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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top-10 Special Teams Players in NFL History

Top-10 Special Teams Players in NFL History

The top 10
Publish Date: 12/08/2021
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Active players would not be included in this list if they were Adam Vinatieri(he just retired, but the article was already done), Devin Hester and Josh Cribbs, to name a few, would be on here. These players will be best known for being special teams players, so Deion Sanders, Lemar Parrish etc… will not be included.

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10) Terry Metcalf

With Nine hundred thirty-six punt return yards and 3,087 yards returning kickoffs, Metcalf was explosive and one of the most exciting players in Cardinals history.

9) Larry Izzo

Larry Izzo spent four years with the Miami Dolphins before becoming the special team captain of the New England Patriots from 2001 to 2008 and retiring with the New York Jets. During his time in New England, Izzo made three Pro Bowls, won four AFC Championship titles, and won three Super Bowls. He holds the record for most special team tackles of all time.


8) Billy “White Shoes” Johnson

Johnson played wide receiver and returner for the Oilers, Falcons, and Redskins from 1974 to 1988. He made three Pro Bowls as a return specialist during that time. He was also the 1975 Pro Bowl MVP; however, it is partially due to playing wide receiver and returning punts that he was awarded this honor. He is listed as the return specialist for the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team.


7) Morten Andersen

Andersen holds the record for scoring the most points in NFL history. He is the all-time leading scorer for the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints. He played from 1982 to 2007 for five different teams.


6) Brian Mitchell

Mitchell is the all-time NFL leader in punt and kickoff return yardage among his numerous NFL records. He also ranks second in NFL annals with 23,316 combined yards accumulated during a 14-year career.

5) Bill Bates

The first player voted to the Pro Bowl solely for his special-teams abilities; Bates was known more for his gunner skills than his snaps at safety. His 15 seasons playing for Dallas are tied most in franchise history. He ranks this high because he was one of the toughest football players I have ever seen.

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4) Steve Tasker

Tasker is maybe the most complete special-teams player in history, earning seven All-Pro nods for his coverage skills. Tasker also contributed as a returner during his 13-year career and is the only special-teams player to have won Pro Bowl MVP honors.

3) Ray Guy

Ray Guy was the first punter ever to be chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft. He spent his entire career with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders and made the Pro Bowl seven times from 1973 to 1986. The guy was a massive contributor to the Raiders’ three Super Bowl victories. He initially turned heads with his uncanny ability to kick the ball so high in the air that the other team would not be able to field it before the Raiders were already downfield.

2) Adam Vinitaeri 

He’s earned a reputation as thriving under pressure and holds NFL records for points (2,600), postseason points (238) and field goals made (582). He also leads all kickers with four Super Bowl wins, kicking game-winners in two of them.

1) Devin Hester

Devin Hester holds the NFL record with 19 touchdowns on returns — 14 on punts and five on kickoffs. Six of those return touchdowns came in the first 13 games. Hester is the most extraordinary return man in NFL history!


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