Can You Identify These NFL Legends From the Past Decade?

SPORTS

Gavin Thagard

7 Min Quiz

Image: Keith Allison via WikiCommons

About This Quiz

The NFL has changed a lot in the 2010s. Rules have been put in place to make the game safer while also increasing offensive production to make the product more entertaining to watch. However, with these new rules, players have to be looked at in a different light. The run-heavy, defensive slugfests of the past are out, and statistics are up, especially on offense. That means it's not uncommon for a quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards or a wide receiver to rack up over 1,000 yards through the air.

So how do players establish a legacy in this modern NFL? Regular season stats are still an indicator, even if they are inflated by rule changes that benefit the offense. It hasn't slowed down defenses from racking up sacks and interceptions, after all. Of course, there's always one surefire way for a great player to define their career: win a championship. Obviously, there are plenty of legends over the last decade who didn't win a title, but the ones who did so have left an imprint on the game that can never be removed.

Are you prepared to identify the biggest stars of the past decade, from statistical juggernauts to championship winners? If so, dive into this quiz, and see if your knowledge of the NFL matches that of other fans.

No player has won more over the past decade than this elite quarterback. Who is he?

At 42 years old in 2020, Tom Brady's future in the NFL might be in question, but there's no doubt that his legacy has already been cemented. A six-time Super Bowl champion and three-time NFL MVP, Brady is truly in a class of his own when it comes to accomplishments.

Advertisement

Do you recognize this defensive stud who terrorizes offenses through four straight quarters?

Entering the league in 2011, J.J. Watt immediately established himself as an impact player for the Houston Texans, where he has spent his entire career. In his first five seasons, Watt earned three Defensive Player of the Year awards, while leading the league in sacks twice.

Advertisement

What's the name of this elite receiver who smashed several NFL records in the past decade?

Calvin Johnson had perhaps the single best season of any wide receiver to ever play in 2012. That year, he led the league in receptions with 122 passes caught and set the single-season receiving yards record with 1,964 yards.

Advertisement

Few quarterbacks were as consistently great throughout their careers as which one shown here?

Unlike most players, Peyton Manning got to retire from the NFL on his own terms, following a Super Bowl victory to conclude the 2015 season. Manning was not at his best for most of the year, but he still made plays when the time called for it, which allowed him to go out a champion.

Advertisement

Can you identify this star running back who has run both through and around defenders to establish himself as one of the best players over the past decade?

If a player comes nine yards short of breaking the NFL single-season rushing record, they definitely have to be classified as a legend. That's exactly what Adrian Peterson did in 2012, winning the NFL MVP after rushing for 2,097 yards.

Advertisement

This cornerback forced offenses to throw the ball to one side of the field because he was so talented. How well do you know him?

Darrelle Revis was so talented that they named an entire side of the field after him when he played. This area was known as "Revis Island," and no receiver wanted to be stuck on it, playing against one of the greatest corners in NFL history.

Advertisement

Are you familiar with this linebacker who was a defining player on a tough Baltimore Ravens defense, until he joined the Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs in 2019?

Though he has since moved on, Terrell Suggs established his legacy with the Baltimore Ravens, where he holds the franchise record for the most sacks in a career. He also holds the team's record for career forced fumbles, making him one of the best defenders in the history of a franchise stacked with defensive talent.

Advertisement

Recognized as one of the greatest athletes ever at the quarterback position, who is this?

It takes a legend to replace a legend, and that's exactly what Aaron Rodgers did with Brett Favre in Green Bay. Since taking over as the starter for the Packers in 2008, Rodgers has made eight Pro Bowls and won two NFL MVPs.

Advertisement

Have you watched enough football in the past decade to identify this otherworldly tight end?

Injuries were the only thing that could keep Rob Gronkowski from making huge plays on the football field. A three-time Super Bowl champion, Gronkowski was always a threat in the red zone, recording 79 touchdowns in his nine-year career.

Advertisement

Known for both his leadership and play on the field, is this a cornerback you're familiar with?

Richard Sherman was part of a dominant defense for the Seattle Seahawks when they won Super Bowl XLVIII. In the championship game, the Seahawks held the Denver Broncos, who had the top offense in the league, to only eight points, and much of that had to do with players like Sherman.

Advertisement

How well do you know this player who has been holding up the end of defensive lines since 2008?

Due to the vast number of injuries, the NFL is a young player's league, with most players being out of the NFL after only a few seasons. However, Calais Campbell only got better with age, making three of his five Pro Bowls after the age of 30.

Advertisement

If a quarterback can set multiple offensive records, they'll probably go down as a legend. That's exactly what which quarterback depicted here has been able to do?

Helping to establish his legacy, Drew Brees delivered the New Orleans Saints their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history by winning Super Bowl XLIV against the Indianapolis Colts. Brees was named the MVP of the game after throwing for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

Advertisement

Who is this anchor for the offensive line in San Francisco?

Joe Staley has been one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL since he was drafted in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. A six-time Pro Bowler, Staley was named a starter for the San Francisco 49ers in just his first NFL season.

Advertisement

Do you recognize this safety who could sniff out a play before it happened?

Known as a student of the game, Ed Reed always came into a matchup prepared for the opposing offense. His knowledge helped him record 64 interceptions, which he returned for an NFL record 1,590 interception return yards.

Advertisement

Legacies are partially defined by championships, and this player has two of them. Can you identify him?

Despite not making the playoffs, Ben Roethlisberger had his best statistical season in 2018, at the age of 36. Throwing a league high 675 passes, Roethlisberger finished the season with 5,129 yards and 34 touchdowns, showing that he's not finished building his legacy.

Advertisement

The ball seems to stick to this receiver's hands. Who is he?

Larry Fitzgerald has been one of the top receivers in the NFL for over 15 seasons, earning a place in 11 Pro Bowls while also making three All-Pro teams. To add to his legacy, Fitzgerald has twice led the NFL in receptions and twice in receiving touchdowns.

Advertisement

Name this legendary cornerback who finished his career with the Denver Broncos?

The only accomplishment Champ Bailey wasn't able to add to his resume was a Super Bowl championship. The Hall of Fame cornerback did compete in Super Bowl XLVIII, but his Denver Broncos lost to the Seattle Seahawks.

Advertisement

There are few tight ends in NFL history with the receiving skills of which legend, shown here?

When a player's name is mentioned near that of Jerry Rice, they clearly have accomplished something spectacular. That's exactly the position Tony Gonzalez finds himself in, as he's ranked third in career receptions, behind Rice and Larry Fitzgerald, with 1,325 receptions.

Advertisement

Are you familiar with this quarterback who showed up in the biggest moments?

Eli Manning never put up the stats to be considered a great regular season quarterback, but he has two of the greatest Super Bowl performances in NFL history, taking home two Super Bowl MVPs. One of those came against an undefeated New England Patriots team when Manning led the New York Giants to a 17–14 victory.

Advertisement

Though still in his prime, this defensive tackle is already a legend. What's his name?

Drafted with the 13th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Aaron Donald made six straight Pro Bowls between 2014 and 2019. He was also named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice in his short career, proving that even young players can establish a legacy.

Advertisement

Identify this running back whose powerful running style defined his career?

Viewed as a potential bust after three and a half seasons in Buffalo, Marshawn Lynch revamped his career when he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks. In his first full season in Seattle, Lynch made the Pro Bowl after rushing for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Advertisement

How well do you know this defensive end who could stuff the run or pressure the quarterback?

Even in the latter part of his career, Julius Peppers was still productive, adding stats to further secure his future place in the Hall of Fame. Over the course of his final two seasons, Peppers recorded 16 sacks and forced four fumbles against opposing teams.

Advertisement

One of the best deep threat receivers to ever take the field, is this a player you're familiar with?

Perhaps Julio Jones' greatest skill is his ability to get down the field on pass plays. Not only can he blow the top off a defense, averaging over 15 yards per catch, but he can also secure the catch, utilizing his large frame to box out defenders.

Advertisement

This linebacker has been chasing down running backs sideline to sideline since his rookie season. Who is he?

In his first year in the league, Luke Kuechly showed everyone his potential as an elite defender, recording 164 combined tackles to lead the league. For his play, Kueckly was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. The seven-time Pro Bowler hasn't slowed down since.

Advertisement

What's the name of this running back who continues to produce well into his 30s?

Running back is a tough position to play in the NFL, and most of them are done by the age of 30. However, Frank Gore has been productive well into his 30s, rushing for over 1,000 yards three times since he hit that mark.

Advertisement

Do you recognize this legend whose impact was always felt on special teams?

Teams were so scared of Devin Hester's return ability that they often refused to even kick the ball in his direction. After all, he did set the NFL record for all-time returns for a touchdown and punt returns for a touchdown.

Advertisement

Despite numerous accomplishments, the only thing this legend hasn't won is a Super Bowl. Can you name him?

Philip Rivers has at one point or another led the league in multiple categories, including passing yards, passing touchdowns, passer rating and completion percentage. His regular season play has earned him eight trips to the Pro Bowl.

Advertisement

Will you be able to identify this Hall of Fame linebacker who finished his career in the last decade?

Ray Lewis was a legend over the course of three different decades in the NFL. Getting his start in 1996, Lewis made it to the Pro Bowl on 13 different occasions — at least twice in all three decades.

Advertisement

A legend with a Super Bowl MVP on his resume, who is this?

The second overall draft pick in 2011, Von Miller was a star from the moment he entered the league. In his rookie season, Miller started 15 games and recorded 11.5 sacks, earning him the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Advertisement

Consistency is key for any receiver to gain the trust of their quarterback, and this receiver was as consistent as anyone. Do you know him?

Wes Welker was one of the few wide receivers to play for the New England Patriots over the last decade not to win a championship. Welker joined the Patriots in 2007 and competed in two Super Bowls with the Pats, but the team lost both times to the New York Giants.

Advertisement

Are you familiar with this hard-hitting safety, known for crushing opposing receivers before they could catch the ball?

Troy Polamalu had perhaps his best season in 2010 when he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. That season, Polamalu recorded a career-high seven interceptions, returning them for a total of 101 yards.

Advertisement

Can you identify this shifty running back who is always a threat in the open field?

During the past decade, LeSean McCoy led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2011 and rushing yards in 2013. Both seasons, he earned a spot in the Pro Bowl while also making the First-Team All-Pro.

Advertisement

Which legend shown here can lay claim to being one of the fiercest defenders in NFL history?

Earl Thomas was the final member of the "Legion of Boom" on the roster for the Seattle Seahawks, after the departure of the other players who made up one of the greatest secondary units in NFL history. Thomas finally departed the team in 2019, ending an era in Seattle.

Advertisement

Is this legend who spent his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys familiar to you?

Despite being perhaps the greatest tight end to ever play for the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Witten was never able to reach the Super Bowl, let alone win a title. However, the veteran tight end has played in eight playoff games, recording 45 total catches for 486 yards.

Advertisement

How familiar are you with this quarterback who went from a game manager to an elite passer?

Russell Wilson had his first 4,000 yard passing season in 2015, completing 68.1 percent of his passes for 4,024 yards. He also had 34 touchdowns that year to only eight interceptions, putting himself right in the middle of the MVP conversation.

Advertisement

Name this defensive tackle who was so dominant it took two or three players to block him?

Vince Wilfork stuffed the middle of the line for the New England Patriots from 2004 through 2014. His play on the interior of the defensive line helped the Patriots win both Super Bowl XXXIX and Super Bowl XLIX.

Advertisement

Productivity made which receiver depicted here a legend on the gridiron?

Andre Johnson was a stellar deep-threat wide receiver during his prime, at one point averaging 15.5 yards per catch. Only once did he finish with less than 10 yards per catch, ending his career with an average of 13.4 yards per catch.

Advertisement

Do you recognize this legendary edge rusher who spent most of the last decade as a journeyman in the NFL?

Dwight Freeney made a name for himself with the Indianapolis Colts, where he made all seven of his Pro Bowl appearances. He also was a major reason the Colts won Super Bowl XLI, as he helped balance out the high-powered offense led by Peyton Manning.

Advertisement

Identify this receiver who's a proven legend despite his controversial nature?

Known for his conditioning, Antonio Brown rarely disappointed when he was actually on the field. Brown twice led the league in receiving yards and twice in receptions, defining a career that should earn him a place in the Hall of Fame.

Advertisement

This defensive legend has a resume filled with accomplishments. Who is he?

From winning the Heisman Trophy in college to being named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in the pros, Charles Woodson has done it all on the football field. However, Woodson would probably define his greatest accomplishment as winning Super Bowl XLV, as he was always a team player first.

Advertisement

Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!