The 100 Greatest Players in NFL History, 2014 Edition: 60-51

The 100 Greatest Players In NFL History, 60-51

Eric Dickerson Rams
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The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players was a 10-part television series presented by the NFL Network in 2010. But a lot has happened since 2010, especially with current players like Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees making their own mark on the history books. Here now are my updated rankings of the 100 greatest NFL players of all time, continuing with numbers 60-51.

60. Steve Van Buren, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (1944-51)

Philadelphia Eagles
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60. Steve Van Buren, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (1944-51)

Philadelphia Eagles
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2010 Ranking: No. 58

Steve Van Buren's pro career was distinctive. He surpassed 1,000 yards rushing twice in the 1940s, won four NFL rushing titles and a rare “triple crown” in 1945 when he led in rushing, scoring, and kickoff returns. Philadelphia had never finished above fourth place until Steve arrived in 1944. With him, they won three straight divisional titles from 1947-49, winning the team's first two NFL titles in 1948 and 1949.

59. Mike Singletary, LB, Chicago Bears (1981-92)

Mike Singletary Bears
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59. Mike Singletary, LB, Chicago Bears (1981-92)

Mike Singletary Bears
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2010 Ranking: No. 57

The leader of the 1985 Chicago Bears defense, middle linebacker Mike Singletary started 172 games for Chicago during his 12-year career, the second most in team history. An intense player, Mike finished as the Bears’ first or second leading tackler each of his last 11 seasons. The NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and 1988, Mike was the cornerstone of the Bears’ innovative 46-defense that won Super Bowl XX.

58. Earl Campbell, RB, Houston Oilers (1978-84), New Orleans Saints (1984-85)

Earl Campbell
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58. Earl Campbell, RB, Houston Oilers (1978-84), New Orleans Saints (1984-85)

Earl Campbell
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2010 Ranking: No. 55

As the first player selected in the 1978 NFL Draft, Earl Campbell led the NFL in rushing in each of his first three seasons, was named NFL MVP as a rookie in 1978, and guided the Oilers to consecutive AFC Championship game appearances in 1978 and 1979. His finest year came in 1980, however, when he rushed for 1,934 yards, which at the time was second only to O.J. Simpson’s 2003 yards gained in 1973.

57. Jack Ham, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers (1971-82)

Jack Ham Steelers
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57. Jack Ham, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers (1971-82)

Jack Ham Steelers
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2010 Ranking: No. 60

To some, Jack Ham is the greatest outside linebacker in NFL history, but to most, he was one of the key players in Pittsburgh's dominant title run in the 1970s. Durable, he missed only four games his first 10 seasons in the NFL. He wound up his career with 25 sacks, 21 opponent fumbles recovered and 32 interceptions. Ham appeared in five AFC Championship games and played in three of Pittsburgh's four Super Bowl wins.

56. Mike Ditka, TE, Chicago Bears (1961-66), Philadelphia Eagles (1967-68), Dallas Cowboys (1969-72)

Mike Ditka Bears
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56. Mike Ditka, TE, Chicago Bears (1961-66), Philadelphia Eagles (1967-68), Dallas Cowboys (1969-72)

Mike Ditka Bears
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2010 Ranking: No. 59

The first tight end who was inducted into the Hall of Fame, Mike Ditka became the first at the position to become an offensive weapon in the passing game. in his Rookie-of-the-Year campaign in 1961, He made 56 catches for 1,076 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 75-reception season in 1964 was the all-time most by a tight end, and stood until 1980. Ditka appeared in Super Bowl V and won Super Bowl VI with the Dallas Cowboys.

55. Forrest Gregg, T-G, Green Bay Packers (1956, 1958-70), Dallas Cowboys (1971)

Forrest Gregg Packers
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55. Forrest Gregg, T-G, Green Bay Packers (1956, 1958-70), Dallas Cowboys (1971)

Forrest Gregg Packers
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2010 Ranking: No. 54

According to legendary coach Vince Lombardi, "Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached!" The Hall of Fame offensive lineman played in a then league record 188 consecutive games from 1956 until 1971, his final season. In Gregg's time in Green Bay, the Packers reached six NFL Championship games, winning five, and the first two Super Bowls. Gregg closed out his career by winning Super Bowl VI with the Cowboys.

54. Gene Upshaw, G, Oakland Raiders (1967-81)

Gene Upshaw Raiders
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54. Gene Upshaw, G, Oakland Raiders (1967-81)

Gene Upshaw Raiders
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2010 Ranking: No. 56

Gene Upshaw held the starting left guard spot for the Oakland Raiders for 15 seasons, starting in 207 straight regular season games. Teamed with Art Shell and Jim Otto, the three created the greatest left side offensive line in NFL history. Counting the AFL championship victory in 1967 and victories in Super Bowls XI and XV, Upshaw became the only player ever to start on championship teams in both the AFL and NFL.

53. Eric Dickerson, RB, Los Angeles Rams (1983-87), Indianapolis Colts (1987-91), Los Angeles Raiders (1992), Atlanta Falcons (1993)

Eric Dickerson Rams
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53. Eric Dickerson, RB, Los Angeles Rams (1983-87), Indianapolis Colts (1987-91), Los Angeles Raiders (1992), Atlanta Falcons (1993)

Eric Dickerson Rams
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2010 Ranking: No. 52

An immediate success, Eric Dickerson established rookie records for most rushing attempts (390), most rushing yards gained (1,808) and most touchdowns rushing (18) with the Los Angeles Rams in 1983. A year later, Dickerson broke the single-season rushing record by recording 2,105 yards on the ground. A workhorse runner with the Rams, Dickerson ran for the most yards in a playoff game with 248 against Dallas in 1985.

52. Willie Lanier, LB, Kansas City Chiefs (1967-77)

Willie Lanier Chiefs
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52. Willie Lanier, LB, Kansas City Chiefs (1967-77)

Willie Lanier Chiefs
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2010 Ranking: No. 53

The first black starting middle linebacker in NFL history, Willie Lanier anchored one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. An unknown player from Morgan State, Lanier, teamed with Bobby Bell and Jim Lynch, formed one of the best linebacking corps in NFL history. He was All-Pro, All-AFL or All-AFC every year from 1968 through 1975, and had a key interception in Kansas City's Super Bowl IV victory.

51. Bart Starr, QB, Green Bay Packers (1956-71)

Bart Starr Packers
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51. Bart Starr, QB, Green Bay Packers (1956-71)

Bart Starr Packers
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2010 Ranking: No. 51

One of the greatest postseason QBs in NFL history, Bart Starr led the Packers to an astonishing 9-1 record in the 1960s. Much of this success was because of Starr, who had a postseason touchdown-to-interception ratio of five to one (15 TDS and 3 INTs). Starr was the MVP of the first two Super Bowls and had a 62-24-4 record from 1960 to 1967.


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