One of the most demanding positions in American football is that of the cornerback. Firstly, they must cover the most rapid players in the teams. Secondly, the rules they have to obey are actually contrary to them. What is more, they have to be able to predict all the steps that can complicate the teammates. Logic and psychology are essential for that kind of an athlete.
In a nutshell, no matter how good a team is, the cornerback plays an essential role in the success. If we looked back fifty years ago and now, we will notice that almost every Super Bowl champion owes part of the achievement to the cornerback. Thus, below, we will pay special attention to some of the best players in the history of the National Football League.
5. Richard Sherman
Sherman spent seven years with the Seattle Seahawks until he was drafted with the San Francisco 49ers in 2018. From 2012 to 2016, he earned three All-Pro nods and four Pro Bowl awards. In 2013 he was the one who led the Seattle to their Super Bowl Cup. Another fantastic achievement was when, with two passes, Sherman helped Seattle get back to the Super Bowl for the second time.
His career began at Stanford University as a wide receiver. In 2006 he already had 581 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Then, in 2011, he signed a $2.2 million with the Seahawks. So far, he has the following awards:
- NFL interceptions leader
- Super Bowl champion in 2013
- Second-team All-Pro in 2015
4. Ty Law
Tajuan Law or just “Ty” played fifteen seasons in the NFL from 1995 to 2009. First, he was drafted to the New England Patriots from the University of Michigan. His career start was the match against the Atlanta Falcons, which finished with the result of 30-17. Then, another combined tackles and interceptions followed against the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills and the Indianapolis Colts.
After that, in 2005, he signed up a $50 million contract with the New York Jets, where he spent just one year. Law then played with the Kansas City Chiefs for two years – 2006 and 2007. Finally, the Denver Broncos offered him a contract. He accepted, but he claimed he is “Patriot for life.” However, these are how things go in professional sport – you must remain true to your talent and not your preferences.
Some of the career prizes Ty has are listed below:
- Three times Super Bowl champion
- Five times Pro Bowl
- NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
- New England Patriots Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame
3. Champ Bailey
Bailey began his professional career in 1999 with the Washington Redskins. His $14 million contract lasted until 2003. Then, he played with the Denver Broncos, where he reached the peak of his path, and he even resigned his contract. Before he retired in October 2014, he played with the New Orleans Saints for a few months.
In 2019, the Pro Football Hall of Fame elected Bailey as one of the best cornerbacks. He deserved that honor due to the NFL records he made. He was the youngest player to intercept three passes in a game in 1999. He had the most Pro Bowl selections for a defensive back. And in addition to that, he performed the most extended interception return. His other recognitions are:
- Consensus All-American and Bronko Nagurski Trophy in 1998 when he was still in college
- Denver Broncos 50th Anniversary Team
- Twelve times Pro Bowl and many others
2. Richard Lane
Richard is one of the oldest stars in the NFL as his career began in 1952. He won his nickname Dick “Night Train” Lane when he was with the Rams at his first training camp. Tom Fears, his teammate at that time, played the song “Night train” by Jimmy Forest very often. Each time the music was on, Lane was dancing and enjoying himself.
Between 1954 and 1959, he played with the Chicago Cardinals. He appeared in 68 games, and he scored 30 intercepting passes. In 1954 he received All-NFL honors together with many more awards during the next seasons. Then, he was drafted to the Detroit Lions, where he spent five years. One of their most spectacular victories was against the Baltimore Colts in 1960. The awards that stand behind Lane are:
- Seven times Pro Bowl
- Seven times First-team All-Pro
- Twice NFL Interceptions Leader
- He received the Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor
1. Deion Sanders
Nicknamed “Prime Time,” Deion is indisputably one of the greatest NFL players of all time. Initially, his position was a cornerback at Florida State University. However, during his professional career, he is mainly recognized as an excellent cornerback and punts returner. For sixteen years on the pitch, he had 53 interceptions, ten defensive touchdowns, and 784 receiving yards.
In 1989 “Neon Deion” signed his first contract with the Atlanta Falcons. Then, in 1994, he became a member of the San Francisco 49ers team just for less than a year. In 1995 he continued with the Dallas Cowboys, where he spent four more years. The Washington Redskins were also on his professional list in 2000. He finished with sport in 2005. From 2004 until then, he played with the Baltimore Ravens.
In general, his best period was the 1992 season when he stole 26 bases and hit 304. Despite that fact, his most profitable era was with the Washington Redskins with a 7-year contract of $56 million. All in all, Sanders deserves that, as he was a pivotal figure to a vast number of matches. His most notable highlights are the following:
- NFL Defensive Player of 1994
- Jim Thrope Award in 1988
- Twice Unanimous All-American
- NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
- Twice Super Bowl champion
- Eight times Pro Bowl
- Eight times First-team All-Pro