AROUND THE NFL

BIGPLAY’s NFL 100: 100 Personalities From the NFL’s First 100 Years: 70 – 61

A countdown of personalities 70 – 61 in BIGPLAY’s NFL 100 Personalities list.

Photo Courtesy of Codey Dauch, BIGPLAY

In our fourth installment of the BIGPLAY 100 list, we have some big-name coaches and executives to talk about as well as some great players. We hope you enjoy reading this and if you’ve missed the first three installments, make sure to check them out. For the Top 60 personalities, we will be doing individual articles on game days, so keep your eyes open for it!

70 – Warrick Dunn

When tragedies happen, some people crumble while others step up, Warrick Dunn stepped up. In 1993 Dunn’s mother, a police officer, was killed while off-duty and Dunn, who had recently turned 18 years old was now caring for his siblings. Additionally, he started two charities, Home for the Holidays and Warrick Dunn Charities, which helps single-parent families become home-owners amongst other things. Finally, he has persuaded others to get involved in helping people, after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Dunn implored other NFL players to donate money to help those in need and helped raise over $5 million.

Of course, throughout this time he was also a standout running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons.

69 – Jimmy Johnson

Photo Courtesy of Charles Krupa, AP

Coaches who have had success in college and the NFL are rare and Jimmy Johnson was one of the few as he won a National Championship in 1987 with Miami and won back-to-back Super Bowls with the Cowboys in 1992 and 1993. When Johnson joined the Cowboys he made a big splash by trading away running back Herschel Walker. At the time he was vilified for it but in hindsight, it was a great move as it led to the Cowboys acquiring multiple draft picks which were used on players who helped in the Super Bowl run.

68 – Lamar Hunt

Any list about the 100 years of the NFL must have Lamar Hunt on it, even though his football career started in the AFL. He was the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs franchise from 1959 until his death in 2006. He is widely credited with giving the Super Bowl its name and had said it came to him when he saw his children playing with a Super Ball. Hunt’s legacy in the NFL will continue as the team who represents the AFC in the Super Bowl gets the Lamar Hunt Trophy.

67 – Al Saunders

Al Saunders started his coaching career in 1970 at the age of 23 and was coaching as recently in 2017 at the age of 70. Before continuing, take a moment and think about how amazing what he accomplished was. He coached for 47 years and had an effect on so many players like Willie Gault, Charlie Joiner, Kellen Winslow, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Jarvis Landry amongst many others.

Furthermore, Saunders coached under some of the best coaches of the past 35 years in Don Coryell, Joe Gibbs, Marty Schottenheimer, Dick Vermeil and John Harbaugh.

66 – Earl Campbell

Earl Campbell was the first overall pick by the Houston Oilers in the 1978 NFL Draft. He is widely considered one of the best power backs in NFL history and in his Hall of Fame career, he rushed for 9,407 yards and 74 touchdowns. The downside of being such a physical runner is the multitude of ailments that Campbell has had to deal with after his NFL career. It’s sad to see a man who at one point was such an amazing runner having such difficulties walking.  

65 – Tex Schramm

The juxtaposition of Tex Schramm and Earl Campbell on this list is interesting as both were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991. Schramm was an executive in the NFL from 1947 – 1989 for the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys. While with the Rams, he hired Pete Rozelle for a position in the Rams organization, Rozzelle would eventually become the commissioner of the NFL. With Dallas, he hired long-time coach Tom Landry and scout Gil Brandt, so clearly Schramm had an eye for talent.

64 – Bud Grant

Photo Courtesy of Jim Mone, AP

Bud Grant is known for losing four Super Bowls as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, but he is far from a “loser.” For starters, making it to four Super Bowls is hard enough and one needs to do a lot of winning to get there. Additionally, he won four CFL Grey Cups and was an NBA player for the Minneapolis Lakers alongside George Mikan when they won the 1950 championship.

Grant’s Vikings teams were filled with talented defensive linemen Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, Alan Page and Gary Larsen who were referred to as the “Purple People Eaters.” Finally, Pete Carroll, Buddy Ryan and Marc Trestman, who all went on to become head coaches, worked for Grant.

63 – Dick Butkus

The Chicago Bears drafted linebacker Dick Butkus with the third overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft, right before they drafted running back Gale Sayers. Butkus would go on to have an amazing career. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler, two-time Defensive Player of the Year and a member of the All-Decade Team for the 1960s AND the 1970s. He was feared by offensive players and is commonly considered the first great linebacker. In his post-playing career, Butkus tried his hand at acting as well as a broadcaster.

62 – Sam Rutigliano

Sam Rutigliano was the head coach for the Cleveland Browns from 1978 – 1984 and had a genuine love for his players. In his first draft as head coach, the Browns picked two future cornerstones of the team in linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. and tight end Ozzie Newsome. While his career record is under-.500, he had a profound impact on the Browns during his tenure, thanks to a support group he started to help players deal anonymously with addictions.

61 – George Halas

George Halas was a player, coach and owner of the Chicago Bears franchise and one of the founders of the NFL. He won eight championships but and sadly passed away before the Bears won the Super Bowl in 1985. He was captain in the US Navy during both World Wars and had a brief career as a baseball player. As coach of the team, Halas had a .671 career winning percentage and was the Coach of the Year in 1963 and 1965. George Halas and his family have owned the Bears since their inception and are the greatest connection we still have today to the NFL’s first season, 100 years ago.

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