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18 Motivating Quotes From NFL Greats

Since its founding in 1920 (originally as the American Professional Football Association), the NFL has since grown into a sporting juggernaut. It’s the most popular sports league in the U.S. and the wealthiest league in the world. The Super Bowl, meanwhile, continues to rank among the most watched television programs in American history (granted, some viewers may be more interested in the commercials and halftime show, but it all counts).

As with all major sporting leagues, the NFL has produced plenty of players and coaches who have become legends of the game — a status typically confirmed by induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Over the decades, these star players have left us with a wealth of memorable quotes ranging from the witty (Jack Lambert’s “quarterbacks should wear dresses”) to the wise and the outright braggadocious.

Here, we take a look at some of the most inspiring quotes from NFL legends, many of which reveal the motivation and drive that helped these players and coaches reach the very top of their sport.

For every pass I caught in a game, I caught a thousand in practice.
— Don Hutson

If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.
— Vince Lombardi

I may win and I may lose, but I will never be defeated.
— Emmitt Smith

Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal.
— Mike Ditka

Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.
— George Halas

Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.
— John Madden

Look up, get up, and don’t ever give up.
— Michael Irvin

Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.
— Mike Singletary

A champion is simply someone who did not give up when they wanted to.
— Tom Landry

It's nice to look up to people, but the more you try to be somebody else, the less you are of yourself.
— Joe Montana

Everyone has their own greatness. Whether you reach your own greatness depends on your environment, your structure, the company you keep, and your attitude.
— Ed Reed

You know what a winner is? A winner is somebody who has given his best effort, who has tried the hardest they possibly can, who has utilized every ounce of energy and strength within them to accomplish something. It doesn't mean that they accomplished it or failed, it means that they've given it their best.
— Walter Payton

If your dream ain’t bigger than you, there’s a problem with your dream.
— Deion Sanders

Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't.
— Jerry Rice

Think about winning the day. Don't worry about a week from now or a month from now — just think about one day at a time. If you are worried about the mountain in the distance, you might trip over the molehill right in front of you. Win the day!
— Drew Brees

The most valuable player is the one that makes the most players valuable.
— Peyton Manning

I think sometimes in life the biggest challenges end up being the best things that happen in your life.
— Tom Brady

I run with heart and determination, and you can't measure heart.
— LaDainian Tomlinson

Photo credit: REUTERS/ Alamy Stock Photo

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About the Author
Tony Dunnell
Tony is an English writer of non-fiction and fiction living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
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