If NFL legends played for their hometown, the league would have been very interesting. Players would likely enjoy being loved and embraced by their fan bases who have special loyalty to players from their hometown. This unique idea would have changed many things for the NFL players who were unhappy on teams. It's quite possible that if they played for their home teams, they wouldn't have been unhappy. Fans would have been more into the NFL, and the NFL maybe would have been more competitive.
Even the greatest players in sports have talked about this before, while others have sometimes discussed it anonymously. It is a well-known idea, and sports fans would be happy for the most part if the league transformed in this manner. Sure, there would be some unhappy campers, but there are always people who will be angry at everything their sports league does.
This list is a unique list, in which the greatest players, or just NFL legends who didn't make the HOF, play for the city in which they grew up. Most people can name these people off the top of their heads due to their excellence in the NFL. Some are deceased and will be missed, as their impacts on the game of football are very significant to fans. Some of these other players are very well alive, and coaching or just retired at this point in their life. Either way, here are who the best 15 teams in the NFL would have been in our alternate universe of NFL legends playing for their hometown. Being that an NFL roster has 53 players, we're obviously not going to be listing entire hometown rosters. Instead, we will select five players who would lead the charge for their hometown team and go from there.
14 Indianapolis Colts
Stars: Rod Woodson, Bob Griese, Jerry Sturm, Les Horvath, Kevin Hardy
With Bob Griese at quarterback, this Colts team might just have a shot at being good in the league. The six-time Pro-Bowler and two-time MVP has endless accolades. He was inducted into the 1990 Hall of Fame class. Rod Woodson is well-known for his work with the Steelers. The 11 time Pro-Bowler was an immaculate defender to say the least. His work earned him multiple team MVPs, and a Hall of Fame induction in 2009. Sturm wasn't quite the player Woodson was, but he had a great career. Kevin Hardy won the Dick Butkus award in 1995 for his aggressive nature. The Jaguars linebacker was an aggressive defender, especially against the Colts (ironically). He sacked quarterbacks 39 times in his career, which is a pretty solid number if you ask me.
With Griese at quarterback and the defense led by Woodson, I see good opportunities for this team. I'm not necessarily sure they could win a Super Bowl, but you really never know. They might have lost Andrew Luck, but they gained Griese and that's enough to give them a shot in this league.
13 San Fransisco 49ers
Stars: Lynn Swann, Troy Aikman, Marcus Allen, O.J. Simpson, Gary Zimmerman
O.J. Simpson is an awful man who has committed acts of extreme violence. Nevertheless, he was a great football player and that's all we're taking into consideration here. Alongside the great Troy Aikman, this team would have a deadly offensive duo. With Marcus Allen backing O.J., the team would have a lot of leeway offensively. Defensively, they would be strong, too. On the offensive line would be Gary Zimmerman, a beast of a football player. Let's not forget that having Lynn Swann as your receiver with Aikman isn't too shabby at all.
This team would be competitive and go as far as Aikman takes them, which could mean Super Bowls, or at least conference championships. Out in the Bay Area, the team would be supported by a large fan base, as seen by the Warriors ultimate success. As long as O.J. (in this alternate universe) isn't the brutal and stupid man he is now, this team could do well in the NFL. And even if Simpson does do something stupid, Marcus Allen was just as good, if not better. I'm confident this team would thrive, but there are deeper teams in this alternate league.
12 Miami Dolphins
Stars: Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Deacon Jones, Ted Hendricks, Bob Hayes, Emmitt Smith
This team would have two ultimate wide receivers on their roster. With Bob Hayes (rest in peace) and Michael Irvin, this offensive attack would blow by defenders. Defensively, this team would have Deion Sanders, an absolute terror to play against, and the big Deacon Jones, as well as Ted Hendricks. Hendricks, the former linebacker, tore up the NFL with his playing style. He was also a terror to play against. This team might be without a prime-time QB, but they would still be competitive. Teddy Bridgewater really is the first noteworthy QB to emanate from Miami, but we're only dealing with NFL legends here. They would be like the Broncos this past season, with a great defense and an okay QB. (Not hating on Peyton Manning, but he was old this past season).
Besides, have you seen Deacon Jones when he used to hit defenders? The defensive end wrecked it in the league, but sadly passed away in 2013. He was an eight-time pro-bowl player, who left it all on the field, ALWAYS.
The Dolphins aren't too good in 2016, but if we rewound time and assigned these legends here, they just might be on their way to some playoff victories. It's tough to win a super bowl without a prominent QB, but it has happened before.
11 Green Bay Packers
Stars: Dave Casper, Bud Grant, Joe Guyon, Jim Otto, Mike Webster, Earl Lambeau
The Packers would have one of their ultimate saviors on their roster, Earl Lambeau. Yeah, he's only the guy after whom their current stadium is named. Casper was a very talented tight end in his day, and Bud Grant may have had a short playing career, but his success as a coach proves that he could have been a great leader. Guyon was an impressive running back. Joe was good at getting through holes and running forward. Otto is one of the most well-known centers ever, who tore it up for the Raiders. His accolades are extensive.
Earl Lambeau played both as a kicker and a halfback. He founded the Packers, both playing and coaching for them. Lambeau played for ten years in Green Bay, and was a loyal player for them. He also hailed from Wisconsin obviously, so he did end up playing for his hometown, unlike these other NFL legends. He is an NFL great, who in adversity helped promote the idea of founding a team in Wisconsin.
10 New York Giants/Jets
Stars: Jim Brown, Sid Luckman, John Mackey, Art Monk, Art Donavan.
Led by an absolute run attack, the Giants would rely heavily on Jim Brown; they would be able to because he was a beast. Brown was a four-time MVP, and eight-time Pro-Bowl player. He changed the NFL for the better with his lightning speed and punishing style. The original sixth pick from Syracuse was inducted into the HOF, and spent nine years in a Browns uniform. The guy is one of the best (arguably the best) football player EVER, and with a solid team behind him, he could lead them places. Lombardi, most notably recognized as a legendary football coach, was also a stand-out player. Sid Luckman was a talented QB. He played with the Bears, and won four championships with them. He is surely one of the best QBs the game has ever seen. The team would obviously rely on Jim, but Luckman would be mobile, and maybe do shovel passes.
This team would be talented, but not overly amazing. Their defense would lack certain aspects and probably be their weak point. Offensively, Luckman would be able to hit Art Monk on the deep pass, which would be essential to their success in the league. Monk was inducted in 2008 to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
9 Carolina Panthers
Stars: Bruce Matthews, Julius Peppers, Bobby Bell, Chris Hanburger, Torry Holt, Carl Eller, Sonny Jurgenson.
This Carolina team would be a defensive giant in the NFL. Not only would they be defensively tough, but physically tough all around. With Bruce Matthews at guard, the 14-time Pro-Bowler would fit in anywhere. Peppers, as we all know, is an NFL great who excels in the defensive end position. Bobby Bell was one of the great linebackers who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983. At 6'4, 228 pounds, Bobby was an athletic guy who would stump offensive players. Of course, Torry Holt would be of much help to the offense, which lacks some talent. But let's not forget about the legendary Sonny Jurgenson, who was a great threat at quarterback in his NFL career.
Overall, I like this squad's chances of doing well in the playoffs because they have a solid quarterback and monster defense. The NFL has always been about defense, and as the Broncos proved this year, defense really does win championships. With Carl Eller also helping out at defensive end, this team would be very tough to score on. Even the best running backs would have trouble getting through this monster of a team.
8 Seattle Seahawks
Stars: John Elway, Drew Bledsoe, Jason Hanson, Marcus Trufant, Mel Hein
This Seattle team would lack depth, and there is no denying this, but there is one reason that they would be an elite team: John Elway. Without him, they are nowhere, and with him, they would compete in the playoffs year after year. I do not think he would do as well in his hometown because there aren't many legends from Washington. This team is on this list purely because of the absolute brilliant play of Elway, and how he took control of his team in Denver to win Super Bowls. Bledsoe would be a great backup as well, but with him in the game, this team would really be nowhere close to where they could be with no.7.
Trufant is a good defender who actually did play for the Seahawks for ten seasons. He was an elite defender who shut down receivers constantly. This really is not my favorite team, but I had to put them on this list because of Elway. Sure Mel Hein was a beast, and a hell of a center, but one lineman cannot win a championship. Put simply, this team would go as far as John Elway can take them.
7 8.Washington Redskins
Stars: Joe Haden. Larry Johnson, Jermaine Lewis, Brian Westbrook, Vernon Davis, Byron Leftwich
I like this Washington team. They would have a solid two-man attack with Westbrook and the quick Larry Johnson. Byron Leftwich would work well with these two running backs, and this could be a quick moving offense. With Joe Haden leading the defense, they will always be on their toes, as he is a true leader for the Browns. Vernon Davis would also be a nice outlet for Leftwich in the passing game. There's much to note about Jermaine Lewis, who was a speedy WR, who played for a couple different teams. He was a beast at returning kicks, and a Super Bowl champion.
Overall, sure this team may not win a Super Bowl, but I like their chances of going to the playoffs consistently. I see this team like the current day Falcons, if they played to their ability. The Falcons are better for sure than they have been playing the last couple years, and Ryan has been under-producing. The team would be led by Larry Johnson, who dominated for the Chiefs in his career. Again, this team may not ever be Super Bowl hopeful, but they will be a consistent team in the playoffs, fighting for a championship.
6 Detroit Lions
Stars: Jerome Bettis, Braylon Edwards, Antonio Gates, Renaldo Hill, Rodney Holman, Paul Krause
The Lions would be a tough team with promise. Jerome "The Bus" Bettis was, well, a bus for the Steelers. Taking him down was quite difficult for defenders. Braylon Edwards lit up the NFL with his athleticism and ability to snag deep balls. Antonio Gates, the legendary Chargers tight end, is well-known for his unbelievable blocking abilities and and may soon break Tony Gonzalez's record for production from a tight end. Renaldo Hill was a versatile cornerback for the Broncos, who thrived in Arizona. Paul Krause is a Hall of Fame player who was immaculate at intercepting the ball. He holds the record for intercepting at least 45 different quarterbacks. Holman, like Gates, was a very good tight end who could punch the ball in the end zone.
Overall, I think this team would be fun to watch. Sitting at #7, I don't see them taking home a Super Bowl, but they could be right in the playoffs every year. That being said, they would struggle without a quarterback who is very skilled. This would probably be the reason they would lose.
5 Kansas City Chiefs
Stars: Barry Sanders, Jordy Nelson, Steve Grogan, Gale Sayers, John Riggins, Paul Coffman, Nolan Cromwell
This team would be probably have the greatest running back duo EVER. With Barry Sanders and Gale Sayers, I see a couple of Super Bowls. Steve Grogan at QB won't be great, but all he would have to do is hand the ball off. The two would combine for too many touchdowns to count. Sanders has too many accolades to even note in this article, but the guy had an amazing NFL career. He was 10-time Pro-Bowler, and likely would have broken the rushing record had he stayed in the league longer. Jordy Nelson would be a great option for Grogan. Nelson is young, and still in his career, but the guy is a stud.
Currently, Aaron Rodgers loves to pass to him. Grogan will enjoy this connection just as much. John Riggins was a legendary fullback. He powered through with the ball up the middle usually, and was blocking machine. There's a reason he was nicknamed "The Diesel."
Paul Coffman was a great player in Packer yellow. He played tight end and would be just as good in a Chiefs uniform. He isn't a Hall of Famer, but he is a Packer Hall of Fame inductee. Cromwell would be of much help on defense, as he was an aggressive DE.
4 Cleveland Browns
Stars: Roger Staubach, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Paul Brown, Jack Lambert, George McAfee.
This Browns team would be competitive. Staubach is obviously one of the greats, and his passing abilities extend beyond average. Shula was one of the best DEs EVER. He played the position almost perfectly, which earned him a spot in the 1997 Hall of Fame class. Chuck Noll was also a very skilled defender, who played linebacker and guard. He helped the Steelers win two Super Bowls in his time, and was so helpful to the team's winning chances. Paul Brown is obviously an amazing football and baseball player. McAfee would obviously be the starting quarterback because the guy had an amazing career. He won four Super Bowls for the Bears, and also played running back because of his fast speed.
I think this team competing for a title is more than likely because of their depth. Roger Staubach would lead the team offensively, and McAfee could play running back for the team's sake. The Browns would be good, if not even a little better than the old Browns who were so successful back in the day. They might even win a Super Bowl with this star-studded roster.
3 Houston Texans
Stars: Mike Singletary, Mel Renfro, Lance Alworth, Michael Strahan, Darrell Green, Thurman Thomas, Adrian Peterson.
This would be quite a team. Two running backs here, Adrian Peterson and Thurman Thomas, would tear the league up together. This team's defense would be a very tough attack. Singeltary was a 10-time Pro-Bowler, and a 1998 Hall of Fame inductee. The guy was one of the most aggressive defenders EVER. Mel Renfro dominated for the Cowboys. He spent 13 seasons there, and made 10 pro-bowls. He was a cornerback who was great at picking off QB's. Strahan is a guy everyone knows for his hard hitting and his ability to get to the quarterback. He would be of major help to this defense. Darrell Green is known as possibly the best cornerback of all time. The 2008 Hall of Fame inductee is one of the quickest players ever.
This team would dominate defensively, which would be the reason for a Super Bowl birth. Their offense is a pack-a-punch attack with Thurman and Adrian as both are two of the most talented running backs to ever play football. I think this team would be in many championship games and Super Bowls. They may not have a killer quarterback, but they have a very stacked lineup.
2 New Orleans Saints
Stars: Marshall Faulk, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Ed Reed, Steve Van Buren, Reggie Wayne, Arenas Williams, Neil Smith.
What a team this would be. Sure Peyton would start over Eli, but if he gets injured, they're fine. Faulk is a versatile runner who has immense speed. He has good vision and is an NFL GREAT. Ed Reed's career was full of interceptions and immaculate tackles. The Baltimore Raven was a nine-time Pro-Bowl player. This team may be one of the youngest out of the "Legends Teams," but would still be successful. Reggie Wayne and Peyton would make for an ultimate duo, as they did in Indianapolis already with the Colts. I like this team more than any of the others, as Peyton in his prime with Marshall Faulk would have been a spectacle. This team would always be clashing with the team who I note as #1, the Eagles. The Saints would be stacked with athleticism and unusual skill on one team. Peyton Manning would win his fair share of Super Bowls for this roster, as maybe Eli would if his brother were to get injured. As I said, Reggie Wayne and Peyton would connect perfectly, like for the Colts, and be a great duo once more.
1 Pittsburgh Steelers
Stars: George Blanda, Jack Butler, Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett, Joe Schmidt, Randy White, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath.
Holy s***. This Steelers team would be the greatest team of all time. With Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, and the great Joe Namath, I have no idea who would start for this team. I assume everyone would switch off. Offensively, NO ONE would rival this immaculate team. Tony Dorsett is one of the greatest halfbacks ever, and would be so essential to this team. On the defensive end, they would have a great mix as well. Jack Butler is a HOF defensive back. Randy White was also a stud defensively, and a nine-time NFL Pro-Bowler. I assume that the Steelers and the Saints would be playing regularly for the Super Bowl. With some amazing star power, both teams would go down in history, but the Steelers would have the edge because they have legit may be four of the best QBs of all time. This team would be so entertaining to watch on Sundays, seriously. I can't imagine the excitement of watching all of these prime-time players on the same team.
How unfair is this, even in an alternate universe, the Steelers would have the most championships.