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The List: Best football nickname of all-time
From the Page 2 mailbag

Poll Results

Here's how the Page 2 staff ranked the best football nicknames of all-time:

1. Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch
2. "Broadway Joe" Namath
3. Lester "The Molester" Hayes
4. "Mean Joe" Greene
5. "The Mad Stork" (Ted Hendricks)
6. "The Assassin" (Jack Tatum)
7. "Sweetness" (Walter Payton)
8. Andre "Bad Moon" Rison
9. Lou "The Toe" Groza
10. Eugene "Mercury" Morris

Honorable mention: "Papa Bear" (George Halas), "The Manster" (Randy White), "Prime Time" (Deion Sanders), Dick "Night Train" Lane, "The Juice" (O.J. Simpson) "He Hate Me" (Rod Smart), Sam "The Rifle" Etcheverry, "Joe Cool" (Joe Montana), Elbert "Ickey" Woods, Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, Paul "Bear" Bryant, "Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside" (Felix "Doc" Blanchard and Glenn Davis), "Bronko" Nagurski, "LT" (Lawrence Taylor), "Slingin' Sammy" Baugh.

On Wednesday, Page 2 ran its list of the best nickname of all-time in football. We asked for your take, and you filled our mailbag with plenty of opinions.

After going through more than 1,500 letters, here's a complete rundown of the voting, along with some of the best letters about each nickname:

1. "Sweetness" -- Walter Payton (173 letters)
There has never been a more complete nickname that described the overwhelming and beautiful performance on the gridiron, while at the same time describing the true essence of the man. Walter Payton was the biggest class act that the sports world has ever seen, and he is truly missed.
Grant Bailie
Brandon, Fla.

My choice for the best nickname would have to be the Late Great Walter Payton's nickname, Sweetness. It is the only nickname I have ever heard that describes "the style" of a player. The incredible blend of moves, speed, and deceptive power was incredible. The man was tougher than Emmitt Smith, had more moves than Barry Sanders (without the negative yards), and actually looked for contact if he wasn't faking the defender out of his jock. What other term could describe him besides sweetness? And the most amazing thing is that he died with the same dignity and grace that he played with and lived his entire life with. His death was a loss for all of us, not just sports fans.
Germantown, Md.

2. "The Refrigerator" -- William Perry (75 letters)
William Perry
Opponents certainly didn't want the Fridge to fall on them.
He was not only as big as a refrigerator, but he could also clean yours out!
Joe Mayersky
Dyer, Ind.

You ever help a buddy move? ...
Joshua Ziegert
Newbury Park, Calif.

Everybody knew the fridge and his immortal words from the Super Bowl Shuffle. "Your lookin' at the fridge and I'm the rookie, I may be large but I no dumb cookie."
Chadwick Cate
Fayetteville, Ariz.

Everyone loves to tease the fat kid.
Ryan Brooks
Brooklyn, N.Y.

3. "Too Tall"-- Ed Jones (69 letters)
Nobody could create more havoc in the center of the field for quarterbacks and kickers
Frederick, Md.

He was an anomaly for his time, standing so much taller than his team mates.
Mark Hanson
Los Altos, Calif.

Walter Payton
"Sweetness" described Walter Payton both on and off the field.
The name really fit him, plus it spiced up an otherwise bland name. Ed Jones sounds like a used-car dealer!
Wes Engbrecht
Bismarck, N.D.

4. "White Shoes" -- Billy Johnson (46 letters)
Everybody imitated his patented dance, and for good reason ... an original dance for the end zone from a receiver who was so smooth he never got his shoes dirty.
W.G. Ramirez
Las Vegas, Nev.

Just a classic colorful nickname for a flamboyant personality.
Brian Cesca
Charlotte, NC

5. "Mean" -- Joe Greene (37 letters)
Not only does it describe his demeanor on the field, but the nickname became his name. His name isn't simply Joe Green, it's Mean Joe Greene and everyone I've ever known refers to him by the latter. Sure, Broadway and Crazy Legs are worthy, but only Mean Joe Greene's nickname is inherent.
Rick Ouellette
Madison, Wis.

The nickname strikes fear into each opponent and his play always backed the name up.
Pittsburgh, Pa.

6. "He Hate Me" -- Rod Smart (36 letters)
Just absolutely hilarious and the only thing that was memorable about the XFL.
Mark Creek
Hagerstown, Maryland

In 20 years, when researchers go through the annals of sports history, only one three-word phrase will forever be linked with the XFL: "He Hate Me." I've got to tell you, this nickname is so good, I didn't know this guy's real name until I looked at the honorable mention list on the editor's picks.

7. "The Freak" -- Jevon Kearse (35 letters)
Jevon Kearse
Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse has "freaky" ability.
Note: Randy Moss also received votes for 'The Freak'

With speed, quickness, tenacity and a tackle-to-tackle wing span Jevon Kearse goes beyond what the Football Gods had in mind for Man...
Kerry Henderson
Mexico, NY

His strength, speed, skills and heart are abnormal. He is a freak of nature.
Matt Kern
San Francisco

Both Randy Moss and Jevon Kearse defy reason by just being physically more overwhelming than any normal human should ever be.
Kirit Ganguli

8. "The Minister of Defense" -- Reggie White (27 letters)
What else needs to be said? Reggie was simply the most awesome defensive player the game ever saw. And the nickname fits well since he is an ordained Minister. Many NFL QBs were praying to God when they saw Reggie breathing down their necks.
Julian Bremser

Football is played on Sundays, and Sunday was certainly a holy day of the Lord when Reggie White was on the field. The man's amazing defense kept the sabbath!
Jonathan Averall

Reggie White
The "Minister of Defense" was dominant in the trenches.

9. "Broadway Joe" -- Joe Namath (22 letters)
That was his second home away from football.
Joseph Chiccarella
Mesa, Arizona

Joe Namath was an example for many athletes to follow. He was flashy, charismatic, boisterous and most of all a fierce competitor. He was the perfect reflection of how "New Yorker's" were expected to act at that time. He was definitely a right down "Broadway" kind of guy.
Rick Blankenship

What better to describe a cold hearted assassin. Who would promise a Super Bowl victory against the mighty Colts. Then do a commercial wearing pantyhose. Then still do a nike commercial some 20 years latter. And then be remixed into one of Slim Shady's songs by the NFL, "Hi my name is Joe".
Erik Betts
Bartlesville, Okla

10. "Diesel" -- John Riggins (18 letters)
The perfect nickname for a player who would tirelessly run the ball thirty to forty times each game while running over not around defenders. At the end of every practice the coaches would run the Riggo Drill, in which Riggins would get the ball on ten consecutive running plays to finish out the day. And with all of the touchdowns he scored, you never saw him spike the ball! You gotta love him and his nickname!
Dave Kidwell
Chesapeake Beach, Md.

Honorable mention:
"Prime Time" Deion Sanders, "Ironhead" Craig Heyward, "The Snake" Kenny Stabler, "Bullet" Bob Hayes, "Galloping Ghost" Red Grange, Andre "Bad Moon"Rison, "The Assassin" Jack Tatum, "Bambi" Lance Allworth, Eric "Sleeping with" Beinenemy, "Night Train" Dick Lane, "Moose" Daryl Johnston,"Tombstone" Rich Jackson, and "The Nigerian Nightmare" Christian Okoye.

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