The National Football League's All-Decade Teams have been determined by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee.
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When asked to review the 1980s, it does not take long to determine that the decade was dominated by a relatively few number of teams. In fact, eight of the decade’s Super Bowls were won by just three clubs – the San Francisco 49ers (4), Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (2), and the Washington Redskins (2). The Chicago Bears and New York Giants rounded out the decade with one win each. Stating that, it is not surprising to see players from these teams all over the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1980s roster.
The NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1980s included 57 members, and close to 40 percent of the team (22) were members of a club that won a Super Bowl during the decade. Leading the way was the San Francisco 49ers with six members on the squad followed by the Redskins with five members, the Raiders with four players, and the Bears and Giants with three each.
Three players – Anthony Muñoz, Jerry Rice, and Lawrence Taylor – were unanimous selections to the All-Decade Team.
NFL’S ALL-DECADE TEAM OF THE 1980s
College: Mississippi Valley State
Pro Career: 1985-2000 San Francisco 49ers, 2001-04 Oakland Raiders; 2004 Seattle Seahawks. HOF: 2010
Although Rice played in only five seasons during the decade of the 1980s, he was regarded by many to be on the path to be called the greatest receiver of all-time. Those assessments proved to be true. By the end of Rice’s 20-year career, he had obliterated every receiving record imaginable. He set the bar so high that many of his records may stand forever.
Pro Career: 1976-1989 Seattle Seahawks. HOF: 1995
Although Largest was armed with only average height and speed, his exceptional determination and concentration, helped him become one of best receivers in NFL history. At the time of his retirement, he held NFL records for most receptions (819), most yards on receptions (13,089), most touchdowns on receptions (100), and most seasons with 1,000 yards or more on receptions (8).
Pro Career: 1978-1986 Green Bay Packers; 1987-88 Los Angeles Raiders; 1989-1992 Buffalo Bills; 1993 Los Angeles Rams; 1993 Philadelphia Eagles. HOF: 2003
Lofton was one of most athletically gifted receivers to play in the National Football League. What made his unique ability so amazing was how long he remained a deep-threat on the football field. In 16 seasons, Lofton caught 764 passes for 14,004 yards and an incredible 18.3 yard average per catch.
Pro Career: 1980-1993 Washington Redskins; 1994 New York Jets; 1995 Philadelphia Eagles. HOF: 2008
Art Monk was the prototype for today’s bigger, stronger wide receivers. A fearless player, he never hesitated going into heavy traffic over the middle. During his career he set records for most catches in a career, most catches in a season, and most consecutive games with a reception.
Pro Career: 1979-1987 San Diego Chargers. HOF: 1995
Winslow brought in a new era of tight ends to the National Football League. Not only did he have the size and toughness to be an effective blocker, but he had the speed and receiving ability to stretch any defense to the point of breaking. He had an amazing run in the early part of the decade when he caught 89 passes in 1980, 88 in 1981, and 88 again in 1983. In all, he had amassed 541 career receptions for 6,741 yards.
Pro Career: 1978-1990 Cleveland Browns. HOF: 1999
Newsome, who led his team in receptions every year at Alabama, was converted from receiver to tight end when he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns 1978. He quickly became one of the best tight ends in the game. Many teams had a fit trying to game plan around Newsome and his unique skills. He retired after 13 seasons as the NFL’s fourth leading receiver with 662 catches.
College: Southern California
Pro Career: 1980-1992 Cincinnati Bengals. HOF: 1998
Muñoz is regarded among the very best offensive lineman ever to play in the National Football League. Some experts argue he may be the best period. He defined the position of left tackle during his 13 seasons and is the model for which all others are measured. Muñoz was an All-Pro selection an incredible 11 consecutive years and was voted to 11 Pro Bowls.
Pro Career: 1983-1990 Chicago Bears
Covert, a two-time All-America selection at Pitt, was the first round pick of the Chicago Bears in the 1983 Draft. He immediately became a starter and earned All-Rookie honors. In all, he started 108 of his 111 career games. In 1985 Covert won the Miller Lite/Offensive Lineman of the Year award, an honor he repeated the following season.
Pro Career: 1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings; 1993-97 Denver Broncos. HOF: 2008
Zimmerman, with his superior play, earned All-Decade honors even though he played just four seasons during the 1980s. Zimmerman was equally adept at pass blocking and run blocking during his Hall of Fame career as evidenced by the fact that his team’s quarterbacks led their conferences in passing four times and the runners in rushing twice He was a first- or second-team All-Pro selection eight times and earned seven Pro Bowl trips.
Pro Career: 1981-1993 Washington Redskins
Jacoby, an undrafted free agent, was one of the vital components to the Washington Redskins famed “Hogs” offensive line that helped the team win three Super Bowls. At 6-7, 305 pounds he was one of the largest men in the NFL. He combined that size with quick feet and deceptive agility. These skills helped him earn Pro Bowl honors four times during his career.
Pro Career: 1973-1985 New England Patriots HOF: 1991
Hannah, the Patriots first round draft pick in 1973, was widely recognized as the premier guard of his era. He was named first-team All-Pro 10 consecutive seasons and won the NFLPA’s Offensive Lineman of the Year award four straight years. Extremely durable, he missed only five games during his 13-year career.
Pro Career: 1981-1991 Washington Redskins. HOF: 2010
Grimm, one of the most feared guards of his era, was a third round selection of the Washington Redskins in 1981. Originally pegged to play center, Grimm was moved to left guard where he earned a starting role as a rookie. During his 11-year career, he was selected to four straight Pro Bowls and earned All-Pro recognition four consecutive years.
Pro Career: 1985-1992 Atlanta Falcons; 1993 Detroit Lions
Fralic, the second overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft, was an instant starter with the Falcons. His play earned him All-Rookie honors. By his second season, he was generally regarded as one of the elite guards in the NFL and he earned a consensus All-Pro selection. He would go on to earn two more first-team all-league honors and was selected to four Pro Bowls.
College: Penn State
Pro Career: 1982-1993 Houston Oilers. HOF: 2001
Mike Munchak was the eighth player overall and the first offensive lineman chosen in the 1982 NFL Draft. He was instantly named the team’s starter. By his third season his play had risen to an elite level and he was selected to the first of nine Pro Bowls during his career. Equally effective as a run or pass blocker, Munchak was a first- or second-team All-Pro selection ten times.
Pro Career: 1980-87 Miami Dolphins. HOF: 1998
It did not take long for Stephenson to rise to the point of being the premier center in the National Football League. Known for his extreme quickness and explosiveness off the snap, Stephenson earned All-Pro honors five straight years and was elected to the Pro Bowl five consecutive years. Unfortunately a severe knee injury cut his career short after only eight seasons.
Pro Career: 1974-1988 Pittsburgh Steelers; 1989-1990 Kansas City Chiefs. HOF: 1997
Webster, one of four future Hall of Famers drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1974, was one of the most durable lineman of his time. Also a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s, Webster helped lead Pittsburgh to a pair of division titles during the ‘80s before finishing his career with the Chiefs.
College: Notre Dame
Pro Career: 1979-1990, 1992 San Francisco 49ers; 1993-94 Kansas City Chiefs. HOF: 2000
Without question Montana ranks among the very best quarterbacks ever to compete in the National Football League. He led the 49ers to four Super Bowl victories in his 16-season career, three of which he was named MVP. Three times during the decade he posted passer ratings of more than 100.
Pro Career: 1973-1987 San Diego Chargers HOF: 1993
Fouts, a third round pick of the Chargers in 1973, played a major role in transforming the team from cellar-dwellers to perennial title contenders. He led his team to three division titles and back-to-back AFC championship games in 1980 and 1981. He retired after the 1987 season with a 15-year total of 43,040 yards and 254 TDs.
College: Jackson State
Pro Career: 1975-1987 Chicago Bears. HOF: 1993
Payton was perhaps one of the most beloved players in the history of the National Football League. A first round pick by the Bears in 1975, he quickly became one of the league’s superstars. Also a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s, Payton retired in 1987 as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher with 16,726 yards. His 77 games with 100 or more yards rushing and 110 career rushing TDs were also NFL records.
College: Southern Methodist
Pro Career: 1983-87 Los Angeles Rams; 1987-1991 Indianapolis Colts; 1992 Los Angeles Raiders; 1993 Atlanta Falcons. HOF: 1999
Dickerson, the second overall pick in the 1983 draft, may have had the best start to an NFL career ever. In his first four seasons he surpassed 1,800 yards rushing three times, including a single-season record 2,105 yards in 1984. A five-time All-Pro selection, Dickerson led the NFL in rushing three times and retired as the league’s second all-time leading rusher with 13,259 yards.
Pro Career: 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers; 1991 Los Angeles Raiders; 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
Craig was a unique runner in that he had the size and strength to run up the middle, the speed to run outside, and hands comparable to the league’s best wide receivers. This versatility allowed him to become the first runner in league history to gain more than 1000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season (1985). When he retired, his career rushing yards (8,189) ranked 16 all-time while his receptions (566) ranked 19th.
Pro Career: 1971-75 New York Jets; 1976-79, 1981-85 Washington Redskins. HOF: 1992
Riggins was a classic workhorse running back who specialized in gaining tough yardage late in the game when it counted most. Riggins, who broke Gale Sayers rushing record at Kansas, played a total of 175 games in his career and ran for a total of 11,352 yards and 104 TDs. His greatest years came with the Redskins in the early 1980s.
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