Brown remains one of only 12 receivers to surpass 14,000 receiving yards in the NFL, his 14,934 yards placing him 7th all-time. The statistical success cannot be understated, Brown was phenomenal for the Raiders over 15 years with the franchise.
Perhaps the best deep threat in the NFL at his peak, Brown’s speed made him a weapon on special teams, where he enjoyed great success as a kick returner. Brown is the only player ever to retire in the NFL’s top five leaders for both receiving and return yards. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
2) Alan Page – DL
Time with Notre Dame: 1964-1966
Entered the NFL: First Round Pick (15th Overall) in the 1967 NFL/AFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings
NFL Highlights: NFL Champion (1969), NFL MVP (1971), 2x NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 6x First-Team All-Pro, Pro Football Hall of Famer
Page has a special palace in Notre Dame history as he became a 2x national champion with the Fighting Irish. The second of which, Page as a leader on the 1966 championship team, was named a consensus All-American. Page transitioned into a dominant defensive lineman for the Vikings over an 11-year career in Minnesota.
Page played for the Vikings in arguably the franchise’s most successful period. He is one of only 11 Vikings to play in all 4 of the team’s Super Bowl appearances.
One of my favourite positional group nicknames ever, Page was a key piece of the “Purple People Eaters” Vikings defensive line that became famous for their ability to sack and rush the opposing quarterback. Including his fours seasons with the Chicago Bears defense at the end of his career, Page made 148.5 career sacks.
However, these sacks are an unofficial stat according to the NFL who only accredited sacks as an official statistic in 1982. Regardless, Page was a wrecking ball in the trenches. In 1971, Page became the first defensive player to be named MVP since the award’s inception. He remains one of only two defensive players to earn the award. (Lawrence Taylor 1986). A true phenom, Page earned his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in 1988.
1) Joe Montana – QB
Time with Notre Dame: 1975-1978
Entered the NFL: 3rd Round Pick (82nd Overall) in the 1979 Draft by the San Francisco 49ers
NFL Highlights: 4x Super Bowl Champion, 3x Super Bowl Champion, 2x NFL MVP, Pro Football Hall of Famer
The best quarterback ever? Montana certainly belongs in any discussion on the topic. While many consider Tom Brady to be the G.O.A.T “Joe Cool” arguably owned that title for decades. Throughout his career, the lights were never too bright for Montana. In fact, he thrived under the pressure of playing on the sports biggest stage. A 1977 national champion with Notre Dame, Montana entered the NFL still very much under the radar a 3rd round pick.