NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s - SPECIAL TEAMS/COACHES

01/25/2010

The National Football League's All-Decade Teams have been determined by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee.
 

1920s1930s | 1940s  | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s  | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s

Once again, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee was asked to come up with a Team of the Decade. This time around, it was clearly stated in the criteria that only a player’s performance during the 1990s could be taken into consideration. The team was announced in late July of 2000 as the NFL prepared for its upcoming 81st season.

Five players received unanimous selection with a vote from each of the Committee’s selectors. They were: guard Bruce Matthews, wide receiver Jerry Rice, running back Barry Sanders, and defensive ends Bruce Smith and Reggie White.

Two players were placed on the team at two different positions. Deion Sanders was named to the first-team at both cornerback and punt returner. Return specialist Mel Gray was voted to the second team at both punt returner and kickoff returner.

A total of eight players on the 1990s team were also selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1980s. The group included Rice, Smith, White, along with kickers Morten Andersen and Gary Anderson, punter Sean Landeta, tackle Gary Zimmerman, and safety Ronnie Lott.
 

NFL’S ALL-DECADE TEAM OF THE 1990s

OFFENSE | DEFENSE | SPECIAL TEAMS/COACHES

 
 

PUNTERS
 

(First Team)


DARREN BENNETT
College: none
Pro Career: 1995-2003 San Diego Chargers; 2004-05 Minnesota Vikings
The Australian-born Bennett honed his skills in rugby before taking up the American version of “football.” He easily took to the game and quickly found himself reaping All-Pro accolades (1996, 2000) and accepting Pro Bowl bids (1996, 2001). He averaged 44.6 yards per punt in the 1990s.
 

(Second Team)

SEAN LANDETA
College: Towson
Pro Career: 1985-1993 New York Giants; 1993-96; 2003-04 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams; 1997 Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 1998 Green Bay Packers;1999-2002, 2005 Philadelphia Eagles
Landeta, also a member of the All-Decade team of the 1980s, continued his consistent and reliable play throughout the 1990s.  During the decade he never averaged below 42 yards per punt and had more than 180 of them downed inside the 20-yard-line.

KICKERS
 

(First Team)

MORTEN ANDERSEN
College: Michigan State
Pro Career: 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints; 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons; 2001 New York Giants; 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs; 2004 Minnesota Vikings
Not only is Andersen the all-time leading scoring, but he was one most successful kickers of the decade.  During this time he successfully converted 245 field goals and 345 extra points for a total of 1,080 points.  Andersen is also a member of the All-Decade team of the 1980s.
 

(Second Team)

GARY ANDERSON
College: Syracuse
Pro Career: 1982-1994 Pittsburgh Steelers; 1995-96 Philadelphia Eagles; 1997 San Francisco 49ers; 1998-2002 Minnesota Vikings; 2003-04 Tennessee Titans.
Anderson, a member of the All-Decade Team of the 1980s, continued to be an elite kicker throughout the 1990s.  In fact, in 1998 he put together one the greatest seasons ever by a kicker.  That year he converted all 35 of his field goal attempts and every one of his 59 PATs for a league-leading 164 points.  The point total remains an NFL record for a kicker.
 

PUNT RETURNERS
 

(First Team)

DEION SANDERS
College: Florida State
Pro Career: 1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons; 1994 San Francisco 49ers; 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys; 2000 Washington Redskins; 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens
“Neon Deion” was one of the most charismatic players in the NFL during his time.  Not only was he an elite cornerback and kickoff returner, but his punt return skills were second-to-none.  Always a threat to score whenever he touched the ball he averaged 10.8 yards per return and scored five touchdown during the 1990s.

(Second Team)

MEL GRAY
College: Purdue
Pro Career: 1986-88 New Orleans Saints; 1989-1994 Detroit Lions; 1995-97 Houston/Tennessee Oilers; 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
Gray was the definition of a specialist during his career and he was constantly working to refine his skills. As an elite kickoff return man, he also dominated the decade as a punt returner.  During that time he returned 192 punts for a 10.5 yard average, 2 TDs; and 304 kickoffs for a 24.5-yard average and 5 TDs.  He was voted to four Pro Bowls in the 1990s.
 

KICKOFF RETURNERS
 

(First Team)

MICHAEL BATES
College: Arizona
Pro Career: 1993-94 Seattle Seahawks, 1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2000, 2002 Carolina Panthers, 2001 Washington Redskins, 2003 New York Jets, 2003 Dallas Cowboys
Bates was perhaps the most dangerous man on kickoff returns during the 1990s.  A five-time Pro Bowl pick, all but one of those seasons occurring in the decade, he had an amazing year in 1996.  That season, he averaged 30.2 yards on his 33 kickoff returns and scored one TD.

(Second Team)

MEL GRAY
College: Purdue
Pro Career: 1986-88 New Orleans Saints; 1989-1994 Detroit Lions; 1995-97 Houston/Tennessee Oilers; 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
Gray was named second-team at both punt returner and kickoff returner. See his summary above.

COACHES
 

BILL PARCELLS
College: Colgate; Wichita State
Pro Career: 1983-1990 New York Giants; 1993-96 New England Patriots; 1997-99 New York Jets; 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys.
Parcells started the decade in style by leading the New York Giants to their second Super Bowl victory in five years.  A successful coach everywhere he landed, he went on to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl in the 1996 season and guided the Jets to the 1998 AFC Championship.  He finished his 19-year career with an overall record of 183-138-1.

MARV LEVY
College: Wyoming; Coe College; Harvard
Pro Career: 1978-1982 Kansas City Chiefs, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills. HOF: 2001
Levy, who led the Buffalo Bills to an unprecedented four consecutive Super Bowls (1990-93), won two of his three AFC Coach of the Year Awards in the 1990s.  From 1988 to 1997, Levy guided Buffalo to the best winning percentage in the AFC and second only to San Francisco in the NFL. His coaching numbers at the end of his 17-year career read 154-120-0.


Recent Comments
  • Aaron Barrett - February 07 2011 12:31 AM

    A correction - Bennett "honed his skills" playing Australian Rules football, not rugby. He represented the West Coast Eagles and the Melbourne Demons in the Australian Football League, the premier competition of this unique 18-per-side game.

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  • Tom Warhurst - January 26 2010 04:00 PM

    Wow! The 1990's were like revisting some of my personal all-time greats! I think Manning has to be the 1st teamer for the 2000's. He unquestionably was the best regular season qb of the era. If we were making a team of best Super Bowl winners, pick Brady. Otherwise, Manning would have to be the choice in my mind.

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