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 Jim Brown's record to become the NFL's all-time leading rusher in 1984. (Payton's own record was subsequently bested by Emmitt Smith.) Payton was named NFL MVP after a dominant 1985 season in which he helped lead the Bears to their only Super Bowl victory.
Today, twenty years after his retirement from the game and nearly a decade after his tragic death from a rare liver disease at the age of 45, Walter Payton remains the NFL's second-leading all-time rusher. Walter Payton was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.