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Published: July 10, 2013 at 05:39 p.m.
Updated: Dec. 13, 2013 at 11:02 a.m.

Friday the 13th: Scariest players in NFL history

Football is a sport filled with Gore and Galloping Ghosts, Nigerian Nightmares and Monsters of the Midway, but we’re not chronicling terrifying nicknames. For Friday the 13th, we’re going to check out some of the scariest players on the field who brought fear to all opponents

12 Photos Total

  • Honorable mention: Jack Tatum 12

    National Football League

    Honorable mention: Jack Tatum

    Anybody nicknamed "the Assassin" deserves to be considered for the list of scary players. No player put fear into his opponents like Tatum, whose hits became the stuff of NFL legend during his playing career.

  • Honorable mention: Conrad Dobler 11

    National Football League

    Honorable mention: Conrad Dobler

    Not many offensive players are going to be considered, but Dobler certainly fits. Dobler made such an impression on opponents that when Merlin Olsen starred in TV's "Father Murphy," one of the prop tombstones on the set purposely had Dobler's name on it.

  • Honorable mention: Jim Brown 10

    Associated Press

    Honorable mention: Jim Brown

    Brown is another offensive player who deserves to be on this list. As graceful as Brown could be, he was a punishing runner who seemed to relish delivering a blow while fighting for extra yards. Brown exemplified everything you would want from a running back. Opposing players were probably hoping that he ran out of bounds.

  • Honorable mention: Dick 'Night Train' Lane 9

    National Football League

    Honorable mention: Dick 'Night Train' Lane

    If you earn the nickname, "Night Train," it's obvious that you put some fear into your opponents. The name came from Buddy Morrow's hit record, and Lane hated it at first. But when you are known as the "Night Train" because you hit people too hard, well, then that is a name you warm up to.

  • Honorable mention: Ray Lewis 8

    Rafael Suanes/US Presswire

    Honorable mention: Ray Lewis

    Now, here are some honorable mentions for players that you have heard of to keep you from adding them into the comments section, starting with Lewis who continues to strike fear into his opponents despite playing in his 16th NFL season.

  • Honorable mention: Tony Romo 7

    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Honorable mention: Tony Romo

    Well, he's only scary for Cowboys fans when the game is in his hands. But that has to count, right? All right, time for the list of the six scariest players in NFL history. Without further ado ...

  • 6. Jack Lambert 6

    Rusty Kennedy/Associated Press

    6. Jack Lambert

    Nobody captured the Steelers' menacing image quite like Lambert, whose toothless grin continues to haunt the minds of Raiders, Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams fans. No seriously, I still have nightmares about this guy.

  • 5. Chuck Bednarik 5

    John G. Zimmerman/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

    5. Chuck Bednarik

    "Concrete Charlie" struck fear in opposing players as both an offensive and defensive player, the last of the 60-minute men. In fact, if you mentioned Bednarik's name to Frank Gifford right now, he would likely cower in the fetal position. Bednarik's 1960 hit on Gifford kept the NFL's golden boy out of the league for a full season.

  • 4. Deacon Jones 4

    National Football League

    4. Deacon Jones

    Not many were scarier than Jones, the guy who coined the term "sack." Jones relentlessly chased quarterbacks, and his patented head slap of opposing offensive linemen was eventually outlawed. Once, an opposing lineman sharpened the buckles of his helmet to counteract Jones' head slap. Although bloodied, Jones continued to deliver punishment to the contraband dome of his opponent.

  • 3. Lawrence Taylor 3

    Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

    3. Lawrence Taylor

    Taylor is considered by some to not only be the best defensive player in NFL history, but possibly the game's greatest player. Taylor did things on the field that had not been seen before, and watching film on this guy was scarier to offensive players and coordinators than any horror film.

  • 2. Dick Butkus 2

    National Football League

    2. Dick Butkus

    Not only was Butkus the player a tough guy, but just saying his name is enough to cause fear in opposing players. Sports Illustrated called Butkus the "most feared man" in the NFL in 1970, and there are few who would argue. Not only was Butkus just an overall tough, scary guy, he also might have bent a rule from time to time, or might have taken a few liberties with a ball carrier from time to time. But that might just be the stuff of legend. Yes, a legend like Dracula.

  • 1. Jack Youngblood 1

    National Football League

    1. Jack Youngblood

    We all know the story of how Youngblood played in the 1979 NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XIV with a broken leg. But the dude played in the Pro Bowl with a broken leg (you can hear more on the Dave Dameshek Football Program). Meaning, Younblood is a lot like the Terminator: You just can't seem to do anything to stop him. I mean, if a broken leg isn't going to slow him down, what will?

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