Wisconsin Badgers In The NFL: The All-Time Team Unveiled

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Numerous Badgers have gone on from Madison to reach stardom in the NFL. But we at Badger of Honor wanted to know who the best of the best were. It wasn’t easy, but we narrowed down the candidates into Wisconsin’s All-Time NFL team. We measured each Badger alumni purely by how they played (or are playing) in the NFL. College statistics and accomplishments were completely thrown out the window for the purposes of this list.

Here it is, in all its glory. I present to you Wisconsin’s All-Time NFL Team:


Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson — Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

QB – Russell Wilson

Wilson has only spent two seasons in the NFL but he’s already the gold-standard for Wisconsin alumni at the quarterback position. He’s a Super Bowl Champion, two-time Pro-Bowl selection and is leading what some believe to be the NFL’s next dynasty. The potential for his career is endless. His 2.7 TD/Int ratio is quite jaw-dropping for a second year quarterback. Honorable mention goes to Arnie Herber, a legendary Green Bay Packers quarterback of old who won four World Championships and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But the quarterback position was different in the 1930s and not exactly applicable to this list.

RB – Alan Ameche

Inexplicably, Ameche is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But he was honored as a part of the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team, was selected to the Pro Bowl four times and won two World Championships. Not to mention he scored, arguably, the biggest touchdown in NFL history for the Baltimore Colts. His game-winning touchdown (his second of the game) came in the NFL’s first nationally televised game. Which also happened to be the NFL’s first sudden death championship game. Some say that game (and score by Ameche) launched the NFL into the modern era. “The Horse” belongs in the Hall, it’s time to make it right senior committee.

RB – Michael Bennett 

Bennett found his way on this list because he was able to reach the Pro Bowl during his NFL career. Sure his career stats aren’t overwhelming but for a couple seasons (2002 in particular) he was quite an explosive back at the professional level. If anyone will bump him from this list, it’ll be Montee Ball. The Denver Broncos new starting running back is poised to have a monster year. If he does, he will surely find his way on the Badgers’ all-time NFL team.

FB – Pat Harder

Without a doubt Harder is the Badgers’ number one fullback in NFL history. He was the first player to ever score more than 100 points in three consecutive seasons. He was invited to two Pro Bowls and helped the Detroit Lions secure back-to-back World Championships before retiring in 1953. Harder is honored on the NFL’s 1940 All-Decade Team but like Ameche, not in the Hall of Fame.

WR – Al Toon

One of Madison’s most proud alumni is Al Toon. He excelled in the pros and even led the league in receptions in 1988 — with 93. He was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro in three consecutive seasons (1986, 87, 88) and is in the New York Jets Ring of Honor. Although he had to retire at the age of 29 due to a bevy on concussions sustained during his playing days. Had he played another six or seven years maybe he’d have made it to the Hall.

WR – Chris Chambers 

Chambers was an incredibly productive wide receiver in the NFL; hauling in 58 touchdowns in 12 professional seasons. He was a Pro Bowl invitee in 2005 and led the AFC in touchdown receptions in 2003. Honorable mention goes to beloved alumni Lee Evans. He snagged 43 touchdowns in his career but never made a Pro Bowl appearance. He is however the only player in NFL history record two 80+ yard touchdowns in the same quarter.

E – Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch

For those not acquainted with the NFL of old, “E” stands for the position of “End.” And end was a position back in the day that slowly evolved into the wide receiver position … essentially, Hirsch was a wide receiver. He caught an impressive 60 touchdowns in his professional career during an era where passing was not even close to the focal point of offenses. He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, World Champion and is on the 1950s NFL All-Decade Team.

Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels (81) celebrates scoring a touchdown — Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

TE – Owen Daniels

Wisconsin has been producing NFL tight ends for quite some time, but Daniels truly has been the best Wisconsin tight end at the professional level. He has 29 career touchdown receptions and has been invited to two Pro Bowls. He’s a solid professional and will be an extremely valuable asset to the Baltimore Ravens in 2014.

OT – Joe Thomas

Thomas is as good of a lock as a future Hall of Fame inductee as any player currently in the NFL. He has played seven seasons in the NFL and has been invited to the Pro Bowl in each season. No one in the NFL dominates their position quite like Thomas does. Only one other Cleveland Brown made it to the Pro Bowl in their first seven seasons — Jim Brown. And Thomas is one of only 11 players in NFL history to have ever accomplished such a feat. He will undoubtedly be a First Ballot Hall of Fame selection after he hangs up his fleets for good.

OG – Bill Kuusisto

Kuusisto churned out a few pretty solid years in the NFL playing for the in-state Green Bay Packers. He spent his entire career in Green Bay. But football wasn’t the only thing Kuusisto went professional in. He was also a professional wrestler for quite some time. One thing is certain, you can’t argue his athletic ability nor shear strength.

C – Mike Webster

Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Webster is possibly the most accomplished of all Badgers alumni in terms of NFL success. He won four Super Bowls, made it to nine Pro Bowls, was named All-Pro nine times and was named to both the NFL 1970s and 1980s All-Decade Teams. His number (52) is no longer issued in Pittsburgh and his legacy will live on forever in NFL history. Honorable mention is split between Ken Bowman and Travis Frederick. Bowman won multiple championships with the Green Bay Packers and was the center during Bart Starr’s famous quarterback sneak which won the 1967 Ice Bowl. Frederick made this list based purely on potential as he started all 16 games as a rookie for the Dallas Cowboys and truly excelled. He could one day be one of the Badgers’ best alumni in the NFL.

OG – Kevin Zeitler

Zeitler is a young player and has only played two seasons in the NFL. But he is on track to be one of the better Badgers lineman in the NFL. He’s started 27 of 28 games in his career and as a rookie allowed only four sacks and graded out as the best lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals that year. If he continues to develop he could be a truly special player in the NFL for years to come.

OT – Mark Tauscher

One of the most dependable Green Bay Packers players in recent memory was none other than Tauscher. He gave the Packers 10 consecutive years of solid play at the offensive tackle position protecting Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Reliable and professional would be the words that come to mind when describing Tauscher. He even got a Super Bowl ring in 2010 as a nice way to cap off his professional career.