Top 10 NFL Nicknames

Whether you’re heading downstairs for a late night snack from ‘The Refrigerator,’ or running downstairs to catch ‘The Bus,’ it’s been commonplace for fans of the NFL to turn household items into nicknames for the league’s superstars.  Over time, nicknames have derived from various sources: player’s unique attributes that allow them to stand out from the pack, or something as simple as their name, such as OJ “Juice” Simpson.  All in all, nicknames have been a staple in the NFL for as long as men have been tossing the pigskin around the gridiron.  We present to you a list of Top 10 NFL Nicknames of all time.

10. Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch

Elroy Crazy Legs Hirsch

You won’t find a player who runs with a crossover running style in today’s NFL.  Hirsch’s nickname was cemented in 1942 by Chicago Daily News sportswriter Francis Powers, while ‘Crazy Legs’ was running wild for the Wisconsin Badgers.  He was eventually drafted 5th overall by the Chicago Rockets in 1945, and ended his career playing for the Los Angeles Rams, with an induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.

joe namath
Joe Namath

9. ‘Broadway’ Joe Namath

After guaranteeing a victory for the New York Jets in Super Bowl, Broadway Joe proved that he could live up to the hype of professional football.  He became the first quarterback to start and win the National Championship in College, to start and win a professional championship, and then to start and win a Super Bowl.  Thanks Broadway, for this unforgettable drunken prediction “We’re going to win Sunday, I guarantee it,” and an even more entertaining Super Bowl.

8. ‘Mean’ Joe Greene

What few may realize is this nickname was given to Greene during his time playing on the Mean Green North Texas State football team.  Don’t let the origination of this nickname fool you, ‘Mean’ Joe was just that on the field.  He is considered one of the best and most formidable defensive tackles of all time as the keystone piece to the Steelers ‘Steel Curtain’ Defense (talk about clever nicknames).  Thanks to Coca-Cola, fans were able to see the brighter side of this hard hitting lineman.

7.  The Bus

When Jerome Bettis was running straight at you with a full head of steam, you had a better chance of stopping an actual bus.  The NFL’s fifth leading rusher was so dominant running between the tackles that he made defensive lineman hop on ‘The Bus,’ the nickname he earned from literally carrying players on his back, like a bus ride.  The yellow and black colors of the Steelers uniforms helps paint the picture of ‘The Bus’ as well.

6.  OJ ‘The Juice’ Simpson

Sometimes simple is better.  Before OJ’s multiple public mishaps, ‘The Juice’ was running wild in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills.  He was the leagues first ever 2,000 yard rusher in a single season and the only rusher to do it in just 14 games (in 1973 the NFL hadn’t expanded their schedule to 16 games yet).  The nickname lead to an endorsement deal with orange juice company TreeSweet.

5. Beast Mode

Marshawn Lynch isn’t a new name, but his lead role in the Seattle Seahawks’ offense has turned him into a star. Just feed this guy some Skittles and he turns into a beast of a man.  Don’t believe me?  Check out what is possibly the most clutch run in NFL playoff history with a side of Skittles:

4. Prime Time

There aren’t many other nicknames that fit a player so perfectly, only three to be exact, than Deion ‘Prime Time’ Sanders.  Every time he stepped onto the field Prime Time locked down the other team’s top wideout, and he did it with a little flash and flare.  He not only excelled on defense, but special teams as well.  The first punt he fielded in his career, he took to paydirt.  This guy just had a knack for stepping up once the bright lights were shining over the field.

Prime Time high stepping all the way to the endzone

3. Hefty Lefty

Since this isn’t a list of the top ten NFL players of all time, playing time shouldn’t play a factor in the decision making process of this list.  With rhyme and some clever adjectives, there’s no way I could leave Hefty Lefty out of this list.   Just imagine if Jared Lorenzen pitched in Major League Baseball: “Oh, here comes the pitching coach to give Hefty Lefty a breather.  Man he sure looks exhausted out there, Hefty Lefty has just been throwing smoke all game, hopefully that cannon of an arm is safe…” you get the idea.  I just wish he racked up some more playing time in the NFL so we all could enjoy hearing Hefty Lefty more often.

2. Sweetness

Walter Payton is considered to be one of the greatest running backs in NFL history with his downhill and punishing running style.  With that said, ‘Sweetness’ might be a confusing nickname.  While it accurately describes his excellent stats (2nd leading rusher in NFL history), it is the opposite of how hard he ran.  Most of the time he delivered the blow to defenders, not the other way around.  Perhaps it’s because of the Super Bowl Shuffle, or maybe it is just the simplicity of the name and the mans natural athleticism.

1. The Refrigerator

William ‘The Fridge’ Perry stood at 6’2″ and weighed 335 lbs, hence the nickname.

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