Football isn’t only about scoring, and sometimes it’s the team with the best defense that wins. It’s the job of the defense to stop the quarterback from running the show, by sacking them or intercepting their passes. These defensive stars are the best in history at shutting down NFL offenses.
Brett Favre is arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but if it wasn’t for Reggie White, the Packers legend might never have won the Super Bowl. White had so much heart and desire that offensive blockers could form a brick wall and the defensive end would still find a way through.
Once he broke through the blockers there was no way he would leave the quarterback standing, he was taking him down. White’s only Super Bowl victory came in 1997, but he was voted Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and 1998.
Offensive blockers knew they were in for a tough time anytime they faced off against Lawrence Taylor. Their job was to protect their quarterback, but Taylor was so big and powerful it was practically impossible. His influence on offensive teams meant they had to put more effort into blocking him, leaving teammates free to sack the quarterback.
Not that he didn’t get his fair share of QB takedowns, it became what he was best-known for. Taylor is the perfect linebacker and when a coach is looking for one, they want them to be in his mold. The linebacker spent his entire career with the Giants, and helped them to two Super Bowls in 1987 and 1991.
“Win at all costs” must have been Mel Blount’s motto as he was fearless in his pursuits of offensive players. Putting his own body on the line every time he stepped on the field, the only thing that mattered for Blount was to stop the other team scoring.
He was so good in his cornerback role that it wasn’t uncommon to see him intercept the ball and set off for the end zone himself. Blount looked like he could predict the future and was often already in place ready to catch the ball as soon as it left the quarterback’s’ hand. He won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1970 to 1983.
Deacon Jones is the reason why so many defenses now try to sack the quarterbacks. He was the first to take down the QB on a regular basis, and did so before the NFL even recognized a sack as an official term. Jones even came up with the name himself!
The former Los Angeles Rams end practically invented the rush, and he was relentless in hunting down the league’s best quarterbacks. His ability to put the offensive team on the back foot led to his recognition as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year twice.
These players spent their career making quarterbacks look ady by dropping them to the ground or snatching their passes from teammates. They are the greatest defensive players of all time in the NFL.