The 3 Best NFL & MLB Players of All Time

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  • By Ralph Warner
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On Tuesday night, the American League beat the National League 10-8 in MLB's 89th All-Star game. The game went extra innings and had an All-Star record 10 home runs. In 1989, Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson launched a dinger on his way to taking home MLB All-Star MVP honors. In 1990, Bo was selected for the Pro Bowl -- making him the first, and only, player to earn All-Star honors in both MLB and the NFL.

Since 1970, only seven athletes have played both in both the NFL and MLB. The last player to accomplish this was Drew Henson, who played third base for the Yankees from 2002-2003 and QB for the Cowboys in 2004 and Lions in 2008. (Sorry, Russell Wilson. Playing in spring training is awesome, but it doesn't qualify you for this list.)

In honor of Bo's rare feat, let's look back at the very best athletes to excel in both professional football and baseball.

3. Brian Jordan

Career: NFL (1989-1991), MLB (1992-2006)

Accolades: 1999 MLB All-Star, 1991 Pro Bowl alternate

When you talk about dual-sport pro athletes, Brian Jordan is probably not the first player who comes to mind. That being said Jordan enjoyed a long career in baseball, logging more MLB games (1,456) than any other NFL player. He scored 100 runs in 1998 and followed up with 100 more the next year, leading to an All-Star appearance in 1999.

Jordan's NFL career was brief but it wasn't due to a lack of production. He led the Atlanta Falcons in tackles in 1991 and was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate.

Jordan never played NFL and MLB at the same time, though. In 1992, he signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals who offered the outfielder a $1.7 million bonus to play baseball exclusively, and that was the end of Jordan's football career.

2. Bo Jackson

Career: NFL (1987-1990), MLB (1986-1994)

Accolades: 1990 Pro Bowler, 1989 MLB All-Star, 1989 All-Star MVP

Bo Jackson spent four years playing both in the MLB and NFL at the same time. During those years he left his mark on both sports and pop culture. His ability to excel as both a running back and outfielder led to Jackson becoming the first player to play in both MLB and the NFL since the 1960s.

Bo's popularity was enormous. During the 1989 MLB All Star Game, after Jackson had established himself as a star in both leagues, Nike unveiled the legendary "Bo Knows" ad campaign.

There's also the legend of "Tecmo Bo," aka the greatest athlete in video game history. Football fans and sports game enthusiasts still tell tales of just how ridiculously good Jackson's Tecmo Bowl alter ego was.

If that weren't enough, Jackson even has his own wrestling move. Pro wrestler Mark Angelosetti aka Mr. Touchdown dubbed his finishing move -- a wheelbarrow/stunner combination -- the "Bo Jackson."

As aforementioned, Jackson is also the only athlete to be selected to a Pro Bowl team and MLB All-Star team. Bo's feats are so unbelievable they sound like your uncle at the cookout after he's had a few too many, going on how he broke every record in his school's history. The only difference is Bo actually did do those things.

1. Deion Sanders

Career: NFL (1989-2005) MLB (1989-1995, 1997, 2001)

Accolades: Pro Football HOF, 2x Super Bowl Champion, 8x Pro Bowler, NFL DPOY 1994, 1992 NL Triples Champion

Many think of flash when they think of Deion Sanders, but behind the glitz was a historically great athlete. Sanders had the most longevity in both sports of any other athlete totaling 641 MLB games and 189 with the NFL.

Sanders lived up to his "Prime Time" nickname, as he remains the only player in sports history to score a touchdown and hit a home run in the same week. He's also the only athlete to play in both a World Series and Super Bowl -- Sanders hit .533 and stole 5 bases for the Braves in the 1992 World Series.

In 1994, Sanders won a ring with the 49ers at Super Bowl XXIX where he snagged an interception. The next season, Neon Deion parlayed his success into a long-running sweepstakes as NFL teams lined up to sign the superstar CB. It wasn't until Week 2 of the 1995 season that he signed with the Dallas Cowboys who made him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL at the time. It paid off. In 1996, he helped the Cowboys win their fifth Lombardi trophy at Super Bowl XXX -- in addition to playing CB, he returned a punt, and caught a 47-yard pass from Troy Aikman. Although they happened in different games with different teams, Sanders is the only player in Super Bowl history to record an interception on defense and a reception on offense. He has the second-most non-offensive career touchdowns of all time at 19 (Devin Hester is No. 1 with 20).

Comparing Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, you're talking about two of the greatest athletes of all time. But the thing that truly elevates Sanders is his longevity. Deion spent nine seasons in the MLB and 14 in the NFL. To put that into perspective, the average NFL career is about three years. Sanders played for over quadruple the league average and he spent nearly a decade playing in the MLB. That just doesn't happen, and it may never happen again.

All that, yet he still found time to drop this classic...

Well, Beyonce liked it.

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