Below is a list of some of the most intimidating, toughest, hardest hitting and most feared players of their time to play in the NFL. So if you’re as excited as I am to see some NFL action this time of year, here’s a warm-up video to get you ready for my list of some of the toughest guys to ever play in the NFL > 60 of the Greatest Hits EVER!
John Lynch was mean and smart. A deadly combination. He knew where you were going to be, generally had an opportunity to knock the ball down, but opted to teach receivers a lesson in intimidation instead. Watch the hits he puts on Barry Sanders & Marshall Faulk > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBjqMrmBWwg
Rodney Harrison was one of the most ferocious players of his time. A little dirty and a lot mean. He was known as the “head hunter” and openly admits he could not exist with today’s rule of “no blows to the head.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHtHg52TLOg
Mike Alstott – The highlights say it ALL > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5usOCipPq4k
Brian Dawkins intimidates not only with his ability to lay the lumber, but the fiery, frightening way he hated his enemies on the other side of the field. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0WXWFCEyces
Mike Ditka – A dangerous combination of speed, size and a murderous temper on field that only got satisfied after he’d throw all of his weight and strength through the opponents standing in his way > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk9Ogk65Kx8
Kevin Greene played with the reckless abandon of a wolf with rabies. Most of his highlights can be seen in the original “warm-up” video I posted a the top of this page. He’s #91 for the Rams > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFQ4hNWUnpU
Ray Lewis started his career literally known as a murderer. You can’t buy a more intimidating reputation than that. One of the most emotional leaders of all time, Lewis’ teammates fed off his passion and he used his whole team to project the his intimidation into his opponents. He tried to deliver HUGE blows on every tackle he made & would stand over each of his victims to let them know who just hit them. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_bAnw6EgjE
Jack Youngblood. Crazy man. Flat out toughest dude to ever play. Known as Mr. Ram. Listen to Howard Cosell & gang describe this guy > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1myuz7INBeY
Brian Urlacher had scary speed, combined with incredible instinct. In his prime, he sucked the hope out of many great runners. Whether they caught a screen pass or ran off tackle, they quickly found they couldn’t get more than 2 yards per play without getting drilled by sure-tackling Urlacher. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG5HyQwbXEU
Alan Page – was at the heart of the “Purple People Eaters” and as nasty as they came. Just Google pictures of Alan Page’s pinky to see how hard he played. He went to 9 straight pro bowls, led his team to 4 superbowls and had more than 1400 tackles > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1Ql_rvfnjc
Jack Tatum – Very well known as the hardest hitting man in football and after viewing film on him, I can’t argue with that. And I grew up watching Steve Atwater so that’s saying something. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEgQARSzaI0
“LT,” Lawrence Taylor exploded onto the scene as a rookie and never looked back. He revolutionized the outside linebacking position, with his out-of-this-world 20.5 sacks in 1986. There was never a more down-hill, aggressive linebacker in NFL history that brought the kind of pain, passion and speed on every play. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtGXJB5PxIQ
Deacon Jones – lightning speed and ultra-aggressive style of play led him to an “unofficial” sack total of 26 in 1967. (in only 14 games) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K26yiwXvJiE
Carl Elller – He finished his career with a total of 133.5 sacks and obviously, was a very feared player during his time. At 6’6”, 250, he was the most intimidating force of “The Purple People Eaters”.
Mike Singletary – His eyes & gyrating body language before every snap said it all. He was always yelling, always pointing and always moving. He was the Peyton Manning of linebackers & un-nerved QBs before they could ever run a play. Simply put, he was a tackling machine his entire career. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDramPcGpUs
Jack Lambert – He was skinny. His teammates said he’d do 2 sets of curls, 2 sets of bench presses, light up a cigerette and walk away for the day. He was just a mean SOB and that’s what drove him on gameday > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3RQ_xhLK-4
Dave Butz – Although on defense, he was an honorary member of the famous Redskins offensive line known as “the Hogs”. Standing at 6’7″ 300 pounds, he stared down opponents through squinty eyes, a thick “prison-mustache”, a nose that had been broken more times than he could remember and one of the largest heads in NFL history with a 8 5/8 helmet size. He was the perfect unmovable force that all coaches look for in a defensive tackle.
Hardy Brown – Growing up in violent conditions in an orphanage, his mean streak increased the more he’d play. Known as the “dirtiest man to play” the game in the 50’s, Brown kept track of all 86 knockouts he delivered in the his football career. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHRwf4LSIZo
Sam Huff – One of the most talkative players in the league (until Warren Sapp came along). His confident, slow southern draw had the playfulness of a cat throwing around its victims before the final kill. Huff is highlighted in this collage of mic’ed up linebackers including Butkus, LT and a rare Brian Cushing sound byte. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NLxBpNbik64
Mean Joe Greene – His quiet, no talking approach instilled a “Friday the 13th Jason-like” fear in opponents. He was the definition of “the quiet before the storm” on every play. http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-top-ten/09000d5d81d2bbb6/Top-Ten-Steelers-of-All-Time-Joe-Greene
Jim Brown – He averaged 104 yards a game and never missed a single NFL game in his entire career. His size and speed was the equivalent to a Semi-truck on the highway ramming a Prius that couldn’t get out of it’s way at the intersection. He was truly a man among boys out there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4QQ9fnAgBU
Ray Nitschke led his team to five championships, including the first two Super Bowls delivering crushing (illegal in this time & age) hits. Well worth a youtube search for his highlights. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILL2g0plOt0
Dick “Night Train” Lane – They put in the rule to outlaw the “clothes-line” tackle because of “Night Train” Lane. As you’ll see, he also put fear in to QBs with his ability to pick off 14 balls in 1 season > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPm-6ZlTM5o
Bruce Smith – The all-time sack leader looked as if he was chiseled out of granite. His upper arms were larger than the heads of most of the guys he was taking to the ground. It was his speed and long reach totally destroyed any offensive linemen that tried to contain him. He showed no mercy, ever. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VegYwUnQbPo
Steve Atwater is a no-brainer to make this list; his nickname was the “Smiling Assassin.” The eight-time Pro Bowler’s highlight reel is filled with him destroying running backs and receivers much bigger in stature. His highlight reel is my favorite! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6SEXGAqVus
Ronnie Lot – Opting to have his pinky amputated so he could play in the playoffs says it all. It was Lot’s uncanny timing that offensive coordinatoors & wide receivers feared most. There was simply no way to fool a student of the game like Lot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hYFOXPUKBcA
Reggie White “The Minister of Defense” – This man crushed the souls of every offensive coordinator he ever played against. Nobody EVER had a solution for this game-changer. If you were to take a poll of all offensive coordinators throughout the era of White’s career, I guarantee White was the one they all feared the most. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO2r0Vm8keQ
Dick Butkus is the most feared player in NFL history. He’s the first that popped into any of your minds who knows the minimum amount of NFL history. He was a criminal and literally wanted to rip the head off every player that ever crossed his path and he had no problem admitting that fact. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XavMnJDfavo
Filed Under: More IDP Fantasy Football News
About the Author: Seems weird to think I started this wacky game in 2004. I love it, as I know all of you do too. My experience as an IDP guy starts as a waiver wire specialist. Anyone can tell you to start a Top 5 stud, but it's finding 1 or two "gems" off the waiver wire each year that makes the difference between winning your league and being in the middle of the pack. For instance, a long time ago before anyone new an SLB named James Anderson, I saw a perfect storm coming when they were about to play the Saints. I looked closely at the strategy and just knew the Saints were going to run at the strong side linebacker all day. I went all in on this unknown IDP Anderson and he rewarded us with a 13 solo tackle game from a relatively UNKNOWN waiver wire guy. He went on to be the top LB in every game from that day on throughout the season. I've managed to find that gem at one of the IDP positions every year before any other forecaster. I'm not sure how I have this knack. Maybe it's because I've played football since I was six and played both QB (reading defenses) and LB, reading offenses. It helps that my dad was a great coach for 36 years too. Most importantly, I love it and it's fun!