Over the past three months, thousands of fans voted in our "Team For the Ages" contest to construct the best imaginable 50-man roster from the NFL’s modern era, which began in 1967. The votes have been counted, and we’re unveiling one player each weekday between now and the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.
DE Reggie White
Following eight dominant seasons with the Eagles, the "Minister of Defense" became the league's first big-ticket free agent to switch teams in 1993, when he went from Philadelphia to Green Bay and helped revive a proud Packers franchise mired in mediocrity. After signing the richest non-QB contract ever at the time, White somehow exceeded expectations, helping return the Lombardi Trophy to Titletown.
They said it
"It took a real act of courage to stand in there against Reggie White. He was the best player, offense or defense, I ever played against. Every pass play, it was 'OK, if you do this, double Reggie. If you are going to do that, double Reggie. That's all we talked about." — Phil Simms, to ESPN in 2006.
Trailing only Bruce Smith on the NFL's all-time sack list, White's 198 career sacks includes double-digit tallies in nine of his first 10 seasons and 12 of his 14 campaigns.
Did you know
If the 1987 season weren't abruptly halted by the player strike, White wouldn't merely have broken Mark Gastineau's then-single-season sack record of 22 — he likely would've blown past it. White averaged 1.75 sacks in 12 games that season en route to 21, which, sadly, is often overlooked in NFL annals. White also had four forced fumbles, including returning a score 70 yards for a touchdown in Week 1 to begin one of the greater, more unheralded individual seasons ever by a defender.
Astonishingly, White logged at least three sacks 12 times in his career. But in 19 career playoff games, he did it once: Super Bowl XXXI.
At age 36, White set a Super Bowl record by dropping Drew Bledsoe three times, including twice in the third quarter with Green Bay nursing a double-digit lead. White terrorized hapless RT Max Lane and whatever chip help the Patriots deployed, making up for 11 previous seasons without reaching the Super Bowl with an unstoppable showing.