MANHATTAN, July 28, 2013 — As the countdown to the 2013 NFL season begins, this is a good time to honor past legends of the game. The NFC is rich with legends from throughout its history.
Here is the list of 16 NFC legends, the greatest names for each NFC team:
Green Bay Packers: Vince Lombardi — His name is on the Super Bowl trophy. The greatest coach in NFL history won five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls.
Chicago Bears: George Halas — The NFC Conference Championship trophy bears his name. He owned the Bears and coached them for four decades, forever known as “Papa Bear.”
Detroit Lions: Barry Sanders — He retired rather than break the NFL rushing record. He was one of the most exciting runners ever, almost impossible to tackle. Honorable mention: Bobby Layne
Minnesota Vikings: Jim Marshall — The original defensive iron man, playing in 282 straight games in 19 seasons for the Purple People Eaters. Honorable mentions: Bud Grant, Randy Moss
San Francisco 49ers: Bill Walsh—One of the greatest coaches ever, “the genius” revolutionized offensive football with the West Coast Offense. Honorable mentions: Joe Montana, Jerry Rice
Cleveland/Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams: Deacon Jones — The sack master led the Fearsome Foursome Defense to multiple division titles. Honorable mention: Kurt Warner
Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals: Aeneas Williams — This franchise has suffered greatly, but this star cornerback was a bright spot during some lean years.
Seattle Seahawks: Steve Largent — The first member of the Seahawks to reach the Hall of Fame, this receiver was beloved by fans. Honorable mention: Walter Jones
New York Giants: Bill Parcells — The Tuna may be the greatest motivator in NFL history. After three lean decades, he turned losers into winners of two Super Bowls. Players dumped Gatorade on his head, which was the beginning of that tradition. Honorable mention: Lawrence Taylor
Philadelphia Eagles: Reggie White — The Minister of Defense was a gentle giant. He would belt quarterbacks to the ground and then lead the Lord’s Prayer with them after the game.
Dallas Cowboys: Tom Landry — The man in the hat was a quiet religious man but also a brilliant innovator. He invented the shotgun formation while leading “America’s team.”
Washington Redskins: Joe Gibbs — He won three Super Bowls in a ten-year span with three different quarterbacks.
Atlanta Falcons: Deion Sanders — Prime Time was one of the greatest lockdown cover corners in NFL history along with being one of the greatest return men ever. He would intercept a pass at midfield and high-step to the end zone faster than others would run.
New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees — After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he lifted an entire Gulf region by bringing the Saints their first Super Bowl and then shattering the single season passing record with over 5,400 yards.
Carolina Panthers: Sam Mills — The Field Mouse was considered too small to play football, but he led a ferocious defense that changed the balance of power in a division long led by offense. Honorable mention: Steve Smith
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lee Roy Selmon — He wore the orange creamsicle jersey and suffered through dreadful losing seasons on a team that began 0-26. Yet he made the Hall of Fame by bringing respect to the Yucks. Honorable mention: Derrick Brooks
Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.
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