Wednesday

MLB Athlete Number 16 - Whitey Ford

Whitey Ford, "The Chairman of the Board", is the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 16.



Another lifelong Yankee, playing for the Bronx Bombers between the years of 1950 and 1967, Ford was one of the best pitchers of his era. During his tenure with the Yanks he won 236 games, had 1,956 strikeouts and a stellar 2.75 ERA.



  • 1961 Cy Young winner


  • 2 time AL ERA leader (1956 and 1958)


  • 3 time AL wins leader


  • 156 career complete games


  • 45 career shutouts


  • 6 time World Series champion


  • 1974 Hall of Fame inductee


Did you know.....Ford's jersey number 16 has been retired by the Yankees?

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Tuesday

MLB Athlete Number 15 - Thurman Munson

Thurman Munson was one of the best catchers to ever play the game of baseball. He is certainly the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 15.


Munson played his entire career, spanning the years of 1969 to 1979, with the New York Yankees. His career, and life, were cut short by a tragic plane crash.


Although his major league career officially started in 1969, he did not have a full rookie season with the Yankees until 1970, when he was named the American League Rookie of the Year. That year, Thurman batted .302 with 53 RBI and 59 runs in 453 at-bats.




Over his career, spanning 11 different MLB seasons, he had a .292 batting average with 113 home runs, 701 RBI and 696 runs scored.


  • 7 time All-Star

  • 2 time World Series champ

  • .357 post-season batting average

  • 1975 AL leader in singles


  • 1976 AL MVP

Did you know........that Thurman Munson went to Kent State University?

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MLB Athlete Number 14 - Ernie Banks

To find out more about "Mr. Cub", Ernie Banks, check out the post on why he's not only the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 14, but also the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 14.



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Sunday

MLB Athlete Number 13 - Dave Concepcion


Although A-Rod is one of the best players of our time, and maybe ever, he has not worn the jersey number 13 for enough of his career to be considered for this honor. So the choice for the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 13, his entire career, is Dave Concepcion.


Concepcion not only wore the number 13 for his entire MLB career, he also played his entire career with one team: the Cincinnati Reds. Playing predominantly shortstop, Concepcion was a highly acclaimed fielder, who could swing the bat a bit, and who had speed on the bases.



  • 5-time Gold Glove winner (1974-1977, 1979)

  • 2-time Silver Slugger winner (1981-1982)

  • 9-time All-Star selection

  • .972 career fielding percentage

  • 321 career stolen bases

  • .267 career batting average

  • 2,326 career hits

  • 2-time World Series Champ

Concepcion's jersey number 13 has been retired by the Cincinnati Reds.


Did you know.....that Concepcion pitched in an MLB game in 1988 at age 40?

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Thursday

MLB Athlete Number 12 - Roberto Alomar

Roberto Alomar played for seven teams over his seventeen year MLB career. During that time span he became one of the best fielding and hitting second basemen to ever play the game. He is also the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 12.

Alomar broke into the bigs with the San Diego Padres in 1988. That rookie season of his, he played 143 games at second base, white getting 145 hits and 24 stolen bases. Not a bad rookie season at all. He would steadily continue and improve on those numbers eventually becoming a regular .300 hitter. In fact, for his career, he finished with a .300 batting average.

  • 10 time Gold Glove winner
  • 12 time All Star
  • 210 career home runs
  • 474 career stolen bases
  • .984 career fielding percentage
  • 2,724 career hits

Did you know.........Roberto Alomar stole 30 or more bases in eight of his MLB seasons?

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Monday

MLB Athlete Number 11 - Carl Hubbell

Carl Hubbell has been noted as the first player to have his number retired in the National League. With an honor like this, how could he not be named the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 11?

Hubbell played his entire career with the New York Baseball Giants, spanning the years of 1928 to 1943. During that 16 year time span, Hubbell racked up 253 wins, a .622 winning percentage, 1,677 strikeouts and 260 complete games. This was all plenty to get him elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1947.




  • 9 time All-Star

  • 2 time NL MVP (1933 and 1936)

  • Number 11 retired by the Giants

  • Career 2.98 ERA

  • Three time NL leader in ERA and Wins

Hubbell was also number 45 on The Sporting News' list of the top 100 baseball players in 1999.

Did you know.......Carl Hubbell's nicknames are King Carl and Meal Ticket?

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MLB Athlete Number 10 - Phil Rizzuto


Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto, who had his jersey number 10 retired by the Yankees in 1985, is also the best MLB athlete to ever wear that number. Rizzuto was excellent in the field at shortstop, leading the league in double plays three times, and not too shabby at the plate either. He was also an entertaining broadcaster for the New York Yankees, becoming known for his catchphrase "Holy Cow!".

  • 7 time World Series Champ (played in 9 total World Series)
  • American League MVP in 1950
  • 1994 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
  • 5 time All Star
  • 4 time league leader in sacrifice hits
  • 1,588 career hits
  • .968 career fielding percentage
Did you know..............that Rizzuto's career was interrupted for three years due to his service for America in World War II?

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MLB Athlete Number 9 - Ted Williams


Ted Williams (here you go Red Sox fans!) is the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 9. Teddy Ballgame, The Splendid Splinter, The Kid, are just a few of the nicknames used to describe on of the best hitters to ever take to a batter's box.

Williams played his entire career with the Red Sox, all 19 seasons spanning the years 1939 to 1960. During that time period, Ted Williams also took time out from baseball to serve his country in both WWII and the Korean War. Amazing.

His statistics at the plate are quite overwhelming too. He was a .344 career hitter, also becoming the last player in MLB to ever hit over .400, as of 2008. (He batted .407 in 1953).
  • 521 career homers


  • 525 career doubles


  • 2,654 career hits in 7,706 at-bats


  • 1,839 RBI


  • 5 time MLB player of the year


  • 2 time AL MVP (1946 and 1949)


  • 2 time Triple Crown winner (1946 and 1947)


  • 6 time AL Batting champ


  • 17 time All-Star


  • Jersey Number 9 retired by the Red Sox


  • 1966 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee

Did you know......Ted Williams led the American League in On-Base Percentage twelve times?

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Sunday

MLB Athlete Number 8 - Yogi Berra


Yogi Berra, or properly Lawrence Peter Berra, is one of the icons of baseball and America. He is also the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 8. Oh, by the way, if you're wondering if the rest of this list will be Yankee players also (numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 are Yankees), the answer is no. You'll get your turn soon Red Sox fans.


Berra played almost his entire career with the Yankees. He played with the Bombers between 1946 and 1963, and then had a few games with the Mets in 1965. His first full season as a Yank came in 1948 when he split the season between the outfield and catcher positions. That year he batted .305 with 14 homers and 98 RBI.


Yogi would continue to put up some big numbers at the plate, as well as accolades behind the plate in his 19 major league seasons.


  • 358 career homers
  • 2,150 career hits
  • .285 career batting average
  • 10 time World Series champion
  • 3 time AL MVP (1951, 1954 and 1955)
  • 1972 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
  • Jersey Number 8 retired by the Yankees

Did you know.....that Berra also managed both the Yankees and the Mets?

Number 8 in Other Sports

NFL Number 8
NHL Number 8

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Saturday

MLB Athlete Number 7 - Mickey Mantle


Mickey Mantle owns the number 7 (apologies to John Elway). Mantle is an American icon, and one of the best athletes to ever play in any sport, let alone baseball.

Mantle played his entire major league career with the New York Yankees spanning 18 seasons. Over that time period, he amassed some impressive statistics:



  • 536 career home runs

  • 153 stolen bases

  • .298 career batting average

  • 2,415 career hits

  • 3 time AL MVP (1956, 1957 and 1962)

  • 20 time All-Star (multiple games in 1959 through 1962)

  • 7 time World Series champ

  • Won the 1956 triple crown

  • Baseball Hall of Famer (1974 inductee)

    If you doubt Mickey Mantle's idolatry in America, check out the two videos here. The first one even features a song made just for Mickey.





    Did you know.......Mickey Mantle was elected to the Hall of Fame at the same time as fellow Yankee Whitey Ford?

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Sunday

MLB Athlete Number 6 - Stan Musial

"Stan the Man", Stan Musial is the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 6. A strong consideration for the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 6, Musial is one the best baseball athletes to ever take the field.
Musial, who debuted in 1941 for the St. Louis Cardinals, would play his entire major league career with that team, ending in 1963. He would go on to become a Hall of Famer, and astoundingly, a 24-time All-Star! (That's near a quarter century of All-Star games folks, just in case you're counting. Although he played for 22 seasons, he played in 24 All-Star games because the years of 1960 to 1962 included two games each).

Playing both first base and outfield for the Cardinals, Musial racked up some serious numbers and accolades.


  • .331 career batting average

  • 3 time NL MVP

  • 475 career home runs

  • 3 time World Series Champ

  • 1969 Hall of Fame inductee

  • Jersey number 6 retired by St. Louis

Did you know.....that at the time of Musial's retirement, he was the National League's all time leader in hits with 3,630?

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Friday

MLB Athlete Number 5 - Joe DiMaggio

Ted Williams called Joe DiMaggio the greatest player he ever saw. He is also the best Major League Baseball athlete to ever wear the jersey number 5.

Williams also said that DiMaggio's career couldn't be summed up in numbers and awards. True as that statement may be, DiMaggio also had some impressive achievements. Over a 13 year major league career he had:


  • 361 home runs

  • 1,537 RBI

  • 1,390 runs

  • .325 batting average

  • 389 doubles

  • 3 AL MVP awards (1939, 1941 and 1947)

DiMaggio was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. He was a 13 time All-Star, a 9 time World Series champion and his record of 56 consecutive games with a hit still stands. Some say that his consecutive games with a hit record will be the most difficult record to ever be broken.





Did you know......that Joe batted .381 in 1939?

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Wednesday

MLB Athlete Number 4 - Lou Gehrig


Lou Gehrig, the "Iron Horse", is the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 4. Given the chance to play every day, he proved to be the model of durability and one of the best hitters that the game has ever seen, at any level.


Gehrig began playing for the Yankees in 1923, at the age of 20, but didn't get to play full time until 1925. That year, Gehrig would bat .295 in 437 plate appearances. He also put 20 balls over the outfield fence.

His breakout year as a superstar hitter came in 1927. He smacked 47 homers and batted .373 in 1927. What did he do for an encore in 1928? He batted .374. Through 1937 his batting average would not dip below .300.

Over his 17 season career, Gehrig hit 493 homers, 1,195 RBI, with a .340 career batting average. He was an AL MVP twice and finished second in the voting twice. He was in the top five vote getters for AL MVP eight times during his career.

He was a seven time All-Star and a six time World Series Champion. His number 4 jersey is retired by the New York Yankees.


Of course, Gehrig held the record for consecutive games played with 2,130 until Cal Ripken Jr. broke it in 1995.

Get your own Gehrig #4 baseball jersey here!

Did you know.......Lou Gehrig was a unanimous selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939?

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Sunday

MLB Athlete Number 3 - Babe Ruth


Not only is this guy the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 3, he's also the best MLB player ever, and quite possibly the most famous athlete ever!

Ruth began his major league baseball career with the Boston Red Sox as a pitcher in 1914. In his rookie year with the Sox, at the tender age of 19, he went 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA in 23 innings pitched. The following year, his first full one in the majors, Ruth pitched 217.7 innings, going 18-8 with 16 complete games and a 2.44 ERA.

The following two years with the Red Sox would continue to be banner years for Ruth on the mound. In his third and fourth seasons with the Sox, for each season Ruth would pitch over 300 innings, win more than 20 games, pitch more than 20 complete games, and have a 1.75 and 2.01 ERA respectively. (Wait a second, isn't this guy the greatest HITTER of all-time?)

At age 24 and in his last year with the Red Sox in 1919, Ruth would play mostly outfield (although he did pitch 133.3 innings that year), and he came to bat 432 times. That was enough times at the plate to allow Ruth to hit 29 homers, 114 RBI and 139 hits with a .322 batting average.

Of course, Ruth went on to become the best home run hitter that baseball has ever seen. Here are just a few more of his accomplishments.
  • Led League in home runs 12 times
  • .342 career batting average

  • 714 career home runs

  • 2,217 career RBI

  • Season high 60 home runs

  • Season high .393 batting average (1923)

  • Led League in walks 11 times

  • Led League in batters faced as a pitcher in 1917

  • Led League in complete games as a pitcher in 1917

  • 7 time World Series Champ

Did you know.......Ruth started his professional baseball career with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League?

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Saturday

MLB Athlete Number 2 - Derek Jeter


"Mr. November", Derek Jeter, is the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 2.

The captain of the Yankees, Jeter has made himself known as one of the finest leaders in all of baseball. Although his career statistics are impressive, his real impact has come as a clutch player, especially in the playoffs.

He is currently the all-time leader in hits and runs in MLB postseason history.

Through 2008, he has been a nine-time All Star, a three-time Gold Glove award winner, the American League Rookie of the Year and the World Series MVP.

Did you know.......Derek Jeter is the all-time leader in hits at Yankee Stadium?

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Friday

MLB Athlete Number 1 - Ozzie Smith


The "Wizard of Oz", Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, is the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 1.

Ozzie came into the bigs with the San Diego Padres, where he played during the years of 1978 to 1981, but he became best known and made his mark as one of the best shortstops ever, with the St. Louis Cardinals.

During his illustrious career on the baseball diamond, which lasted through 1996, Smith had 2,460 hits and 580 stolen bases.


It wasn't on offense that he really was phenomenal though. Smith was one of the best defensive shortstops ever, racking up a career .978 fielding percentage.


A 2002 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Smith earned 13 Gold Gloves, 15 trips to the All-Star game, a Silver Slugger award and an NLCS MVP.

Did you know......Smith's jersey number 1 has been retired by the St. Louis Cardinals?

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Saturday

NFL Athlete Number 99 - Jason Taylor

Mark Gastineau may have created the sack dance, and had a few phenomenal years with the Jets. Warren Sapp is a Super Bowl champ and was a phenomenal defensive lineman. However, Sapp's fellow Dancing With The Stars competitor, Jason Taylor, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 99.

Taylor was taken in the third round of the 1997 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins. His breakout year as a defensive end with the Dolphins came in 2000, when he reached double-digits in sacks with 14.5 to go along with an interception and four fumbles recovered.

He would continue to put up impressive numbers from there. In 2002 he led the NFL in sacks with 18.5, and as of 2008 was the active NFL sacks leader with 118 total sacks. He has more than 650 career tackles and more than 25 fumbles recovered.


Did you know........Taylor was named the 2007 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year?

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NFL Athelte Number 98 - Tony Siragusa

The best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 98 is the big man Tony Siragusa. You may have seen him announcing from the sidelines on Fox, during Sunday football games, talking with our best NFL athlete to ever wear number 48, Daryl "Moose" Johnston.

For all the details on why the "Goose" is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 98, check out our post on why he's also the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 98.

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Thursday

NFL Athlete Number 97 - Cornelius Bennett

Cornelius Bennett, the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 97, was drafted with the second overall pick out of Alabama in the 1987 NFL draft, and went on to become one of the best NFL athletes ever to take to the defensive side of the ball.

Bennett would begin his career in 1987 with the Buffalo Bills, after being drafted and then traded by the Colts. He made an immediate impact as a rookie, racking up 8.5 sacks in 8 games played. He would continue to put up impressive sack numbers, but even more impressive tackle numbers. Over his career, spanning the years of 1987 through 2000, he had 71.5 sacks and 1,190 total tackles.

He was the most prolific in his time with the Buffalo Bills (he also played with the Colts and the Falcons). While with the Bills he would participate in the Super Bowl four separate times. He also appeared in a Super Bowl with the Atlanta Falcons.

Did you know....that Cornelius Bennett is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame?

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Wednesday

NFL Athlete Number 96 - Cortez Kennedy

The man taken third overall in the 1990 NFL Draft, Cortez Kennedy, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 96.

Kennedy was a stalwart at defensive tackle for the Seahawks after being taken by them out of the University of Miami. He was an eight time Pro Bowler and was the 1992 AP NFL Defensive player of the year (for a Seattle Seahawks team that went a collective 2 and 14).

During the regular season, over his NFL career, Kennedy had 668 tackles and 58 sacks.

Did you know.....there is currently a petition to have Cortez Kennedy's jersey number retired by the Seahawks?

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Jersey Number News

Did you know........that Lute Olson supposedly didn't let his players wear the jersey number 1 because it showed selfishness?

.....that the Portland Trail Blazers will retire jersey number 30 for Terry Porter and Bobby Gross in December?

....that Ty Law will wear jersey number 22, the one he wore at Michigan, upon his return to the Jets?

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Tuesday

NFL Athlete Number 95 - Richard Dent

This guy really put a dent in other team's offensive plans. Okay, I know, that was a really bad pun. It doesn't change the fact that Richard Dent is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 95.

Taken out of Tennessee State in the 1983 NFL draft, Dent began a career in the NFL which would last through 1997. The first eleven of those years would be spent with the team he became associated with, the Chicago Bears. He would wind up his career playing for four teams in four years (the Niners, back with the Bears for a year, the Colts and Eagles).

Dent would accumulate 137.5 sacks in an illustrious defensive career. At the time of his retirement, this was good enough for third on the all time list.

Some of his additional achievements include: Super Bowl XX MVP, 4 time Pro Bowler, 2 time Super Bowl champ, twice sacked a Raiders QB 4.5 times in a single game, and 17.5 regular season sacks in his sophomore NFL campaign.

Did you know.....that Richard Dent has a foundation called "Make A Dent", which has the primary purpose of improving the lives of children?

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Sunday

NFL Number 94 - Charles Haley

One day, this spot could be occupied by DeMarus Ware. For now, it certainly belongs to Charles Haley, the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 94.

Taken out of James Madison University in the 1986 NFL draft by the 49ers, Haley would wind up playing through the 1999 NFL season, splitting his time between the Niners and the Cowboys.

Over a stellar defensive career, Haley would earn a Super Bowl ring for each finger on one hand. He would match that in the number of Pro Bowls he was nominated to.

Haley was one of the most athletic, and feared defensive linemen to ever play the game.

Did you know........Haley won two Super Bowls with the 49ers and three with the Cowboys?

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Saturday

Jersey Number News

Bruins rookie Blake Wheeler recently changed his jersey number from 42 to 26. Think it might have helped him? The game after he made the change, he scored three goals in a 5 to 2 win over the Leafs.

If you hadn't already heard, Allen Iverson will now be playing for the Pistons. He will also be wearing jersey number 1 in Detroit.

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Monday

NFL Number 93 - Richard Seymour


Drafted with the sixth overall pick by the New England Patriots in the 2001 NFL Draft, Richard Seymour has had an impressive career in the NFL. So impressive that he is my pick for the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 93.

With an impressive size, even by the NFL standards of today, of 6 feet 6 inches and 310 lbs., Seymour has proven to be very versatile since entering the NFL out of Georgia. On the defensive side of the ball he has lined up as both a tackle and an end, while on offense he has played as a fullback.

Over his relatively short career to date, Seymour has been a five time Pro Bowler, five time All AFC pick and a three time Super Bowl Champion.

Did you know......that LaDainian Tomlinson was taken with the pick just before Seymour was taken in the 2001 NFL Draft?

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NFL Athlete Number 92 - Reggie White


Also our pick for the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 91, Reggie White is certainly the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 91.

Playing predominantly with the Eagles and Packers during his NFL career, although he spent a brief time with the Panthers, White had an impressive career as a defensive lineman. Playing between the years of 1985 and 2000, here are just a few of White's accomplishments.
  • 21 sacks in one season (strike-shortened 1987)

  • 198 career sacks

  • 13 consecutive Pro Bowls

  • 10 or more sacks in 9 consecutive seasons

Did you know.....that at the time of White's retirement, he was the NFL's all-time sack leader?

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Friday

NFL Athlete Number 91 - Kevin Greene


Finally! A high number that doesn't match our number for the best professional athlete. The best professional athlete to ever wear number 91 plays hockey. The best NFL athlete to ever wear the number 91 is the longtime NFL athlete, Kevin Greene.

Greene had a long and productive professional football career, spanning the years 1985 through 1999. Greene was drafted out of Auburn by the L.A. Rams (you remember when they hailed from L.A. don't you?), in the fifth round of the 1985 NFL draft. Greene spent three years playing with the Rams off the bench, before becoming a starter and full time player in 1988 at the outside linebacker position. In 1988, his first season as a starter, Greene racked up 16.5 sacks and one interception. He would match that number in sacks the following year.

After eight productive seasons with the Rams, Greene moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He continued his strong defensive production in the city of steel. While in Pittsburgh, Greene would twice lead the league in sacks. He had 14 in 1994 and 14.5 in 1996.

Greene would finish up his career with three years in Carolina and one in San Francisco. He would continue to rack up sacks while splitting years between those two teams.

Over his very productive career, Greene would rack up 160 sacks. Good enough for third all time in the NFL.

Did you know.....Greene has 23 forced fumbles and 26 fumbles recovered over his career?

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NFL Athlete Number 90 - Neil Smith


Neil Smith was a great defensive lineman, and is our pick for the greatest professional athlete and NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 90.


Smith was an NFL sack machine, with 105.5 sacks over his career.


He's our pick for the best professional athlete to ever wear the number 90, so to find out more, check out the post about him here.

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Wednesday

NFL Athlete Number 89 - Mike Ditka

Taken in the first round of the 1961 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears, out of the University of Pittsburgh, Mike Ditka is the best NFL Athlete to ever wear the jersey number 89.

Ditka ignited the Chicago Bears as a rookie in 1961, at the tight end position. He had his most prolific receiving season in 1961, earning Rookie of the Year honors. That year he caught 56 passes, 12 of which were touchdowns, for over 1,000 yards.

After playing with the Bears for six years, Ditka spent two with the Eagles and ended his playing career with the Cowboys after four years with America's team in 1972. Over his career with these three teams, Ditka had 427 receptions for 5,812 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Ditka was also obviously the head coach of one of the greatest NFL teams of all time, the 1985 Chicago Bears.

Did you know.....Mike Ditka was the NFL coach of the year in 1985 and 1988?

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NFL Athlete Number 88 - Marvin Harrison

Hailing from Philly and playing his college ball at Syracuse University, Marvin Harrison has established himself as one of the best wide receivers ever, and the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 88.

Harrison was taken with the 19th overall pick by the Colts in 1996 and has played with them ever since. Over his illustrious career in Indy he has caught more than 1,000 passes for over 14,000 yards and over 120 touchdowns. He is also an 8 time All Pro and an 8 time Pro Bowler.

As of the 2007 NFL season, Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning were the all time leaders in QB to WR touchdown combinations.

Did you know......that Harrison was one of Donovan McNabb's wide receivers at Syracuse?

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Thursday

NFL Athlete Number 87 - Dave Casper

It may not be a name that rolls off the tongue to today's NFL football fan, however an educated fan of the game should know the name. Dave Casper is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 87.

The tight end taken by the Raiders out of the University of Notre Dame, played in the NFL between the years of 1974 and 1984. Casper did not become a starter for the Raiders until 1976, but when he did, he certainly made the most of it. That year he caught passes for 691 yards and 10 TDs.

Casper would go on to put up some impressive numbers each year thereafter, through the 1982 season. In 1980, after six games with the Raiders, Casper was traded to the Houston Oilers, where he continued to catch passes from his old Raider teammate Kenny Stabler.

For his career, Casper was a five time Pro Bowler, a two time Super Bowl champ, and he caught passes for 5,216 yards and 52 TDs. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

Did you know.....Casper once caught a 42 yard pass in the 1977 Divisional Playoff game that was deemed, "The Ghost To The Post"?

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Saturday

NFL Athlete Number 86 - Hines Ward

Ketchup anyone? Hines (not Heinz, although he does play in their hometown) Ward is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 86.

Hines was taken in the third round of the NFL Draft out of Georgia. He has since played his entire pro career (spanning 1998 to the present) with the Pittsburgh Steelers. What has he done while with the Steelers? Why, only this:

  • Super Bowl XL MVP
  • 4-time Pro Bowler
  • 3-time All Pro
  • Career receptions leader for Pittsburgh
  • Over 9,000 career receiving yards
  • Over 700 career receptions

Not only his Hines Ward a great receiver, but he is a phenomenal blocker. Check out this video of a pancake block by Hines.





Did you know......that Hines Ward was also the starting quarterback in college for the Georgia Bulldogs?




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Thursday

NFL Athlete Number 85 - Jack Youngblood


Great name, great football player. Greatest NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 85 is Jack Youngblood of Los Angeles Rams fame. (Remember when L.A. had a football team or two?!)

Youngblood is a 2001 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, who played his entire pro football career, spanning the years 1971 to 1984, with the Rams. Extremely durable, Youngblood played in an outstanding 201 consecutive pro football games for the Rams.

Youngblood was named the Rams MVP in 1975, 1976 and 1979, and was a seven time Pro Bowl selection.

Did you know......Youngblood's jersey number 85 has been retired by the Rams?

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Friday

Jersey Number News

Bill Bradley and Dick Kazmaier will simultaneously have their jersey number 42 retired across all sports at Princeton University. It's not often that you hear of two athletes having the same exact uniform number retired at once.

Another school with orange uniforms, like Princeton, will be in the spotlight of fans and media alike this month. Syracuse University star and Heisman trophy winner Ernie Davis will be featured in the new movie about him, titled "The Express". Davis wore one of the most famous jersey numbers in college sports while at Syracuse. Jersey number 44 has been retired at the school in honor of Davis as well as superstars Jim Brown and Floyd Little.

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Wednesday

NFL Athlete Number 84 - Shannon Sharpe

Drafted by the Denver Broncos with pick number 192 out of Savannah State, Shannon Sharpe played in the NFL between the years of 1990 and 2003, eventually becoming the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 84.


Shannon played in all 16 regular season games his first three years in the NFL, however it wasn't until his fourth NFL season that he really hit his stride and put up some big numbers. Playing tight end for the Broncos, in 1993, he caught 81 passes for 995 yards and 9 TDs during the regular season. He had strong receiving numbers each season thereafter (with the exception of 1999 when he only played in 5 games.)

Over his career, Sharpe amassed some excellent receiving numbers, especially for a tight end.


  • 10,060 receiving yards

  • 815 receptions

  • 62 touchdowns

Did you know.....Sharpe was a member of three Super Bowl championship teams?

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Jersey Number Quiz

There are three San Francisco 49er QBs to have their jersey numbers retired. Joe Montana (16) and Steve Young (8) are two of them.

Can you name the other?

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Sunday

NFL Athlete Number 83 - Andre Reed


Taken with pick number 86, in the 1985 NFL draft out of Kutztown University by the Buffalo Bills, Andre Reed is the best NFL athlete to ever wear uniform number 83.

Reed, who played most of his career with the Buffalo Bills (from 1985 through 1999), was one of the best wide receivers to ever take to the NFL gridiron. Over his career, he had 951 receptions for 13,198 yards and 87 touchdowns.

He has also caught 27 passes in the four Super Bowls he participated in.
Did you know......Reed also rushed for 500 yards during his NFL career?

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Monday

NFL Athlete Number 82 - Ozzie Newsome

Yeah, Steelers fans won't like this, but Ozzie Newsome IS the best NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 82. I guess Colts fans probably won't like it either.

As a tight end, not an almost always more prolific wide receiver, Ozzie Newsome put up some terrific receiving numbers. How about 662 receptions, 7,980 yards, and 47 TDs?

He played his entire pro career with the Browns, spanning the years 1978, when he was drafted out of Alabama, until 1990.

Newsome was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. He is now an executive with the Baltimore Ravens (formerly the Cleveland Browns original team), and was named the NFL's executive of the year after guiding the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory in 2000.

Did you know......Newsome was a member of three SEC champion teams while with Alabama?



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NFL Athlete Number 81 - Dick "Night Train" Lane

The man who The Sporting News picked as the number 19 overall football player of all-time, in 1999, is also the best NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 81.

Dick "Night Train" Lane, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974, was an exciting cornerback, who played for the Rams, Cardinals and Lions. Yeah, he was a cornerback who wore number 81. Was that by design? Nah. He was slotted to become a tight end, but wound up playing defense. He kept the uni number.

As a rookie, Dick Lane had 14 interceptions. As a ROOKIE! See any rookies getting 14 interceptions lately?

For his career, he had 68 interceptions for 1,207 yards and 5 TDs.

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Sunday

NFL Athlete Number 80 - Jerry Rice

Is there any question who the best NFL athlete to wear uniform number 80 is?

There can be no debating that Jerry Rice, the best wide receiver of all time, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 80.

As you probably know, Jerry Rice holds many NFL records. The most impressive record he owns however, may be the all-time touchdown record. He has 207 career touchdowns. The next closest is all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith with 175 touchdowns.

Jerry has also been named to thirteen Pro Bowls. This has to be one of the highest number of Pro Bowl nominations for one player.

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Saturday

What Happened To My Jersey Number?

Just came across an interesting story about how an L.A. Dodgers player's jersey number was switch for him, without being asked. And he was cool with it.

When back-up catcher Danny Ardoin came into the locker room one day, he found a jersey hanging in his locker with his name on it....but a different uniform number. He had worn number 36, but the jersey hanging in his locker was number 28. Hmmmm.

Well, I guess when a Hall of Famer and one of the best pitchers in baseball history gets traded to your team, you might have to make a few adjustments.

See the whole story here.

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Friday

49ers To Retire Number 8 For Steve Young

Steve Young will have his jersey number 8 retired by the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, October 5th, during halftime of their game against the Patriots.

According to the PressDemocrat.com, Steve Young is the only player in 49er history to wear number 8.

Although he is not the choice for best NFL athlete to wear number 8, he is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, and the second best 49er quarterback ever (behind you know who).

Congrats to Steve on this great honor.

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Wednesday

Uniform Number News

The Boston Red Sox have announced that they will be retiring Johnny Pesky's uniform number 6. His number will be the sixth retired by the Red Sox.
It is good to see the Sox acknowledging his near 60 years of service to that organization.

He came up to the Sox in 1942 and played in the bigs until 1954. He has served in a multitude of capacities with Boston, including manager and broadcast analyst.

Did you know.........

Lou Gehrig's number 4 is the first uniform number to be retired in American professional sports?

In my opinion there couldn't be a better athlete to have the first American pro uniform retired. The original iron man was a workhorse and a great baseball player.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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Monday

Uniform Number News

It's been reported that Dustin Byfuglian of the Chicago Blackhawks will change his uniform number from 53 to the more common number 33.

Bobby Holik, back with NJ, was given his old number 16, by Dainius Zubrus, at the request of Lou Lamoriello.

Did you know.........that in 2006, Jerry Porter was going to change his jersey number with the Raiders from 84 to 81, until he was told by the NFL and Reebok that it would cost him $210,000?

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Thursday

NFL Athlete Number 79 - Roosevelt Brown

Roosevelt Brown, or "Rosey" as he was affectionately known, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 79.


Brown, an offensive tackle who played with the New York Giants between 1953 and 1965, was a nine-time Pro Bowl pick and a member of the 1956 NFL championship team.


Roosevelt Brown was also All-NFL for eight straight years and was the NFL's Lineman of the Year in 1956. In 1999, The Sporting News named him number 57 on it's all-time greatest football players list.

Did you know........Roosevelt Brown played college football at Morgan State?

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NFL Athlete Number 78 - Bruce Smith

The NFL's career sack leader, with 200, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear jersey number 78.

Taken with the number 1 overall pick in the 1985 NFL draft, by the Buffalo Bills out of Virginia Tech, Bruce played in all 16 regular season games, starting 13 of them, as a rookie. He racked up 6.5 sacks that year.

From 1986 through 2000, Bruce Smith tallied double digit sacks in all but two years (played in only five games in 1991, and had seven sacks in his final year as a Bill).

Did you know......Bruce Smith won the Outland Trophy in 1984?

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Tuesday

NFL Athlete Number 77 - Jim Parker

Jim Parker, Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 1973, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 77.

Parker played his entire professional football career with the Baltimore Colts, spanning the years 1957 to 1967. A tackle and guard for the Colts, Parker was all-NFL eight straight times.

Parker, who had the large job of protecting Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas, helped lead the Colts through the NFL playoffs and to the NFL championship in 1958 and 1959.

Parker is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Professional Football Hall of Fame, and his jersey number 77 is retired by the Colts.

Did you know.....Sporting News, in 1999, named Parker number 24 overall in it's Greatest 100 Football Players list?

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NFL Athlete Number 76 - Lou Groza

Lou "The Toe" Groza, out of Ohio State, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 76. Lou was such an athlete, that not only did he play as an offensive lineman in the 1940s and 1950s, but he was also a kicker!

Lou was the 1954 NFL Player of the Year, a nine-time Pro Bowler, and he played in nine NFL title games. Yes, nine.

Lou was the last of the "original" Cleveland Browns to retire. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.

Did you know.....Lou scored 1,608 points in his career?

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NFL Athlete Number 75 - Howie Long

The best NFL athlete to wear the jersey number 75 is Howie Long of the Oakland / Los Angeles Raiders.

Howie Long was extremely strong, quick and powerful. He is widely regarded as one of the best defensive ends ever in the NFL.

Howie played his entire career with the Raiders, spanning the years 1981 to 1993. During that tenure, he was selected to eight Pro Bowls. He is a class of 2000 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and a Super Bowl Champion (XVIII).

Did you know.....Howie recorded five sacks in one game?

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Monday

Hughes Back at 65

It has been reported by MLB.com, that Phil Hughes, who will be making his first start since April of this year, on Wednesday, for the New York Yankees, will be switching back to number 65 from 34.

You might remember that Hughes originally wore number 65 but then switched to 34. 65 is a fairly odd number for a pitcher, which makes it kind of cool. There is another young Yankee pitcher with his jersey number in the 60s. That would be Joba Chamberlain with the jersey number 62. Are we seeing a trend here?

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Friday

Habs to Retire Number 33

In honor of one of the greatest goaltenders ever, the Canadiens will retire the jersey number 33 for Patrick Roy. His number will be retired on Nov. 22 of this year.

Roy was a consideration for the best professional athlete to wear number 33, as was Larry Bird.

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Jersey Number News

Rookie Kevin Smith of the Detroit Lions wanted to change his jersey number from 34 to 24. According to Smith, the NFL denied the change. Veteran safety Dwight Smith changed his jersey number from 24 to 26, presumably to accommodate Kevin. It has been suggested on www.freep.com, that Kevin Smith's trading cards feature him wearing the number 34, leading the NFL in it's reasoning for denying the switch to number 24.

In NHL jersey number news, Todd Bertuzzi, who recently became a Calgary Flame will not wear the jersey number 44 he previously donned with Vancouver, Florida, Detroit or Long Island. Instead he will wear the number seven on the back of his Flames jersey. It is supposedly a nod to one of his favorite NHL players, Phil Esposito.

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Sunday

NFL Athlete Number 74 - Bob Lilly

Dallas Cowboy great, Bob Lilly, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 74. Originally a defensive end, Lilly made his fame as a defensive tackle for the Cowboys.

Lilly was taken by Dallas in the 1st round of the 1961 NFL draft out of Texas Christian University. He went on to become an eleven time Pro Bowl nominee, a Super Bowl Champion (VI), a member of the NFL's All-Decade team for both the 1960s and the 1970s, a Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor member, and a Pro Football Hall of Fame Member (1980 inductee).

See some early footage of Bob Lilly's defensive prowess here:



Did you know..........Bob Lilly is known as "Mr. Cowboy"?

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Friday

NFL Athlete Number 73 - John Hannah

John Hannah, who was one of the first great lineman for the New England Patriots, is also the best NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 73.

Hannah, drafted out of Alabama in the 1973 NFL draft, played his entire career with the Pats between the years of 1973 and 1985. John had an illustrious career, as illustrious as they come for an offensive lineman, garnering 9 Pro Bowl nominations and 10 All Pro nominations over his fairly brief career. He was also a four time NFLPA Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Hannah was quickly inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

Did you know......Hannah is a member of the NFL's All Decade team for the 1970s and 1980s?

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Thursday

NFL Athlete Number 72 - Dan Dierdorf

Dan Dierdorf, Cardinal great and Pro Football Hall of Famer is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 72.

Taken by the Cardinals in the 1971 NFL draft out of Michigan, Dierdorf played his entire career with the Cardinals until 1983. During that time span (1971 to 1983) Dierdorf was a six time Pro Bowler, three time NFLPA NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year, and 160 games played on the offensive line.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Did you know......Dierdorf is from Canton, OH (home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame)?

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Wednesday

NFL Athlete Number 71 - George Connor

All-time Chicago Bear great, George Connor, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 71.

A 1975 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Connor played his entire NFL career with the Chicago Bears, spanning the years 1948 to 1955. He excelled at both the tackle and linebacker positions.

Connor was a strong athlete, playing both offense and defense for the Bears.

Did you know........Connor was an All American at both Holy Cross and Notre Dame?

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Monday

NFL Athlete Number 70 - Rayfield Wright

A 2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, longtime Dallas Cowboy, Rayfield Wright, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 70.

Primarily a right offensive tackle with the 'Boys, Wright earned his starting position, appropriately, in 1970. However, he also played tight end and defensive end sparingly.

Over an NFL career spanning the years 1967 through 1979, Wright played in 166 games. He played in five Super Bowl games, was a six time Pro Bowler, and is a member of the NFL's 1970's All Decade team.

Did you know........Wright's nickname was "The Big Cat"?

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Sunday

NFL Athlete Number 69 - Mark Schlereth

Offensive lineman Mark Schlereth, former Denver Bronco and Washington Redskin, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 69.

Schlereth was a two-time Pro Bowler, an All Pro and won three Super Bowl rings. He played with the Redskins between 1989 and 1994 and the Broncos between 1995 and 2000. He started in 140 out of 156 NFL games played.

He started in 15 career NFL playoff games between the 'Skins and Broncos.

Did you know........Mark is also an actor and has been on the show Guiding Light?

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Saturday

NFL Athlete Number 68 - Joe Delamielleure

With one of the best names in NFL history, Joe Delamielleure, (and one of the most difficult to spell), is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 68.

Joe was drafted out of Michigan State in 1973 and began his career with All-Rookie honors as an offensive lineman with the Bills. He would go on to play with Bills between 1973 and 1979, and again in 1985 after a five year stint with the Browns.

He was an anchor of the Bills "Electric Company" offense in the 1970s, and was a six time Pro Bowl selection. In 1975, he was named the Offensive Lineman of the Year by the NFLPA.

Joe was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

Did you know.......Joe started every game for the Bills between the years 1973 and 1979?

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Friday

NFL Athlete Number 67 - Bob Kuechenberg

Bob Kuechenberg, longtime guard for the Miami Dolphins, is the best NFL athlete to wear the jersey number 67.

Kuechenberg was picked up by the Dolphins as a free agent in 1970, and stuck with them for quite a while. He was a Dolphin through the 1983 season. He was a six time Pro-Bowler and a two time Super Bowl Champion with Miami (VII and VIII).

Did you know....Kuechenberg played college football with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish?

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Thursday

NFL Athlete Number 66 - Clyde "Bulldog" Turner

Okay, this will be a controversial one. There are two viable candidates for the best NFL athlete to ever wear uniform number 66. In the end, the choice was made for Clyde "Bulldog" Turner of the Chicago Bears over Ray Nitschke of the Green Bay Packers.

"Bulldog" Turner played for the Chicago Bears between the years of 1940 to 1952. He was taken out of Hardin-Simmons college in 1940 with the seventh overall pick in the NFL draft. Turner filled a dual role for the Bears, playing both the offensive center and linebacker positions.

Turner was noted as the best center of his time, as well as an excellent linebacker. According to databasefootball.com, Turner had 17 career interceptions.

Named an All-Pro eight times in his career with the Bears, Bulldog was also a four-time NFL Champion (1940, 1941, 1943, and 1946). Turner has also been named to the 1940's All-Decade team.

Did you know......Clyde "Bulldog" Turner's uniform number 66 has been retired by the Chicago Bears?

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Wednesday

NFL Athlete Number 65 - Elvin Bethea

Elvin Bethea, Houston Oiler defensive end and Pro Football Hall of Famer, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear number 65.

Bethea, drafted by the Oilers out of NCA&T State University in 1968, played for Houston between the years 1968 and 1983. Some of Bethea's more impressive achievements are: 135 consecutive regular season games played, eight-time Pro Bowler, 105 career sacks (unofficially), and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2003.

Did you know.....Bethea played in eight Oilers' playoff games?

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Tuesday

NFL Athlete Number 64 - Randall McDaniel

Continuing with the numbers owned by offensive lineman, the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 64.

Playing for the Vikes between the years of 1988 and 1999, McDaniel was an impressive twelve-time Pro Bowler. A former quarterback of his named him as "the best to ever play the position".

McDaniel is a 2006 inductee into the Vikings Ring of Honor, and should be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Monday

NFL Athlete Number 63 - Gene Upshaw

Raider great Gene Upshaw is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 63. Playing his entire career with the Raiders, spanning the years 1967 through 1981, Upshaw put together a Hall of Fame career as an offensive lineman.

He was a six-time Pro Bowler and played in three Super Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

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Sunday

NFL Athlete Number 62 - Jim Langer

Another NFL great, and another pick for an NFL athlete who is also the great professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number. Number 62 goes to offensive center Jim Langer of the Miami Dolphins.

A 1987 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Langer played for the Dolphins between the years of 1970 and 1979, and was a member of the Dolphins perfect season team in 1972.

Langer is a member of the 1970s All-Decade team and played in 141 consecutive games over eight seasons.

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Saturday

NFL Athlete Number 61 - Bill George

Bill George is the best NFL athlete to ever wear jersey number 61, and the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 61.

He is credited as the first star at the middle linebacker position in the NFL. He spent the majority of his career with the Chicago Bears, as the predecessor to Mike Singletary and Dick Butkus, and one year with the Rams at the end of his career.

He is a 1974 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, and was named number 49 on The Sporting News list of the 100 greatest NFL players in 1999.

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Friday

NFL Athlete Number 60 - Chuck Bednarik

Chuck Bednarik, the best NFL athlete to wear the jersey number 60, was the last of the two-way players in the NFL. Bednarik is a 1967 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For more on Chuck and his Pro Football career, see the original post on him being named the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 60.

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Thursday

Brett Favre's NEW Jersey

Brett Favre is a Jet and he will be wearing.......guess what uniform number? Yes, you guessed it, number 4. He's already thrown passes on the field in Jets gear tonight. Okay, well not in a Jets uniform, but he tossed the ball around in Jets hat and t-shirt after the weather delay. Yes, weather delays happen in football, I guess, for lightning, and that's about it.

Check out the video of the press conference with Jet holding his NEW jersey number 4.

Favre joins Jets










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NFL Athlete Number 59 - Jack Ham

Another Pittsburgh Steeler great, and another identical pick for our best professional athlete to wear the jersey number. Number 59 goes to Penn State alum and four time Super Bowl champion, Jack Ham.

Ham was a perfect counterpart to Lambert as part of the Steeler linebacker crew. Ham was extremely quick at the outside linebacker position, racking up 32 career interceptions, spanning the years 1971 to 1982.

He was a four-time Super Bowl Champion, like Lambert, and was named to eight consecutive Pro Bowls. Think this guy was key to the Steel Curtain?

Did you know......Ham was a starter for all 14 regular season games as a rookie with the Steelers?

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Saturday

NFL Athlete Number 58 - Jack Lambert

Jack Lambert is the best NFL athlete, and the best professional sports athlete, to ever wear the jersey number 58. His name is synonymous with tough football player.  The prototypical linebacker, Lambert led the "Steel Curtain" defense for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s. 

Beginning with his rookie season in 1974, Lambert took over the starting middle linebacker position for the Steelers, and didn't give it up for 11 years.  Over his NFL career, spanning the years 1974 to 1984, he was named an All-Pro and Pro-Bowler nine times each, and was a Super Bowl Champion four times in the 70s. 

If you really want to see what Jack Lambert was all about as a football player, check out this excellent video tribute to him on YouTube:



Did you know.....Jack Lambert is also our selection for the best professional athlete to ever wear jersey number 58?

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Friday

NFL Athlete Number 57 - Dwight Stephenson

There aren't too many centers on this list.  However, the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 57 is longtime Miami Dolphin, and offensive center, Dwight Stephenson.  Taken with the 48th overall pick out of Alabama, Stephenson started what was to become a Hall of Fame career with the Dolphins in 1980.

In his rookie season, Stephenson played in all 16 games as a center, although he did not start in any of them.  He quickly became an anchor of the Miami offensive line however.  During Stephenson's injury-shortened tenure with the Dolphins, 1980 - 1987, the Dolphins led the NFL in fewest sacks for six straight seasons (1982-1987). 

Dwight was a five time All-Pro and Pro-Bowl selection.  He is a member of the 1980s All-Decade team and received the NFL Man of the Year award in 1985. 

He currently has his own charitable organization, aptly named, The Dwight Stephenson Foundation

Did you know......that Dwight was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998?

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Monday

NFL Athlete Number 56 - Lawrence Taylor

Do we even need to say who the best NFL player to ever wear number 56 is?  Okay, we don't, but we will.  It's Lawrence Taylor, also the best overall athlete to ever wear jersey number 56. 

In our humble opinion, this guy is the best linebacker ever.  Hands down.  See all his accomplishments by checking out the link for the best overall athlete to wear number 56. 

Did you know........that Howie Long once said abut Lawrence Taylor, "All I can say about Lawrence Taylor is that he's the best defensive football player I've seen. I've said many times he's the best player I've seen in my era defensively. Everyone else is a pretender. "

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Sunday

NFL Athlete Number 55 - Junior Seau


Junior Seau is the best NFL AND the best overall athlete to ever wear the jersey number 55.

You can get Junior Seau's rookie card here.

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Monday

NFL Athlete Number 54 - Randy White

One of the most popular, and best, Dallas Cowboy players of all-time, Randy White is also the best NFL athlete to ever put on the jersey number 54. 

White, who was the second overall pick in the 1975 NFL draft out of Maryland, played his entire NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys spanning the years of 1975 through 1988.   White proved to be extremely durable on the gridiron, missing only one game in 14 seasons with the Cowboys. 

White was a star from the beginning as he was named co-MVP of Super Bowl XII in his first year with the Cowboys.  He was also named an All-Pro and Pro Bowler that year, and would be for nine straight seasons. 

Did you know......Randy White is also our pick as the best professional athlete to ever wear the number 54?

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Sunday

NFL Athlete Number 53 - Harry Carson

Another pick that was also our best overall athlete pick.  Harry Carson is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 53, AND the best overall professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 53. 

Carson played his entire career at linebacker for the New York Giants.  He was a fierce run stopper who played in one of the finest defensive backfields ever, along with Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks. 

Did you know......Harry Carson was selected to seven straight Pro Bowls (1982-1988)?

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Thursday

NFL Athlete Number 52 - Ray Lewis

Best NFL number 52 is one that can and should be debated by football fans. Both Ray Lewis and Mike Webster get strong consideration here. In the end, we chose the two-time NFL defensive player of the year. In fact, we chose him as the best overall athlete to ever wear the jersey number 52. Playing his entire NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens, spanning the years 1996 through 2007, Lewis has accumulated 794 tackles overall, 30 sacks and 25 interceptions. Lewis was also named the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV in 2000 where the Ravens beat the Giants. Did you know......Lewis played his college ball at Miami with "The Rock"?

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NFL Athlete Number 51 - Dick Butkus

Playing his entire NFL career for the Chicago Bears between the years of 1965 and 1973, Dick Butkus established himself as one of the best linebackers ever to grace the gridiron. He is our pick for the best NFL athlete to wear the uniform number 51.

Although Butkus' career was cut short by knee injuries, it was a brilliant one. Taken out of Illinois by the Bears in the first round of the 1965 NFL draft, Butkus played in all fourteen regular season games as a rookie. He had five INTs and recovered seven fumbles that year.

During his career, he amassed 1,020 tackles, 22 INTs and 27 fumble recoveries. He was a Pro-Bowler for eight consecutive years (1965 - 1972.)

He was coined by Sports Illustrated as the "most feared man in the game." Wow, that's a mean looking picture!

Did you know......Butkus was also drafted in the AFL in 1965 by the Denver Broncos?

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Friday

NFL Athlete Number 50 - Mike Singletary

"Samurai Mike", Mike Singletary is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 50. He's also our pick as the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 50. So what do you need to know about Mike Singletary as an NFL athlete? Why is he on this list for number 50?

  • 10 time Pro Bowler (consecutive)
  • 1,488 career tackles
  • 9 time All Pro
  • 2 time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1985, 1988)
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (Class of 1998)
  • 1985 Super Bowl Champion (XX)
  • 172 games started as a Chicago Bear

Did you know.........Mike Singletary had two fumble recoveries in Super Bowl XX?

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Thursday

NFL Athlete Number 49 - Bobby Mitchell

A Pro Football Hall of Famer, inducted in 1983, Bobby Mitchell is also the best NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 49.

Taken with the 84th overall pick in the 1958 NFL draft out of Illinois by the Cleveland Browns, Mitchell went immediately into action in the backfield. He was teamed with the incomparable Jim Brown, to create one of the most potent running attacks in NFL history.

Not only was Mitchell a threat in the backfield however, he was also a threat when returning punts and kicks. Over his 11 year NFL career (first four with the Browns, final seven with the Redskins), Mitchell had 699 punt return yards with three touchdowns, and 2,690 kick return yards with 5 touchdowns.

His most impressive statistics however, came as a receiver. Mitchell led the NFL in receiving yards in both 1962 and 1963 (with 1384 and 1436 yards respectively). For his career he amassed 7,954 receiving yards and 65 receiving TDs.

  • 5 time All Pro
  • 4 time Pro Bowler
  • 1962 NFL reception leader (72)
  • 1964 NFL receiving TD leader (10)
  • 91 career touchdowns
  • Pro Football Hall of Famer

Did you know.......Mitchell scored a touchdown on a kick return each year from 1960 through 1963?

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Saturday

NFL Athlete Number 48 - Daryl "Moose" Johnston

Also our pick for the best professional athlete to ever wear the uniform number 48, Daryl "Moose" Johnston is certainly the best NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 48.

As one of this blog's comments states, "Moose is the reason that Emmitt Smith is on this list". If that's not 100% accurate, Moose's blocking certainly is one of the reasons that Emmitt is the best professional athlete to ever wear the uniform number 22.

Moose was drafted 39th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1989 NFL draft, out of Syracuse. He made an immediate impact as fullback for the Cowboys during his rookie year. Not only could he block, but he also caught the ball well out of the backfield. He racked up 133 yards and 3 receiving TDs during the 1989 NFL season.

During his eleven year NFL career, spent entirely with the Dallas Cowboys, Johnston racked up 2,227 receiving yards, 14 receiving TDs, 753 rushing yards, and 8 rushing TDs. His biggest contribution during his career however, cannot be measured as a statistic. It was the defenders he took on, and the holes he helped create, so that Emmitt Smith could go on to become the NFL's all-time leading rusher.

Did you know......Moose won three Super Bowl rings while with the Dallas Cowboys?

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NFL Athlete Number 47 - Mel Blount

Mel Blount, the longtime cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 47.

Blount was taken with the 53rd overall pick in the 1970 NFL draft, out of Southern University, by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He wound up playing his entire NFL career (between 1970 and 1983) with the Steelers.

  • 6 time All Pro
  • 5 time Pro Bowler
  • 57 career interceptions
  • 736 career interception yards
  • 13 career fumble recoveries
  • 1975 NFL leader in interceptions (11)
  • 1989 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee
  • 4 time Super Bowl champion
  • 1976 Pro Bowl MVP

Did you know......Mel Blount was ranked number 36 on the Sporting News list of the 100 greatest NFL players in 1999?

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Monday

NFL Athlete Number 46 - Lou Groza

Okay, this was a tough NFL jersey number to pick. There are some NFL athletes whose number has always been (or primarily been) number 46. However, there is also a Pro Football Hall of Famer who wore the jersey number 46 for six years of his stellar career. That Hall of Famer is Lou Groza, and he wore the number 46 between the years of 1946 and 1951.

Groza was a both an offensive lineman and placekicker during his NFL career. Between the years of 1946 and 1959 Groza was a center (rookie season),a tackle and a kicker. From 1961 to 1967 he kicked for the Cleveland Browns. Groza played his entire NFL career with the Cleveland Browns.

It has been speculated that the Browns changed their uniform numbers between the years of 1951 and 1952 seasons to conform with the NFL's numbering system for uniforms. Groza switched his number around this time frame from 46 to 76. You might be interested to know that Groza is also our pick for the best professional athlete to ever wear the uniform number 76.

  • 1974 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 10 time All Pro
  • 9 time Pro Bowler
  • Led league in points scored twice (1946 and 1957)
  • Led league in field goals six times (1946, '50, '52, '53, '54, and '57)
  • 4 time NFL Champion
  • 268 career games played

Did you know......Groza's other uniform number, 76, is retired by the Cleveland Browns?

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Sunday

NFL Athlete Number 45 - Emlen Tunnell

Have you ever heard of Emlen Tunnell? If not, you'll know of him now. He's the best NFL athlete to have ever worn the jersey number 45, and he is a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Tunnell played two primary positions during his NFL career (punt and kick returner and defensive back - mostly safety). Tunnell played fourteen years in the NFL, between 1948 and 1961, primarily as a New York Giant. He also spent three years at the end of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers. What did he achieve in his fourteen year Hall of Fame career?

  • 9 time Pro Bowler
  • 8 time All Pro
  • 79 career interceptions
  • 1,282 career interception return yards
  • 2,217 career punt return yards
  • 1949 league leader for INTs returned for TDs (2)
  • 1952 league leader for fumbles recoverd (6)
  • 100 yard kick return in 1951
  • Twice led league in non-offensive TDs (1949 and 1951)
  • 1967 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 1956 NFL Champion with the New York Giants
  • 1961 NFL Champion with the Green Bay Packers

Tunnell was an undrafted free agent out of Iowa.

Did you know......that Tunnell broke his neck at the University of Toledo, before moving on to play at Iowa?

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Saturday

NFL Athlete Number 44 - Leroy Kelly

Hall of Fame running back Leroy Kelly is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 44. Coming to the NFL in 1964 after being taken in the eighth round of the draft, out of Morgan State, Kelly was not an immediate superstar in professional football. He was only given the ball six times. He gained twelve yards on those six carries. There was this guy by the name of Jim Brown ahead of him on the depth chart at running back. He did, however, return one punt for a touchdown during his rookie year.

In his second NFL year, Kelly was primarily a return man, but also carried the football from the backfield several more times (37 carries for 139 yards). He doubled his punt return touchdowns from his rookie season, scoring two.

The retirement of all-time great running back Jim Brown gave Kelly the opportunity he needed to strut his stuff as a running back. In 1966, Kelly rushed 209 times for 1,141 yards and a league-leading 15 rushing touchdowns. He followed that year up with another year leading the league in rushing touchdowns with 11, and rushing yards with 1,205. What did he do the following year? Lead the league, of course. He had 16 rushing touchdowns in 1968 to go along with a league-best 1,239 rushing yards.


  • 6-time Pro Bowler

  • 5-time All Pro

  • 1994 Hall of Fame Inductee

  • Led NFL in rushing yards twice

  • Led NFL in rushing TDs three times

  • Most yards per punt return in 1965 (15.6)

  • 1968 NFL leader in points scored (120)

  • 74 career touchdowns

  • 7,274 career rushing yards

Did you know......Leroy Kelly spent his entire career with the Cleveland Browns (1964 - 1973)?

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Friday

NFL Athlete Number 43 - Don Perkins

Don Perkins, the running back who played his entire NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys, is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 43.

Although Perkins was drafted by the Colts in the 1960 NFL draft, he had previously signed with the Cowboys before they were granted a franchise. The Cowboys kept Perkins and the Colts were awarded a draft pick as compensation.

Perkins played in all 14 games of his rookie season, rushing for 815 yards and 4 TDs. He also caught 32 passes for 298 yards and 1 TD that season of 1961. Perkins would continue racking up the rushing yardage over his eight year career, eventually becoming the first Dallas Cowboy to rush for 6,000 yards. He currently ranks third on the Cowboys' all-time rushing yardage list (behind Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett), with 6,217 career rushing yards.


  • 42 career regular season rushing touchdowns

  • 6,217 career regular season rushing yards

  • 6 time Pro Bowler (1961, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1967, and 1968)

  • 4 time All Pro (1961, 1962, 1967 and 1968)

  • Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor

Did you know......Don Perkins played both halfback and fullback as a Cowboy?

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Thursday

NFL Athlete Number 42 - Ronnie Lott

The NFL uniform number 42 is one of the most renowned numbers in professional football history. The pick for the greatest NFL athlete to ever wear the uniform number 42 could have gone to one of four Hall of Famers who wore 42 as their primary uniform number. Those four men are: Ronnie Lott, Sid Luckman, Charley Taylor and Paul Warfield. Forced to choose, we pick Ronnie Lott as the best NFL athlete to ever wear uniform number 42.

Ronnie was selected in the 1981 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers out of USC, with the eighth overall pick in the draft. Ronnie's career in the NFL started off with a bang, as he started sixteen games for the 49ers at cornerback, eventually finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting to future Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor. That rookie year, Lott recorded seven interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns.

Lott would play four full seasons at cornerback before switching to free saftey during his fifth year in the NFL (1985). Lott would play 14 seasons in the NFL; 10 with the 49ers, 2 with the Jets and 2 with the Raiders. For his career he had 63 interceptions returned for 730 yards and five touchdowns. He made an impressive 1,113 career tackles.

  • 10 time Pro Bowler

  • 9 time All Pro

  • 4 time Super Bowl Champion (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV)

  • Twice led NFL in interceptions (1986 and 1991)

  • Number 23 on The Sporting News' List of 100 Greatest NFL Players in 1999


Lott was known for his ferocious hitting and hard-nosed style of play in the NFL.



Did you know.......Lott's uniform number 42 is retired by the 49ers?




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Wednesday

NFL Athlete Number 41 - Terrence Newman

Not one of the most prominent numbers worn in NFL history, the best NFL athlete to wear the uniform number 41 is Terrence Newman, cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys.

The fifth overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft out of Kanas State University, Newman made an immediate impact in the NFL, starting at left cornerback for the Cowboys all sixteen games as a rookie. That rookie season of 2003, Newman had four interceptions, 66 solo tackles and 10 assisted tackles.

In his first five seasons in the NFL, Newman has accumulated 16 interceptions for 211 yards and one touchdown. In 2007, he had his longest interception return of 70 yards. Over that same time period, Newman has had 286 tackles.

Newman has also returned punts for the Cowboys since 2004. To date he has amassed 296 punt return yards and one touchdown on a punt return.

Newman was selected to the Pro Bowl for the 2007 NFL season.

Did you know.......that Terrence Newman won the Jim Thorpe award in 2002 given the nation's top collegiate defensive back?



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