Yesterday, we released articles naming the most overrated player in the history of each NFL franchise. People weren’t happy about it, so we decided to turn around and named the most underrated player in the history of each team! This is the NFC edition!
The Most Underrated Player in the History of Each NFL Team: NFC Edition
The Green Bay Packers- Sterling Sharpe
Sterling Sharpe, the brother of hall of fame tight end, Shannon Sharpe, was a spectacular receiver for the Green Bay Packers before a neck injury cut his career short. He only played for seven seasons, but over that span, he averaged 85 catches for 1,162 yards and nine touchdowns. If Terrell Davis is in the Hall of Fame despite having a short career, then Sterling Sharpe should be too.
The Chicago Bears- Bennie McRae
From a name you know to one you don’t, Bennie McRae is one of those players history has forgotten. And it’s not your fault if you don’t know the name, I only do because my grandfather was a devout fan of the Chicago Bears and he told me to look him up one time. And I’m glad I did, because Bennie McRae was one of the NFL’s first elite cornerbacks. If you look at his numbers from a time period where people just weren’t throwing the ball, they’re fantastic. 27 interceptions back in the 60’s? Unreal.
The Minnesota Vikings- Jim Marshall
This poor guy. Jim Marshall is known for one thing, and one thing only, and that’s the wrong way run. He is absent from the Pro Football Hall of Fame because of that one terrible play. Sacks weren’t registered when he played, but it’s believed that he took down the quarterback 127 times. That’s more than Derrick Thomas had. Everyone else in the Purple People Eaters is remembered fondly, so why not Marshall?
The Detroit Lions- Barry Sanders
This is such a ridiculous cop-out, but one you’ll have to allow me. For my money, Barry Sanders might be the best football player of all time. No amount of praise is enough. He’ll always be underrated for me. If you think this is bad, I almost picked Calvin Johnson.
The Atlanta Falcons- Tommy Nobis
Tommy Nobis had 294 tackles in 14 games. 294 tackles. 14 games. That’s insane. That doesn’t even make sense. That defies all reason. He was the very first Falcon, and the best part of a very, very bad team. He was Rookie of the Year, a pro bowler, and an All-Pro, and yet, he’s absent from Canton… why?
The Carolina Panthers- Steve Smith
Steve Smith had no business being a dominant football player. He was only 5’9, and yet he absolutely terrorized the NFL for over a decade. He made some really mediocre quarterbacks look good, and was able to make big plays even after he lost some of his speed. Steve Smith deserves to be a first ballot hall of famer, even at a position that is notoriously difficult to get enshrined.
The New Orleans Saints- Deuce McCallister
Before Drew Brees made 5,000 yard passing seasons look easy, there was another offensive powerhouse in New Orleans, and his name was Deuce McCallister. He was the heart of the New Orleans Saints when Hurricane Katrina hit, and a three year span where he rushed for 4,103 yards and 30 touchdowns cement his place on this list.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Ronde Barber
When you think of the great Tampa Bay Buccaneers defenders, for some reason, Ronde Barber’s name isn’t mentioned first. John Lynch, Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, and Lee Roy Selmon get talked about, but the star defensive back gets ignored. He went 13 seasons without missing a game and never lost a step for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He registered 47 interceptions with the Bucs, and hopefully he’s earned a spot in Canton.
The Dallas Cowboys- Tony Romo
Who has the most passing yards in Dallas Cowboys history? Tony Romo. Who has the most passing touchdowns in Dallas Cowboys history? Tony Romo. Who has the most fourth quarter comebacks in Dallas Cowboys history? Tony Romo. Who threw the most interceptions in Dallas Cowboys history? Troy Aikman. Tony Romo got hurt a lot, and he never won a championship for Dallas, but that’s about all he did wrong.
The Philadelphia Eagles- Donovan McNabb
Imagine this. You’re the all time leading passer in franchise history in every positive category. You led the team to the playoffs eight times, including five NFC Championship appearances and a Super Bowl berth. Now imagine that you spent your entire time, literally from the moment you were drafted until you came back as a member of a division rival, being booed. Imagine being the best quarterback in franchise history, and having your fanbase chant for Kevin Kolb. Yeah. That happened.
The New York Giants- Harry Carson
Much like Zach Thomas was overshadowed by Jason Taylor, Harry Carson was overshadowed by Lawrence Taylor. Carson is one of the best linebackers of all time, and he was just a big a part of those Super Bowl teams as Taylor was, and the nine Pro Bowl berths prove that.
The Washington Redskins- London Fletcher
Fans of the Washington Redskins are very familiar with London Fletcher. The undersized linebacker could do it all at linebacker and he never missed a game as a member of the Washington Redskins. With the burgandy and gold, he had 11.5 sacks, 12 interceptions, and he forced nine fumbles. That’s just insane.
The Seattle Seahawks- Steve Largent
Steve Largent was one of the best wide receivers of all time. Largent was the man that held all of the receiving records before Jerry Rice broke them, and he didn’t have Joe Montana, Steve Young, or Rich Gannon throwing him passes. Largent was an absolute beast, but history seems to have forgotten him in this pass-happy era.
The San Francisco 49ers- Frank Gore
After dominating for most of the 80’s and 90’s, the San Francisco 49ers were hard to watch for most of the 2000’s. Between 2003 and 2011, the team didn’t sniff a winning record. That didn’t mean they were all bad though. Running back Frank Gore was a rare bright spot in a very dark time for the 49er Empire. He averaged over 1,100 yards per season for the 49ers, and while he’s not in the same conversation as Jerry Rice and Joe Montana, the 49ers should remember him fondly.
The Los Angeles Rams- Steven Jackson
Joe Montana to Steve Young. Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck. Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers. Many times in NFL history, a Hall of Famer has given way to another. However, this rarely happens with running backs. That is what happened with the Rams, however. After Marshall Faulk finally hung up his boots, Steven Jackson came in and filled them admirably. He was a dominant back for the Rams during their “greatest show on turf” hangover, and will hopefully find a home in Canton, Ohio someday.
The Arizona Cardinals- Roy Green
Who in the world is Roy Green? One of the most versatile players in NFL history. He did everything from return kicks to catch passes to play defensive back in his time with the Cardinals. Who else can you think of that registered multiple interceptions, multiple thousand yard receiving seasons, and multiple kick return touchdowns in their careers? Not even Deion Sanders can say that.
So? What do you think? Did we miss anyone? Are a few of these guys actually overrated? Let us know in the comment section below! That was the NFC version of the underrated list. Be sure to check out the AFC version of the list as well.