A player is recognizable by his style of play, his personality, his physique… but also his number. A sign of a strong attachment, players often keep the same number (if possible) when changing teams, and it sometimes becomes a communication tool.
During 99 episodes, we are going to talk about the best players by number in the NFL. With each time a holder and a replacement.
In this 37th episode, a namesake emerges from the shadows.
Holder: Jimmy Johnson (DB, San Francisco 49ers 1961-76)
It may be a Hall of Famer, Jimmy Johnson evolves in the shadows. That of his brother, Olympic champion in 1960, but also of his namesake legendary Cowboys coach. He is however a legend of the 49ers, where his number is withdrawn.
Eight-time All Pro, he is a pioneer of the 70s, and he is one of those who put the 49ers on the map in the Super Bowl era, with three playoff qualifiers between 1970 and 1972.
Author of 47 career interceptions, Jimmy Johnson has scored all the institutions he has been in: Hall of Famer in Fresno, UCLA and the 49ers, he is our incumbent just against a league MVP.
Alternate: Shaun Alexander (RB, Seattle Seahawks 2000-07, Washington Redskins 2008)
MVP or Hall of Fame? What is the most significant accomplishment? It is an endless debate. But what is certain is that Shaun Alexander also left his mark on the league. In a golden era for running backs, he managed to do well to the point of becoming an MVP in 2005.
Author of 1,958 yards and 28 touchdowns, he dominated the league head and shoulders and also won the title of offensive player of the year. In the conference final, he crushed the Panthers to qualify the Seahawks for the Super Bowl. Despite an honorable performance in the most important game of the year, the Seahawks will fail against the Steelers of Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis.
Like many runners, his career is relatively short, but he remains an iconic player in the franchise, a dominant runner who has marked the league.
Notices: Carnell Lake (DB), Pat Fischer (DB), Rodney Harrison (DB), Lester Hayes (DB), Mark Murphy (DB), Tom Myers (DB)