The hardest NFL hitters can completely change a game. They can deflate any momentum of the opposing team with some of the biggest hits ever. These are the top 10 hardest hitters in NFL history. The players who have big hits like no others.
This list is based on the eye test. While there are players who have more tackles, this list is only judged on their hard-hitting ability. For that reason, a lot of the players in today’s game don’t make this list because the rules don’t permit them to let loose.
#10 – Kam Chancellor
Kam Chancellor was the BOOM in the Legion of Boom. He was the one who set the tempo. That was the luxury of a linebacker playing at safety who could move like Bam Bam Kam.
Sadly, he has his career cut short due to a neck injury, but his impact was already felt. He has a highlight reel full of some of the best hits ever.
He was also a safety during a time when most hard hits were penalized. Kam still found ways to make hits in the target area keeping those yellow flags inside the refs pocket… most of the time at least.
#9 – James Harrison
James Harrison is a scary, scary dude. I’m even getting a little intimidated looking at his photo now. Just a perfect fit for the rugged Steel Curtain defense.
Later in his career, he became known for being a “dirty player” who got fined a lot but consider the context. The majority of these dirty hits were legal when he first started in the NFL. Then the rules changed and he was forced to adapt. He did his best, but changing your first instinct isn’t something that happens overnight.
Because this list is just about the hardest hitters, James Harrison earned his spot on this list. He was a violent player who hurt a lot of players.
#8 – Steve Atwater
6 foot 3 inches and 220 pounds. This was a linebacker playing safety.
They called him the “Smiling Assassin” because after he destroyed the ball carrier, he would stand over them with a big smile on his face.
Because of his size, he often found his talents being used in the box. That led to a lot of 1 on 1 moment with Running Backs including his most iconic hit against Christian Okoye.
They called him the “Nigerian Nightmare” and at the time, many viewed him as the best power running ever, but Atwater single-handedly shattered that reputation at this moment. For the first time ever, Christian Okoye found himself going backward. Steve Atwater put all of his strength against the 260-pound beast of a man across from him.
Not only was he one of the hardest NFL hitters ever, but also one of the surest tacklers as he has racked up over 1000 tackles in his career. He was vital for the Denver Broncos’ two Super Bowls also earning a reputation as one of the best safeties in NFL history.