Top 10 Nicknames in NFL History
Top NFL Nicknames of All-Time
Since the game of football became a national phenomenon, the NFL’s top talents have been making headlines and earning themselves nicknames that fit their personalities, playing styles and off-field antics.
From superstar running backs whose talent and unique skill sets made them stand out to eccentric playmakers whose swagger was too much to ignore, some of the league’s most memorable players have earned the right to receive a nickname.
While some are logical and straight-forward, others are humorous and help keep a bit of comedy alive amidst the sea of blood, sweat and machismo. Meanwhile, others bring together a mix of both humor and awesomeness to give NFL fans another reason to cheer on Sundays.
There are many different ways that these nicknames come about. While some are created by the media, others are born from fan bases looking to recognize the players that they can’t help but cheer on each and every weekend.
These nicknames act as a way for NFL fans to find a sense of closeness to some of their favorite players and personalities. They’re yet another reason for football fanatics to keep their addiction for the gridiron alive.
There were plenty of worthy selections to choose from, so bear with me and remember that we all have our own opinions. If there are others that you felt should have made the list, feel free to leave a comment.
Here’s a look at 10 of the best nicknames in NFL history, from some classics to a few modern favorites.
10. “All Day” – Adrian Peterson
I admit that this is a bit of a biased pick, but the nickname makes sense. All day long, Peterson is a threat to go the distance. He proved in 2012 that he’s the best running back in the NFL after falling eight yards short of the NFL single-season rushing yards record. As long as Peterson is in the lineup, the Minnesota Vikings have the opportunity to win.
9. “Broadway Joe” – Joe Namath
While most known for promising a victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl III and delivering, Joe Namath got his nickname from his dubious conquests around New York during his time with the Jets. He was Gang Green’s own superstar, and he carried himself like he belonged on Broadway.
8. “Revis Island” – Darrelle Revis
No wide receiver in the NFL wants to go to Revis Island, and for good reason. One of the elite cover cornerbacks of the modern era, Revis has made a name for himself with his ability to shut down even the best wide receivers in the league. While it may sound like a vacation spot, the only thing opponents will find when visiting Revis Island is No. 24 blanketing them for 60 minutes.
7. “The Freak” – Jevon Kearse
This one is pretty self-explanatory; Kearse was a freak out on the football field. A defensive end who was one of the NFL’s premier pass-rushers of his time, Kearse wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks while racking up 74 career sacks in 11 seasons. While his production declined significantly during his last few years in the league, the impact that he made early on was more than enough to earn him freak status.
6. “Prime Time” – Deion Sanders
One of the biggest playmakers to ever grace the football field, Sanders shined whenever the stakes were highest and the lights were brightest. A ballhawk who did nothing but dazzle when the pigskin was in his hands, Sanders was an eccentric personality off of the field as well that made his swagger on it all the more memorable.
5. “Mean Joe Greene” – Joe Greene
While he wasn’t so mean during his famous commercial cameo, “Mean Joe Greene” was one of the most ferocious linebackers in NFL history. When he hit players, he tried to take their heads off or put them in comas. The “Mean” originated from his college days playing for the North Texas Mean Green, but it was well-reflected in his playing style.
4. “Beast Mode” – Marshawn Lynch
In one play, Lynch went from talented-yet-inconsistent starting running back to “Beast Mode.” During a playoff game against the New Orleans Saints in which many believed the Seattle Seahawks didn’t belong, Lynch broke off a run where he simply refused to go down. He shrugged off one defender after another before leaping into the endzone and helping the Seahawks pull off one of the biggest upsets in NFL postseason history. With that run, “Beast Mode” was born.
3. “Sweetness” – Walter Payton
One of the greatest running backs in NFL history, Payton’s game was characterized by dance-like moves and a smooth running style that made him so hard to take down. “Sweetness” also fit his calm, gentle demeanor off of the field, but what was really sweet was the way he played with such grace when the ball was in his hands.
2. “The Bus” – Jerome Bettis
Throughout his career as the bruising back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bettis made a habit of taking defenders to school. On his way to over 13,000 career rushing yards, he often bulldozed and carried would-be tacklers who dared stand in his way. You never wanted to see Bettis running straight at you, because you knew you were going for a ride.
1. “The Fridge” – William Perry
Measuring in at 6’2’’, 335 pounds, Perry looked like a refrigerator out on the field and was just as hard for offensive lineman to move. Whether he was stuffing the run on defense or bowling over defenders as a fullback, “The Fridge” was a load. He was arguably the biggest personally apart from Jim McMahon on the 1985 Chicago Bears team, and was one of the last defensive players to occasionally touch the football on offense.