The NFL has been littered with absolutely astonishing talent from day 1; that is no surprise, though, because such a big and epic league will always be rife with talent; however, not all talent is equal. 

There are some players out there who left a big mark on the league and how the game was played. Football was not always played the way it is today; there are many legends who shaped the game into what it is today. 


Today, while we consider the NFL lines for the 2022 season, we want to think about the top 10 players who left a mark on the league and made it what it is today. 


The Legends Who Changed The Game


So, who are these legends? Well, there are so many, it’s hard to keep track of them all. You might think that the majority would be quarterbacks; however, there are plenty of players in plenty of different positions who have left their mark on the league. 

It is not just how good these players were or how they played that is influential; it is how they helped to change the game into what it is today that is so important. 


Without any more delay, let’s look at the top 10 players who left a mark on our world of NFL football! 


1) Jim Brown 

Jim Brown was a very dominant running back in his time. He was the same size as a majority of linemen back then, yet he was faster than a majority of receivers as well. He is known as being one of the most athletic men of size to play in his era. 

He paved the way for many bigger running backs to follow in his footsteps, marking how having a big back could be influential to the game.


2) Johnny Unitas

Photo: Sports Illustrated

Unitas was a legendary quarterback; he finished his career with 290 touchdown passes, 40,000 yards, and had 10 Pro Bowl selections; he was a 3 time MVP and an NFL Champion 3 times too. 

He showed the game how the quarterback could take over a game and be the most important player. Thanks to Unitas we now notice the quarterback as the most important figure on the field of play. 


3) Barry Sanders

Sanders was unique; he had speed and explosiveness enough to burst through a crowded line. He finished his career as a running back with 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns. He had a typical 5.0 yards per carry as well. 

He showed us that explosiveness and speed was vital for legend status in this position. Defenders were faster, and passing became important in his era; he showed how important being explosive as a RB was.


4) Jerry Rice

Rice was a legend at the game, he was selected for 13 Pro Bowls, and that says enough. However, in spite of his greatness, he was always happy to improve. 

He was a big part in taking the West Coast offense to new heights with his unique cuts behind the linebackers before the secondary in crossing patterns. 


5) Lawrence Taylor

In his post, Taylor was a scary dude; he could absolutely decimate opposition quarterbacks and blow up the plays. You couldn’t block him, and he would often spend a lot of time in the opponents’ backfield. 

Speed and decisiveness became a big part of his character and mirrored how important it is as a linebacker.


6) Dick Lane

Lane was one of the most intimidating cornerbacks in the game. He was also the first to use speed to bait quarterbacks into throwing to him. His instincts were where he won, and he was infamous for collaring receivers and carriers with head hits and high tackles. 

He was a headhunter, and he inspired many of the imposing cornerbacks of today.


7) Curley Culp

Culp was a Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, and he was able to easily occupy blockers, so his team could make plays. For a defensive lineman his accomplishments were insanely impressive. 

His success in this position played a huge role in the 3-4 defense in the NFL that we use now. Offenses used tight ends and running backs more in passing and this was thanks to Culp.


8) Roger Staubach

Staubach was a talented quarterback, he would scramble and take his team to success from the edge of defeat. 

He was revolutionary for his stats, but he was also famous for bringing the shotgun formation back to the game. This play is still used today, thanks to Staubach’s successful use of it. 


9) Don Hutson

Hutson is recognized as one of the first modern wide receivers. He was one of the first stars to play this post. 

He also helped to make the passing in the game more involved, and he got credit for a great deal of the patterns that receivers run to this day.


10) Kellen Winslow

Back in Winslow’s day, the tight end position was different.

Winslow was one of the first tight ends to carry 250 lbs and run and catch like a wide receiver. His skill in the game changed the position, making tight ends more intimidating.


Featured Image: Sports Illustrated
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