NFL History
NFL History

NFL History People

Who Made It Happen

Pete Rozelle

Pete Rozelle (1926-1996) served as commissioner of the National Football League from 1960 to 1989, overseeing the league's rise from relatively humble origins to the peak of the sports-business uni...

Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) was one of the NFL's most successful and admired coaches of all time. Lombardi led his Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships between 1961 and 1968, including wins i...

Fritz Pollard

Fritz Pollard (1894-1986) was an early African-American football star. After being named to the collegiate All-American Team while playing at Brown University in 1916, Pollard moved to Ohio and bec...

Woody Strode

Woody Strode (1914-1995) was a star football player at UCLA in the late 1930s. Along with former UCLA teammate Kenny Washington, Strode became the first African-American to play in the modern NFL a...

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) became the first African-American to break baseball's color line when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Though primarily remembered today as a civil ri...

Joe Namath

Joe Namath (1943- ), a brash young quarterback out of the University of Alabama, led his New York Jets to a stunning upset victory over the Baltimore Colts in 1969's Super Bowl III. Though Namath t...

Jim Brown

Jim Brown (1936- ), a Cleveland Browns running back from 1957 to 1965, is one of the greatest players in the history of the National Football League. During his nine-year career, Brown punished opp...

Walter Payton

Walter Payton (1954-1999) was a star running back for the Chicago Bears through 13 seasons in the 1970s and '80s. Payton, whose smooth running style earned him the nickname "Sweetness," surpassed J...

Emmitt Smith

Emmitt Smith (1969- ) was the star running back of the dominant Dallas teams of the 1990s, helping the Cowboys to win three Super Bowls. A Pro Bowl selection in eight of his fifteen seasons, Smith...

Jerry Rice

Jerry Rice (1962- ) was the greatest wide receiver in football history, shattering every NFL receiving record over the course of his 20-year career with the San Francisco 49ers (1985-2000), Oakland...

Brett Favre

Brett Favre (1969- ), statistically the most accomplished passer in NFL history, started every game at quarterback for the Green Bay Packers from 1992 through 2007. The only player ever to win thre...

Joe Montana

Joe Montana (1956- ) was one of the most successful quarterbacks in the history of the National Football League, lifting his San Francisco 49ers from a tradition of mediocrity to become the League'...

Steve Young

Steve Young (1961- ) was one of the most accurate passers in the history of the National Football League, leading the potent offense of the San Francisco 49ers throughout the late 1980s and 1990s....

Terry Bradshaw

Terry Bradshaw (1948- ) was a strong-armed quarterback who led the Pittsburgh Steelers to an unprecedented four Super Bowl championships in the late 1970s. Erratic as a passer in his early years in...

Johnny Unitas

Johnny Unitas (1933-2002) was perhaps the first great quarterback of the NFL's modern era. While leading the Baltimore Colts to three championships between the late 1950s and early 1970s, Unitas be...

John Elway

John Elway (1960- ) is the greatest player in the history of the Denver Broncos. A strong-armed and fleet-footed quarterback who threatened defenses as both a passer and a scrambling runner, Elway...

Troy Aikman

Troy Aikman (1966- ) led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles in the 1990s. After an impressive collegiate career at UCLA, Aikman became the first pick in the 1989 NFL draft. As a rookie,...

Tom Brady

Tom Brady (1977- ) is widely regarded as the best quarterback currently playing in the National Football League. In 2001, in just his second season in the NFL and his first as a regular starter, Br...

Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell (1959- ) has served as NFL Commissioner since being chosen to succeed Paul Tagliabue in 2006. Goodell's rise to the NFL's top executive position came nearly 25 years after he first to...

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