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
Pro Career: 1985-1993 New York Giants; 1993-1996, 2003-04 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams; 1997 Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 1998 Green Bay Packers;1999-2002, 2005 Philadelphia Eagles
Landeta, who played three years in the USFL before joining the New York Giants, was a model of consistency throughout his 21-year career. He had a career average of 43.3 and led his conference in punting average four times and captured one league punting title.
Pro Career: 1983-1992 Miami Dolphins; 1993-94 Washington Redskins; 1995 Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 1996-97 Houston/Tennessee Oilers; 1998 San Francisco 49ers
Roby is considered to be one of the best punters in NFL history. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Roby was drafted by the Dolphins in the 6th round of the 1983 draft. Roby was a first- or second-team All-Pro selection five times.
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
Andersen, a seven-time Pro Bowl pick, was one of the most prolific kickers in NFL history. He finished his 25-year career as the NFL’s all-time leading scorer with 2,544 points. He has also played in more games (382) and kicked more field goals (565) than any other player. He topped the 100-point plateau 14 times during his career and kicked a NFL-record nine field goals of 50 yards or greater.
Pro Career: 1982-1994 Pittsburgh Steelers; 1995-96 Philadelphia Eagles; 1997 San Francisco 49ers; 1998-2002 Minnesota Vikings; 2003-04 Tennessee Titans
Anderson was one of the most reliable and productive kickers in the history of the National Football League. He had 14 seasons of 100-plus points and totaled 2,434 career points and a field goal percentage of 80.1. He led the AFC in scoring three straight years in this decade.
Pro Career: 1980-1991 Detroit Lions; 1992 Kansas City Chiefs; 1992 Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 1993, 1999 Dallas Cowboys; 1994 Philadelphia Eagles; 1995, 2000 Washington Redskins; 1997 Minnesota Vikings
Murray, the seventh round pick of the Detroit Lions in 1980, played 19 seasons in the National Football League and retired as the eighth all-time leading scorer with 1,594 points. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, he led the NFL in scoring in just his second season with 121 points.
BILLY “WHITE SHOES” JOHNSON
Pro Career: 1974-1980 Houston Oilers; 1982-87 Atlanta Falcons; 1988 Washington Redskins
Johnson, a 17th round draft pick by the Oilers in 1974, was one of most electrifying players of his era. Known for his creative dances in the end zone, Johnson returned 6 punt returns for TDs during his career and led the league in punt return average twice. For his career he logged 282 punt returns for 3,317 yards and an average of 11.8 yards per return.
College: Delaware State
Pro Career: 1987-1995 San Francisco 49ers
Taylor combined his excellent receiving skills with exceptional punt return performance. In 1988 he returned 44 punts for a league-leading 556 yards, 12.6 yard average and 2 TDs. He also is the Super Bowl record holder for most career yards, longest return, highest career average, and highest average in a game. In all, he averaged 10.2 yards per return for his career.
Pro Career: 1980-84 Washington Redskins
Although he had a short career, Nelms was a one-man wrecking crew as a kickoff return man. He averaged more than 20 yards per return every year of his career. In 1981, his second season as a pro, he had 37 returns for 1,099 yards for a league-high average of 29.7. Nelms was selected to three Pro Bowls as a return man.
College: Indian Hills Comm. College (IA); Minnesota
Pro Career: 1975-1983 Denver Broncos
Upchurch, a fourth round pick of in 1974, was good receiver who totaled 267 catches for 4,369 yards and 24 TDs during his nine-year career. It was for his skills as a return man, however, where he made his name. In just his first season he had 40 kickoff returns for 1,084 yards for a 27.1 yard average. For his career he had 95 kickoff returns for an average of 24.8 yards per return. He was just as deadly as a punt returner – 248 returns for a 12.1 yard average and 8 TDs.
College: San Mateo Junior College; San Jose State
Pro Career: 1978-1988 San Francisco 49ers. HOF: 1993
Walsh was an offensive innovator who originated the West Coast offense, a philosophy that transformed the game of professional football. In 1978 he took over a 49ers team who had just posted a 2-14 record. By his third season Walsh had led the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory and won NFL Coach of the Year honors. He went on the guide the team to two more Super Bowl wins before retiring with an overall career record of 102-63-1.
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Pro Career: 1969-1991 Pittsburgh Steelers. HOF: 1993
When Chuck Noll took over as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team had seldom seen any type of success in the entire history of the franchise. By the time his career was over, Noll had compiled a career record of 209-156-1, won four Super Bowls and delivered nine division titles.