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Braden: Top 5 Most Famous Athletes in American Football. In this lesson, we’re looking at the top 5 most famous athletes in American Football. We decided to do a lesson like this because there are so many amazing athletes in football. It can be difficult to know who is who.
Ann: To make the best of the best list, we had to consult with many people who really knew football.
Braden: We like football and think it’s fun to play, but we needed someone who knew a bit more than we do, or even better, several people who knew more than we do.
Ann: Luckily, we found them and they help us build an awesome lesson. So, our top 5 athletes are Dick Butkus, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Bart Starr, and Jerry Rice.
Braden: We’re gonna tell you why they are so awesome. Our Number 5 most famous athlete in American football is Dick Butkus.
Ann: He played as the Chicago Bears' middle linebacker for nine years and was one of the best of the best.
Braden: For example, in his rookie season, Butkus was the a first-round draft choice, Rookie of the Year, and in the Pro Bowl.
Ann: The Pro Bowl is a special postseason game of all the best players of that season.
Braden: And the story of Dick Butkus is very interesting. He had the speed and agility to make tackles anywhere he wanted to.
Ann: He could push around the heaviest and the strongest but also sprint with the fastest.
Braden: However, because of his drive to always be the best, he pushed himself often beyond his own physical limits.
Ann: Dick Butkus was forced to retire from football after only nine seasons because of a serious knee injury.
Braden: As proof of his importance and his quality as a football player, Dick Butkus was elected into the Hall of Fame on the very first year of eligibility after retirement.
Ann: Our number four most famous athlete in American football is Joe Montana. Joe Montana is a legend in football.
Braden: Joe Montana played the position of quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. A quarterback is the person who throws the ball.
Ann: He's kind of like the Merlin of football and his ability to win games and lead his team is frequently referred to as "Montana Magic."
Braden: Probably, his most famous magical moments are due to his ability to lead his team to a comeback win.
Ann: A "comeback win" is when you are losing the game but you fight, score, and then end up winning the game. Joe Montana has 31 fourth-quarter comeback wins.
Braden: Besides that, he also has impressive statistics including throwing over 400 yards in one game, seven times. He also threw over 300 yards in a single game of 39 times.
Ann: At the time of his retirement, he ranked fourth ever in career passing yardage with over 40,551 yards. His career attempts were over 5,391 and his career passing touchdowns were at 273. That's a minimum of 1638 points that he is responsible for.
Braden: That’s a lot of points. Our third most famous athlete in American Football is Dan Marino. Dan Marino was the first pick for the Miami Dolphins in 1983.
Ann: He lived up to that preference the next year by leading the Dolphins to win 14 of their 16 games and become the division champion.
Braden: For example, in the 1984 Division Championship, Marino passed for 421 yards and threw four touchdowns to win 45-28 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ann: Before his retirement, Dan Marino broke the records for attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns.
Braden: Marino's career totals are a roughly 60% passing completion rate (which is nearly unheard of in the NFL). And all those passes add up to a total of 61,361 yards. That’s a lot of yards.
Ann: He also threw the ball more than 4000 yards in a single season, six times.
Braden: It’s pretty amazing. Okay, so our second most famous athlete in American Football is Bart Starr. Now, if you look at statistics, Bart Starr being on this list might not make a whole lot of sense. It might be kind of surprising.
Ann: In almost every aspect in which a quarterback can be judged, Bart Starr is very far down the list. For several years of his career, Bart Starr rarely even got to play.
Braden: But when Vince Lombardi became the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, where Bart Starr played, everything changed.
Ann: You see, football is more than just throwing the ball and pushing people around. It's a strategy game as well. Bart's ability to think clearly and make good decisions under pressure made him very valuable.
Braden: Very, very valuable, and one of the most famous players in NFL history. However, the media in general seems to almost ignore Bart Starr.
Ann: This is probably because he rarely threw any game-winning catches. He rarely did anything spectacular.
Braden: But, year after year, the Green Bay Packers were division champions and won the Superbowl twice.
Ann: One record he does hold is the lifetime record for completing passes. His percentage of passes completed over 16 years of playing football is over 57%.
Braden: Most NFL quarterbacks are around 30% for the same time period, so he’s nearly doubled the quality of passes that he makes than most quarterback. Pretty impressive.
Ann: And our number one most famous athlete in American football is Jerry Rice.
Braden: Now, Jerry Rice is not only the most famous football player of all-time but probably the most valuable and best football player of all-time.
Ann: For example, just in his rookie year, he caught 49 passes, ran the ball for 927 yards, and scored three touchdowns.
Braden: An interesting tidbit here that Jerry Rice and Joe Montana (who was #4 on our list) both played for the San Francisco 49ers, and they also played at about the same time, they played together.
Ann: Some of Jerry’s most impressive career records include 14 seasons running the ball more than 1000 yards, catching the ball 1549 times, and 208 touchdowns
Braden: When you add all of that up together, that's at least 1248 points scored just by one man. Also, while he played for the San Francisco 49ers, he also won the Super Bowl three times. He is an amazing player. Well, that just about does it for today. Thanks for listening.
Ann: See you next time.