The National Football League (NFL) is arguably one of the most followed sports leagues worldwide. With millions of annual average viewers, the NFL has become one of the most awaited sports spectacles among football enthusiasts and speculators. 

    Founded in 1920, the NFL has built a brand through memorable and iconic football moments, halftime shows, and legendary football players in 32 clubs that play in the league. In this list, we will recount the icons and moments defining the NFL. As a true NFL fan, you shouldn’t miss any on this list!

    Most Iconic Figures in the NFL

    Starting with the main actors in the field, let’s get to know the most iconic figures in the NFL. If you have been routinely following FanDuel NFL odds and lines over the years, you probably know everyone on this list!

    Jerry Rice

    Former American wide receiver Jerry Rice holds multiple receiver records, making him one of the most popular clutch players in the league’s history. His impressive catching ability led to 1,549 career receptions, making him the top receiver up until now. In addition, Rice also holds the most career yards (22,895), most career receiving touchdowns (197), most career total touchdowns (208), and most career all-purpose yards (23,546). 

    In 2010, Rice was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was in 2006 when he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. In the league, he was honored as a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, and the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

    Tom Brady

    Tom Brady was a former quarterback of the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was arguably the best quarterback of his generation, boasting multiple NFL records under his belt. Brady holds the most career passing yards (89,214), most career passing touchdowns (649), most career passing completions (7,753), most career passing attempts (12,050), and most career quarterback wins (251).

    Moreover, Brady was known as the only quarterback who won three Super Bowls in three different decades. At age 40, he was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the NFL, making his career one of the most decorated ones in the league.

    Lawrence Taylor

    With two Super Bowl wins, linebacker Lawrence Taylor has impressive statistics: tackles (1,088), sacks (132.5), forced fumbles (33), fumble recoveries (11), interceptions (9), and defensive touchdowns (2). Regarded as one of the best defensive players of all time, Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. 

    Jim Brown 

    Actor and iconic football fullback Jim Brown has gone down in history as one of the NFL’s greatest running backs ever. When he retired, he secured the following records: 12,312 rushing yards, 106 touchdowns, and 2,359 time carries.  It was in 1971 when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his inspiring career in the NFL.

    Walter Payton

    Former Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton once held records for all-purpose yards, yards from scrimmage, carries, touchdowns, and career rushing yards, among many other categories. In addition, he made the most receptions by a non-receiver, recording eight career touchdown passes. 

    The NFL’s Greatest Moments

    Let’s look at the list below for the century-old football league’s highlights!

    • Perfect Season for Miami Dolphins (1972)

    The only team that swept through the entire regular season, playoffs, and the Super Bowl was the Miami Dolphins in 1972. There were only 14 games in the 1972 league, and the Dolphins secured a 17-0 record that season. The team lost quarterback Bob Griese in week 5 as he suffered from a broken ankle. Nonetheless, he was replaced by Eal Morrall following the void in the team. 

    From there, they won the AFC Championship Game. Griese was able to get back on track and led the team to their Super Bowl VII win. 

    • Helps the Country Heal After the 9/11

    Following the 9/11 attack, the NFL resumed their games the following weekend. The overwhelming cheers from the New York Giants fans during the team’s match against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 23, 2011, have somehow helped the country heal after the tragedy. In the passing days, more NFL matches have helped many Americans cope with the situation, making the league somehow like a mender of many devastated hearts. 

    • 1991 Super Bowl

    The 1991 Super Bowl was the league’s closest Super Bowl game in history. The match was held during the ongoing Gulf War, so the security at the venue was really tight during that time. The Buffalo Bills lost to the New York Giants, 20-19, after Norwood failed his 47-yard field goal in the game’s final seconds. When the kick missed, Buffalo Bills fans were all merry, while the New York Giants supporters face-palmed in disappointment.

    • Giants Ruining Patriots Perfect Season (2007)

    The 2007 New England Patriots came close to matching the Miami Dolphins perfect season in 1972. They went 16-0 in the regular league season but eventually lost the Super Bowl to New York Giants. Compared to the Dolphins, who had 14 games to dominate, the Patriots got more than two to match the achievement that season. 

    In the final regular season of the game, the Patriots entered the field as 12-point underdogs but nonetheless outplayed the heavy favorite New York Giants in three straight playoff games. However, the Giants eventually won the Super Bowl, 17-14, snatching the perfect season from the Patriots. 

    • The One-Yard Short of Tennessee in 2000

    The Super Bowl XXXIV was played between the St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans. The play was dubbed “The Tackle” and has remained one of the top moments in NFL’s history. The Titans fell a yard short. Bruce’s game-winning touchdown was made possible by Kurt Warner’s 73-pass yard. The exhilarating play ushered to the end of the 16-16 tie, which led to the 23-16 win of the Rams against the Tennessee. 

    Final Thoughts

    The NFL, being one of the most popular thrilling spectator sports, continuously shapes legendary football players, who have also starred in iconic moments in the league for over a century now. What’s more, the NFL has cemented its name as North America’s most profitable sport, generating billions of dollars every season, which can be credited to the icons and moments that define the league since 1920.