Since the turn of the 21st century, the NFL has continued to be one of the most popular pro sports leagues on the entire planet. Many of the best players are household names in America and around the world. How much do you really think you know about NFL stars who have played since 2000?
Yes, you already know that Tom Brady is the celebrated quarterback of the New England Patriots. But do you know where he rode the bench for much of his college career? And do you have any idea how many NFL records he’s broken as a starter in the pros?
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is exceedingly short (5’11) by NFL standards. But he’s already accomplished things much taller (and more highly anticipated) quarterbacks have failed to do — including winning the Super Bowl. What do you know about the NFL’s other underrated stars?
Although QBs get most of the glory, the NFL is full of other big names. There are the beefy, powerful linebackers like Von Miller, Luke Kuechly, Bobby Wagner, and Vic Beasley. Do you know any other current defensive players who blow up plays with regularity?
From running backs like David Johnson and Jay Ajayi to wide receivers such Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant, today’s NFL is packed with more amazing players than ever before. Take our NFL stars quiz now and see if you know these 21st century gridiron warriors!
Who was the sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft and is now a star receiver with the Falcons?
In college, receiver Julio Jones was lucky enough to win a BCS Championship at Alabama. He’s still a southern boy, but now he plays for the Falcons, where he's the go-to man for Matt Ryan.
Who is the only QB to win five Super Bowl titles in the 21st century?
He was a sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan when he landed in coach Bill Belichick’s sphere of influence with the Patriots. Under Belichik’s tutelage, Tom Brady went on to win five Super Bowl titles, tied for the most ever.
He beat cancer and is the top safety with the Kansas City Chiefs. Who is he?
In 2014, Eric Berry was diagnosed with lymphoma. He beat the disease and returned to the field, making him the 2015 Comeback Player of the Year and inspiration to the whole Chiefs locker room.
He was a star linebacker at Texas A&M and now leads the Broncos defense. Who is he?
Von Miller was a consensus All-American at A&M. Then, he took his talents to Denver in 2011, and he’s already six-time Pro Bowler.
In 2012, he was the first rookie wide receiver to make the Pro Bowl in nearly a decade, and he did so as a member of the Bengals. Who is he?
A.J. Green was extraordinary right from the start. He was a Pro Bowl selection as a Bengals rookie, a fact that justified his high (fourth overall) pick in the draft.
Who is the flashy starting QB for the Dallas Cowboys?
Prescott was flung into the stoplight when QB Tony Romo suffered (yet another) injury. He didn’t wilt under pressure — instead, the rookie led Dallas to the top of the conference.
In his first four seasons, he caught 400 passes for the Dolphins. Who is he?
No other player has ever caught 400 passes in his first four seasons. Dolphins standout Jarvis Landry did just that, and also led the entire NFL in receptions in 2017.
Which super-fast WR is nicknamed "Cheetah"?
The Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill is ridiculous fast. On kick returns, especially, "Cheetah" often makes defenders look like they’re standing still.
Five times, he’s passed for more than 5,000 yards in a season. Who is he?
Drew Brees is a relentless passing phenom. Five times, he’s passed for more than 5,000 yards. No other QB comes close to that feat.
Who was a sixth-round pick and then became a star receiver for the Steelers?
Antonio Brown was a sixth-round pick out of Central Michigan. He used that very large chip on his shoulder to become an extraordinary go-to receiver for the Steelers.
Who is the Giants receiver who makes as many headlines for his unruly behavior as he does his on-field ability?
Beckham, Jr. has the slashing speed and great hands to make incredible catches. But as Giants fans often groan, he’s perhaps best known for being undisciplined and unruly to the point of distraction.
Since joining the the league in 2015, he’s led the entire NFL in interceptions. Who is he?
Marcus Peters gained respect for his playmaking ability in Kansas City, where he led the entire league in total interceptions since 2015. He’ll try to duplicate his sucess with the Rams.
Which player was selected as AP Player of the Year for TWO different positions in 2015?
Khalil Mack is so good that he was picked as the AP’s Player of the Year for two positions — outside linebacker and defensive end, with the Raiders. He also still holds the NCAA’s record for forced fumbles, which he recorded while at the University of Buffalo.
He’s a free safety who helped the Seahawks win a Super Bowl versus the Broncos. Who is he?
The texture of the game changes when safety Earl Thomas is on the field for the Seahawks. His vicious hitting ability and leadership is a primary reason the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII against the Broncos.
He’s the QB who led the Eagles to a Super Bowl win over the Patriots. Who is he?
Foles seemed doomed to a permanent backup role when injuries thrust him to the starting position in Philadelphia. He led the Eagles to an unexpected triumph against the Patriots — and was named the game’s MVP, to boot.
Who holds the record for sacks with the Houston Texans?
J.J. Watt has been slowed by injuries recently, but he still holds Houston’s record for total sacks and also forced fumbles. When he’s healthy, his presence alone changes the offense’s strategies.
In college, he was a star QB for a Florida team ... and now he’s a star QB for a Florida-based NFL team. Who is he?
At Florida State, Jameis Winston not only won the Heisman, but he won a national title, too. Now he’s trying to lead Tampa Bay to an NFL title.
Which star player has led his team to eight Super Bowl appearances?
Brady’s consistency is legendary — he’s led the Patriots to eight Super Bowl appearances, more than anyone else in NFL history.
For years, he was the best wide receiver in Green Bay. Now he plays for Oakland. Who is he?
Jordy Nelson was QB Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target in Green Bay. He was traded in rather insulting fashion to the Raiders after the 2017 season.
He was a very consistent QB for the Redskins and now plays for the Vikings. Who is he?
Cousins did everything right in his campaigns for the Redskins, but when his price tag went too high, the club shipped him off to the Vikings. Given the Redskins' organizational disarray, the move may be a very good one for this star QB.
Who is a star receiver for the Arizona Cardinals?
Since entering the league in 2004, WR Larry Fitzgerald has been an 11-time Pro Bowler. And he is — so far — third in all-time receptions.
Who is the first-string tight end for the New England Patriots?
For years, Rob "Gronk"kowski has been the best tight end in the NFL. But tough injuries have made it much harder for him to excel in recent games.
Which QB led his team to a win over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV (2009 season)?
In 2009, with New Orleans still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, Drew Brees led the Saints on a tour de force during the regular season. Then, in the Super Bowl, he led a rally to beat the Colts, led by QB Peyton Manning, 31-17.
Who was the fourth pick of the 2015 draft and went on to become a top receiver for the Raiders?
Cooper was a fabulous receiver for Alabama and became the fourth overall pick of the 2015 draft. Since joining the Raiders, he’s made the Pro Bowl twice.
Which RB was extraordinary in college at Pittsburgh and then went on to play for another Pennsylvania team in the pros?
LeSean McCoy scored 14 TDs in his first year at the University of Pittsburgh, and was later drafted by the Eagles. In his second NFL season, he topped 1,000 yards and made first team All-Pro.
He’s a star tight end for the Chiefs and also starred in his own dating TV show. Who is he?
Kelce is the dashing young tight end for the Chiefs, one who seems capable of taking Ron Gronkowski’s throne as best tight end in the league. He’s also the star of a dating TV show called "Catching Kelce."
He was a great running back at Northern Iowa before being drafted by Arizona in 2015. Who is he?
David Johnson rushed for 49 TDs at UNI and then proved he belonged in the NFL. With the Cardinals, in 2016 alone, he rushed for more than 1,200 yards.
He has Thor-like hair and plays linebacker for the Packers. Who is he?
Clay Matthews bounds around the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field with his long golden locks streaming from out of his helmet. In 2010, he had 13.5 sacks en route to a season that found the Packers winning the Super Bowl.
He’s the star QB for the Raiders and always looks like he’s wearing mascara. Who is he?
Derek Carr has been a revelation for the Raiders, helping the team contend for the AFC West title. And for whatever reason, his pretty eyelashes seem to be permanently coated with black mascara.
This QB led the Chiefs to two consecutive division titles and was then traded to Washington. Who is he?
Smith was one of the steadiest QBs in the league during his stint with Kansas City ... but he couldn’t help the Chiefs find success in the playoffs. He’ll try to take his game to the next level with the Redskins
You Might Also Like
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!