Be the First to See These Incredible Football Toys
Friday, April 22, 2005

McFarlane Toys is excited to unveil the finished photography for this summer's NFL Legends action figure series debut. This set gives the Sports Picks franchise a Legends line for each of the four major North American sports, as well as offering our collectors their first opportunity to own finely detailed figures of these gridiron greats.

From Johnny Unitas' rookie year in Baltimore (1956) to Troy Aikman's final game in 2000, this star-studded six-player lineup includes players whose careers overlapped for 43 seasons -- meaning anyone who watched the NFL in the last 43 years had a chance to see these icons work their Sunday magic.

Here, then, are McFarlane's Sports Picks NFL Legends:

"If you miss a tackle on #20, get up quick -- he might be coming back..." anonymous NFL linebacker

Barry Sanders hit the ground running -- literally. Detroit's first-round pick in 1989 turned in a thousand-yard rushing season his rookie year and followed it up with nine more thousand-yard rushing seasons. His best year came in 1997, when he spun through opposing defenses for 2,053 yards and shared the league MVP award with Brett Favre. The Hall of Fame running back joined O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson and Jamal Lewis as the only players in NHL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season.

"Hey, baby, let's go out there like a bunch of crazed dogs and have some fun..." -- Lawrence Taylor

New York's relentless #56 terrorized NFL offenses during 10 Pro Bowl seasons, pacing the Giants defense to victory in two Super Bowls. "L.T." brought unrivaled speed and power to the outside linebacker position. He made quarterbacks eat dirt 142 times in his stellar career and dominated the game so thoroughly that divisional opponents altered their offensive philosophy just to slow him down.

"I never felt more proud than the day my coach, Wade Phillips, called me the Lou Gehrig of quarterbacks." -- John Elway

John Elway led the Broncos to six Super Bowls, retiring in 1998 following a second straight Super Bowl win. Elway still casts a larger-than-life shadow in Denver, where his career lasted 16 glorious years. During his Hall of Fame tenure as Broncos QB, Elway accounted for 334 touchdowns (300 passing, 33 rushing and one receiving), generating 4,771 of the 5,806 points (82.2 percent) scored by Denver during his career.

"When you know what you are doing, you are not intercepted." -- Johnny Unitas

Baltimore's brilliant quarterback met the nation in the 1958 NFL title game. In what was deemed "the greatest game ever played," Unitas engineered a last-second drive with seven straight completions to lead to a game-tying field goal as time expired. In overtime, "Johnny U" led an 80-yard drive to win the championship and cement his place in football history. His Colts would win another title in 1959, leaving a nation to remember the trademark black high-top cleats and buzzcut flat-top of Johnny Unitas -- one of the best to ever play the game.

"I didn't see the play. I was talking to the man upstairs. I didn't want to interrupt what I was doing. Next thing I know, the guys are jumping around and there goes Franco and I'm saying, 'Lord, I hope he has the ball.'" -- Steelers defensive end L.C. Greenwood, on Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception."

Franco Harris was only the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in his rookie season. It was the first of eight thousand-yard rushing seasons, with 91 touchdowns, four Super Bowl championships and one Super Bowl MVP amassed during a 13-year career that landed the former Nittany Lion in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In a career full of superlatives, Harris is best remembered for making "The Immaculate Reception," a much-disputed (and much-celebrated) play in the 1972 AFC playoffs. Trailing 7-6 with 22 seconds left to play, Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw fired a fourth-down pass that ricocheted off Raiders safety Jack Tatum (or Steelers fullback "Frenchy" Fuqua -- depending on who you ask) into the grasp of Franco Harris, who snatched the ball off his shoestrings and tore down the sidelines for a game-winning 60-yard touchdown play.

"He restored or embellished our belief that ... our athletes can be heroes." - Jerry Jones, on Troy Aikman

Aikman arrived in Dallas as the third-highest-rated passer in NCAA history and was the first foundation of the Cowboys dynasty in the 1990s. The former Sooner and Bruin made four All-Pro teams and led Dallas to Super Bowl titles three times in a four-year span. Only Aikman, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady have quarterbacked teams to three or more Super Bowl wins. Following his retirement in 2000, he joined the FOX network and calls games on Sundays -- leading up to a possible Hall of Fame enshrinement in 2006.