These Are Unarguably The Greatest NFL Offensive Players Of All Time
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These Are Unarguably The Greatest NFL Offensive Players Of All Time

Then again, I should know better than to say that on this one.

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These Are Unarguably The Greatest NFL Offensive Players Of All Time
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For Super Bowl week, I'm doing something special. Instead of doing the list of the ten greatest offensive linemen, I am going to do the ten greatest offensive players of all-time. You can find the four individual lists, as well as all my other content, here.

For anyone wanting the linemen list, my apologies, but you'll see a few on here.

The criteria here is pretty simple, this is a ranking of the best players on the offensive side of the ball. The stats will be based on their respective positions, but the rankings will account for how good these players were/are at their respective positions, not just the importance of the position.

With that said, let's get into this one

10. John Hannah (Guard)

Stats/Records: 183 Games Played (Not top 250 All-Time), 183 Games Started (T-166th), 10 Fumble Recoveries (Not top 250 All-Time), and 1 TD (Not top 250 All-Time)

Awards: 9× Pro Bowler (1976, 1978–1985), 10× First-team All-Pro (1976–1985), NFL Hall of Fame, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, New England Patriots No. 73 retired, and New England Patriots Hall of Fame

Championships: One AFC Championship

John Hannah is the best guard in football history and is arguably the best lineman to ever play in the NFL. As someone who played the position growing up, I have an appreciation for what he did, and more importantly, how he played the game. Hannah simply did everything that a lineman is supposed to do, whether it was blocking, recovering fumbles, and most importantly being healthy enough to be on the field (that start number is impressive for an offensive lineman), and he did it all very well.

9. Randy Moss (WR)

Stats/Records: 982 Receptions (15th), 15,292 Receiving Yards (4th), 15.6 Yards per reception (T-138th), 70.1 Receiving yards per game (24th), 15,451 Yards from scrimmage (16th), 156 Receiving Touchdowns (2nd), 15,644 All-purpose yards (24th), 157 Total TD's (4th), and NFL records for receiving touchdowns in a season (23) and for receiving touchdowns in a rookie season (17)

Awards: 6× Pro Bowler (1998–2000, 2002, 2003, 2007), 4× First-team All-Pro (1998, 2000, 2003, 2007), NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1998), Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor, and NFL 2000s All-Decade Team

Championships: One AFC Championship and One NFC Championship

Moss is the second best wide receiver of all time, but that barely gets him onto this list. He played great at his position, but with the second, third, and fourth wide receivers it becomes a matter of preference, and if someone can't definitively hold their spot on their position list, they can't do it on the greatest offensive player list. Moss was amazing at scoring the football because of his physical gifts, and the way he played the game has led to the way most present-day receivers play the position (basically fade routes).

8. Tony Gonzalez (TE)

Stats/Records: 56.0 Receiving yards per game (T-98th), 254 Games Started (8th), 11.4 Yards per Touch (T-61st), 111 Touchdowns (16th), 15,127 Receiving yards (6th), and NFL Records for receiving yards (15,127) and receptions (1,325) by a TE

Awards: 14× Pro Bowler (1999–2008, 2010–2013), 6× First-team All-Pro (1999–2001, 2003, 2008, 2012), 4× Second-team All-Pro (2002, 2004, 2006, 2007), and NFL 2000s All-Decade Team

Championships: None at the professional level

And now the tight end position has hit the ceiling with the greatest one coming in eighth. Gonzalez was a basketball player before deciding to exclusively play TE, which made him bigger and stronger than everyone else. Plus, he was athletic enough to play well versus everyone defense he went against. Tony Gonzalez was a great receiver and a good blocker, but he did not do them both well enough to say he played his position better than the rest of the top seven.

7. Anthony Muñoz (Tackle)

Stats/Records: 185 Games Played (Not top 250 All-Time), 184 Games Started (T-158th), 0 Fumble Recoveries (Not top 250 All-Time), and 4 TDs (Not top 250 All-Time)

Awards: 11× Pro Bowler (1981–1991), 9× First-team All-Pro (1981–1983, 1985–1990), 2× Second-team All-Pro (1984, 1991), NFL Man of the Year (1991), NFL Hall of Fame, NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, and NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team

Championships: Two AFC Championships

Anthony Muñ oz is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be at the Offensive Tackle position. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it might legitimately be the case because no one has shown that they will be better. I really like Joe Thomas (the best active offensive tackle), but he's not even close to contending with Muñ oz, and the gap between Muñ oz and Hannah is a pretty large one as well.

6. Peyton Manning (QB)

Stats/Records: 200 Wins (2nd all-time), Sacked 303 times (47th) 65.3% Completion (T-5th), 251 Passes Intercepted (9th), 71,940 Passing Yards (1st), 45 Comeback Wins (1st), and 539 Passing TDs (1st) NFL Record 71,940 passing yards, career, 5,477 passing yards, season, 539 passing touchdowns, career, 55 passing touchdowns, season, 7 touchdown passes in a game (tied), and many more

Awards: 14× Pro Bowler (1999, 2000, 2002–2010, 2012–2014), 7× First-team All-Pro (2003–2005, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013), 3× Second-team All-Pro (1999, 2000, 2006), 5× NFL MVP (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013), 3× Bert Bell Award (2003, 2004, 2013), 2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2004, 2013), Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year (2013), NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2012), NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and Indianapolis Colts No. 18 retired

Championships: Four AFC Championships, Two Super Bowls (XLI and 50), and One Super Bowl MVP (XLI)

The third best quarterback earns his way up to the number six spot on this list. Peyton Manning is one of three players to win three Bert Bell awards, along with Unitas and Cunningham, and the only five-time MVP. Despite his success, the best regular season quarterback of all time can have all of his records surpassed by a number of players, so might not even be the fifth best quarterback in five years, whereas the rest of the top five will be there for at least the next ten years.

5. Walter Payton (RB)

Stats/Records: 3,838 Rushing Attempts (2nd all-time), 16,726 Rushing Yards (2nd), 110 Rushing TD's (4th), 4.4 Yards per Attempt (T-51st), 88.0 Yards per Game (6th), 21,803 All-Purpose Yards (3rd), 125 Total TD's (11th), and NFL record 170 consecutive career starts for a running back

Awards: 9× Pro Bowler (1976–1980, 1983–1986), 7× First-team All-Pro (1976–1980, 1984, 1985), Second-team All-Pro (1986), AP NFL Most Valuable Player (1977), Bert Bell Award (1985), 2× NFC Offensive Player of the Year (1977, 1985), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1977), NFL Man of the Year (1977), NFL 1970's All-Decade Team, NFL 1980's All-Decade Team, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL Hall of Fame, and Chicago Bears No. 34 retired

Championships: One NFC Championship (1985) and One Super Bowl (XX)

Everything about Walter Payton can be summed by his motto, which was also the title of his posthumously published autobiography, "Never Die Easy." Payton was amazing, but he is limited by the fact that he could not surpass the greatest running back, and could be argued all the way down to the fourth greatest running back. Payton was a transcendent player, and he deserves to be considered one of the top five greatest offensive players of all time.

4. Joe Montana (QB)

Stats/Records: 133 Wins (8th all-time), Sacked 313 times (T-31st) 63.2% Completion (15th), 139 Passes Intercepted (68th), 40,551 Passing Yards (18th), 31 Comeback Wins (T-6th), and 273 Passing TDs (16th) NFL Postseason Records for pass attempts (122) without throwing an interception and most games with a passer rating over 100.0 (12)

Awards: 8× Pro Bowler (1981, 1983–1985, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993), 3× First-team All-Pro (1987, 1989, 1990), 2× Second-team All-Pro (1981, 1984), 2× NFL Most Valuable Player (1989, 1990), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1989), Bert Bell Award (1989), Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year (1990), 2× AP Athlete of the Year (1989, 1990), NFL Comeback Player of the Year (1986), NFL Hall of Fame, NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, and San Francisco 49ers No. 16 retired

Championships: Four NFC Championships, Four Super Bowls (XVI, XIX, XXIII and XXIV), and Three Super Bowl MVP (XVI, XIX, and XXIV)

Montana had some amazing success as a football player and deserves to be considered in the conversation of the greatest offensive player of all time. His regular season success keeps him from getting the top spot, however, because football is not just a regular season or a postseason, but both. Still, being on the offensive Mount Rushmore isn't half bad.

3. Tom Brady (QB)

Stats/Records: 218 Wins (1st all-time), Sacked 444 times (9th) 64.0% Completion (T-12th), 156 Passes Intercepted (57th), 65,214 Passing Yards (4th), 40 Comeback Wins (2nd), and 482 Passing TDs (T-3rd) NFL Record Best touchdown to interception ratio in a season (28:2), Most wins on the road by a quarterback (85), NFL Playoff Record Most games started by a quarterback (34), Most games won by a starting quarterback (25), Most touchdown passes (63), Most passing yards (9,094), Most passes completed (831), Most passes attempted (1,325), and the Super Bowl version of the previous four records.

Awards: 12× Pro Bowler (2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009–2016), 2× First-team All-Pro (2007, 2010), 2× Second-team All-Pro (2005, 2016), 3× NFL Most Valuable Player (2007, 2010, 2017), 2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2007, 2010), NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2009), Bert Bell Award (2007), Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year (2007), Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year (2005), and NFL 2000s All-Decade Team

Championships: Eight AFC Championships, Five Super Bowls (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, and LI), and Four Super Bowl MVPs (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXIX, and LI)

I can feel the Patriots' fans exploding with anger, so let me explain. Peyton Manning might be the best regular season quarterback of all-time, Joe Montana might be the best postseason quarterback of all-time, and while Brady has numbers to compete with both of them in their respective domains, the gap between Brady and the rest of the quarterbacks isn't the same as the gap that the top two have. The fact that people actually argue if Brady is better than Manning, Montana, and especially Rodgers (I personally think Rodgers is a bit overrated) says something about how great Brady is, and even if he gets ring number six, some people will still argue his greatness.

2. James "Jim" Brown (RB)

Stats/Records: 2,359 Rushing Attempts (28th all-time), 12,312 Rushing Yards (10th), 106 Rushing TDs (5th), 5.2 Yards per Attempt (T-5th), 104.3 Yards per Game (1st), 15,459 All-Purpose Yards (28th), 126 Total TDs (10th), and NFL Records for eight seasons leading the league in rushing, six games with at least four touchdowns, first player ever to reach the 100-rushing-touchdowns milestone, and yards per game

Awards: 9× Pro Bowler (1976–1980, 1983–1986), 7× First-team All-Pro (1976–1980, 1984, 1985), Second-team All-Pro (1986), AP NFL Most Valuable Player (1977), Bert Bell Award (1985), 2× NFC Offensive Player of the Year (1977, 1985), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1977), NFL Man of the Year (1977), NFL Hall of Fame, NFL 1970's All-Decade Team, NFL 1980's All-Decade Team, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL Hall of Fame, and Chicago Bears No. 34 retired

Championships: Three Eastern Conference Championships (1957, 1964, and 1965) and One NFL Championship (1964)

I feel like I just pissed off everyone who wasn't pissed off by the last entry, but, once again, I'll explain. Jim Brown was the most dominant running back ever and is a legend of professional football who deserves to be at least second on any greatest offensive player list, but just like Brady, it's about the dominance of the competition for the top spot of their respective positions. Walter Payton and Barry Sanders both have legitimate claims to the running back throne, whereas the greatest offensive player of all time has no true challenger to his throne.

Honorable Mentions:

To keep it simple, I am doing one per position.

QB: Johnny Unitas-He was amazing, but he's barely a contender for the greatest quarterback of all time, so he really does not have a case for greatest offensive player of all time.

RB: Barry Sanders-Just like Brown and Payton, Sanders was the greatest running back of his era, but the change to a more passing dominant league left and an early retirement left Sanders short of the other two legends.

WR: Don Hutson-While he may have invented the modern wide receiver position, Hutson did not play in an era where he could have showcased whether or not he could be more than just the original.

TE: John Mackey-While Mackey was a physically dominating individual and a slightly better blocker, he couldn't play receiver like Tony G, and with the TE position being a hybrid role, you've got to do both to make this list.

OL: Bruce Matthews-Matthews played all five positions on the offensive line during his 19 year career with the Oilers/Titans, and he played them all at a Hall of Fame level.

Now for the greatest offensive player of all time...

1. Jerry Rice (WR)

Stats/Records: 1,549 Receptions (1st), 22,895 Receiving Yards (1st), 14.8 Yards per reception (T-207th), 75.6 Receiving yards per game (9th), 23,540 Yards from scrimmage (1st), 197 Receiving Touchdowns (1st), 23,546 All-purpose yards (1st), 208 Total TDs (1st), and NFL records for... well just look at the stats and those are the records.

Awards: 13× Pro Bowler (1986–1996, 1998, 2002), 10× First-team All-Pro (1986–1990, 1992–1996), 2× Second-team All-Pro (1991, 2002), Bert Bell Award (1987), 2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1987, 1993), NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, NFL Hall of Fame, and San Francisco 49ers No. 80 retired

Championships: One AFC Championship, Three NFC Championships, Three Super Bowl championships (XXIII, XXIV, XXIX), and One Super Bowl MVP (XXIII)

Flash 80 is simply the best wide receiver in the history of football, but more importantly the greatest offensive player of all time. You can argue about what makes Jerry Rice so great statistically, but the fact is no one has dominated his position quite like Rice dominates all of the offensive categories. Rice is the G.O.A.T., and it's not really that close.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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