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Published: March 19, 2013 at 04:25 p.m.
Updated: March 19, 2013 at 08:32 p.m.

NFL Madness

While the sporting world braces for thrilling bracket-busting upsets, let's take a moment to celebrate the special few in football who brought madness onto the field or from the sidelines.

19 Photos Total

  • Dick Butkus 19

    Associated Press

    Dick Butkus

    Even Butkus' peers were fearful. As Los Angeles Rams legend Deacon Jones said, "Roses are red, violets are blue, if you have any sense, you'll keep Butkus away from you."

  • Marshawn 18

    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch

    Lynch's 67-yard touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 playoffs was so insane that it set off a seismic event in Seattle.

  • 17

    Associated Press

    "Concrete" Chuck Bednarik

    The last of the 60-minute men in the NFL, Bednarik played angry -- "this is the way you go after them ... you're frothing from the mouth, and you say 'get him!' 'get him!'" Bednarik -- who played both center and linebacker -- passionately carries a torch for the old-school NFLer, holding contempt for the situational player in the modern game.

  • Conrad Dobler 16

    Ray Stubblebine/Associated Press

    Conrad Dobler

    Dobler once got in a casket just to feel how comfortable it was. The verdict? The former St. Louis Cardinals offensive lineman -- who developed a reputation as the meanest man in football -- liked it.

  • Jack 15

    Associated Press

    Jack "The Assassin" Tatum

    At the center of the renegade aura that surrounded the Oakland Raiders of the 1970s was Tatum, whose severe hits are the stuff of legend.

  • Jack Lambert 14

    Associated Press

    Jack Lambert

    Out to deliver a crushing hit and follow it with mean words, Lambert (nicknamed "Count Dracula in Cleats") was an intimidating force on a "Steel Curtain" defensive unit that helped fuel a run of four Super Bowl wins in six seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • 13

    Harry Cabluck/Associated Press

    "Mean" Joe Greene

    Greene was the cornerstone of the Pittsburgh Steelers' turnaround from laughingstock to the dynasty of the 1970s. While transforming the fortunes of his team, Greene developed a reputation for having a temper and being a tad bit on the uncontrollable side on the field.

  • Deacon Jones 12

    National Football League

    Deacon Jones

    Jones was an absolute terror on the field, and his gift for gab has entertained -- and, to some degree, enlightened -- football fans in the years since his retirement: "I'd made up my mind that I wasn't taking any prisoners and the wounded would be shot."

  • Ronnie Lott 11

    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    Ronnie Lott

    Already known as one of the game's toughest players, Lott took his reputation to another level when he had his injured finger amputated so he wouldn't miss a game.

  • Dick 10

    Preston Stroup/Associated Press

    Dick "Night Train" Lane

    Clothesline and facemask tackles were outlawed in large part because of Lane, who is arguably the hardest-hitting cornerback in NFL history.

  • Ray Nitschke 9

    National Football League

    Ray Nitschke

    Nitschke -- the ferocious anchor of Vince Lombardi's talented defense -- was described by Green Bay Packers teammate Jerry Kramer as a "junkyard dog."

  • James Harrison 8

    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    James Harrison

    While developing a nasty reputation for logging penalties and fines for taking contact on the field to levels outside the rulebook, Harrison also managed to pull off one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history.

  • Ndamukong Suh 7

    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Ndamukong Suh

    Suh's style of play earned him dirtiest player in the NFL honors -- as voted on by his peers. Two nationally televised incidents on Thanksgiving Day haven't helped discredit that notoriety, the first came against the Green Bay Packers in 2011, and again in 2012 against the Houston Texans.

  • Bronko Nagurski 6

    Associated Press

    Bronko Nagurski

    The mythology of the leather-helmet era in pro football is often personified by Nagurski, who starred on both sides of the ball as a romping-stomping fullback and bone-crushing linebacker for a Chicago Bears outfit earning its distinction as the "Monsters of the Midway."

  • Mike Ditka 5

    Alan Mothner/Associated Press

    Mike Ditka

    "Da Coach" was an intense, no-nonsense, Super Bowl-winning coach for the Chicago Bears, who also carried on an off-the-field rivalry with the media.

  • Vince Lombardi 4

    Associated Press

    Vince Lombardi

    In the midst of an epic run of winning five NFL championships in seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s, Lombardi's fierce sideline intensity was well-documented by the fine folks at NFL Films ("What the hell is going on out here?!?").

  • Bill Cowher 3

    Phil Coale/Associated Press

    Bill Cowher

    Known for his furious scowl, Cowher's sideline rage was highlighted during a "Monday Night Football" game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1997 when he nearly tackled Chris Hudson after a blocked field goal cost the Pittsburgh Steelers a victory.

  • Jim Mora 2

    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Jim Mora

    Mora's "playoffs?!?" rant following a heartbreaking loss during the 2001 season with the Indianapolis Colts will be relived forever (or, at least as long as sporting champions are determined through a playoff system).

  • Dennis Green 1

    Will Powers/Associated Press

    Dennis Green

    Follow a rather disturbing "Monday Night Football" loss to the Chicago Bears, Green -- then head coach of the Arizona Cardinals -- went on a memorable postgame tirade. You should watch it.

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