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Billy Spikes's All Time Top Ten Safeties
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Billy Spikes


Joined: 12 Jul 2008
Posts: 41343
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 10:35 pm    Post subject: Billy Spikes's All Time Top Ten Safeties Reply with quote

I updated a list i made a couple of years ago, in my opinion a safety is the 2nd most important position after Defensive End on defense, a good safety can make a huge impact on both the run game and passing game, the elite have helped their teams win a lot of games and championships, this is my list of the top ten all time Safeties to play the game.

Career accomplishments [especially post-season success] were a big factor to this list, not only stats but the ability to make an impact on the defensive unit the player was a part of, so keep that in mind.

Honorable Mentions:

13 - Jack Tatum
"The Assassin", a furious hitter who was a part of a great Raider defensive backfield during his playing time, Tatum was a part of the Raiders championship team in Super Bowl XI and is remembered well because of a hit he put on Vikings receiver Sammy White who knocked and broke the receiver's helmet. The 3 time Pro-Bowler also has a part in another big moment in NFL history, the "Immaculate Reception", Tatum was the player who hit Steelers RB John Fuqua and knocked the ball up in the air.

Tatum has 37 career INT's and holds the record for the longest fumble return for a TD with his 104 yard return against the Packers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gARi1MIyPRc




12 - Steve Atwater
A two time Superbowl champion and one of the biggest hitters in NFL history, Atwater played just 11 seasons due to injuries but has made a big impact for the Denver championship teams of the 1990s, one of the most beloved Broncos players of all time turned one of the worst rushing defenses around with his arrival to the team in 1989, the Broncos rush defense went from the 27th spot to the 7th spot in one year, despite only 24 career INT's, Atwater ranks high because he was often used in a scheme the placed him as the 8th player on the box which allowed him to make an impact against the run, Atwater totaled 1,038 career tackles and was named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team aswell as 8 Pro-Bowls and 2 All-Pros.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yScioc_dmXg



11 - Jack Christiansen
Outside of been a terrific return man [returned 8 punts for touchdowns in his career] Christiansen was a great safety, the Hall of Famer was selected to six consecutive All-Pros and played in five consecutive Pro Bowls, he picked off an unheard of 46 passes in only 89 games in his 9-year career with the Lions, the one time NFL champion led the league with 12 INT's in 1953.

He was also selected to the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team.



The List:

10 - Kenny Easley
The main reason Easley is this low on the list is because his career was cut short due to a number of injuries and health issues, he only played 74 games during a 7-year career with the Seahawks that started with him been selected 4th overall out of UCLA in the 1981 draft.

Despite only playing 7 seasons [and only playing a full season twice], Easley was selected to the Pro-Bowl 5 times and was named All-Pro 4 times in addition to been named the NFL's defensive player of the year in 1984 after picking off 10 passes and returning them for 126 yards and two TDs.

Easley was part of the NFL's 1980s All-Decade Team.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quxbCQ4m8Ww



9 - Troy Polamalu
Polamalu is one of the most impactful Safeties to ever play in the NFL, and that is evidenced by the change in Steelers win/loss record when he's in and out of the lineup. When Polamalu plays with the Steelers, their record is 86-44, but when he's out of the lineup their record is 17-13.

For the most part, the reason that Polamalu is only 9th on the list is because injuries limited his 11-year career to 130 games in comparison to most of the other safeties [injuries also effected his play on the field when he did play, as seen in the 2007 and 2012 seasons], but the 7-time Pro-Bowler and 5-time All-Pro helped the Steelers reach 4 championship games and win 2 Superbowls.

Polamalu, who has 30 career INT's, was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and was selected to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0R0djSFq-s



8 - Brian Dawkins
A 2000s All-Decade Team selection, "Weapon X" has played the position with a great amount of intensity and fire that were displayed every time he stepped on the field, a big factor against both the run and pass for 16 NFL seasons with both the Eagles and Broncos, Dawkins recorded 1150 tackles, 26 sacks and 37 INT's in 224 games.

During his time with the Eagles, Dawkins played in five NFC championship games [including 4 straight] and a Superbowl. He is a 9 time Pro-Bowler who was named All-Pro 6 times.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe5B8W8ZyR4



7 - Emlen Tunnell
Playing in just 167 career games, Tunnell picked an unbelievable number of passes [79], the two time NFL champion was selected to 9 Pro-Bowls and was named All-Pro 8 times, he was selected to the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team.



6 - Larry Wilson
The Hall of Famer spent his entire 13-year career with the Cardinals, recording 52 INT's and 5 TD's, he originally entered the league as a CB but quickly switched to the FS position and made a huge impact against the pass, Wilson was an 8 time Pro-Bowler and 8 time All-Pro and was selected to both the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team and the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team as well as NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skLIaPEdM64



5 - Rodney Harrison
A natural leader that held a Patriots defense in 2004 that featured a starting undrafted rookie free-agent, a 2nd year player and a 34-year old widereceiver as the top 3 CBs on a team that won a championship.

The 3-time All-Pro and 2-time Pro-Bowler has played in 186 career games and recorded 1,227 career tackles, 34 INT's and amazing 30.5 career sacks which made him the only player to have at least 30 INT's and at least 30 sacks in his career [until Ray Lewis joined him after 204 games]

The 2-time Superbowl champion also played in 5 championship games and 4 Superbowls, joining the Patriots in 2003 finally allowed Harrison to show his ability as a great clutch player, in 6 playoffs games in the 2003-2004 seasons Harrison was responsible to 8 turnovers, including 6 INT's.

He finished Super Bowl XXXIX with 7 tackles, a sack, two INT's and was responsible for a forced fumble.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0is3rf-TA6c



4 - Ken Houston
One of the more complete safeties of all time, Houston was a great player against both the run and pass. The 12-time Pro-Bowler was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 after a career which featured 49 INT's and 12 total touchdowns.

Houston was also a part of the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team and the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgEtYlyiLXo



3 - Ed Reed
Reed is the best playmaking Safety in NFL history, without question. Reed has had an incredible career ever since entering the league in 2002 with the Ravens, his career accomplishments include the NFL record for longest interception with a 108 yard return [the previous record was amazingly also his], He's a 3 time NFL interceptions leader, holds the NFL record most career interception return yards with 1,541 and is the NFL's all time leader career post-season interceptions with 9. Those are numbers you would expect from a video game and amazingly he was able to do it all in just 160 career games.

Reed was criticized at times for not been strong in run support but he has always been a solid tackler who is able to land a big hit on receivers. By winning the Superbowl in 2012 Reed established a brilliant career with a championship.

During his 12-year career Reed recorded 606 tackles, 61 INTs and 9 TDs, he also blocked 4 punts and returned a punt himself for a touchdown.

Reed was named defensive player of the year in 2003 and is a 9 time Pro-Bowler and 8 time All-Pro who was named to the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFUQE100RsI



2 - Paul Krause
Krause finished his career with an outstanding number of INT's [81, the NFL record] in 226 career games, he finished his rookie season with 12 INT's and kept the high level of play the rest of his career, the 8 time Pro-Bowler and 8 time All-Pro was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

Paul was a great "Center Fielder" who appeared in all 4 of Vikings Superbowls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnCDwKz9I8k



1 - Ronnie Lott
A true Warrior who didn't mind sacrificing a piece of himself for the love of the game and showed the passion needed to help his team win, Lott played both the safety and cornerback positions at an extremely high level showing great instincts and play making ability since his rookie season in 1981.

The Hall of Famer recorded 63 INT's in his career, 8.5 sacks and 5 TD's.

He's a 10-time Pro-bowler, 8 time All-Pro and 4 time Super Bowl champion was a part of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVKVHvMJKT8


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Last edited by Billy Spikes on Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:39 pm; edited 3 times in total
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clubmember


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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 49ers have too many players that are debatably best ever at their position. No fair! Confused

Last edited by clubmember on Fri May 17, 2013 2:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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LuckyNumber11


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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may be hovering but I think Adrian Wilson deserve a HM as well
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LuckIsGOAT


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate the effort but I stopped reading when I saw Troy Polamalu at 9. Troy is a top 4 safety at absolute worst.
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BlaqOptic


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LuckIsGOAT wrote:
I appreciate the effort but I stopped reading when I saw Troy Polamalu at 9. Troy is a top 4 safety at absolute worst.


Then make a case for him being above the other guys...
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JammerHammer21


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Rodney is too high. He is a very good safety and obviously had a huge impact on the Pats, but I don't think he was that good.
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sandiegoraider1


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JammerHammer21 wrote:
I think Rodney is too high. He is a very good safety and obviously had a huge impact on the Pats, but I don't think he was that good.


Yeah I might even move him all the way down to honorable mentions. Still prolly top 10 though.
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Tooki


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's sad that Kenny Easley had a short career. I could see him being in the discussion for the #1 safety of all time if he maintained his level of play for a few more years.
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Vikefan79


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joey Browner? Where is he
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LuckIsGOAT


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BlaqOptic wrote:
LuckIsGOAT wrote:
I appreciate the effort but I stopped reading when I saw Troy Polamalu at 9. Troy is a top 4 safety at absolute worst.


Then make a case for him being above the other guys...


He's just better. Stats can't measure how dominant he is as a football player. You know it when you see it, Troy Polamalu is on a different level.
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Last edited by LuckIsGOAT on Fri May 17, 2013 11:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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Billy Spikes


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LuckIsGOAT wrote:
I appreciate the effort but I stopped reading when I saw Troy Polamalu at 9. Troy is a top 4 safety at absolute worst.


If you put it like that, I'm not sure you even *read* anything at all, because i have my reasoning to putting him at 9 on this list.

But you can try to make a case for him over the players in front of him if you want.
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nugpimpen


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like the list but I can't agree with Dawkins over Troy.
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Jaguarfan


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LuckIsGOAT wrote:
BlaqOptic wrote:
LuckIsGOAT wrote:
I appreciate the effort but I stopped reading when I saw Troy Polamalu at 9. Troy is a top 4 safety at absolute worst.


Then make a case for him being above the other guys...


He's just a better.

Applause Good argument.
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kmvoss


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LuckIsGOAT wrote:
BlaqOptic wrote:
LuckIsGOAT wrote:
I appreciate the effort but I stopped reading when I saw Troy Polamalu at 9. Troy is a top 4 safety at absolute worst.


Then make a case for him being above the other guys...


He's just better. Stats can't measure how dominant he is as a football player. You know it when you see it, Troy Polamalu is on a different level.


So you're not going to read his argumentation and you're not going to offer your own argument. Instead you decide to be lazy and exude an obnoxious air of sciolism, proclaiming knowledge but nothing to show for it.

Anyways, thanks for the write up Billy. Appreciate the effort!
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J Pep 4 Step


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was an enjoyable read. Thanks.

Only gripe I have is Harrison. I would likely have him as an HM and find room for Tatum or Atwater.
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