BIGPLAY’s NFL 100: 100 Personalities From the NFL’s First 100 Years: 90 – 81

The BIGPLAY countdown of 100 personalities from the NFL’s first 100 years.

Photo Courtesy of Codey Dauch, BIGPLAY

In our second installment of the BIGPLAY 100 list, we have numerous Hall of Famers and interesting personalities. If you missed the first installment, make sure to check it out and keep an eye out for future articles which will be published throughout the season.

90 – Buddy Ryan

Photo Courtesy of Bill Kostroun, AP

When you hear the phrase “Personalities From the NFL,” Buddy Ryan’s name should be amongst the first to pop into your head. Ryan was a long-time college and NFL coach and was known for his fiery attitude. He helped two teams win their only Super Bowl, the New York Jets in 1969 and the Chicago Bears in 1985. While with the Bears he created the 46 defense, which features eight players in the box with only three at classic defensive back spots. Its purpose is to confuse and bring pressure to the offense. While there was a lot of good associated with Ryan, there were some less than stellar moments as well. While head coach with the Eagles, Ryan was accused of running up the score against the Cowboys in 1987 and for putting out bounties on two Cowboys players in 1989. Perhaps the most infamous moment with Ryan was as the defensive coordinator of the Houston Oilers in 1993 when he tried to punch offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride during a nationally televised game.

Ryan is also the father of long-time NFL coaches Rex and Rob Ryan, who like their father have a fierce intensity and love for coaching defense.

89 – Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe was a multi-sport athlete. He won two gold medals in the 1912 Olympics for the decathlon and pentathlon. Additionally, he played baseball and basketball as well as being a pioneer in football. His career in football started before the NFL did and he was named the first President of the NFL in 1920. Thorpe is widely considered one of the greatest athletes of all time and as an original member of the NFL deserves inclusion on this list. He was a part of the inaugural class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

88 – Anthony Munoz

Anthony Munoz is one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. He played for the Bengals from 1980 – 1992. He was an 11 time Pro Bowler, the NFL Man of the Year in 1991 and played in two Super Bowls, both losses to the San Francisco 49ers. His biggest impact, however, might be on young people of Hispanic descent. If you remember the Modelo commercial from a year or two ago it shows Munoz walking into a bar and being greeted by TE Tony Gonzalez and OL Roberto Garza. The voiceover mentions how Munoz paved the way for players like Gonzalez and Garza to play football. While his NFL career was top-notch, having such an effect on others is something really worth mentioning.

87 – Fran Tarkenton

Fran Tarkenton played for 18 seasons in the NFL. When he retired he held the record for completions, attempts, yards, touchdowns and interceptions. He is still in the Top 10 of many of those categories. Additionally, he was known as quite the runner and he still holds the record for scoring a rushing touchdown in 15 different seasons. He had a natural charisma which he used as the first athlete to host Saturday Night Live in 1977 and it helped him land jobs as a commentator for Monday Night Football as well as being a co-host of That’s Incredible!, a show that ran from 1980 – 1984. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

86 – Dick “Night Train” Lane

In his 14-year career with the Rams, Cardinals and Lions, Dick “Night Train” Lane recorded 68 career interceptions, including a rookie campaign in which he intercepted 14 passes which is still a single-season record. Besides his nose for the football, he was a ferocious hitter. Lane was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and a member of the Hall of Fame.

85 – Paul Warfield

Paul Warfield played for the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins. He was drafted in 1964 by the Browns and made an immediate impact catching 52 passes for 920 yards and nine touchdowns en route to a Championship season. Warfield was involved in one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history when the Browns traded him to the Dolphins for the third overall pick which was used on quarterback Mike Phipps. While Phipps accomplished little Warfield help the Dolphins win two Super Bowls in his five years with the team. In 1983 Warfield was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

84 – Warren Moon

Photo Courtesy of John Makely, Houston Chronicle

Warren Moon went undrafted in 1978 due to the thought that an African-American couldn’t successfully play quarterback in the NFL; he would go on to be a Hall of Famer and pave the way for many other African-American quarterbacks. In 1990 and 1991 Moon passed for over 4,000 yards joining Dan Marino and Dan Fouts as the only quarterbacks to do so. Until this day he still holds many Oilers/Titans franchise records, pretty good for an undrafted player!

83 – Ray Guy

Ray Guy is the only pure punter in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was drafted in the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Raiders. As a member of the Raiders, he helped them win three Super Bowls with his hang-time ability. Some of his career highlights include playing in 207 consecutive games, leading the league in punting three times and punted 619 times before one got blocked.

82 – Jack Youngblood

Jack Youngblood played defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams from 1971 – 1984. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler, five-time first-team All-Pro and accrued 151.5 sacks in his career. One of the most amazing feats in his career was that in Super Bowl XIV he played with a broken leg. During and after his playing career, Youngblood has been associated with many charitable organizations, using his fame to help those who are in need, from helping feed the hungry to being active in the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, there have been many people in dire situations that Youngblood has helped. Hopefully, other players will learn from his example and help others when they can. Youngblood was a Hall of Fame player but more importantly, a Hall of Fame person!

81 – Chuck Bednarik

Photo Courtesy of John G Zimmerman, SI

Chuck Bednarik played Center and Linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1949 – 1962 and was the last of the great two-way players. He won two NFL Championships and was an integral part of the Eagles during his tenure with the team. One of the most unforgettable images from Bednarik’s career was the hit he put on Giants running back Frank Gifford and Bednarik subsequently standing over Gifford’s body.

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