Tommy Davis built a career when special teams were anything but special. There were no special-teams coaches, no designated deep snappers to deliver him perfect snaps and no coverage aces to chase his punts.
Lloyd Wells was the first full-time African-American football scout and his arrival created pro football opportunities for players at historic black colleges and universities. He signed eight future All-Pros and four Hall of Famers for the Kansas City Chiefs of the 1960s.
There were 22 position players, both on offense and defense, named to the 1980s NFL all-decade team. All except one have busts in Canton. Jim Covert is the lone omission — and he’s never even been a Hall of Fame semifinalist, much less a finalist.
Neil Smith became one of the best pass rushers of the 1990 decade. He collected 95 ½ of his 104 ½ career sacks from 1990-99 and went to six Pro Bowls. He led the NFL with 15 sacks in 1993 and earned first-team All-Pro honors. His teams won 105 games in the decade and went to the playoffs nine times.
Lee Roy Jordan was the leading tackler on units that led the NFL in run defense five times in seven seasons (1966-72) and led the NFC another time (1971). And that was during an era when football was played on the ground, not in the air.