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Sports Then and Now



Best Players Not In The Pro Football Hall of Fame: Linebackers 18

Posted on July 29, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Chuck Howley is the only player to be named Super Bowl MVP while playing on the losing team.

Chuck Howley is the only player to be named Super Bowl MVP while playing on the losing team.

Our position-by-position look at the best eligible players not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame continues with a position that includes both players who served as the quarterback of the defense and others that disrupted offenses with their prowess rushing the passer.

Beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, many top middle linebackers became familiar figures as the defensive quarterback on the field. Players like Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, Tommy Nobis, Willie Lanier, Bill Bergey, Lee Roy Jordan, Jack Lambert, Harry Carson, Nick Buoniconti and Mike Singletary were recognized as the defensive leader for their team and every team looked to find their own stuffer in the middle.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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