Top 8 NFL Stars Of The 20th Century

Published on September 08, 2022, 10:23 am
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American football is the pioneering and most significant sport in North America. Since 1920, the NFL has undergone several changes, with the audience encountering diverse pro football players. You might know some of these football stars, and you probably have not heard about some of them. Thus, while preparing for the forthcoming season and getting ready to wager on NFL odds, it is essential to discover the history of legends in the game.

This article offers a concise review of the record of the top 8 NFL stars of the 20th century. This list includes top names like Dick Butkus, Terry Bradshaw, Reggie White, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Peyton Manning, Jim Brown, and the legendary Tom Brady. Read on for more information.

  1. Dick Butkus

Dick Butkus, a.k.a the Monster of the Midway, played for Chicago Bears as a middle linebacker. During his time as a pro player for the team from 1965-1973, Butkus was one of the fiercest defensive players. He would snarl and growl at his opponents while also cursing them, all in his attempts to intimidate them — that’s where he got his famous alias, “Monster of the Midway.”

Aside from that, he was a very skillful player with the ball. During his 9-years career as a professional football player, he has had 49 turnovers, 27 fumble recoveries, and 22 interceptions. He turned out to be one of the most dreaded and recognized defense players in the NFL.

Individual Achievements 

  • 5-times All-Pro Selection
  • 8-times Pro Bowl Selection
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame All-1960s Team
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame All-1970s Team
  • 1970 Defensive Player of the Year
  • NFL 100 All-Time Team
  • 1st Ballot NFL Hall of Famer (1979)
  • Title name for the best linebacker
  1. Lawrence Taylor

L.T. was one of the most amazing change-bringers in the 1970s. The multi-talented player could play several positions and fill in various roles. He is a speed and size combo and usually continually transforms the games he plays. He has a reputation for being dogged, relentless, and super-fast.

Individual Achievements

  • 3-time NFL DPOY
  • 10-time Pro Bowler
  • 1981 NFL DROY
  • 8-time First-Team All-Pro
  • HOF (1999)
  • Pro Football HOF All-1980s Team
  • NFL 100 All-Time Team
  • #14 NFL Career Sacks (132.5)
  1. Reggie White

Reggie White is an outstanding NFL player. He was an absolute dread to all his opposing players. In his 15-year career, the Minister of Defense, as he was fondly called, has played 121 matches and registered 124 sacks during that period.

White was a highly-decorated player for the Philadelphia Eagles before joining the Green Bay Packers for six years. Within that time, White added an extra 68.5 sacks.

Individual Achievements

  • 13-times Pro Bowl selection
  • 8-times First-Team All-Pro selections
  • No. 2 All-Time Career Sack Leader (with a record of 198)
  • 2-times NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1987 and 1998)
  • 1st Ballot NFL Hall of Famer (2006)
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame All-1980s Team
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame All-1990s Team
  • NFL 100 All-Time Team.
  1. Joe Montana

Joe Montana, or ‘Joe Cool,’ as he’s regularly called, brought the fantastic modern-style QB vibes to the game. The quarterback brought more than class to professional football, and during his time active (1979-1994), he won many iconic awards. He played for the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Individual Achievements

  • 4-time Super Bowl Winner
  • 3-time Super Bowl MVP
  • HOF (2000 Class)
  • 3-time First-Team All-Pro
  • 2-time MVP
  • 2-time Second Team All-Pro
  • 8-time Pro Bowl.
  1. Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning, otherwise called “The Sheriff,” is celebrated as arguably the most brilliant football player in NFL history. During his career as a professional player, Manning was vocal about his depth of knowledge of the game. His contribution to the sport enabled several players to earn multi-million dollar contract extensions.

In his 18-year professional career, Manning quickly ranked as one of the most valuable players in every club he joined. Thus, he earned multiple awards during his time as a pro player.

Individual Achievements

  • 14-times Pro Bowler
  • 7-times First-Team All-Pro
  • 2-times OPOY (2004, 2013)
  • 5-times NFL MVP (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2013)
  • 2005 Walter Payton Man of the Year
  • 2006 Super Bowl MVP
  • Hall of Fame (2021)
  • Pro Football HOF All-2000s Team
  • Hall of Fame (2021)
  • NFL 100 All-Time Team
  • #1 NFL Career Comebacks (with a record of 43)
  • #1 NFL Career Game-Winning Drives (with a record of 54)
  • #3 NFL Career Passing Touchdowns (with a record of 539)
  • #3 NFL Career Passing Yards (with a record of 71,940)
  • Single-Season Passing Touchdown Leader (with a record of 55)
  1. Jerry Rice

Ranking #3 in our list today is no other than the legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice. He was active from 1985 to 2004 and played a significant role in setting the pace among his peers. He was one of the people who brought receivers into the limelight.

Like most other football players, Jerry Rice encountered a terrible injury where he tore his ACL. It could easily be the end of the careers for several players, but not Rice. His consistent streak of excellence, finesse, and longevity on the field were some of the remarkable things about him.

Individual Achievements

  • HOF (2010 Class)
  • 1-time Super Bowl MVP
  • 1-time MVP
  • 3-time Super Bowl Champion
  • All-Time Leader in touchdowns (with a record of 208)
  • Receptions (1,549)
  • Successive 1+ reception games (274)
  1. Jim Brown

Jim Brown is one of the most celebrated players in NFL history. He was active from 1957 to 1965 and held many prestigious records. When we consider Jim Brown, all we can attest to is the refined talent with much hard work. Only a handful of players superseded Brown, and he was unplayable at his peak.

Individual Achievements

  • HOF (1971 Class)
  • 3-time MVP
  • 1-time Super Bowl Champion
  • 1-time Second Team All-Pro
  • 8-time First-Team All-Pro
  • 9-time Pro Bowl
  • The receiver of the Year (1957)
  1. Tom Brady

For most people, Tom Brady Jr. is the undisputed GOAT of the NFL. He began his professional career in 2000 and has been playing actively since then. The quarterback has sustained one of the most impressive records for any athlete and is the king of American football.

In the 2019 Super Bowl LIII, Brady defended his title as the overall best QB and player in the NFL. He has impressive stats that are worth emulating. Indeed, not only has Brady earned terrific feats but he’s also won the hearts of fans worldwide. His longevity is another thing to admire.

Individual Achievements

  • 15-time Pro Bowler
  • 3-time First-Team All-Pro
  • 2009 NFL Comeback POY
  • 2-time NFL OPOY (2007 and 2010)
  • 3-time NFL MVP (2007, 2010, and 2017)
  • NFL 100 All-Time Team
  • Pro Football HOF All-2000s Team
  • Pro Football HOF All-2010’s Team
  • 5-time Super Bowl MVP
  • Most Super Bowl Victories in NFL History (with a record of 7)
  • Most Super Bowl Appearances in NFL History (with a record of 10)
  • NFL Career Leader Postseason Wins (35)
  • NFL Career Leader Passing Yards (84,520)
  • NFL Career Leader Regular Season Wins (230)
  • NFL Career Leader Passing Touchdowns (624)
  • #2 NFL Career Game-Winning Drives (53)
  • #2 NFL Career Comebacks (42).


There are diverse legendary players in the NFL who have contributed immensely to the growth of the sport. Since 1920, many of these stars have come into the picture and changed the narrative for fans and the league.

Thanks to players like Tom Brady, Jerry Rice, and the others we’ve listed above, our memories of superb NFL seasons in the 20th century will be evergreen. We hope many more stars will rise in the next few years to replicate the heroics of these cult heroes.

Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.