Photo Essays  


Published: May 16, 2013 at 09:58 p.m.
Updated: June 10, 2013 at 01:41 p.m.

NFL's Wild Things

In honor of “Where the Wild Things Are” author Maurice Sendak’s 85th birthday, we unveil our list of the NFL’s Wild Things.

32 Photos Total

  • 32. Bobby Layne 32

    National Football League

    32. Bobby Layne

    Clutch on the field and off of it, Layne was the field general for the last Detroit Lions teams to attain ultimate championship glory. The free-spirited Layne was a three-time NFL champion while with the Lions, and then the Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958. After being traded from one of the league's dominant teams of the time to one of its worst, Layne -- according to legend -- said the Lions wouldn't win another championship in 50 years. He was right. That 1957 championship is the last the Lions have won.

  • 31. Rex Ryan 31

    31. Rex Ryan

    While he might be subdued by his current situation (being the coach of the New York Jets can do that to a person), Ryan is still one of the most engaging personalities in the league. But hey, don't go get a snack just yet. (See what I did there?)

  • 30. Keyshawn Johnson 30

    30. Keyshawn Johnson

    It takes gumption to write a book titled "Just Give Me the Damn Ball" while you are currently playing in the NFL. His sideline battles with Jon Gruden were pretty legendary.

  • 29. Fred 29

    29. Fred "The Hammer" Williamson

    The star of the Kansas City Chiefs defense called out the Green Bay Packers prior to Super Bowl I. I'm trying to figure out if things ended up for Williamson or his character in "From Dusk 'Til Dawn".

  • 28. Jerry Glanville 28

    28. Jerry Glanville

    He wore all black and left tickets at Will Call for Elvis. But what will always stand out for me is him uttering the classic line, "The NFL stands for Not For Long ..."

  • 27. Rob Gronkowski 27

    27. Rob Gronkowski

    You get the feeling Gronkowski will be higher on the list once his playing days are over. But between his postgame Super Bowl dances and the Gronk spike, he's made quite a name for himself during his short career.

  • 26. Pat Tillman 26

    26. Pat Tillman

    The stories about Tillman preceded him prior to the NFL. He climbed the light towers at Sun Devil Stadium at times, and he also walked into Arizona State coach Bruce Snyder's office to tell him he wasn't going to redshirt (might have been an exaggeration, he once told me). In the NFL, he was known for riding his bike to practice, driving a beater and he spent his offseason training for triathlons.

  • 25. Terry Bradshaw 25

    Associated Press

    25. Terry Bradshaw

    Bradshaw has enjoyed a pretty successful post-NFL career on television and in the movies. Even as a player, he appeared in some legendary films such as "Hooper" and "The Cannonball Run". Let's just not bring up his singing career.

  • 24. Don Meredith 24

    24. Don Meredith

    Speaking of singing, Meredith was one of the most popular members of the Dallas Cowboys during his playing days, but he captured the hearts of Americans everywhere during his stint as a color commentator on "Monday Night Football".

  • 23. Shannon Sharpe 23

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    23. Shannon Sharpe

    Sharpe was pretty good with running his mouth during his time as a player. My favorite was when he picked up the phone at Foxboro and asked the president to send in the national guard. Classic.

  • 22. Jared Allen 22

    22. Jared Allen

    All right, he was a glaring omission in the memorable hairstyles list. So he's not being overlooked here. But realize he's more than a haircut!

  • 21. Art Donovan 21

    Associated Press

    21. Art Donovan

    Donovan's playing days were well before many of us were fans (and you're fortunate if you did get to see him play). But he's one of those guys who put together a great secondary career in broadcasting.

  • 20. Hollywood Henderson 20

    Associated Press

    20. Hollywood Henderson

    Henderson rose to notoriety when he insulted Terry Bradshaw and said he couldn't spell "cat" if you spotted him the "c" and the "t."

  • 19. John Riggins 19

    Ed Reinke/Associated Press

    19. John Riggins

    He was one of the free spirits of the 1970s, and it got him into hot water with the New York Jets. He found a home with "The Hogs" and the Washington Redskins. (Yes, this counts as a mention of "The Hogs".) He ended a holdout in 1981 by saying he was "bored, broke and back." He went on to win a Super Bowl MVP award.

  • 18. Ray Lewis 18

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    18. Ray Lewis

    The emotional leader of not only the Baltimore Ravens during his playing days, but the entire NFL. But seriously, you know you've made it when you're spoofed this hard on "Saturday Night Live."

  • 17. Michael Strahan 17

    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    17. Michael Strahan

    Strahan was always regarded as one of the most engaging personalities in the league when he was a member of the New York Giants. He then slid into a pretty high-profile gig opposite Kelly Ripa. Seriously, going from Tom Coughlin to Kelly? Upgrade!

  • 16. Brian Bosworth 16

    Paul Jasienski/Associated Press

    16. Brian Bosworth

    You know about the hair, the movies and getting run over by Bo Jackson. But did you know that the "Ban the Boz" shirts worn by many of the Denver Broncos faithful in the 1980s were actually produced by Bosworth's own company?

  • 15. Clinton Portis 15

    Caleb Jones/Associated Press

    15. Clinton Portis

    It's hard to imagine anybody who gave better interviews than Portis. Or should we say, Coach Janky Spanky, Dr. Do Itch Big or any of the other characters created by Portis.

  • 14. John Randle 14

    Greg Trott/Associated Press

    14. John Randle

    Randle was known as one of the best trash talkers of his era. And his eye makeup was something that seemed more suited to be one of the Road Warriors, not a Viking.

  • 13. Chad Johnson 13

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    13. Chad Johnson

    Child please! Johnson changed his name to Ocho Cinco (which will seem unbelievable to the next generation of football fans) and reached new fans as the first of his kind to embrace the Twitter age.

  • 12. Terrell Owens 12

    Tim Sharp

    12. Terrell Owens

    His end zone celebrations were something of legend. He stood on the star in Texas Stadium and another time he shook some pom-poms. But nothing will ever top the Sharpie in the sock gag. Nothing!

  • 11. Michael Irvin 11

    Micahel Mulvey/Associated Press

    11. Michael Irvin

    The playmaker was known for his end zone celebrations and taunts during his college days at Miami (Fla.). And then he brought it to "America's Team." And if you're wondering why he's the top receiver on this list, check out his hands -- there are three rings on 'em.

  • 10. Jim McMahon 10

    Fred Jewell/Associated Press

    10. Jim McMahon

    The "Punky QB" was known to wear shades indoors (even if they were for medical reasons), antagonize the commissioner with his head band. McMahon even mooned a television helicopter. He was the perfect ringleader for the 1980s bears.

  • 9. Mike Ditka 9

    Charles Bennet/Associated Press

    9. Mike Ditka

    Sure, sure he went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player and won a Super Bowl ring as a coach. But he was the basis for those epic "Saturday Night Live" Super Fan sketches. Da Bears! Who wins a game between 11 Ditkas and the NFL all-stars? Ditka!

  • 8. Joe Namath 8

    Associated Press

    8. Joe Namath

    Namath wore minks on the sidelines, caroused with the best of them and was known to toss around Super Bowl guarantees poolside in Miami. But he also modeled pantyhose, too. Oh, he won some big games, too.

  • 7. Warren Sapp 7

    Tom DiPace/Associated Press

    7. Warren Sapp

    Sapp liked to boast and he backed it up on the field, too. Even when he was challenged by opposing coaches. Now he's entertaining the masses on NFL Network.

  • 6. Deacon Jones 6

    National Football League

    6. Deacon Jones

    The defensive end was as quick with his wit as he was getting around an offensive lineman. He coined the term "sack" and was known for his disdain for quarterbacks.

  • 5. Fred Dryer 5

    National Football League

    5. Fred Dryer

    Dryer was viewed as the surfer from San Diego when he joined the Los Angeles Rams and he certainly didn't shy away from the stereotype driving around in a Volkswagon bus. He later went on to have a pretty successful TV career and was even considered for the role of Sam Malone on "Cheers" in the 1980s. And who can forget "Hunter" during the 1980s? Well, I saw it on VHS a long time ago.

  • 4. Vince Lombardi 4

    Associated Press

    4. Vince Lombardi

    He's still one of the most quoted coaches in NFL history. Some of the quotes are even true, too.

  • 3. Deion Sanders 3

    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    3. Deion Sanders

    "Prime Time" not only was one of the most colorful personalities of the NFL, but MLB, too. Now his segments on NFL Network are appointment television.

  • 2. 1970s Raiders 2

    Harry Harris/Associated Press

    2. 1970s Raiders

    This list could have been all Oakland Raiders. Kenny Stabler, the "Tooz," Ted Hendricks, and who can forget the coach who made it all work, John Madden? The Raiders were outlaws and followed the example set by legendary owner Al Davis. Yeah, we have to give it to the whole team here.

  • 1. Max McGee 1

    National Football League

    1. Max McGee

    McGee was at the end of his career when the Green Bay Packers reached the first Super Bowl. McGee figured he wouldn't see much playing time so he skipped out after bed check and spent the night drinking in Los Angeles. He was stunned when he was summoned into the game (he didn't even have his helmet out on the field). McGee battled a miserable hangover, but still went on to catch seven passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers' historic win.

Discuss ()