Home NFL Best NFL Players Ever Each Team NFC West

Best NFL Players Ever Each Team NFC West

All-Time NFL Rankings

by Riley Baines
Best Players Ever East Team NFC East

Best NFL Players Ever Each Team NFC West

The NFC West, a division steeped in rich football tradition and fierce rivalries, has been a cradle for some of the NFL’s most legendary talents. From the soaring Seahawks along the Pacific coast to the golden eras of the 49ers, from the relentless drive of the Cardinals to the indomitable spirit of the Rams, these teams have given fans moments of magic and memories for a lifetime. Picture those unforgettable Sundays, when these gridiron giants battled it out, etching their names into the very fabric of the NFC West. Let’s embark on a journey, revisiting the best NFL players who have ever defined each team in this illustrious division.


Best 49ers Player Ever – Jerry Rice

Runner Ups: Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young

Jerry Rice is not only often celebrated as the best 49ers player of all time, but he’s also frequently hailed as the greatest wide receiver, if not the greatest football player, in NFL history. Here’s why:

  1. Unmatched Career Longevity and Production: Jerry Rice’s career spanned over two decades, from 1985 to 2004, with the majority of his tenure at San Francisco. Throughout these years, he maintained an exceptionally high level of production. His longevity in such a physically demanding position is a testament to his commitment, fitness, and natural talent.
  2. Record-Breaking Statistics: Rice’s stats speak for themselves. He is the all-time leader in most major receiving categories, including receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895), and touchdowns (197). These numbers are a testament to his consistency and dominance over the span of his career.
  3. Super Bowl Success: Rice played pivotal roles in three Super Bowl victories for the 49ers (Super Bowl XXIII, XXIV, and XXIX). His performances in these championship games were legendary, particularly in Super Bowl XXIII, where he was named Super Bowl MVP after amassing 215 receiving yards.
  4. Work Ethic and Dedication: Rice was renowned for his work ethic. Tales of his off-season hill running workouts are part of NFL folklore. This dedication to conditioning and route perfection made him virtually unstoppable on the field.
  5. Versatility: While primarily a deep threat due to his speed and route-running, Rice could do it all. Whether it was going over the middle, catching a screen pass, or even rushing the ball, he was a multi-faceted weapon for the 49ers’ offense.
  6. Clutch Performances: Great players are often defined by how they perform in critical moments. Time and time again, Rice rose to the occasion, making defining catches in tight games and always seeming to shine brightest on the biggest stages.
  7. Legacy: Jerry Rice’s influence goes beyond just his on-field achievements. He set a standard for future generations of wide receivers, showing them the level of dedication and craft mastery required to truly excel in the NFL.

Given all these factors, it’s clear why many consider Jerry Rice not just the best player to ever don a 49ers uniform, but also one of the greatest, if not the greatest, to play the game of football.


Best Seahawks Player Ever – Steve Largent

Runner Ups: Walter Jones, Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson

Steve Largent, while not always the first name that springs to mind in discussions of the NFL’s all-time greats, undoubtedly stands tall as the best Seahawks players in the franchise’s history. Here’s why Steve Largent holds this esteemed position:

  1. Trailblazing Statistics: Before the likes of Jerry Rice came onto the scene, Largent was setting the standard. When he retired in 1989, he held all major NFL receiving records, including most career receptions (819), receiving yards (13,089), and receiving touchdowns (100). These statistics were achieved during an era when the passing game wasn’t as dominant as it is today.
  2. Loyalty to the Franchise: Largent spent his entire 14-year NFL career with the Seahawks, from 1976 to 1989. This kind of loyalty is increasingly rare in the modern sports world and cements his legacy in the heart of the 12th Man—the Seahawks’ ardent fanbase.
  3. Craft Over Flash: Largent was never the fastest or the most physically imposing receiver, but he was a master technician. His precise route running, sure hands, and incredible field awareness made him a nightmare matchup for defenders.
  4. Leader On and Off the Field: As a team captain, Largent was a locker room leader, mentoring younger players and setting the tone for the team’s work ethic and determination. Off the field, his character shone through in his community involvement and later his political career, exemplifying the role of a sportsman in society.
  5. Memorable Moments: One of the most iconic plays of Largent’s career came in 1988 when he exacted revenge on Denver Broncos safety Mike Harden. Harden had delivered a crushing, and illegal, hit on Largent earlier in the season, causing him to miss several games. When they met again, Largent not only caught a touchdown pass over Harden but also famously forced a fumble on him after an interception, showcasing his determination and resilience.
  6. Legacy: Steve Largent was the first player in Seahawks history to have his jersey number (#80) retired. This act solidified his status as a franchise icon. His influence can still be seen today in receivers who prioritize precision and skill over raw athleticism.
  7. Hall of Fame Recognition: Largent’s brilliance was recognized with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995, his first year of eligibility. This honor underscores his impact on the game and his standing among the all-time greats.

Considering all these achievements and his unwavering commitment to the Seahawks, it’s clear why Steve Largent is often regarded as the best player in the history of the franchise.


Best Rams Player Ever – Aaron Donald

Runner Ups: Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Jack Youngblood

Aaron Donald, since being drafted by the Rams in 2014, has quickly ascended not only as one of the premier talents of his generation but also as a contender for the title of the best Rams player ever. While such declarations are always subject to debate, given the storied history of the Rams and the plethora of great players who have donned the horned helmet, Donald’s credentials are incredibly compelling. Here’s why:

  1. Unprecedented Dominance at His Position: Playing primarily as a defensive tackle—a position not typically associated with gaudy stat lines—Donald has consistently posted sack numbers that rival elite edge rushers. His ability to disrupt plays from the interior line position is unmatched.
  2. Consistency: Since entering the league, Donald has been the model of consistency. He’s been named a First-team All-Pro multiple times, showcasing his continued excellence season after season. Donald has consistently been regarded as the best defensive player in the NFL.
  3. Versatility: Donald has the unique ability to line up anywhere on the defensive line. Whether he’s positioned as an interior defensive tackle or on the edge as a defensive end, his impact is felt, making it difficult for offenses to game-plan against him.
  4. Work Ethic and Physicality: Standing at 6’1″, Donald may not have the height advantage of many players in his position, but his combination of strength, speed, and technique is second to none. Stories of his rigorous training routines and unmatched work ethic are well-documented.
  5. Team Impact: Donald’s presence on the field elevates the play of those around him. Offensive lines have to constantly double or even triple-team him, which frees up his teammates to make plays. His influence was especially notable in the Rams’ 2018 run to the Super Bowl.
  6. Accolades: In addition to his multiple All-Pro selections, Donald has been awarded the NFL Defensive Player of the Year three different times. This recognition cements his status as the most dominant defensive player in the league during his era.
  7. Legacy Building: While Donald’s career is still ongoing, his trajectory suggests that by the time he hangs up his cleats, he could be not only considered the best Rams player ever but also one of the greatest defensive players in the history of the NFL. He has already cemented his status as one of the best defensive linemen everwith room to grow/

In light of the above factors, it’s evident that Aaron Donald’s claim to being the best Rams player ever is not merely hyperbolic. His on-field performances, coupled with his impact on the game, make a strong case for such a distinction.


Best Cardinals Player Ever – Larry Fitzgerald

Runner Ups: Larry Wilson, Dick Lane, Kurt Warner

Larry Fitzgerald, with his exceptional career and deep ties to the Arizona Cardinals, has undeniably etched his name into NFL history. Often considered not only the best Cardinals player but also one of the greatest wide receivers of all time, Fitzgerald’s legacy in Arizona is unparalleled. Here’s why:

  1. Longevity and Loyalty: Fitzgerald has dedicated his entire illustrious career to the Cardinals since being drafted by the team in 2004. This kind of franchise loyalty, especially in an era of free agency and trades, speaks volumes about his commitment to the team and the community.
  2. Remarkable Consistency: Over the course of his career, Fitzgerald has consistently posted impressive statistics season after season, even when the team struggled with instability at the quarterback position or faced challenging seasons.
  3. Master of His Craft: Known for his exceptional hands, Fitzgerald has made countless acrobatic and clutch catches. His route-running precision, coupled with his ability to win contested catches, makes him a nightmare for opposing defenders.
  4. Playoff Performances: Fitzgerald’s heroics in the 2008-2009 playoffs, leading the Cardinals to Super Bowl XLIII, are the stuff of legend. His performance in the post-season showcased his ability to shine under pressure and elevate his game when the stakes were highest.
  5. Leadership and Mentorship: Beyond his on-field prowess, Fitzgerald has been a cornerstone in the Cardinals’ locker room, mentoring younger players and setting a standard with his professionalism and work ethic.
  6. Off-the-Field Impact: Fitzgerald is not just a football player; he’s an integral part of the Arizona community. His charitable endeavors, especially his commitment to education and the underprivileged, have made a significant difference in many lives.
  7. Career Milestones: Fitzgerald ranks second in NFL history in receiving yards and receptions, only behind Jerry Rice. These accolades, achieved in the face of frequently changing quarterbacks and offensive schemes, attest to his individual brilliance.

Given the totality of his contributions—both on the gridiron and off—it’s hard to argue against Larry Fitzgerald being the best Cardinals player ever. His combination of skill, leadership, and character has left an indelible mark on the franchise and the NFL at large.

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