Welcome to the eighth installment of Sportscasting’s 10-part series, “The 101 Greatest NFL Players by Uniform Number.”
For those who may just now be joining us, what we’re doing here is exactly what the headline suggests. As there have been 101 NFL seasons played and 101 different numbers (0, 00, 1-99) worn in that time, we’re simply naming the best player to wear every one of them. In case you missed them, here’s a look back on our choices for Nos. 00-69.
We naturally continue this week with Nos. 70-79.
No. 70: Sam Huff
Sam Huff, the first-ever NFL player to grace the cover of Time Magazine, kicks off our list this week at No. 70. An All-American linebacker at West Virginia, Huff was taken in the third round of the 1956 NFL draft and spent the first eight seasons of his NFL career with the New York Giants, with whom he won an NFL championship as a rookie. He was also a four-time Pro Bowler with New York. Huff finished his career playing five seasons in Washington and added one more Pro Bowl selection to his Hall of Fame resume that includes 30 interceptions.
No. 71: Walter Jones
No. 71 was a close call as we seriously considered Jason Peters for this spot. But, in the end, we went with Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones. The sixth overall pick of the 1997 NFL draft out of Florida State, Jones spent his entire 12-year career with the Seattle Seahawks and started all 180 games in which he appeared. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler and a six-time All-Pro selection.
No. 72: Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones
At 6-foot-9, defensive end Ed “Too Tall” Jones was one of the tallest players in NFL history and is our choice at No. 72. Taken with the first overall pick in the 1974 NFL draft, Jones spent his entire 15-year career with the Dallas Cowboys, with whom he won a Super Bowl. He recorded 106 sacks over the course of his career, good fourth on the Cowboys’ all-time list, and was a three-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro selection.
No. 73: John Hannah
Once named the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history by Sports Illustrated, John Hannah is our selection at No. 73. Taken with the fourth overall pick in the 1974 NFL draft out of Alabama, Hannah spent his entire 13-year career with the New England Patriots. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler, a 10-time All-Pro selection, and was a member of both the 75th and 100th NFL Anniversary Teams.
No. 74: Bob Lilly
I’m going to be completely honest with you here. I essentially had Bruce Matthews and Bob Lilly in a tie for the No. 74 slot and truly just flipped a coin to decide. Taken with the 13th pick of the 1961 NFL draft, Lilly spent his entire 14-year career with the Dallas Cowboys, with whom he won Super Bowl 6. He never missed a single game and was an 11-time Pro Bowler and a nine-time All-Pro selection.
No. 75: ‘Mean’ Joe Greene
Considered by many to be one of the greatest defensive linemen in NFL history, “Mean” Joe Greene is our choice at No. 75, beating out Deacon Jones. Taken with the fourth overall pick in the 1969 NFL draft out of North Texas State, Greene played his entire 13-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who he helped to four Super Bowl victories. A major part of Pittsburgh’s famed “Steel Curtain,” Greene was a 10-time Pro Bowler, an eight-time All-Pro selection, and a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
No. 76: Orlando Pace
A two-time unanimous All-American offensive tackle at Ohio State, Orlando Pace is our pick at No. 76. Taken with the first overall pick in the 1997 NFL draft, Pace spent a dozen years with the St. Louis Rams, with whom he won a Super Bowl, before closing out his career playing one season for the Chicago Bears. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler and a four-time All-Pro selection.
No. 77: Jim Parker
We looked at several options for No. 77, including Chicago Bears halfback Red Grange and New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Willie Roaf. But, in the end, we decided to go with legendary Baltimore Colts offensive lineman Jim Parker, who won two NFL titles as the premier blocker for Johnny Unitas. Taken with the eighth pick in the 1957 NFL draft out of Ohio State, Parker played his entire 11-year career with the Colts and was an eight-time Pro Bowler and a 10-time All-Pro selection.
No. 78: Anthony Munoz
Considered by some to be the greatest offensive lineman in history, Hall of Fame left tackle Anthony Munoz is our choice at No. 78. Taken with the third overall pick in the 1980 NFL draft out of USC, Munoz played his entire 13-year career with the Cincinnati Bengals. He signed for a 14th season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but didn’t make it out of training camp and retired. Munoz was an 11-time Pro Bowler, an 11-time All-Pro selection, and was named the 1991 Walter Payton Man of the Year.
No. 79: Rosey Brown
One of just three Hall of Famers to ever wear No. 79, left tackle Roosevelt “Rosey” Brown closes out this portion of the list. Taken with the 321st pick of the 1953 NFL draft out of Morgan State, Brown played his entire 13-year career with the New York Giants, with whom he won an NFL title in 1956. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler and a nine-time All-Pro selection.
We’ll see you next time for Nos. 80-89.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference