The Most Famous NFL Players of All Time

American football is one of the most significant American sporting exports. Over the last 20 years, the internet has helped to promote the game and attract more people worldwide. For example, the Super Bowl has always been the standout fixture in the US sports calendar. However, tens of millions of people now watch the game unfold from all over the world. While the internet played a key role, many individual players within the league also help advertise it to a global audience. Some of these players are nailed-on Hall Of Fame inductees who transcended the game and have transformed how people play.

The internet has also helped other markets generate more interest around the globe. NFL betting markets have experienced a resurgence both domestically and internationally, as more people can keep up to date with the latest action thanks to the internet. You can find hundreds of NFL Players markets, whether you’re looking to bet on MVP or Super Bowl outrights, all the way down to conference standings, individual games, a variety of spread betting eventualities or even individual quarters.

So, when fans and analysts discuss the impact the internet has had on the NFL, many often overlook the betting markets, which have exploded in value and size because of mobile phone technology and gambling companies being able to provide more convenient service on a grander scale.

Who Is the Most Famous NFL Player of All Time?

Talent and fame are often so intertwined that it can be difficult to distinguish between them. We’re not going to help matters either by saying Tom Brady, who is likely the greatest player in the sport’s history, is also the most famous, but it’s true. His is the one face and name that transcends the sport, with multiple appearances in film and TV, advertisements and everything in between, not to mention his GOAT performances on the pitch. It’d be daft to suggest anyone else truly deserves this moniker.

Earlier this year, when Brady finally decided to call it a day at the age of 45, he had amassed every personal and team accolade he possibly could. News of his retirement reverberated worldwide, not just in the NFL or American or international sports, but in international news headlines. No other player in the NFL would have caused such a fuss by hanging up their boots, but the five-time Super Bowl MVP is in a league with other sporting icons such as Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan as a name and face that goes beyond the sport itself.

Other Contenders

Suppose we remove our Tom Brady-tinted glasses and step back, looking at the question more subjectively. In that case, other players paved the way for Brady to become the crossover star that many people believed the sport had been craving for decades. For example, Jim Brown was a phenomenally gifted player who transformed the American society he lived in.

His recent sad passing brought back into focus just how vital his activism was outside of the NFL, and how magical his talent was within it. As a player who risked it all, standing shoulder to shoulder with the immortal Muhammad Ali for racial equality, Jim played at a time when America was extremely divided, and he championed change. Starring in films alongside Elvis Presley, he was one of the biggest names in sports during his career. Jim’s legacy is one of the few that extends beyond the NFL.

Reggie White, another player who left us too soon, was a legend across the minor and major leagues. The USFL is still popular and is the springboard for Reggie’s Hall of Fame career. Multiple Pro Bowls and a couple of stints in professional wrestling helped to endorse him as a famous face in American culture, and his legacy continues long after his passing, with streets named after him and the Eagles retiring his number. Few players have such a profound impact on the broader sporting culture, but Reggie was definitely one of those people and will be sorely missed.


As the NFL Players grows in international popularity, modern stars like Tom Brady have benefitted immeasurably from having their immense talent broadcast worldwide. Players such as Jim Brown didn’t have such a platform available to them. Although Jim was a massive name in American culture and film, he never quite had the global recognition Tom Brady enjoys. However, if he was around today, you’d imagine he would be standing shoulder to shoulder with Brady in terms of popularity and notoriety.

Fame in the NFL can be subjective, depending on the players who appeal to you. You might base it on skills, their off-the-field activity, or whether they have a crossover appeal that brings new fans to the sport or the franchise they play for. Either way, few will disagree that any of the names we have brought up today deserve to be on this list. All of these players transcended the sport and the times they played in, and they’ll all be remembered for generations to come for their impact on the NFL.