Who is the biggest hitter in NFL history?
By: Jake Rajala
There have been a plethora of savage-like hitters in NFL history. It’s easy to reminisce about the dark hits from Kam Chancellor on his prey, but let’s not forget about the rampage from the likes of old-school faces: Dick Butkus & Jack Tatum (also known as the Assassin). The biggest NFL hitters in NFL history have scared opposing play-makers, created turnovers, and amped up the crowd. With that enunciated, I’m going to untwine the 10 biggest hitters in NFL history.
10. Sean Taylor
The once greek god-like safety for the Washington Commanders, Sean Taylor, is widely recognized as one of the most ferocious hitters of the 21st century. The extremely intense and slightly crazy persona in Gregg Williams once had a statute of Taylor in his office (which speaks to how imposing Taylor was). The coolest highlight of Taylor may rest in his hit against punter Brian Moorman in the Pro Bowl.
9. Vontaze Burfict
The former LB for Cincy, Vontaz Burfict, may have crossed the line in his playing days, but that shouldn’t erase the most physical, clean-ish moments in his career. Burfict was an old-school LB & which was reflected in many of his hits against WRs crossing the field & even QBs. He was slightly more lethal and legitimate than the modest, thumper LB Kiko Alonso, who played in similar times.
8. Brian Dawkins
Brian Dawkins aka Weapon X was simply one of the most ruthless, reliable safeties in NFL history. Dawkins managed to yield his will on an infinite amount of occasions, but he wasn’t able to win a Super Bowl ring. Yet, he did manage to garner a gold jacket in 2018. It’s clear that Chauncy Gardner-Johnson is striving to be the next special Eagles safety.
7. Kam Chancellor
“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long” – Blade Runner
Kam Chancellor didn’t play for an overly long time in the league, but he was quite rememberable for his eight-year journey. Chancellor could be remembered for sending Vernon Davis to Davey Jones’s locker or laying the boom against the prominent and unfortunate deceased wideout Demaryius Thomas in Super Bowl XLVIII.
- Brandon Browner
Brandon Browner was unequivocally the enforcer on the infamous “Legion of Boom” defense. Browner once demolished Wes Welker and Ladarius Green. Very Sadly, Browner is in jail for attempted murder. With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed his self-reflection in an interview & I believe he will find a way to be an influential, positive figure when he is released in a few more years.
Browner was also a menace on special teams — which can’t be said by many prolific defenders (besides none other than Sean Taylor).
6. Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence Taylor was actually insane and it was beautiful. Buddy Ryan once tried to crack block LT and it, unfortunately, worked to perfection. After Ryan really made LT upset, the former Giants defender absolutely crushed the Giants QB on numerous occasions. Bill Belichick and the rest of the NFL world know that Taylor was the most prolific defensive profile in NFL history.
5. Dick Lane
Dick “Night” Train Lane played the CB spot, but that didn’t prevent him from annihilating opposing players. He held the record for the most interceptions in a single season while being a Juggernaut hitter. Lane was annually able to clothesline players without getting penalized. In addition, he wasn’t scared to heavily pop players in the face.
4. James Harrison
James Harrison may honestly be squatting 500 pounds in the nursery home in the distant future. It seems like Harrison refuses to slow down. Harrison’s attitude was unmatched by the Dick Labeau-orchestrated Steelers defense. The former sinful Steelers LB was constantly a mega thumper and of course: Kurt Warner’s worst nightmare.
3. Dick Butkus
It’s hard to ignore the magic from Dick Butkus, who was one of the fieriest LBs in the 1960s and 1970s. He was shifty and fully capable of steamrolling opposing play-makers. It could be said that modern Saints LB Demario Davis plays with a similar style as Butkus. If you don’t believe that Butkus was unique in a terrifying manner, please watch the video below.
2. Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis was an unbelievably tenacious LB & he was a monster reason why his squad won two Super Bowl rings. Lewis made notable hits against Kellen Winslow and Dustin Keller in his career. Lewis also played for a whopping 17 seasons, so it’s impossible to forget his entirety of daunting hits.
1. Jack Tatum
Jack Tatum definitely deserved his nickname, “The Assassin”. Tatum was a true John Wick-like character for the Las Vegas Raiders. His best work came when he delivered the biggest hit in NFL history on Sammy White. NFL Films dubbed him as the sixth hardest hitter in NFL history, but I believe his top-end artwork should place him at the top of the food chain.