Best safety ever? A Lott to like

Rick Gosselin


(Ronnie Lott photos courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)

Talk of Fame Network

The greatest safety in NFL history is also the only one with four Super Bowl Rings.

So say the listeners and readers of the Talk of Fame Network, who in this week’s poll voted Ronnie Lott the greatest safety of all-time. Lott received 31 percent of the vote to outdistance Ed Reed at 20 percent. Emlen Tunnell, Larry Wilson, Rod Woodson, Kenny Easley and Ken Houston rounded out the field in that order, all receiving single-digit support.

Lott was not a pure safety. He began his career as a cornerback and went to four Pro Bowls, winning two of his four Super Bowls there. He moved to safety and went to six more Pro Bowls and won his final two Super Bowls, all with the San Francisco 49ers. Lott intercepted 63 passes in his career, including 40 at the safety position, and was a two-time all-decade pick (1980s and 1990s).

Talk of Fame Network host Clark Judge cast his ballot for Lott.

“When I saw him at safety it was as if he invented a whole new position,” Judge said. “He played with a ferocity, a certainty and an ability that I had not witnessed. Plus, he was the glue that made that 49ers defense special -- a leader on and off the field.”

Talk of Fame Network host Ron Borges cast his ballot for Easley, the only candidate on the slate not in the Hall of Fame. But Easley is a finalist for the Class of 2017 as a senior candidate. He was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1984 and a member of the NFL’s 1980s all-decade team.

Photo courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks
Photo courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks

(Easley photo courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks)

“Ronnie Lott says Easley is the greatest safety in NFL history,” Borges said. “Who am I to disagree? Kenny belongs in the Hall. Hope he gets there this year.”

Talk of Fame Network host Rick Gosselin cast his ballot for Wilson, another two-time all-decade selection (1960s and 1970s). He also was the inventor of the safety blitz and, like Lott, a member of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team.

“Wilson invented the safety blitz,” Gosselin said. “I’m partial to players who leave the biggest footprint in the game’s history.”

Reed was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and remains the only safety in history to lead the NFL in interceptions three times. He intercepted 64 career passes and was named to the NFL's 2000s all-decade team.

Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens
Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens

(Reed photo courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens)

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