Edward DeBartolo Jr.
Purchased 49ers in 1977 with vision to create top-notch organization. Led franchise to unprecedented winning. In 1979, hired Bill Walsh as coach, drafted QB Joe Montana and created winning atmosphere. Infused roster with talent that resulted in San Francisco enjoying years of winning: averaged 13 wins per season, including playoffs, from 1981-98 (not including strike-shortened 1982). Under him the team won 13 division titles, made 16 playoff appearances and was first to win five Super Bowls. Became embroiled in corruption case against former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards and was suspended for 1999 season by NFL after being found guilty of failing to report a bribe. After suspension, gave control of team to his sister. Tampa resident since 2000.
1996-2001 Bucs, 2002-08 Colts
Took over Bucs team in 1996 that had 12 double-digit loss seasons in previous 13 years. By his second season, team finished 10-6 and earned a playoff berth. In 1999, Bucs posted 11-5 record and clinched franchise's first NFC division title since 1981. Bucs made four trips to playoffs in his six seasons in Tampa Bay. Colts advanced to playoffs each season during his seven-year tenure. Indianapolis won 10 games his first year, 12 or more every season after. First African-American head coach to win Super Bowl (2006 season vs. Chicago). Overall record as head coach, including playoffs, is 148-79-0. A mentor to players and coaches alike throughout football.
1991 Falcons, 1992-2007 Packers, 2008 Jets, 2009-2010 Vikings
First-year eligible. Drafted in second round in 1991 by Falcons. Traded to Green Bay after rookie season in which he had four pass attempts. Instantly became free-wheeling QB with Packers and threw more than 500 passes in 16 seasons. Had six 4,000-yard seasons. Retired as NFL's all-time leading passer with 6,300 completions, 10,169 attempts, 71,838 yards and 508 TDs. Established playoff records for attempts (791), completions (481), yards (5,855) and consecutive games with a TD pass (20). First-team All-Pro three straight seasons. Voted MVP three consecutive times, 1995-97, first player to win three. Led Packers to Super Bowl XXXI win. On 1990s All-Decade Team.
1985-92 Rams, 1993-95 Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Panthers, 1997 49ers
Drafted by Rams in fifth round (113th overall) in 1985. Drafted as linebacker and played that position for majority of his career. Saw some action at defensive end, mostly with the Rams. Had back-to-back seasons with career-best 161/2 sacks, 1988-89. Made 41/2 sacks in 1989 finale to clinch playoff spot for Rams. Double-digit sack totals 10 seasons. Had 160 career sacks and led his team 11 times. Also had three safeties, 26 fumble recoveries and five interceptions. Five Pro Bowls, first-team All-Pro with Rams (1989), Steelers (1994) and Panthers (1996). NFL sack titles in 1994 and '96. Played six conference title games and a Super Bowl. NFL's All-Decade team of 1990s.
Colts' first-round pick (19th player overall) in 1996. Eight straight years with 1,000-plus yards receiving, 10 or more TDs. Shattered NFL single-season reception record with 143 in 2002. Finished career with 1,102 receptions, 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns. Finished second to Jerry Rice in league history in career receptions, most consecutive games with a reception (190) and most career 100-yard games (59). His yardage total ranked fourth all-time and his career TDs (128) were ninth when he retired. In 158 games together with Peyton Manning, duo connected on 953 passes for 12,766 yards and 112 TDs, the most completions, yards and touchdowns by a tandem in NFL history. All-Pro six times. NFL's All-Decade Team of 2000s.
1997-2008 Rams, 2009 Bears
Selected by St. Louis in first round (first player overall) of 1997 draft. First offensive lineman to go No. 1 overall since 1968. Mainstay on Rams' offensive line, he started all 16 games seven times in 13 seasons. Blocked for three consecutive NFL MVPs (QB Kurt Warner, 1999, 2001, and RB Marshall Faulk in 2000). Anchored line that threw for more gross yards than any other team during his 12 seasons with team (50,770). Seven times a Rams QB eclipsed 3,000 yards passing, including three of more than 4,000 yards. Also blocked for seven 1,000-yard rushers. Five-time All-Pro (1999, 2000, '01, '03, '04). In 2000, anchored offensive line that helped offense produce most passing yards in NFL history.
1970-79 Raiders, 1980-81 Oilers, 1982-84 Saints
Senior nominee. Left-handed passer known for exciting style. Guided Oakland to winning records in each of his nine seasons as starter, including five straight division crowns. Traded to Houston and led Oilers to 11-5 mark, 1980. Totaled 27,938 yards and 194 touchdowns. Career completion percentage (59.85) ranked second all-time at retirement. Led Raiders to AFC title game each season from 1973-77. Guided Raiders to victory over Steelers in '76 AFC title game then win over Vikings in Super Bowl XI. Twice led NFL in TD passes (1974 and '76). Was 1974 NFL MVP. Voted to four Pro Bowls. On 1970s All-Decade Team. Died last year of colon cancer at age 69.
1952-55 Lions, 1956-58 Redskins
Senior nominee. Anchor of dominant Lions team of the 1950s. Lions reached the NFL championship game in his first three seasons. Won back-to-back world titles 1952-53. Teammates recognized his outstanding play, choosing him team's Most Valuable Player in 1953 championship season. After four seasons in Detroit, was traded to Washington as part of blockbuster four-team deal. Played three seasons in Washington and continued to be regarded among NFL's elite players. While still at top of his game, retired at age 31 to pursue coaching career. Earned first-team All-Pro honors in five of seven seasons, including all three years with Redskins. Chosen for NFL's All-Decade Team of 1950s. Died last year at 87.