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Published: June 4, 2013 at 02:01 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2013 at 07:13 p.m.

Nineteen greatest individual NFL nicknames ever

With the passing of Deacon Jones, it's time to reflect on the greatest nicknames in NFL history. Something tells me David Jones makes this list. So let's get to it with the 19 best.

Take no offense, Purple Jesus, the Diesel, the Bus, A-Train, Tyler Rose, White Shoes or Bambi. Those are all wonderful nicknames. But sometimes you have to make the tough choices. I'm like the Turk of NFL nicknames, if you will.

19 Photos Total

  • Michael Irvin was the playmaker for the Cowboys. He might not have put up the gaudy touchdown numbers of some of his contemporaries, but Irvin always made the big plays. 19

    Chris Gardner/Associated Press

    19. The Playmaker

    Michael Irvin was the playmaker for the Cowboys. He might not have put up the gaudy touchdown numbers of some of his contemporaries, but Irvin always made the big plays.

  • Simple nicknames often work the best. But this one has a hidden meaning as Greene played for the "Mean Green" of North Texas State. 18

    Pro Football Hall of Fame

    18. Mean Joe Greene

    Simple nicknames often work the best. But this one has a hidden meaning as Greene played for the "Mean Green" of North Texas State.

  • The Cowboys defense of the 1970s had some great nicknames with the "Manster" Randy White and "Hollywood" Henderson. But again, sometimes simpler is better. "Too Tall" still resonates to this day. 17

    Associated Press

    17. Too Tall Jones

    The Cowboys defense of the 1970s had some great nicknames with the "Manster" Randy White and "Hollywood" Henderson. But again, sometimes simpler is better. "Too Tall" still resonates to this day.

  • Born in Pennsylvania, played college ball in Alabama, Joe Namath went on to become the king of Madison Avenue. 16

    Associated Press

    16. Broadway Joe

    Born in Pennsylvania, played college ball in Alabama, Joe Namath went on to become the king of Madison Avenue.

  • Craig Heyward made his name (pun intended) in the 1990s, but this great nickname harkens back to heady (pun intended again) days of the 1930s and '40s. 15

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    15. Ironhead

    Craig Heyward made his name (pun intended) in the 1990s, but this great nickname harkens back to heady (pun intended again) days of the 1930s and '40s.

  • Stephen Baker the "Touchdown Maker" is both brilliant and ironic. Baker had just 21 career touchdowns. I mean, how does he look Jerry Rice or Cris Carter in the eye at cocktail parties? 14

    Bill Waugh/Associated Press

    14. Touchdown Maker

    Stephen Baker the "Touchdown Maker" is both brilliant and ironic. Baker had just 21 career touchdowns. I mean, how does he look Jerry Rice or Cris Carter in the eye at cocktail parties?

  • Deion Sanders always had a flair for the big stage, so the Prime Time nickname seems perfect. Plus, I work with the dude so I had to put him in here. 13

    James D. Smith/Associated Press

    13. Prime Time

    Deion Sanders always had a flair for the big stage, so the Prime Time nickname seems perfect. Plus, I work with the dude so I had to put him in here.

  • Chuck Bednarik was the last of the 60-minute men, and this nickname perfectly encapsulates his rugged personality. And it's no coincidence he's ranked ahead of Deion Sanders, who Bednarik called out during his retirement. 12

    National Football League

    12. Concrete Charlie

    Chuck Bednarik was the last of the 60-minute men, and this nickname perfectly encapsulates his rugged personality. And it's no coincidence he's ranked ahead of Deion Sanders, who Bednarik called out during his retirement.

  • Call me a fan of alliteration. This just sums up Baugh perfectly, but it also kind of short-sells him too because he was a fantastic punter. 11

    Pro Football Hall of Fame

    11. Slingin' Sammy Baugh

    Call me a fan of alliteration. This just sums up Baugh perfectly, but it also kind of short-sells him too because he was a fantastic punter.

  • This is a great name for one of the most feared defensive backs of his era. But it's almost too manufactured. Like it's the working title of a Clint Eastwood movie of the 1970s, right? 10

    National Football League

    10. The Assassin

    This is a great name for one of the most feared defensive backs of his era. But it's almost too manufactured. Like it's the working title of a Clint Eastwood movie of the 1970s, right?

  • I like this nickname and probably would have had it higher on the list, but Transformers was a Marvel comic. 9

    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    9. Megatron

    I like this nickname and probably would have had it higher on the list, but Transformers was a Marvel comic.

  • "The Ghost" is a great nickname (and Dave Casper was considered for this list). And again, if you use alliteration, you're going to win me over. 8

    Associated Press

    8. Galloping Ghost

    "The Ghost" is a great nickname (and Dave Casper was considered for this list). And again, if you use alliteration, you're going to win me over.

  • In an era in which we've lazily taken to initials for nicknames, this is a refreshing throwback to nicknames of yore. 7

    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    7. Beast Mode

    In an era in which we've lazily taken to initials for nicknames, this is a refreshing throwback to nicknames of yore.

  • Not only is this a fantastic nickname, but Christian Okoye is often overlooked as one of the greats in "Tecmo Super Bowl". 6

    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    6. Nigerian Nightmare

    Not only is this a fantastic nickname, but Christian Okoye is often overlooked as one of the greats in "Tecmo Super Bowl".

  • If you've never seen Elroy Hirsch run, drop everything you're doing right now and YouTube him immediately. I'll wait. ... Perfect, right? 5

    Harold Filan/Associated Press

    5. Crazylegs

    If you've never seen Elroy Hirsch run, drop everything you're doing right now and YouTube him immediately. I'll wait. ... Perfect, right?

  • How can you look at William Perry and think about anything but the refrigerator? But give some credit to his brother Michael Dean Perry, who went by "The Ice Box." 4

    Associated Press

    4. The Refrigerator

    How can you look at William Perry and think about anything but the refrigerator? But give some credit to his brother Michael Dean Perry, who went by "The Ice Box."

  • Writer Jeff Pearlman contends Walter Payton earned the "Sweetness" nickname by taunting defenders during the Senior Bowl. Which somehow makes this even cooler. You might not have got your Super Bowl XX touchdown, Walter, but you're above Perry on this list! Almost as good, right? No? Rats. 3

    Reed Saxon/Associated Press

    3. Sweetness

    Writer Jeff Pearlman contends Walter Payton earned the "Sweetness" nickname by taunting defenders during the Senior Bowl. Which somehow makes this even cooler. You might not have got your Super Bowl XX touchdown, Walter, but you're above Perry on this list! Almost as good, right? No? Rats.

  • There was a misconception Dick Lane got the "Night Train" nickname because of a popular song at the time. But the truth is he received it because he took the night train due to his fear of flying. I feel you, there. 2

    National Football League

    2. Night Train Lane

    There was a misconception Dick Lane got the "Night Train" nickname because of a popular song at the time. But the truth is he received it because he took the night train due to his fear of flying. I feel you, there.

  • Somebody once asked Mr. Jones why he was referred to as "Deacon" and he simply said "nobody would ever be afraid of David Jones." While that sentiment remains debatable, there is no doubt Deacon Jones is the greatest nickname ever. 1

    National Football League

    1. Deacon Jones

    Somebody once asked Mr. Jones why he was referred to as "Deacon" and he simply said "nobody would ever be afraid of David Jones." While that sentiment remains debatable, there is no doubt Deacon Jones is the greatest nickname ever.

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