NFL Athlete Number 26 - Herb Adderley

A 1980 inductee into the Professional Football Hall of Fame, Herb Adderley is the best athlete to ever wear the NFL jersey number 26. He was selected in the first round of the 1961 NFL draft, with the 12th overall pick, out of Michigan State by the Green Bay Packers. Adderley was originally slated to be a running back, but had Packer greats Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor ahead of him in the depth chart. By the end of his rookie season he had switched to defensive back, where he would excel and go on to build a productive Hall of Fame quality NFL career.

  • 5-time Pro Bowler (1963 - 1967)
  • 48 career interceptions
  • 8-time All Pro
  • 7 INT TDs
  • 1,046 INT return yards
  • 3,080 kickoff return yards
  • 4-time Super Bowl participant and 3-time champion (Super Bowls I, II and VI)
  • Played in 5 NFL title games

Did you know......The Sporting News ranked Herb Adderley number 45 on it's list of the NFL's 100 greatest players in 1999?

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Best Quarterbacks by Jersey Number recently put up a very interesting article about the best NFL quarterbacks by jersey number. They ranked the quarterbacks within each jersey number from 1 through 19. Couple things to note. Like me, they picked Troy Aikman as the best NFL quarterback to wear number 8 (I actually picked him as the best NFL player to ever wear that number, but what other position player would be wearing that number?)

They also picked Terry Bradshaw as the best number 12 ever in the NFL (again quarterback here, but there are no non-quarterbacks in consideration,) over Tom Brady. Brady may one day surpass Bradshaw, one day very soon actually. But not yet.

One significant number we disagree on is jersey number 9. I have Sonny Jurgensen as number one to wear number 9, where ESPN has Jim McMahon number one at number 9. McMahon was good and a fun player to watch, but look at Jurgensen's numbers. He won the NFL passing title three times.

Overall though, a pretty good list by ESPN. Check out the whole list here.

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NFL Athlete Number 25 - Fred Biletnikoff

Wearing an odd jersey number for a wide receiver, Fred Biletnikoff is the best athlete to wear the NFL jersey number 25. Biletnikoff, who was an All-American at Florida State, was drafted by both the Raiders of the AFL and the Lions of the NFL in 1965. He chose the Raiders, and spent his entire American pro football career with Oakland. (He played one year of Canadian pro football, after he retired from the NFL.)

  • Super Bowl XI MVP
  • 6-time Pro-Bowler
  • 6-time All-Pro
  • Two-time Super Bowl participant
  • 1988 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee
  • 589 career receptions
  • 8,974 career receiving yards
  • 76 career receiving touchdowns

Did you know.......the Fred Biletnikoff award is presented annually to the player voted as the best wide receiver in college football?

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Jersey Number 2 Retired

Another New York Ranger had his number retired this week. That makes five total New York Rangers who have had their numbers retired to-date. Brian Leetch's jersey number 2 will now be hanging from the rafters of Madison Square Garden. His jersey number 2 will be up there with Eddie Giacomin's jersey number 1, Rod Gilbert's jersey number 7, Mark Messier's jersey number 11, and Mike Richter's jersey number 35. (Wayne Gretzky's jersey number 99 is also retired league-wide, but there is no banner hanging in MSG.)

Leetch, one of the most beloved New York Rangers of all time, played for the Broadway Blueshirts for 16 and a half years from 1987 to 2004, before ending his career playing briefly for the Maple Leafs and Bruins. Over his stellar career Leetch amassed 1,028 regular season points, and 97 playoff points. He was the New York Rangers captain from 1997 to 2000, twice won the Norris Trophy, once the Calder, and once the Conn Smythe. He also has a sliver medal from the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Did you know.......Brian was born in Texas?

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NFL Athlete Number 24 - Lenny Moore

A 1975 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Lenny Moore is the best NFL athlete to ever put on a number 24 football jersey. A Reading, PA native, Moore was drafted in the first round out of Penn State by the then Baltimore Colts. He went on to have an impressive rookie year in the NFL. As a rookie, Moore had a very impressive 7.5 yards per rushing attempt average to go with 649 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns. He also caught the ball for 102 yards and a TD in his rookie year of 1956.

Moore played two primary positions in the NFL. He lined up in the backfield as a running back (halfback,) and as a flanker split wide. Playing both of these positions led Moore to put up some impressive statistics over twelve years in the NFL. As a running back he rushed for 5,174 yards and 63 touchdowns. His longest run from scrimmage incidentally was during his impressive rookie year in 1956 when he scooted for 79 yards.

His numbers were equally impressive as a receiver. 6,039 yards receiving, with 48 touchdowns and a career long of 82 in his sophomore season. See more of Moore's stats at

Moore's athleticism led him to not only put up some impressive statistics but to accumulate several awards and accolades over his 12-year professional career.

  • 7-time All-Pro
  • 7-time Pro-Bowler
  • 1956 NFL Rookie of the Year
  • 1964 NFL Player of the Year
  • 1964 Comeback Player of the Year
  • 1975 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee

Did you know.....Moore's jersey number 24 has been retired by the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts?

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17. 27. Now What?

Scott Rolen, like Troy Glaus, will be playing for a new team in 2008. Also like Glaus, Rolen will be wearing a new jersey number. After wearing number 17 in Philly and 27 in St. Louis (his previously worn 17 is retired for Dizzy Dean of the Cardinals,) Rolen was looking for a new number in Toronto. After reviewing the Blue Jays current roster with his family, his daughter Raine put her finger on, as Rolen tells it, "firty-free." Since that number isn't available, Rolen will be wearing thirty-three in Toronto. Read the full story here.

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Troy Glaus' New Number

With the trade of Troy Glaus from the Blue Jays to the Cardinals, there was a pending decision to be made on a jersey number. Glaus has previously worn jersey number 25 in the major leagues. The Cardinals had a player, currently retired, who also wore number 25 in the majors. You might have heard of him. His name is Mark McGwire. So Glaus had to make a decision. Although 25 is not retired by the Cardinals, Glaus chose a new jersey number out of respect for Big Mac. Glaus will be donning the jersey number 8 as a Cardinal. He admired Cal Ripken growing up, and is wearing Cal's number 8 in homage to the "Iron Man." Read the whole news about Troy's decison on

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NFL Athlete Number 23 - Devin Hester

Devin Hester is "The Windy City Flyer." Is he the best kick returner ever in the NFL? Quite possibly. Is the best athlete to wear the NFL jersey number 23? Yes.

Did you know.....Devin Hester wore number 4 in college as a member of the Miami Hurricanes?

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NFL Athlete Number 22 - Emmitt Smith

Not only is he the best NFL athlete to ever wear the number 22, he's also the best professional athlete ever to wear the number 22. What can you say about Emmitt? He is simply one of the best players ever to grace an NFL gridiron. Certainly one of the best NFL running backs ever.

Although sixteen players were taken ahead of Smith in the 1990 NFL draft, he went on to become the NFL's all-time leading rusher, and a three-time Super Bowl Champion. Oh yeah, he also won "Dancing With The Stars!" What are his other accomplishments?

  • 18,355 career rushing yards
  • 164 career rushing TDs
  • NFL MVP in 1993
  • 8-time Pro Bowler
  • Super Bowl XXVIII MVP
  • 78 100-plus-yard rushing games
  • 4-time NFL season rushing champ
  • 3-time NFL season TD champ

Did you know.......Emmitt, while enduring a separated shoulder during the game, once rushed for 229 yards against the Giants?

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NFL Athlete Number 21 - LaDainian Tomlinson

Now, this really comes down to the definition of the "best NFL athlete." If we are using that term loosely to mean the most athletic NFL player ever to wear the jersey number 21, Neon Deion Sanders could certainly be considered. He couldn't really tackle, but he had phenomenal quickness and athleticism. And don't forget that he was also a fairly good baseball player with the Yankees, Braves and Reds.

BUT....for our purposes, we're talking about the most complete, most impressive, highest impact, most renowned, NFL athlete (substitute the word player, if you'd like,) to ever wear the number 21. In this case, that athlete in LaDainian Tomlinson.

The 5' 10" dynamo in the backfield for the San Diego Chargers was drafted out of TCU in 2001. He had an immediate impact for the Chargers, playing in all 16 games of his rookie campaign, rushing for 1,236 yards and 10 TDs, while receiving for 367 yards. His numbers only went up from there.

In his first seven years in the NFL, LaDainian's racked up 10,650 rushing yards and 115 rushing TDs, with 3,375 receiving yards and 14 receiving TDs, all in the regular season. And oh, by the way, he's also passed for 7 career TDs.

Did you know......Tomlinson's college jersey number 5 was retired by TCU?

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NFL Athlete Number 20 - Barry Sanders

Did you guess who the best NFL athlete to ever wear number 20 was? Considering he was our pick for the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 20, it was a good bet that he'd be the pick for best NFLer to wear jersey number 20.

What can you say about Barry Sanders? Simply put, he was the most exciting player to watch in the NFL. Ever. When Barry took the ball on a handoff you never knew what would happen. Would he spin around several times, bounce off a few defenders and take it to the endzone? Would he go into a pile of defenders and come out of the same pile with all the defenders chasing him from behind? Would he head around one tight end after taking the ball from the QB, only to be met by defenders, and then reverse course, and head around the other tight end for a thirty yard gain?

He was the most amazing running back to ever line up in a backfield. Hands down. Was he the best running back ever? That is certainly debatable. I would personally pick Walter Payton as the best running back ever. However, Barry was certainly the most amazing. And the best to ever wear the NFL jersey number 20.

Did you his Hall of Fame enshrinement speech, Barry started off by thanking Billy Sims and Lem Barney for borrowing the magic number 20?

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MLB Athlete Number 19 - Tony Gwynn

Tony Gwynn, another MLB athlete who played his entire career with one team, is also the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 19.

Gwynn was a San Diego Padre between the years of 1982 to 2001, and during that time he played well enough to earn an induction into the baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. Over his 20 MLB seasons, he had a .338 career batting average, 3,141 hits, was a 15-time All-Star, led the National League in batting eight separate times, was a seven-time Silver Slugger award winner, was a five-time Gold Glove award winner, and had 319 stolen bases.

Basically, as far as base hits go, Tony Gwynn was the man, and one of the best hitters to ever play the game of baseball.

Did you know.....that Tony Gwynn was the 58th player chosen in the 1981 MLB draft?

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