Since the game of American football was first played at the collegiate level in the late 1860s, the sport has captivated fans by using both strength and strategy to get the win. With the introduction of the American Professional Football Association, later renamed to the National Football League, audiences saw athletes play more ferociously than ever before. And with the star athletes who have emerged over the years, including Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning and John Elway, it's clear that the excitement and ferocity around the brutal sport hasn't died down at all. Browse through the notable football players who have tackled their way to the top.
Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre told CNN the only way to make the game safer is to not play. Medical pros have questioned serious brain injuries sustained by players. Meanwhile, Favre is being sued for $16 million over his failed social media startup, Sqor.
American football player Aaron Hernandez received a life sentence for murdering his friend Odin Lloyd in 2013. He committed suicide in his jail cell in 2017. Following Hernandez's death, a judge erased his murder conviction, abiding by Massachusetts case law which calls for convictions to be vacated if the defendant dies before an appeal can be heard.
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who protested police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem, is a finalist for TIME magazine’s 2017 person of the year, along with President Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller and the #MeToo movement.
Native American Jim Thorpe won the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympics but was stripped of his gold medals for violating amateur eligibility rules.