The All-Time All-Maxim Team

Now that the NFL season is finally underway, we thought we’d look back and cobble together a team culled from football’s meanest, wildest and, in some cases, most talented players in history.

Now that the NFL season is finally underway, we thought we’d look back and cobble together a team culled from football’s meanest, wildest and, in some cases, most talented players in history. But as you can see, mean and wild count for more that mere talent. That’s why John “Sloth” Matuszek and Conrad “Vampire” Dobler make the cut, and guys like Jerry Rice and Tom Brady don’t. This is the (fake) team we’d most like to follow for a season (although we’re pretty sure if these guys all got together, most would end the season in prison.)


QB: Joe Namath, Jets 1965-1976, Rams 1977

Photo by Dick Raphael / US PRESSWIRE

Who else could it be other than Broadway Joe, the man who led the league in porn-y mustaches, fur coats and Super Bowl guarantees? Joe, we want to kiss you!

By The Numbers: 1 NCAA championship, 1 Super Bowl, 2 MVPs

RB: John Riggins, Jets, 1971-1975, Redskins 1976-1985

Photo by Malcolm Emmons / US PRESSWIRE

On his way to a Hall of Fame career, the legendary hellraiser sported a mohawk, wore leather pants, and showed up at a morning contract negotiation sporting camos and swigging a beer.

By The Numbers: Scored 104 total touchdowns

FB: Jim Brown, Browns 1957-1965

Photo by Tony Tomsic / Getty Images

It takes some serious balls to walk away at the top of your game, but when Brown retired in 1965 he was far and away the best back ever. Over four decades later, no one’s topped him.

By The Numbers: Led NFL in rushing for 8 straight years

WR: Michael Irvin, Cowboys 1988-1999


Given the drug arrests, trash talking, mink-coat clad court appearances and stabbing of teammates (okay, just one teammate), it’s easy to forget that Irvin was one of the toughest receivers in history.

By The Numbers: 11,904 career receiving yards

WR: John Stallworth, Steelers 1974-1987

Photo by Manny Rubio / US PRESSWIRE

Lynn Swann may have gotten the attention, but Steelers stalwart Stallworth ended up with more receptions, receiving yards, TDs and Pro Bowls than his pretty-boy counterpart. He also ended up a co-owner of the team.

By The Numbers: Four-time Super Bowl champ

TE: Kellen Winslow, Chargers 1979-1987

Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Even without all the records, the Chargers legend would have earned this spot for his ‘82 playoff performance against the Fins: 13 catches for 166 yards and a blocked field goal, all with a pinched nerve, busted lip, cramps and dehydration.

By The Numbers: Five-time Pro Bowler

T: Jackie Slater, Rams 1976-1995


How tough was the legendary Rams’ tackle? How’s this: in 1994 he played most of the season with a torn triceps muscle. He was 40 years old, and it was his twentieth season with the team. Tough enough?

By The Numbers: 259 games played

T: Forrest Gregg , Packers 1956-1970, Cowboys 1971

Photo by Vernon Biever/Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Vince Lombardi called the NFL’s Iron Man “the finest player I ever coached,” and that’s coming from a guy who coached no less than ten Hall of Famers. Still, only the second most famous “Forrest G.” to play football.

By The Numbers: 9-time All-Pro

G: Conrad Dobler, Cardinals 1972-1977, Saints 1978-1979, Bills, 1980-1981

Photo by Focus On Sport / Getty Images

Maybe it was the eye-gouging…or the face-mask yanking… or perhaps the biting. Either way, it wasn’t for nothing that opposing teams joked that they’d need a string of garlic and a wooden stake before facing off against the “dirtiest player in the NFL.”

By The Numbers: 3-time Pro Bowler

G: Larry Allen , Cowboys 1994-2005, 49ers 2006-2007

Photo by Tim Heitman  / US PRESSWIRE

The history of football is lousy with physical freaks – guys who could run faster, throw farther and jump higher than nature should allow. But of all the players ever to suit up, none was stronger than the 11-time pro bowler.

By The Numbers: Could bench press over 700 lbs.

C: Chuck Bednarik, Eagles 1949-1962

Photo by  B Bennett / Getty Images

Concrete Charlie is best known for laying one of the most devasting hits ever on Frank Gifford, knocking Mr. Kathy Lee out of football for a year and a half. But the legendary Colts linebacker was also lined up at center, the “last of the sixty-minute men.”

By The Numbers: 10–time All-Pro


DE: Deacon Jones, Rams 1961-1971, Chargers 1972-1973, Redskins 1974

Photo by Focus On Sport / Getty Images

Blessed with cat-like reflexes and a serious mean streak, the “Secretary of Defense” would bust skulls with a vicious head slap on his way to the quarterback. In fact, he’s credited with coining the term “sack.”

By The Numbers: 173.5 career sacks

DE: John Matuszak, Oilers 1973, Chiefs 1974-1975, Redskins 1976, Raiders 1976-1982

Photo by Malcolm Emmons / US PRESSWIRE

Arguably the biggest hellraiser in football history, the 6’8”, 282 lb. “Tooz” played just as hard off the field as on it: he called vodka and valium the “breakfast of champions.” But, hey you guys, you may know him for another role, as the musclebound Sloth in Goonies.

By The Numbers: First pick in the 1973 Draft.

DT: Warren Sapp, Buccaneers 1995-2003, Raiders 2004-2007

Photo by Al Messerschmidt Archive / Getty Images

A 330-pounder really shouldn’t be able to run a 4.69 forty, but then, Sapp wasn’t any ordinary dude. After all, who would have imagined a grown-ass man skipping through a green field could scare the bejeesus out of an opposing team?

By The Numbers: Member of both the 1990s and 2000s NFL All-Decade Teams

DT: Randy White, Cowboys 1975-1988

Photo by Malcolm Emmons / US PRESSWIRE

Nicknamed “The Manster” (half man, half monster), White was so tough that in the nineties, Cowboys DE Charles Haley — one of the craziest players in history — rode his motorcycle into the retired White’s bar. White laid him him out cold. Apparently the only guy crazier than Haley was White.

By The Numbers: 9-time All-Pro

LB: Dick Butkus, Bears 1965-1973

Photo by Tony Tomsic / Getty Images

Is there a more iconic football photo than a snarling Butkus, glaring over the offensive line? Jack Lambert’s toothless maw, maybe? Sorry. “The Catch”? Uh-uh. No, if anyone personified smash-mouth football it was the most intimidating sonofabitch ever.

By The Numbers: 2-time Defensive Player of the Year

LB: Ray Nitschke, Packers 1958-1972

Photo by Tony Tomsic / Getty Images

Like Butkus, Ray Nitschke came from Eastern European stock, grew up in a tough Chicago neighborhood, went to Illinois, and terrorized the upper northwest as a quintessential middle linebacker. The main difference? Nitschke retired with five more rings.

By The Numbers: 5-time NFL Champ

LB: Lawrence Taylor, Giants 1981-1993


No player revolutionized the game like LT, who was faster than the speedsters and stronger than the he-men. Amazingly, he was almost as big a beast off the field as on it. As the man himself used to holler, “Let’s go out there like a bunch of crazed dogs and have some fun!”

By The Numbers: Too many to list

CB: Deion Sanders, Falcons 1989-1993, 49ers 1994, Cowboys 1995-1999, Redskins 2000, Ravens 2004-2005

Photo by Kevin Terrell / Getty Images

One of the fastest players in NFL history, Prime Time was also the flashiest: a high-stepping, end-zone dancing P-I-M-P who could torch you as a return man or as a pick-off wizard. The dude was also a two-way starter in 1995, and wasn’t two shabby on the baseball diamond, either.

By The Numbers: Ran a 4.27 40-yard dash in the 1989 combine

CB: Night Train Lane, Rams 1952-1953, Cardinals 1954-1959, Lions 1960-1965

Photo by David Boss / US PRESSWIRE

When Lane showed up at Rams camp in 1952, he was a 24-year-old Army vet. By the end of the year, the rookie had set an NFL record with 14 interceptions. By the time his career ended, Lane’s vicious hitting had forced officials to change the rules.

By The Numbers: 68 career interceptions

S: Jack Tatum, Raiders 1971-1979, Oilers 1980

Photo by Clifton Boutelle / Getty Images

Arguably the hardest hitter ever, the man they called “The Assassin” – who left Pats’ receiver Darryl Stingley paralized after one particulary vicious hit – would probably be Roger Goodell’s public enemy number one if he was still playing.

By The Numbers: 736 career interception yards

S: Pat Tillman, Cardinals 1998-2001

Photo by  Joe Robbins / Getty Images

While his on-field accomplishments may not compare to others on this team, few would argue that the former All-Pro was one of the toughest players ever. After all, what’s tougher than walking away from millions and giving your life for your country?

By The Numbers: Turned down $3.6 million in order to enlist


P: Sammy Baugh, Redskins 1937-1952

Photo by Darryl Norenberg / US PRESSWIRE

The two-time NFL player of the year was far more than a mere punter: as a punter, quarterback and defensive back for the Redskins in 1943, the freakish athlete led the league in passing, punting and interceptions.

By The Numbers: 7-time All-Pro

K: Paul Hornung, Packers 1957-1966

Photo by Vernon Biever / Getty Images

Like Baugh, Hornung’s fame rests on his all-around athletic prowess: in just 12 games in 1960, “the Golden Boy” scored a record 176 points as a halfback and placekicker. He was also a notorious carouser, once claiming, “Never get married in the morning – you never know who you might meet that night”.

By The Numbers: 2-Time MVP,  1956 Heiman Trophy-time

R: Gale Sayers, Bears 1965-1971

The “Kansas Comet” is remembered as much for his skills as a running back and his portrayal by the silky smooth Billy Dee Williams in classic weep-fest Brian’s Song as for his status as the best return man in football history.

By The Numbers: Once scored 6 touchdowns in a game