Baby Boomers Should Remember These Past NFL Stars. Do You?


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: NFL

About This Quiz

From traditionalists to millennials, every generation lays claim to having the best experiences growing up, particularly if they're discussing sports. When it comes to the NFL, baby boomers might just have the best case. After all, they watched the sport develop from the NFL-AFL merger in the '60s through the cable television boom of the '80s. 

One of the most intriguing aspects of this growth was the players who made football so fun to watch each week as families gathered around their televisions to catch a glimpse of the greatest legends of the gridiron. These star athletes constantly pushed the boundaries of what their positions on the field could do, revolutionizing both their side of the ball as well as the entire game. 

How well do you remember these players who the baby boomers grew up idolizing? Are you familiar with their contributions to the game? Will you be able to identify them if we show you an image? This quiz will provide you with the opportunity to do just that. 

From the earliest Super Bowl contenders through the elite defenders to the offensive juggernauts, this quiz covers the greatest stars the NFL has ever seen. Find out if you can run up the score or if you'll crumble beneath the pressure.  

What's the name of this legend who won the first Super Bowl with the Packers?

Bart Starr had a mediocre college career at the University of Alabama, where he barely played the final two seasons of his career. The lack of play caused Starr to drop to the 17th round in the 1956 NFL Draft.


Do you know the name of this player who was the first draft pick ever selected by the Dallas Cowboys?

Bob Lilly spent his entire 14-year career with the Dallas Cowboys, where he won a Rookie of the Year award and was selected to 11 Pro Bowls. Cowboy fans loved him so much that they nicknamed him "Mr. Cowboy."


This receiver led the NFL in receiving yards during his second season. Who is he?

A five-time Pro Bowler, Del Shofner had some incredible years playing for the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants. For the Giants, he was the first player in the team's history to put up over 1,000 receiving yards over the course of a season.


Do you recognize this tight end who only missed one game in 10 seasons?

Baby boomers enjoyed watching John Mackey because of his well-rounded game, which was much ahead of his time. Not only could Mackey block, but he could also take a pass in for a touchdown with his speed and physicality.


One of the best lead blockers in NFL history, what's the name of this guard?

In an era where player safety was less of a concern, Jerry Kramer was as tough as they come on the field. He even received the nickname "Zipper" because of the number of stitches he got from the numerous operations throughout his career.


Can you identify this legendary drop back passer who spent time with the Eagles and the Redskins?

Sonny Jurgensen pushed the boundary on what it meant to be a pure passer in the NFL. In 1961, he became the first quarterback to throw for over 3,500 yards, a record he held until it was surpassed by Dan Fouts in 1979.


Are you familiar with this quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy before he was moved to halfback in the NFL?

Paul Hornung put himself in the NFL history books in 1960 when he scored a record 176 points over the course of 12 NFL games. That record stood until it was passed by LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006, though it took Tomlinson 14 games.


You might recognize which NFL legend shown here for his time with the Cleveland Browns?

Though he only played nine seasons in the NFL, Jim Brown made a name for himself as one of the greatest running backs of all time. His accomplishments included eight league rushing titles and three AP NFL MVP awards.


Who is this eight-time Pro Bowl selection?

Doug Atkins was not only a standout player in the pros, but he was a stellar college player at the University of Tennessee as well. During his time with the Volunteers, Atkins won a national championship and earned All American honors. For his contributions, Tennessee retired his No. 91.


Were you born early enough in the baby boom era to name this former NFL star?

A dominant defensive tackle, Alex Karras played 12 seasons in the NFL. When his career ended in 1970, Karras started a career as an actor, playing in movies like "Blazing Saddles" and "Against All Odds."


Known for his ferocity on the field, is this a player you're familiar with?

With the ability to play sideline to sideline, Dick Butkus showed future players just how dominant a middle linebacker could be. However, his hard-hitting, physical style of play was the main reason Butkus only played nine seasons in the league.


Few receivers in the '60s were as large or impactful as which player depicted in this image?

Boyd Dowler was a top target on the Green Bay Packers throughout the '60s, as they won five championships throughout the decade. However, he finished his career playing one season with the Washington Redskins, finally retiring in 1971.


How well do you know this bruising halfback who could run over or around you?

Leroy Kelly was an exceptional talent at the running back position, but he was also great in the return game. By the time he called it quits, Kelly had racked up over 12,000 combined yards on the field.


Are you able to identify this defensive lineman known for his incredible speed?

David "Deacon" Jones was known for smashing opposing quarterbacks, which helped him earn two Defensive Player of the Year awards. He even coined the term "sacks," which became a valuable stat for future generations.


Can you name this quarterback who threw a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games?

Johnny Unitas was the star for the Baltimore Colts when they defeated the New York Giants to capture the 1958 NFL championship. The game, which ended in overtime, saw Unitas throw for 349 yards and rush for another 20.


This player did everything on the field from running the ball to returning kicks. Who is he?

Gale Sayers made an immediate impact for the Chicago Bears in his rookie season. During the season, Sayers received the Rookie of the Year award after scoring 22 touchdowns while gaining 2,272 all-purpose yards.


Have you been watching football long enough to name this two-time NFL champion?

Raymond Berry went into coaching when he left the NFL following the 1967 season. Berry mainly served as a position coach, but he did take over the New England Patriots from 1984 until 1989.


Is this former shutdown corner a player you're familiar with?

Mel Renfro had one of the best seasons of his career in 1969 when he was first moved to cornerback after playing both safety and halfback in previous seasons. One of the fastest players in the league, Renfro led the NFL in interceptions during the 1969 season.


A tough runner who put up several 1,000-yard seasons, do you recognize this player?

During his 1962 MVP season, Jim Taylor led the NFL in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns while carrying the ball 272 times. His Green Bay Packers went on to win the NFL championship that season behind his tough running style.


What's the name of this football player turned actor that all baby boomers should know?

Merlin Olsen played defensive tackle in the NFL for 15 seasons, all with the Los Angeles Rams. Starting his rookie season, Olsen made 14 straight Pro Bowls, only missing out in the final year of his career.


Were you watching football when this player excited everyone with his athleticism?

Lynn Swann was nearly unguardable when his Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X. After recording 161 receiving yards in the game, Swann was named the Super Bowl MVP.


Who is this legendary guard who had to work his tail off after going undrafted in 1967?

Baby boomers should remember Larry Little as the lead blocker on the power sweep play run by the Miami Dolphins throughout the '70s. His ability to lead the way was a major reason the Dolphins led the league in rushing yards twice.


Are you familiar with this quarterback who promised to deliver a title for the New York Jets?

Joe Namath knew how to throw the football, but it wasn't always to players on his team. Namath finished his career with 173 regular season touchdown passes but also had 220 interceptions.


The first player to rush for over 2,000 yards, can you identify this former star?

Despite his controversial life, no one can take away from what O.J. Simpson was able to do on the football field. After an outstanding college career, Simpson played 11 seasons in the NFL, where he led the league in rushing yards four times.


Do you know this player who was a central piece for the "Purple People Eaters"?

Carl Eller could get after the quarterback as good as anyone in NFL history. His defensive prowess helped him make seven straight All Pro teams, five on the first team and two on the second team.


A centerpiece of Chuck Noll's defense, who do you see in this image?

Opposing offenses will remember Joe Greene for his outstanding play on the defensive side of the ball, but many baby boomers might remember him for his famous Coca Cola commercial. In the commercial, Greene receives a drink from a kid, who he rewards by giving the kid his jersey.


You probably remember which cornerback shown here was a star for the Dallas Cowboys throughout the '70s.

Cliff Harris was a ball hawk for the Dallas Cowboys during his NFL career, with his best total coming in 1977 when the Cowboys reached the Super Bowl. That season, Harris recorded five interceptions.


Which Hall of Fame quarterback is this?

Terry Bradshaw wasn't the greatest regular season quarterback, but he always did enough to give his team a chance to win. However, once in the playoffs, Bradshaw turned it on, winning four Super Bowls and two Super Bowl MVPs.


Can you remember the name of this legendary running back for the Chicago Bears?

Walter Payton was part of the '85 Bears team that won Super Bowl XX. However, after the game, Payton locked himself in a closet because he failed to score a touchdown, which he blamed his head coach for.


Is this fierce linebacker a player you are familiar with?

Jack Lambert was an important piece on the "Steel Curtain" defense that defined the Pittsburgh Steelers throughout the '70s. Lambert was particularly known for his tackling ability, which helped him earn two Defensive Player of the Year awards.


Feared by defenders for his incredible height, what's the name of this former star?

Harold Carmichael made his first Pro Bowl in his third season in the NFL while playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. That season, Carmichael led the league in both receiving yards and receptions, but his efforts weren't enough to help the Eagles reach the playoffs.


Are you able to identify this player who was once the Offensive Rookie of the Year?

Tony Dorsett is one of only two players to achieve a 99-yard touchdown run in a game. He accomplished the feat on Jan. 3, 1983 while playing against the Minnesota Vikings, who were trying to defend ground in their new stadium, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.


Does this former Super Bowl MVP have a familiar face?

When Chuck Howley was named the MVP of Super Bowl V, he set two precedents, one of which has never been broken. For one, he was the first non-quarterback to win the award, and second, he remains the only player from the losing team to receive the honor.


Who is this player who fought off pass rushers for 13 seasons?

Anthony Munoz played both college football and baseball at the University of Southern California. A testament to his immense talent, he won both a national championship and a College World Series while playing for the Trojans. He had a Hall of Fame career with the Bengals.


Do you recognize this quarterback who led several last-minute comebacks?

Even after leaving college, Roger Staubach remained in the U.S. Navy from 1965 until 1969. While serving in the Navy, he did one tour in Vietnam, a mission he volunteered for as he could have asked for an assignment in the United States.


What's the name of this former number one overall draft pick?

From 1978, which was his rookie season, until 1980, Earl Campbell won three straight NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards with the Oilers. Every season during that span, he rushed for over 1,400 yards, topping it off with 1,934 yards in 1980.


If you don't recognize this tight end as a player, then maybe you'll know him for coaching the Bears. Who is he?

Mike Ditka was part of three Super Bowl victories throughout his lifetime. He won a single title as a player for the Dallas Cowboys before winning one as an assistant coach and one as a head coach.


Can you identify this four-time Super Bowl champion?

As injuries hampered his career, Joe Montana competed directly against the up and coming Steve Young for the starting quarterback spot on the San Fransisco 49ers. Rather than cause division within the locker room, Montana requested a trade following the 1992 season.


How familiar are you with this star who spent time as both a safety and cornerback?

Ronnie Lott came into the 1986 season off a finger injury that required part of his pinky to be amputated. The injury did nothing to slow him down as Lott led the league in interceptions in 1986 despite missing two games.


Which former all-world receiver is this?

After his 14-year career in the NFL came to a close, Steve Largent went into politics. From 1994 until 2002, Largent represented his home state of Oklahoma in the U.S. House of Representatives.


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