Merlin Olson, a fearsome Hall of Fame defensive end who later became famed for his gentle-giant roles on television, was born 76 years ago on Sept. 15, 1940. He died from cancer at the age of 69 in 2010. Olsen was one-fourth of the "Fearsome Foursome" — a famed defensive unit that consisted of he, Deacon Jones, Roosevelt Grier and Lamar Lundy. During his 15-year NFL career he was a 14-time Pro Bowler and missed only two games. Olsen's post-football career including acting on TV's Little House on the Prairie and as the title role in Father Murphy. He was also a longtime NFL broadcaster and served as a popular commercial spokesperson.
Joe Greene was drafted by the Steelers in 1969 with the No. 4 pick and played all 13 years of his career in Pittsburgh. The defensive tackle was named the NFL’s Rookie of the Year, as well as the Defensive Player of the Year in 1972 and 1974. He was selected to 10 Pro Bowls during his career. The Hall of Fame "cornerstone of the Steel Curtain" in the 1970s who helped lead the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories, Greene turned 70 years old on Sept. 24, 2016. We present these classic SI photos in honor of "Mean Joe Greene."
Tim Brown—the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner, nine-time Pro Bowl and both College Football and NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver—turned 50 years old on July 22, 2016. In celebration of his 50th birthday, we present these classic SI photos of "Touchdown Timmy" through the years.
Deion Sanders was a one-of-a-kind talent, possibly the greatest cornerback in NFL history and a terrific showman. He dominated the game on defense and special teams, scoring touchdowns as a kick returner, punt returner, cornerback and even as a wide receiver. You could make the argument that Sanders was the greatest pure athlete ever to play pro football — he is the only player to ever score an NFL touchdown and hit a home run in a Major League Baseball game in the same week, a feat he accomplished in 1989. Not that it impacts his football accolades at all, but Sanders' baseball career spanned 1989-97, with a brief return in 2001. In celebration of his 49th birthday on Aug. 9, 2016, we present 21 classic SI photos of No. 21 — nicknamed "Prime Time" and "Neon Deion" — through the years.
Jerry Rice owns virtually every major NFL receiving record. No matter how you slice it, the NFL has never seen a player as dominant for as many seasons as Rice was. Inducted into NFL Hall of Fame in 2010, the 13-time Pro Bowl selection, 12-time All-Pro, two-time Offensive Player of the Year, three-time Super Bowl winner, ranked No. 1 player of all-time by NFL.com, turned 54 years old on Oct. 13, 2016. Nicknamed "World", because there wasn't a ball in the world he couldn't catch when he attended Mississippi Valley State University, Rice was later dubbed “The G.O.A.T.” (Greatest of All Time).
One of the most recognizable faces in Cowboys lore, Troy Aikman quarterbacked Dallas to three Super Bowl championships. He also earned six Pro Bowl nods and Super Bowl XXVII MVP honors, and trails only Tony Romo for most passing touchdowns and yards in Cowboys history. As the Hall of Fame quarterback celebrates his 50th birthday on Nov. 21, 2016, we present these classic SI photos of Troy Aikman through the years.
Hall of Fame forward Elgin Baylor earned All-American honors at Seattle University before spending 14 seasons with the Lakers, where he posted career averages of 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds. The first overall pick of the 1958 NBA Draft won Rookie of the Year made 11 All-Star teams. In celebration of his 82nd birthday on Sept. 16, 2016, we present these classic SI photos of Elgin Baylor.
Paul Hornung is the first athlete to win the Heisman Trophy, be selected as the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, win the NFL MVP award, and be inducted into both the professional and college football halls of fame. A versatile player, Hornung was a halfback, quarterback and place-kicker who also played college basketball for Notre Dame. In celebration of Hornung's 80th birthday on Dec. 23, 2015, we present these classic photos of the "Golden Boy."