honor that most players on this list never achieved. The line was the backbone of the Steelers dynasty, which won four Super Bowls (IX, X, XIII, and XIV) in six years.. Jackson was the vocal leader of the orange crush defense. He always tried to better himself and did it effectively. On this Wikipedia the language links are at the top of the page across from the article title. In his time in the NFL, he intercepted 25 passes and returned six of them for touchdowns with three of those in 2002 alone. Lewis, playing alongside Bryan Cox, led a very good Jets team to the closest theyve been to a Super Bowl since they won Super Bowl III. He was said to have the fastest 10 yard burst of any player on the team, and that included receivers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann, and runningback Franco Harris. Peterson is another versatile linebacker who has played both inside and outside linebacker. 12 sacks and three picks. 43, Keith Brooking* (Falcons/Cowboys) (1998-Present) *Five-time Pro Bowler *Two-time 2nd Team All-Pro. The versatile middle linebacker played a significant role in helping the Steelers win four Super Bowls in a span of six years in the 1970s. Among linebackers, that would include two-way stars George Svendsen (1935-41), Bud Svendsen (1937, 1939) and Charley Brock (1939-47), along with Bill Forester (1953-63), Tom Bettis (1955-61) and Roger Zatkoff (1953-56). His best days were with the Bears and Redskins, but he had an impact everywhere he went. He knew how to make big plays. [3] Junior Seau finished his career with 1,524 tackles, the highest total on this list. No. Their greats span the decades of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s. Im only going to be looking at players drafted in 1970 or later. He wasnt very vocal, but his play did all the talking for him. His swinging the axe celebration sums up his style of play and tenacity on the field. More Team Info. He did it once in 1985 and again in 1988. Over the course of his career he racked up over 1,000 tackles, 52.5 sacks, and 14 INTs, all of which are very good numbers. Chicago 1981-92. Lofa Tatupu didnt take any time breaking into the NFL, making the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons. And he's still going. It may be a bit early to put Jon Beason on this list, but I think his play warrants the selection. The NFL is back in L.A. for the first time since 1995, as the Rams return to the Coliseum. Tribute to Elvis Visit Our Patreon Page to Create Your Own All-Time Fantasy Teams and See Other Bonus Material . Lawrence Taylor of course, is regarded as the best 3-4 linebacker ever, . Official list of the NFL's best players in the 1970s, National Football League 1970s All-Decade Team, National Football League 1960s All-Decade Team,, National Football League All-Decade Teams,, National Football League records and achievements, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0, This page was last edited on 8 January 2023, at 20:52. 23, Isiah Robertson (Rams/Bills) (1971-1982) *Six-time Pro Bowler *Two-time 1st Team All-Pro *Three-time 2nd Team All-Pro. 9, Derrick Brooks (Bucs) (1995-2008) *Eleven-time Pro Bowler *Five-time 1st Team All-Pro *Four-time 2nd Team All-Pro. Urlacher was an all-around great linebacker who flew around the field with reckless abandon. Young was a fierce hitter, and would always stick his nose in the middle of the play. Ranking Explanation . Kevin Greene will always be known as one of the craziest and talented pass rushers in NFL history. Over his nine-year career, he had 2,049 tackles, although this number is solo and assisted because he played before solo tackles were an official stat. Brooking was the face of the Falcons defense for nearly a decade, and is a well-rounded player. Over the past decade, virtually every stage of the offensive evolution has increased stress on linebackers, putting them in a bind and asking them to account for multiple things on the same play. In 1993 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker, Nickerson piled up an astounding 214 tackles. 30, Matt Blair (Vikings) (1974-1985) *Six-time Pro Bowler *One-time 1st Team All-Pro. Patrick Willis has made the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro team every single year hes been in the NFL. No. Lambert and Ham also won four Super Bowls with the Steelers in the 1970s playing in the Steel Curtain. 1986 Boston Celtics - Were they the greatest Team? 48, Terrell Suggs* (Ravens) (2003-Present) *Three-time Pro Bowler *One-time 2nd Team All-Pro. 5, Jack Lambert (Steelers) (1974-1984) *Nine-time Pro Bowlers *Seven-time 1st Team All-Pro *One-time 2nd Team All-Pro. He totaled 28 INTs in his career while he also racked up 1,045 tackles. Mecklenburg was never a cocky player, but just a guy who would show up on Sundays. He was also the first player to have a TE or RB used for chip blocking on, and overall changed the way offensive lineman block. May 24, 2022. Suggs will only continue to climb this list the longer he plays, since hes in the middle of his prime right now. 1970s All-decade team. Singletary was a leader, not only vocally, but by example. LaVar Arrington. 10. During his career Williams amassed 62.5 sacks, which is the second most in Bengals history. Thomas was one of the most instinctive linebackers of all-time. Bulluck was one of the best pass coverage linebackers in NFL history. He played in 10 playoff games and had two INTs and three fumble recoveries in them. Al Wilson was an outstanding MLB for the Broncos. As part of the Steelers Blitzburgh defense in the 90s, Greg Lloyd was a speedy, undersized pass rusher.Sometimes, he would use his size to his advantage to disguise where he was coming from. He was unstoppable in goal-line situations especially. No. Thats fine, he played enough linebacker to be considered this high. You might be thinking Top 10 already? But look at his numbers. If Bulluck played on a better team, I believe his stats would be much better and his accomplishments would be a lot more. Joey Porter. James Farrior* (Jets/Steelers): Two-time Pro Bowler, one-time 1st Team All-Pro, one-time 2nd Team All-Pro. No. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times. Ray Lewis is another one of the three players on the list to win Defensive Player of the Year twice in his career. The middle linebacker also recorded 52 tackles for loss, which is fourth all-time in Clemson history. Butkus nasty disposition and ability to blow up anyone standing in his path, made him one of the most feared players in the history of the game. 18, Andre Tippett (Patriots) (1982-1993) *Five-time Pro Bowler *Two-time 1st Team All-Pro *Two-time 2nd Team All-Pro. and Jack Ham played as . Mike Kolen 1970-77. They had traded stalwart linebacker Sam Huff in the offseason. Won Conference Championship 17-10 vs. San Francisco 49ers. Defensive MVP in 2002. 2013 MAC Hall of Fame Inductee: Western Michigans John Offerdahl. Jackson was most notable for being a pass rusher, but he really did it all. Jackson was not just a coverage linebacker, he was also a good pass rusher and a very hard worker off the field. 39, Peter Boulware (Ravens) (1997-2005) *Four-time Pro Bowler *One-time 2nd Team All-Pro. Derrick Thomas was on pace to absolutely shatter NFL records before his tragic death in 2000. And here are the 25 greatest linebackers in NFL history: 25. The Chicago Bears have the most all-time great linebackers. 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Franchise Encyclopedia. Randy Gradishar may be the single-most deserving player of a spot in Canton. Boulware had at least seven sacks every year he played other than his last season in the NFL. He was a dominating force in the NFL during that stretch of time. Coverage was definitely Bullucks claim to fame, but he was also good at other things. The National Football League 1970s All-Decade Team is a list of National Football League (NFL) players selected by voters of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was very solid in coverage, good against the run, and had no real weaknesses. 32, John Offerdahl (Dolphins) (1986-1993) *Five-time Pro Bowler *One-time 1st Team All-Pro *One-time 2nd Team All-Pro. Although he only played three full seasons, he made five Pro Bowls. 15, Zach Thomas (Dolphins/Cowboys) (1996-2008) *Seven-time Pro Bowler *Five-time 1st Team All-Pro *Two-time 2nd Team All-Pro. Singletary was a leader, not only vocally, but by example. Wilber Marshall was one of the greatest pass coverage linebackers of the modern era. He also finished his career with 17 INTs. That is the reason you will not find Butkus, Huff, Nitschke etc in these rankings. In only 11 seasons, Thomas had 126.5 sacks, and an NFL record of 41 forced fumbles. That truly shows what kind of person he was off the field. Mecklenburg finished his career with 79 sacks, which is great for an ILB, and also ranks 2nd all-time in Broncos history. Tippett finished his career with 100 sacks. The second member of the Dome Patrol comes off the board at No. Taylor changed the way football is played today. Ranking Explanation . A true enforcer in every sense of the word, Lewis intensity was unmatched by any player of his era. Its too bad Fredd Youngs career had to end prematurely due to injuries. He was also the fastest linebacker of the bunch and excelled in pass coverage. During the five year stretch from 1991-1995 where he made five consecutive Pro Bowls, Lloyd was one of, if not the, most dominating linebackers in the NFL. The .