Certain players are simply synonymous with certain numbers. It’s hard to see No. 4 without thinking of Brett Favre. Seven will always be John Elway. A pair of twos right next to each other is Emmitt Smith. And the sight of 56 conjures up memories of Lawrence Taylor.
Those are some of the all-time greats, players who have etched their names in the NFL’s history books. But there are plenty of guys today who are on their way to that type of football immortality, the best in the game who are creating their own legacies.
Are they good enough to become forever linked with their jersey number, however? That’s a level of greatness that few achieve.
To start answering this question, the editors at cover32 first set out to determine who the best players are in 2014 based on numbers. From 1-99, we’ve selected the player who is most synonymous with that particular digit as of right now. The series started with Nos. 1-9, continued with Nos. 10-19, Nos. 20-29, Nos. 30-39 and Nos. 40-49, and is now on to the next group.
Are they destined to become an all-time great? Only time will tell. But here’s who is on track at the moment.
50 – Justin Houston
This number is loaded with good linebackers, as guys like Kiko Alonso, Larry Foote, A.J. Hawk, Sean Lee and Manti Te’o were in consideration. But ultimately, the young pass rusher from the Chiefs won out. The past two seasons, Houston has earned a pair of Pro Bowl invites, mainly on the strength of posting double-digit sack totals each year. He’s one of the best in the business at getting after opposing quarterbacks.
51 – Paul Posluszny
The Jaguars inside linebacker beat out a trio of centers, a group headed by Mike Pouncey, to get the nod at this spot. And he’s a solid choice, given that he’s been very productive during his seven-year career; he’s simply performed in relative obscurity, having played four seasons in Buffalo and three in Jacksonville. Perhaps he’s finally starting to get his due, however, as Posluszny earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2013.