Hardest Hitters in NFL
Great players and high performers abound in sports. Likewise NFL also carries a long list of very sturdy and committed players that helped their teams in offering tough competition and or bring them to match winning positions. These anchors in the team very often created tough resistance and turned a lost game into a victorious one. Every sport has this unique class of heroes.
In NFL hard hitting is considered the strongest quality edge of a player and defender. The leagues have seen numerous hard hitters that played a committed game. Selecting the best is really another tough experiment. When NFL history is explored, the top hard hitters are many to select from. The listed record holders are no doubt among the best but there may be difference of opinions among the readers. This is the difficult part of the statistics.
He holds very good records on an aggregate. He was at his best all the time, but his best record breaking year was 1984 at Mississippi Valley St. His fantastic performance of 4.7 40-yard time was a big surprise for many teams. The NFL got their attention focused on him too. The ‘Cowboys’ made a 17th pick but the leaders Super Bowl Champions ‘49ers’ made it a 31st pick. The others foresaw the trends and ‘49ers’ trading with ‘Colts’ for the 16th pick to create memories. Rice won three Bowls with ‘49ers’ and one with the ‘Raiders’. He has been very successful with all of them. NFL will never be able to find his substitute that could have similar match winning capabilities. He has proved best in receptions, yards from scrimmages and receiving yards besides numerable TDs in his high performance career.
He was a renowned player since his high school days. He was a wonderful tough hard hitter. His great and fearless tremendous hitting capacity earned him a nickname of “Lights Out” when still in school. He is also famous for knocking out many opponent players when playing his best as a defender. He continued his career unabated. Since then nothing could alter his performance trends for years after.
Ronald Mandel Lott (Ronnie Lott)
He is a super hitter born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His career started in 1981 when first picked San Francisco 49ers. He was a good player when playing at left cornerback back position. He later asked to change to safety position which proved a better decision. He is renowned for winning honours while playing at all positions at safety, free safety and cornerback.
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Adjustment in different positions always creates problems but he managed them well. He also records over 100 tackles five times. He was the leading scorer in interceptions twice in 1986 and 1991. In four Super Bowl seasons he made 63 career best interceptions for 730 yards and managed 5 TDs to his credit. He was a great player liked by all and well appreciated country wide. He played for 49ers from 1981- 1990. Then shifted to Raiders from 1993-1994 and was finally with Jets from 1993 to 1994.
Brian Dawkins is much smaller in height, but this short fellow is ranked one of the best hitters in his weight category in the League. He is a fantastic player and is too fast to give anyone a chance. The players running back were only wasting energy and were sure to get jacked up by fast reacting dwarfy Dawkins. His most prominent aim was to get opponents jacked up. This was his best and usual feature through out his career. He was Denver Bronco at 35 years of age.
Walter Payton was first round pick draft in 1975. He became a super star all rounder all on his own efforts. He is very well known for his rushing and was considered a good runner throughout his career. He used his good speed to astonish his colleagues and opponents alike. He retired as an all time ‘rushing’ leader.
His career sums up about 17000 yards, 492 receptions for 4500 yards, just under 22000 combined net yards with 125 touchdowns. He was seven times All-Pro in 9 Pro Bowls played. He played using good techniques. He maintains a rushing record in single game of 275 yards. His best has been at 77 games with over 100 yards rushing. He has 110 TDs rushing to his credit. He was born in the year 1954 in Columbia, lived a rushing career and died in 1999 at 45 years.
Ray Lewis had been playing NFL league for a long career standing. He was tried at different positions in the matches successfully. He finally attained his most suited position and best performance as a premier defensive player and continued for the last 10 years. He possesses a huge figure and is a very fast runner. The career stability is visible and takes all plays very seriously and always seems committed to show his best abilities.
Dick Butkus remained part of the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1973. He was there favourite great player as middle linebacker. His game technique was frightening to the opponent players. He wore number 51 on his suit. He came rushing down and dashing out to the opponents, leaving facemark memories on their faces. Butkus was 6’ 3” tall and weighed 245lbs. He was a first round draft pick by Bears in 1965. He remained an 8 times All-Pro. He was lucky and made Pro Bowl every year in the league.
His 25 fumble recoveries is a standing record in NFL. He fully deserved this record and is definitely proud of. Each season he averaged 120 tackles. He ferociously knocked many balls loose. For eight continuous years this giant rushed like a bull pushing hard at who ever came his way. He played very accurately every move that is in the book on linebacking and seemed to excel it. He suffered a knee injury that cut short his career. He is remembered through a prestigious Dick Butkus Award that is given to the nation’s best linebacker every year. A spectacular career legacy, that keeps his outstanding performance fresh in the minds of the new entrants. Butkus was also proclaimed first- ballot Hall of Famer, entering Canton in 1979.
Mike Curtis was with Duke when he was drafted out by Baltimore Colts in the first round of 1965 NFL. He played for some time at fullback. His commitment to defend was appreciated by the team coaches who tried him as linebacker to show his aggressive qualities to the fullest. He is very well known as the “mad dog” for being a steadfast defender and intimidating tackler. He is a big man 6’ 3” tall and weighs 232lbs. a fierce interceptor in the field always pushing his team mates to play for a decisive out come.
Deacon Jones remained obscure and was draft pick of Los Angeles Rams. He secured his defensive stance by revolutionizing the defense techniques. Soon he had specialized and was called the ‘secretary of defense’. He was a hefty 6’ 5” tall and weighed 252 lbs. he was considered too fast for his size. By his fantastic agility he improved as an impressive pass rusher, hard hitting his opposing quarter backs. He punched the new title of ‘quarter back sack’ on to his name. Though unofficial, this sacking record stood over 170 till his retirement in 1974.
Jones had devised and perfected his head-slap move that now stand outlawed by the league. He totals 8 Pro Bowls and five first team All-Pro honours in his career. He attained the Hall of Fame in 1980. He had been traded off to San Diego Chargers in 1972 to 1973 and then joined Washington Redskins in 1974.
John Lynch comes from Stanford University and was selected in the third round draft in 1973 by Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a league member. He was part of the victory for Buccaneers against Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl. He played all over the field recklessly and was very prominent in the game. He pursued an aggressive style. A lynch was 9 time Pro Bowl and achieved all pro honours on four occasions.
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He was considered his own class and confidently among the very top most. He was initially with Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1993 to 2003 and with Denver Broncos from 2004 to 2007.