Made in America: The top NFL players from all 50 states

Despite its many controversies, football remains as popular as ever, and the sport is inherently American.

While the other three major sports leagues import a significant portion of their workforce from other countries, much of the talent in the NFL is born and bred in the USA.

Here's our list of the top NFL players to ever come out of the 50 states (and D.C.).

*Titles signify Super Bowl wins and NFL championships. All-Pro denotes first-team All-Pro selections. Stats for tackles were unavailable prior to 2001, and sacks were unavailable prior to 1982.

Alabama - Bart Starr, QB

Seasons Pass Yds TDs MVPs Titles
16 24718 152 1 7

We kick off this list with the pride of Montgomery, Ala. Hundreds of NFLers have hailed from Alabama, but Starr is the only Hall of Famer with two Super Bowl rings (I and II), five NFL championships, and an MVP to his name.

Honorable Mention: Terrell Owens, DeMarcus Ware

Alaska - Mark Schlereth, G

Seasons Games Played Pro Bowls Titles
12 156 2 3

Not only is he the most experienced player from America's largest state, he's a three-time Super Bowl champion, beating out receiver Steve Smith's single championship ring.

Honorable Mention: Steve Smith, Daryn Colledge

Arizona - Randall McDaniel, G

Seasons Games Played Pro Bowls All-Pro
14 222 12 7

Of the two Hall of Famers from the Grand Canyon State, McDaniel made a grander impact than Culp, starting 202 consecutive games and appearing in 12 straight Pro Bowls.

Honorable Mention: Curley Culp, Darren Woodson

Arkansas - Don Hutson, WR

Receptions Rec Yds TDs MVPs Titles
488 7991 99 2 3

Hutson is credited with revolutionizing the receiver position and creating many of the routes still used today. He led the NFL in receiving in eight of his 11 seasons and won back-to-back MVP honors in 1941 and 1942.

Honorable Mention: Cortez Kennedy, Willie Roaf

California - Tom Brady, QB

Seasons Pass Yds TDs MVPs Titles
18 66159 488 3 5

The Golden State has the second-most active players, but none are as big as the Golden Boy. San Mateo produced a sixth-round pick that went on to become the greatest player of all time.

Honorable Mention: Marcus Allen, Junior Seau

Colorado - Earl Clark, TB

Rush Yds TDs Pass Yds Titles All-Pro
2772 36 1507 1 6

"Dutch" Clark is Colorado's lone Pro Football Hall of Famer. He was a triple threat as a tailback, passer, and kicker for the Detroit Lions in the '30s. He remains the state's best export to the NFL, followed closely by the still-active Calais Campbell.

Honorable Mention: Calais Campbell, Vincent Jackson

Connecticut - Dwight Freeney, DE

Seasons Tackles Sacks Titles All-Pro
16 283 125.5 1 3

For one of the smallest states in the U.S. by total area, a significant amount of NFL talent has come out of Connecticut. Floyd Little, Bill Romanowski, Eugene Robinson, and John Carney all had notable careers, but not like Freeney. The pass-rusher retired in April after collecting 125.5 sacks over a 16-year career.

Honorable Mention: Floyd Little, Andy Robustelli

Delaware - Luke Petitgout, T

Seasons Games Played Pro Bowls All-Pro
10 117 0 0

Delaware is half the size of Connecticut, and has produced significantly fewer NFLers. Petitgout, an offensive lineman for 10 seasons, is the state's longest-tenured player by games played.

Honorable Mention: Paul Worrilow, Jamie Duncan

District of Columbia - Jonathan Ogden, T

Seasons Games Played Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
12 177 1 11 4

Andrew Luck has designs on this slot, but it's currently occupied by the Baltimore Ravens' monstrous former left tackle. Ogden was selected to the Pro Bowl in 11 consecutive seasons and won a championship with the Ravens in 2000.

Honorable Mention: Brian Westbrook, Andrew Luck

Florida - Deion Sanders, CB

Seasons INTs TDs Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
14 53 19 2 8 6

In a loaded state that boasts the most active players, "Primetime" gets the nod for his unquestioned status as the most influential and best athlete to come out of Florida. Emmitt Smith is the league's all-time leading rusher, but Sanders' influence on the game has been felt for decades. He's one of the best to ever do it.

Honorable Mention: Emmitt Smith, Ray Lewis

Georgia - Jim Brown, RB

Rush Yds TDs MVPs Titles All-Pro
12312 106 3 1 8

He posted at least 1,250 rushing yards in seven of his nine seasons in an era of 12-to-14-game campaigns. Brown was the GOAT before that conversation even started.

Honorable Mention: Herschel Walker, Cam Newton

Hawaii - Olin Kreutz, C

Seasons Games Played Pro Bowls All-Pro
14 195 6 1

The island state is a developing hotbed for football. The sport has never been as popular at the Pop Warner and high school levels, and native son Tua Tagovailoa is a college icon after rescuing Alabama in the national championship game. At the NFL level, most of Hawaii's best products played in the trenches.

Honorable Mention: Dominic Raiola, Marcus Mariota

Idaho - Larry Wilson, DB

Seasons INTs TDs Pro Bowls All-Pro
13 52 7 8 5

The Gem State has unearthed just one Hall of Famer. While Jake Plummer may be the most popular player to come from Idaho, his credentials (one Pro Bowl) don't equal Wilson's.

Honorable Mention: Jake Plummer, Merril Hoge

Illinois - Otto Graham, QB

Pass Yds TDs Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
23584 174 7 5 7

Some of the NFL's most intimidating figures came from rough and tumble Illinois - Ray Nitschke, George Halas, Dick Butkus. Graham, however, remains the state's flag bearer.

Honorable Mention: Dick Butkus, Shannon Sharpe

Indiana - Rod Woodson, S

Seasons INTs TDs Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
17 71 17 1 11 6

The Hoosier State is known for hooping, but Indiana can take pride in the wealth of NFL talent it has birthed. Bob Griese deserves plaudits for his role in the Miami Dolphins' two Super Bowl titles, though Woodson and Chris Doleman were superior athletes.

Honorable Mention: Chris Doleman, Bob Griese

Iowa - Kurt Warner, QB

Pass Yds TDs MVPs Titles All-Pro
32344 208 2 1 2

Warner put Iowa on the map - including the Hy-Vee where he famously bagged groceries before his star turn. He's the lone Hall of Famer from the Hawkeye State, though Darren Sproles and David Johnson may someday join him.

Honorable Mention: Darren Sproles, David Johnson

Kansas - Barry Sanders, RB

Rush Yds TDs MVPs Pro Bowl All-Pro
15269 99 1 10 6

Kansas, particularly Wichita, is a breeding ground for some of the best running backs to ever play in the NFL. Sanders and Gale Sayers may have gone down as the best to ever play if not for their shortened careers.

Honorable Mention: Gale Sayers, John Riggins

Kentucky - Champ Bailey, CB

Seasons INTs TDs Pro Bowls All-Pro
16 52 4 12 3

A true shutdown corner, Bailey is a cinch to be inducted into the Hall of Fame when he's eligible in 2019. Though he was raised in Georgia and spent his collegiate career there, he was born in Fort Campbell, Ky.

Honorable Mention: Shaun Alexander, Phil Simms

Louisiana - Peyton Manning, QB

Pass Yds TDs MVPs Titles All-Pro
71940 539 5 2 7

The Sheriff owns many of the NFL's most hallowed records, including the most passing yards, passing touchdowns, and MVP trophies won. An all-time great if there ever was one.

Honorable Mention: Marshall Faulk, Terry Bradshaw

Maine - Al Harris, DE

Seasons Games Played  Pro Bowls All-Pro
11 149 0 0

Only 26 pros have come from the Northeastern state, the most notable being an 11-year vet who featured for the Bears in the '80s.

Honorable Mention: John Bunting, Will Montgomery

Maryland - NaVorro Bowman, LB

Seasons Tackles Pro Bowls All-Pro
8 798 3 4

Todd Gurley has won league awards in two of his first three seasons, putting him on pace to become the best NFL player from Maryland. For now, that title still rests with Bowman, a four-time All-Pro.

Honorable Mention: Todd Gurley, Antonio Freeman

Massachusetts - Howie Long, DE

Seasons Sacks Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
13 84 1 8 2

Long and Nick Buoniconti are both legends of the sport, but the former gets the nod for his sheer physical dominance.

Honorable Mention: Nick Buoniconti, Matt Hasselbeck

Michigan - Antonio Gates, TE

Seasons Rec Yds TDs Pro Bowls All-Pro
15 11508 114 8 3

Though Jerome Bettis is Detroit's favorite native son, Gates is the best talent to come out of Michigan. Currently sixth in all-time touchdown receptions, Gates will likely eventually join Bettis in Canton.

Honorable Mention: Jerome Bettis, Paul Krause

Minnesota - Larry Fitzgerald, WR

Seasons Rec Yds TDs Pro Bowls All-Pro
15 15545 110 11 1

The pride and joy of Minneapolis, Minn., Fitz famously first set foot on an NFL field as a Vikings ballboy. He'll soon trail only Jerry Rice in career receptions. They're already working on his Hall of Fame bust.

Honorable Mention: Dave Casper, Terrell Suggs

Mississippi - Jerry Rice, WR

Seasons Rec Yds TDs Titles All-Pro
20 22895 197 3 10

Many of the NFL's all-time greats are products of the Magnolia State, which has given us the game's best receiver, arguably the best running back, and one of the most popular quarterbacks. Thank you, Mississippi.

Honorable Mention: Walter Payton, Brett Favre

Missouri - Kellen Winslow, TE

Seasons Rec Yds TDs Pro Bowls All-Pro
9 6741 45 5 3

Winslow and Ozzie Newsome are credited with revolutionizing the tight end position, turning it from a blocking role to that of a pass-catcher and the focus of an offense. He benefited from Don Coryell's aerial attack to become one of just eight tight ends from the modern era with a bust in Canton.

Honorable Mention: Roger Wehrli, Lawyer Milloy

Montana - Jerry Kramer, G

Seasons Games Played Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
11 130 7 3 5

Ryan Leaf was the state's most highly touted prospect. While his tenure is fodder for the hall of shame, Kramer will be inducted with the league's best in August.

Honorable Mention: Wayne Hawkins, Pat Donovan

Nebraska - Mick Tingelhoff, C

Seasons Games Played Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
17 240 1 6 5

Nebraska is better-known for its college football than its pro talent. Tingelhoff is far and away the best and most decorated NFLer to come from the Cornhusker State.

Honorable Mention: Tom Rathman, Ahman Green

Nevada - Max McGee, WR

Seasons Rec Yds TDs Titles Pro Bowls
12 6346 50 7 1

The Packers legend did right by his native state of Nevada, hitting the town the night before Super Bowl I. He went on to score the first touchdown in Super Bowl history.

Honorable Mention: Steven Jackson, DeMarco Murray

New Hampshire - Greg Landry, QB

Seasons Pass Yds TDs Pro Bowls
15 16052 98 1

The NFL talent from New Hampshire is sparse. Of the 24 players to come from the small New England state, John Bosa arguably made the biggest contribution to the game ... when he sired Joey and Nick Bosa.

Honorable Mention: Don Macek, Sherman White

New Jersey - Franco Harris, RB

Rush Yds TDs Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
12120 91 4 9 1

Jersey's best export has his fingerprints all over the NFL's history books.

Honorable Mention: Troy Vincent, Joe Theismann

New Mexico - Ronnie Lott, S

Tackles INTs Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
1113 63 4 10 6

Albuquerque has produced its fair share of NFLers, none more famous and talented than Lott. The do-it-all defensive back played a central role in four Super Bowl championships.

Honorable Mention: Tommy McDonald, Joe Kapp

New York - Rob Gronkowski, TE

Rec Yds TDs Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
7179 76 2 5 4

Of all the accomplished quarterbacks, running backs, and other position players to come from New York, Gronk looms largest. His credentials would be even more impressive if he hadn't suffered serious injuries in the prime of his career.

Honorable Mention: Sid Luckman, Kevin Greene

North Carolina - Julius Peppers, DE

Seasons Tackles Sacks Pro Bowls All-Pro
17 693 154.5 9 3

This title has long been held by Bruce Matthews, but Peppers has featured for his home state's team for the majority of his career. He's the active leader in career sacks. He'd need to play well into his 40s to challenge Bruce Smith's 200 mark, though.

Honorable Mention: Bruce Matthews, Carl Eller

North Dakota - Pete Retzlaff, WR

Rec Yds TDs Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
7412 47 1 5 1

One of the most sparsely populated states in the country hasn't produced many players who have thrived in the NFL. Retzlaff, a receiver, had the most accomplished career.

Honorable Mention: Gary Larsen, Phil Hansen

Ohio - Jack Lambert, LB

Seasons Games Played Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
11 146 4 9 6

Ohioans are well represented in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In a debate that involves 27 members, Lambert's trophy case gives him the edge.

Honorable Mention: Charles Woodson, Len Dawson

Oklahoma - Steve Largent, WR

Seasons Rec Yds TDs Pro Bowls All-Pro
14 13089 100 7 1

For a state that produced the likes of (Bill) Goldberg, the least physically imposing player stands up as the best from Oklahoma. When he retired in 1989, Largent held the records for most receptions, reception yards, receiving touchdowns, and consecutive games with a catch.

Honorable Mention: Lee Roy Selmon, Wes Welker

Oregon - Ndamukong Suh, DT

Seasons Tackles Sacks Pro Bowls All-Pro
9 420 51.5 5 3

Terrifying defenders appear to be an Oregon staple. In a discussion about the state's best, the contenders are Suh and "The Intimidator" Dave Wilcox. Suh earns the distinction by a foot.

Honorable Mention: Dave Wilcox, Neil Lomax

Pennsylvania - Joe Montana, QB

Pass Yds TDs MVPs Titles All-Pro
40551 273 2 4 3

Pennsylvania has produced the most Pro Football Hall of Famers with 33 enshrinees, including legendary quarterbacks Montana, Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Jim Kelly, and George Blanda.

Honorable Mention: Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas

Rhode Island - Gerry Philbin, DE

Seasons Games Played Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
10 123 2 2 2

The smallest state in the U.S. has made a tiny imprint on America's game. Rhode Island developed 39 NFLers. Philbin's 10-year career was the best among them.

Honorable Mention: Al Del Greco, Tom Mitchell

South Carolina - Art Shell, T

Seasons Games Played Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
15 207 2 8 2

The Southern state is stocked with current NFL talent. Among the stars in today's game, A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins, and Josh Norman hail from South Carolina, though none of their careers equal Shell's or Harry Carson's yet.

Honorable Mention: Harry Carson, A.J. Green

South Dakota - Norm Van Brocklin, QB

Pass Yds TDs MVPs Titles All-Pro
23611 173 1 2 1

Van Brocklin, the 1960 NFL MVP, is currently the only Hall of Famer from South Dakota, but he'll be joined by Vinatieri, five years after the kicker finally retires.

Honorable Mention: Adam Vinatieri, Jay Novacek

Tennessee - Reggie White, DE

Seasons Sacks Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
15 198 1 13 8

There's no discussion here. The Minister of Defense holds this title for the foreseeable future.

Honorable Mention: Lynn Swann, Jason Witten

Texas - Eric Dickerson, RB

Seasons Rush Yds TDs Pro Bowls All-Pro
11 13259 90 6 5

Texas has produced the largest contingent of pro football players. Nearly 2,500 athletes have come from the Lone Star State, making for a lively debate about the best player. Dickerson remains the standard-bearer that an all-time great like Adrian Peterson continues to chase.

Honorable Mention: Adrian Peterson, Mike Singletary

Utah - Steve Young, QB

Pass Yds TDs MVPs Titles All-Pro
33124 232 2 3 3

Young's path to the NFL from Salt Lake City was anything but straight. The two-time MVP is the best football player that Utah has produced.

Honorable Mention: Merlin Olsen, Carnell Lake

Vermont - Steve Wisniewski, G

Seasons Games Played Pro Bowls All-Pro
13 206 8 2

Only 10 NFL players have come out of America's second-smallest state in population. One who did emerge from the mountains was Wisniewski, an eight-time Pro Bowler.

Honorable Mention: Bob Yates, Bob Laraba

Virginia - Lawrence Taylor, LB

Sacks MVPs Titles Pro Bowls All-Pro
132.5 1 2 10 8

Virginia should be regarded as one of the NFL's most talent-rich states. It isn't among the leaders in pros produced (460 - 16th), but the players that did make the league left an indelible mark. Michael Vick, Charles Haley, the Barber twins, and Willie Lanier are among the stars who didn't make the cut to be considered Virginia's best.

Honorable Mention: Fran Tarkenton, Bruce Smith

Washington - John Elway, QB

Pass Yds TDs MVPs Titles Pro Bowls
51475 300 1 2 9

One of the best to ever throw a football, Elway is unquestionably tops among NFL players from Washington.

Honorable Mention: Brian Urlacher, Karl Mecklenburg

West Virginia - Randy Moss, WR

Seasons Rec Yds TDs Pro Bowls All-Pro
14 15292 156 6 4

You'd be excused if you had never heard of an NFLer from West Virginia until Moss emerged. An athletic freak (6-foot-4 with the stride of a gazelle), Moss set receiving records from his rookie season onward.

Honorable Mention: Gino Marchetti, Sam Huff

Wisconsin - J.J. Watt, DE

Seasons Tackles Sacks Pro Bowls All-Pro
8 394 76 4 4

Watt could retire right now and go down as one of the best defensive players to ever grace the gridiron. Five years into his career, he'd already collected three Defensive Player of the Year awards and two seasons of 20-plus sacks.

Honorable Mention: Mike Webster, Jim Otto

Wyoming - Brett Keisel, DE

Tackles Sacks Titles Pro Bowls
254 30 2 1

We wrap this list up with Wyoming, which has produced 38 NFLers but lacks a Hall of Fame enshrinee.

Honorable Mention: Chris Cooley, Brady Poppinga

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Made in America: The top NFL players from all 50 states
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