11. Dick Butkus, Bears, 1965-73
What was the internal philosophy for the legendary linebacker Dick Butkus of the Chicago Bears? “If you can get someone who you’re competing against either fearful or intimidated, it’s going to make my job easier.” As one of the greatest tacklers in in NFL history, Butkus avoided trying to bring down ball carriers by the legs, and instead try to pick them up and slam them to the ground with such jarring forces that it would cause the ball carrier to fumble the ball. It’s that tenacity and ferocity that led him to become the gold standard of which all future linebackers would hold themselves to. According to Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones, Butkus “was a well-conditioned animal, and every time he hit you, he tried to put you in the cemetery, not the hospital.” In 2009, the NFL Network named Butkus the most feared tackler of all time.