I saw ESPN’s take on the top 10 NFL players to ever come from the current MAC (Mid-American Conference) schools and wanted to clarify some things since there were some obvious leave outs that just should not have been left out.
Coming from a former MAC all-star, these rating are factually based on stats*
10 – Doug Smith, C, Bowling Green
Doug was an absolute unit, selected for the Pro Bowl in six consecutive seasons for the Rams during the 1980s. He helped pave the way for Eric Dickerson’s record-setting 2,105 rushing yards in one season, a record that still stands today. I can just picture Doug waking up to a thicc bowl of oatmeal and nails, while combing his mullet, before a long day of baling hay.
9.5 – Kareem Hunt, RB, THE University of Toledo
Kareem “The Dream” 2.0 led the NFL in rushing yards as a rookie (1,327) and was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2017. Though his Sophomore slump hit a little different, Hunt was on pace to record his second 1,000+ yard rushing season before the Chiefs let him go. I wont dwell on Kansas City’s reasonings, but that led to his hometown team to swoop in and give this young man a second chance. Hunt is currently part of the best backfield duo in the NFL, as he splits carries with Nick Chubb. The dynamic duo is trying to become the 8th duo in NFL history to record 1,000+ rushing yards in the same season, all while leading the Browns to their best season since 1994. Sources say he has been banned from E9th street, but he is always welcome to the valley parties at the townhouses.
9.0 – Julian Edelman, WR, Kent State
I am sure you have heard of the name Tom Brady, well, Edelman has been his most consistent and reliable receiver throughout the 11 seasons they played together in New England. Having standout years since 2013, ole reliable may not be the flashiest NFL wide out, but he continues to put up numbers. Acquiring 3 Super Bowl rings and 1 Super Bowl MVP is no small task; there are multiple ESPN analysts and anchors who have less decorative careers under their belt.
8 – Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan
A six-time Pro Bowler and member of the NFL’s 2010s all-decade team, Staley led the offensive line assisting in Frank Gore becoming the organizations leading rusher in 2014 with 11,073 rushing yards. He appeared in two Super Bowls during Staley’s 13 seasons with the team. Growing up in Michigan, Joe Staley is the guy who can push you out if your vehicle gets stuck during this Mid-Western winter.
7 – James Harrison, OLB, Kent State
Undrafted in 2002, Harrison was chewed up by the NFL, spit out and chewed back up again. Harrison was signed twice by the Steelers, once by the Ravens, and sent to Europe to play before finally emerging as a regular NFL starter in 2007. A year later, Harrison was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, and still to this day he remains the only undrafted to accomplish such a feat. Harrison won two Super Bowls with the Steelers, before retiring in 2013 due to additional rules and regulations built to protect defenseless receivers. Despite retiring twice, sources have stated that Harrison will return to the field wearing a Steelers jersey during the 2020/2021 season. I would not want to meet that guy in an ally.
6. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
In his seven NFL seasons, Mack already has put together a Hall-of-Fame worthy résumé. A five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time first-team all-pro, Mack was the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year and also was named to the NFL’s 2010s all-decade team. There is no doubt Khalil will go down as one of the greatest LB’s, along side Demarcus Ware, Junior Seau, Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis.
5 – Antonio Gates, TE, Kent State
Another undrafted free agent superstar story, Gates played basketball, not football, for Kent State and helped his team reach the Elite Eight in the NCAA 2002 March Madness Tournament. Signed by the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2003, Gates quickly emerged as a savage threat in the passing game and became the career touchdown leader for the tight ends (116). Gates is still at No. 7 on the NFL’s all-time receiving touchdowns list, ahead of all-time greats such as Calvin Johnson, Hines Ward, and Tory Holt. An eight-time Pro Bowler, Gates was named on the NFL’s all-decade team for the 2000s. A pure athlete at heart, Gates paved the way for the dominant receiving tight ends we see today.
4 – Antonio Brown, WR, Central Michigan
What other way is there to say it? Brown was dominant and on the fast track to the Hall of Fame. In nine seasons with the Steelers, Brown recorded six 100+ catch seasons and 1,000+ yards receiving seven times, including twice leading the league in both categories. The seven-time Pro Bowler was also named to the NFL’s 2010s all-decade team. He currently is being given a 4th chance and has been picked up by the Tompa Bay Bucs in hopes to become the 1st team to win a Super Bowl at their home field.
3 – Jason Taylor, DE, Akron
Jason was one of his era’s top pass rushers. During his 13 seasons with the Dolphins, Taylor earned a spot at six Pro Bowls, was named the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was the 2002 sacks leader and earned the honor of NFL’s all-decade team for the 2000s. Being 4th on the all-time forced fumble list should not be taken lightly, but this man has a good and soft heart and he honorably received the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2007.
2 – Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Miami (Ohio)
Now in his 17th NFL season, Roethlisberger ranks in the top 10 of all-time in passing yards and touchdowns (I know it seems like he has been around longer than 17 years, but that is what Wikipedia says). With Big Ben behind center (not Andrea McNulty), the Steelers reached three Super Bowls, winning two to become the first franchise to win six Lombardi Trophies.
1 – Jack Lambert, MLB, Kent State
Considered one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history, and undoubtably the greatest linebacker of his era. Jack is a member of the NFL’s 100th anniversary team, the 1970s and 1980s all-decade teams, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Obviously before mouth guards and dental hygiene were widely accepted, he was the main hammer in Pittsburgh’s famous Steel Curtain defense. Lambert won four Super Bowls with the team during his 11-year career with the Steelers. FUN FACT: Jack Lambert was Nick Saban’s captain at Kent State.
I may regret this,