NFL Wide Receiver Jersey Numbers

Moving on to the wide receivers, let's take a look at which NFL wide receiver jersey numbers are the most recognizable as belonging to a specific player.

80 - Jerry Rice
81 - Terrell Owens
82 - John Stallworth
83 - Andre Reed
84 - Randy Moss
85 - Chad Johnson
86 - Hines Ward
87 - Dwight Clark
88 - Marvin Harrison
89 - Steve Smith

Keep in mind that these are the most recognizable names associated with these wide receiver numbers. It is not necessarily the best athletes to wear these numbers. For example, although Dwight Clark is the most recognizable wide receiver associated with the jersey number 87, we've chosen Dave Casper as the best professional athlete to wear the jersey number 87.

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NFL Running Back Jersey Numbers

Which NFL running back numbers are the most recognizable, all-time? If I said number 22, who immediately comes to mind? Emmitt Smith, right? 21? LaDanian Tomlinson. Let's take a look at them all.

20 - Barry Sanders
21 - LaDanian Tomlinson
22 - Emmitt Smith
23 - Ronnie Brown
24 - Marion Barber
25 - Reggie Bush
26 - Clinton Portis
27 - Larry Johnson
28 - Marshall Faulk
29 - Eric Dickerson
30 - Terrell Davis
31 - Priest Holmes
32 - Jim Brown
33 - Tony Dorsett
34 - Walter Payton
35 - Anthony Thomas
36 - Jerome Bettis
37 - Shaun Alexander
38 - George Rogers
39 - Willie Parker
40 - Gale Sayers

It's interesting to take a look at this list and see which of these numbers are really the most recognizable. Jersey numbers 20 t0 22 are very recognizable, with three of the best running backs ever wearing these numbers. The same can be said for numbers 32 to 34, with three more of the best running backs ever wearing those numbers. The two outstanding numbers, which you don't see worn tremendously by running backs today, but have been worn by superstars here, are numbers 29 and 40. Eric Dickerson and Gale Sayers are easily two of the best running backs ever. You don't see the number 40 worn by halfbacks too often today, and the number 29, although worn, isn't as prominent as some of the other jersey numbers.

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NFL Quarterback Jersey Numbers

Now that the best professional athletes to wear the numbers 1 through 99 have been laid out, the next project is being contemplated. Maybe the best NFL athletes to wear the numbers 1 through 99? In the meantime, let's take a look at some of the most recognizable jersey numbers to be worn at each major position in the NFL. Remember, this is the most recognizable jersey numbers. We'll interpret recognizable as the average NFL fan (regardless of which team they might root or have rooted for,) recognizing a particular number as being associated with a particular athlete.

To start, let's tackle the quarterbacks of all-time in the NFL, by jersey number. Generally, quarterbacks have worn jersey numbers between 1 and 19, so we will limit list to those particular jersey numbers.

Number 1 - Warren Moon
Number 2 - Charlie Trippi
Number 3 - Jeff George
Number 4 - Brett Favre
Number 5 - Donovan McNabb (also considered:  Paul Hornung)
Number 6 - Jay Cutler
Number 7 - John Elway
Number 8 - Troy Aikman
Number 9 - Sonny Jurgensen
Number 10 - Fran Tarkenton
Number 11 - Phil Simms
Number 12 - Terry Bradshaw (also considered:  Roger Staubach, Joe Namath, Bob Griese and Tom Brady)
Number 13 - Dan Marino
Number 14 - Dan Fouts
Number 15 - Bart Starr
Number 16 - Joe Montana
Number 17 - Steve DeBerg
Number 18 - Peyton Manning
Number 19 - Johnny Unitas

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Athlete Number 99 - Wayne Gretzky

Is there really any argument here for the best professional athlete to wear jersey number 99? Yes, you might say, Mark Gastineau should be considered. No, I might say, there is no argument. Okay, we all knew who the pick for best 99 would be. It is indeed, "The Great One," Wayne Gretzky.

Not only is Wayne Gretzky the greatest pro athlete to wear jersey number 99, he is also the greatest to ever lace up a pair of skates on NHL ice. When Gretzky finally decided to hang 'em up, he was the owner or tied for sixty-one National Hockey League records. Amazing. We won't list them all here, but some of the most impressive records are:

  • Most NHL regular season points, 2,857 in 1,487 games (894 goals, 1,963 assists)
  • Most NHL goals, including playoffs, 1,016 in 1,487 regular season and 208 playoff games
  • Most assists, including playoffs, 2,223
  • Most goals, one period, 4, tied with 10 other players
  • Most 100 or more point seasons, 15
  • Longest consecutive point-scoring streak, 51 games
  • Most career game winning goals in playoffs, 24
  • Most points, one season, 215
  • Most points, including playoffs, 3,239

Gretzky, of course, played for four NHL teams: Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers. He had is most prolific years offensively, while with the Oilers. He teamed up with Mark Messier, Jari Kurri and Grant Fuhr to create an NHL dynasty in the early 1980s. Gretzky was part of a team that won four NHL Stanley Cups in a five year span.

Did you know......that in 1999 Gretzky had the three-year waiting period for entrance into the NHL Hall of Fame, waived by the Selection Committee, due to Gretzky's "outstanding pre-eminence and skill?"

Buy a Wayne Gretzky 99 Oilers Jersey on eBay

Best Number 99 in Other Pro Sports
NFL Number 99

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Athlete Number 98 - Tony Siragusa

The best athlete to wear the jersey number 98 professionally is Tony Siragusa, the NFL defensive lineman. Siragusa split his twelve-year NFL playing career between the Colts (1990 - 1996) and the Ravens (1997 - 2001.) He was a behemoth on the defensive line, coming in at 6'3" and 340 lbs.

Siragusa, who was a key member of the Ravens 2000 Super Bowl Championship team, was a prolific tackler during his time with both the Colts and Ravens. Over twelve years, "Goose" accumulated 562 total tackles (416 of them solo tackles,) and 22 sacks. His finest year on the gridiron was in 1994, while wearing a Colts jersey, when he tallied 88 total tackles (64 solo,) 5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

Did you know.......Siragusa has a food product line that goes by the name "Goose's Baby Back Ribs"?

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Athlete Number 97 - Jeremy Roenick

J.R., Jeremy Roenick, is the best professional athlete to ever wear the number 97. (Nice to get a few hockey guys in here with all the NFL guys wearing these high numbers!) Roenick has had a long and very productive career in the NHL. He began in 1988 with the Chicago Blackhawks (where he wore number 27,) after being taken eighth overall in the NHL draft.

Roenick played eight years for the Blackhawks, before moving over to the Phoenix Coyotes, and wearing number 97, in 1996. Roenick stayed with the Coyotes for five years before moving to the East Coast with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000. He bounced out to L.A. with the Kings in 2005 and was back in Phoenix as of 2006-2007.

In Roenick's NHL career through the end of the 2006-2007 season, he has posted 1,170 points, 495 goals and 675 assists. He's also been a very physical player over his career as evidenced by his career penalty minutes total of 1,413. He has also been productive in the post-season, totalling 116 points in the playoffs. Jeremy Roenick is hands-down the best athlete to lace up a pair of hockey skates and an NHL jersey with the number 97 on it.

Did you know.....Roenick is originally from Boston, Mass.?

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Athlete Number 96 - Cortez Kennedy

Cortez Kennedy, the NFL defensive tackle who played with the Seattle Seahawks for eleven seasons, is the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 96. Kennedy was snagged with the third overall draft pick by the Seahawks, out of Miami, in the 1990 NFL draft.

Statistics may not be the primary indicator of talent and effectiveness for defensive tackles in the NFL, however, Kennedy's statistics were not too shabby. Over his eleven years wearing an NFL jersey, he tallied 667 total tackles (522 solo tackles,) 58 sacks, and eleven forced fumbles. His best year statistically was in 1992 when he recorded 92 total tackles and a hefty 14 sacks, with four forced fumbles.

Cortez Kennedy is a member of the Seattle Seahawks Ring of Honor and the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1990s.

Did you know.......Kennedy was selected to eight Pro Bowls in his eleven year career?

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Athlete Number 95 - Richard Dent

Richard Dent, the renowned Chicago Bears defensive end, is the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 95. Although Dent made his professional mark with the Chicago Bears (spanning the years 1983 to 1993, and then again in 1995) he also played football for the 49ers (1994,) Colts (1996,) and Eagles (1997.)

It isn't extremely often that an eigth round draft pick goes on to become one of the best athletes to ever play their position professionally. In Dent's case, it happened. Dent was a four time pro-bowler (1985, 1986, 1991 and 1994.) He also has the honor of being the MVP of Super Bowl XX held in 1986 (for the 1985 NFL season.)

When Richard Dent retired after the 1997 season, his 137.5 sacks for his NFL career was third overall behind the legendary Reggie White and Bruce Smith. For five consecutive years during Dent's NFL career, he logged double-digit sack totals (1984-1988.) This was part of a span of ten years where Dent had double-digit sacks in eight of those ten years. Dent also recorded 4.5 sacks in a game twice (in 1984 and 1987, both against the Los Angeles Raiders.)

Did you know.....despite Richard Dent's stupendous NFL career, he is not yet enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame(as of 1997)?

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Athlete Number 94 - Charles Haley

He was a defensive force for two of the NFL's fiercest rivals during the 1990s. He accumulated 100.5 sacks as a defensive end over his twelve year National Football League career. He was the UPI NFC Defensive Player of the Year in both 1990 and 1994. He is also the best professional athlete to wear the jersey number 94. He is Charles Haley.

Charles Lewis Haley was drafted out of James Madison University in the fourth round of the 1986 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Haley would play his first six years in the NFL wearing a 49ers jersey as a dominant pass rusher. Charles then went on to play with the Dallas Cowboys, a five-year stint that started in 1992. Charles Haley was a key member of that 1992 Dallas Cowboy defense that helped propel them to a Super Bowl Championship, the first for the Cowboys since the 1970s.

Haley has the distinction of being a Super Bowl champion five times, with two different teams (twice with San Francisco and three times with Dallas.) He was also a five time pro-bowler (1988, 1990, 1991, 1994, and 1995.) His best year statistically, was as a 26-year old with San Francisco in 1990 when he racked up 16 sacks.

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Athlete Number 93 - Doug Gilmour

The best athlete to wear number 93 is the longtime NHL forward, Doug Gilmour. Over Gilmour's extensive career, spanning the 1983-1984 through 2002-2003 seasons, Doug played for seven different NHL teams. In doing so, Doug tallied 450 goals and 964 assists. He was also a very physical hockey player, as he racked up 1299 penalty minutes for his career, with a high of 142 in the 1990-1991 season while with the Calgary Flames.

Doug Gilmour had his best offensive season with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1992-1993. That season Doug scored 127 points, netting 32 goals, with an astounding 95 assists. In 21 games, Doug also scored 35 points during the playoffs for the 1992-1993 season (10 goals and 25 assists.)

Gilmour was a captain for two teams during his career. He wore the C on his NHL jersey for the Maple Leafs between the years of 1994 and 1997, and for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1999-2000 season. Over his twenty year career, Doug played for the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens.

Did you know......Gilmour won the Frank J. Selke award for the NHLs best defensive forward during the 1992-1993 NHL season?

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