Greatest 'Athlete' To Play American Football

Everyone knows that professional football players are in peak physical condition; however, people fail to realize how complex training for football can be. Unlike most other sports, football requires the players to be at their max size, strength, and weight; and on top of that the workouts and strengths needed vary by position.

Lineman, for example, need a lot of body weight and bulk as well as power. Wide receivers and cornerbacks on the other hand need maximum strength, speed, and agility while minimizing their bulk. To make it to the NFL a player must be in top physical condition. Some of the fittest athletes currently in the NFL include Reggie Bush, Julius Peppers, and Cam Newton; and some of the fittest people to ever play in the NFL include Steve Young, Jim Brown, and Lawrence Taylor. However, there are a few that stand out from the rest:

Adrian Peterson: The Minnesota Vikings running back has been tearing up the football field for years earning basically every award possible, including Pro Bowl starter, NFL MVP, and Offensive Player of the Year. All 6'1 217 pounds of Peterson is an absolute beast. In order to keep himself in such great shape, Peterson spends a lot of his time in the gym and eats mostly baked foods like fish, chicken, and potatoes. These baked foods keep Peterson powerful but lean, making it easy for him to keep his impressive 4.4 second time in the 40 yard goal

Calvin Johnson: At 6'5, 236 pounds, Johnson is a freak of nature. Johnson's build is a large part of his record-setting performances—he is rewriting the NFL Receiving record book one amazing catch at a time. However, Johnson's spectacular twisting, diving catches do not just come out of nowhere: Johnson does 30 second weighted, one-handed planks while pulling at a resistance bar with the other hand with extra weigh on his hips. Yes, you read that right. Johnson works hard in the weight room for every yard he has ever earned on the field.

Herschel Walker: After 13 years of fighting to touchdowns, everyone assumed Walker would take a break and rest his body when he retired at the age of 35. Walker had a different plan, however: he immediately began training for mixed martial arts, an equally physically demanding sport. Walker has since retired from fighting, but up until age 50 his daily regimen consisted of 3,500 sit ups; 1,500 push ups; and an 8-mile run. He even considered returning to football—at age 50.

In the Future?

This article was written in 2014. Undoubtedly there will be very fit players in the years to come which will challenge the champions listed here. Even a poll from a couple of years ago is starting to be dated. The poll by ESPN on the greatest American football 'athlete' of all time, conducted in 2012, short-listed Jim Brown, John Elway, Tony Gonzalez, Calvin Johnson, Joe Montana, Adrian Peterson, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Reggie White, Steve Young, with Jim Brown being crowned the greatest.

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Lists Extra

Football/Soccer is clearly the world's most popular sport, and has the most popular athletes, but which sport has the fittest players (but not necessarily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most. The best of the best have made it to our 7 Sporting Wonders Lists.

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