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The Battle of the Eras: Position Update

A few weeks ago, Adam Nannini and I began a series on our NFL Basement podcast called “Battle of the Eras.” Catchy, right? The concept is simple. We are both constructing a 53-man roster, position by position.



Adam is using only players from the “classic” era, meaning they were in their prime before 1980. Nate is creating his roster with “modern” era players who started their careers after 1980.

The Set Up

A breakdown of the roster numbers:

QB (3)
RB (3)
FB (1)
WR (6)
OL (9)
DT (4)
DE (5)
LB (6)
CB (5)
TE (4)
S (4)
LS (1)
K (1)
P (1)

Each week on the NFL Basement, we select our players for a given position. We defend our choices and debate one another’s picks. The goal is not to necessarily pick the best and most talented players at each position but to construct the best team. For example, if you were creating the best band of all time, you’d want your lead singer, guitarists, and drummer to fit together.

Current Picks

So far, we have selected seven positions: wide receiver, cornerback, tight end, safety, offensive line, defensive tackle, and special teams. If you’ve missed those episodes of The NFL Basement, what the hell are you doing with your time? In any case, here are the rosters as they currently stand.

Adam’s Classic Team

Wide Receiver:

Paul Warfield
Cleveland Browns 1964-1969; 1976-1977, Miami Dolphins 1970-1974

Raymond Berry
Baltimore Colts 1955-1967

Bob Hayes
Dallas Cowboys 1965-1974, San Francisco 49ers 1975

Lance Alworth
San Diego Chargers 1962-1970, Dallas Cowboys 1971-1972

Don Hutson
Green Bay Packers 1935-1945

John Stallworth
Pittsburgh Steelers, 1974-1987


Mel Blount
Pittsburgh Steelers, 1970-1983

Dick “Night Train” Lane
Los Angeles Rams, 1952-1953; Chicago Cardinals, 1954-1959; Detroit Lions, 1960-1965

Mike Haynes
New England Patriots, 1976-1982; Los Angeles Raiders, 1983-1989

Wille Brown
Denver Broncos, 1963-1966; Oakland Raiders, 1967-1978

Herb Adderly
Green Bay Packers, 1961-1969; Dallas Cowboys, 1970-1972

Tight End:

Mike Ditka
Chicago Bears, 1961-1966; Philadelphia Eagles, 1967-1968; Dallas Cowboys, 1969-1972

Dave Casper
Oakland/L.A. Raiders, 1974–1980, 1984; Houston Oilers, 1980–1983; Minnesota Vikings, 1983

Jackie Smith
St. Louis Cardinlas, 1963-1977; Dallas Cowboys, 1978

John Mackey
Baltimore Colts, 1963-1971; San Diego Chargers, 1972


Emlen Tunnell
New York Giants, 1948-1958; Green Bay Packers, 1959-1961

Jack Tatum
Oakland Raiders, 1971-1979; Houston Oilers, 1980

Paul Krause
Washington Redskins, 1964-1967; Minnesota Vikings, 1968-1979

Ken Riley
Cincinnati Bengals, 1969-1983

Offensive Line:

John Hannah (G)
New England Patriots, 1973-1985

Gene Upshaw (G)
Oakland Raiders, 1967-1981

Joe DeLamielleure (G)
Buffalo Bills, 1973-1979 & 1985; Cleveland Browns, 1982-1984

Jim Otto (C)
Oakland Raiders 1960-1974

Mel Hein (C)
New York Giants 1931-1945

Art Shell (T)
Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1968-1982

Ron Mix (T)
Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers, 1960-1969; Oakland Raiders 1971

Forrest Gregg (T)
Green Bay Packers, 1956-1970; Dallas Cowboys, 1971

Jim Parker (T)
Baltimore Colts, 1957-1967

Defensive Tackle:

Bob Lilly
Dallas Cowboys, 1961-1974

“Mean” Joe Greene
Pittsburgh Steelers, 1969-1981

Merlin Olsen
Los Angeles Rams, 1962-1977

Randy White
Dallas Cowboys, 1975-1988

Special Teams:

Lou Groza (Kicker, Offensive Line)
Cleveland Browns, 1946-1967

Sammy Baugh (Punter, Quarterback, Free Safety)
Washington Redskins, 1937-1952

Gale Sayers (Kick Returner, Running Back)
Chicago Bears, 1965-1971

Nate’s Modern Team

Wide Receiver:

Randy Moss
Minnesota Vikings 1998-2004; 2010, Oakland Raiders 2005-2006, New England Patriots 2007-2009; 2010, Tennessee Titans 2010, San Francisco 49ers 2012

Jerry Rice
San Francisco 49ers 1985-2000, Oakland Raiders 2001-2004, Seattle Seahawks 2004

Steve Smith
Carolina Panthers, 2001-2013, Baltimore Ravens, 2014-2016

Tim Brown
Los Angeles Raiders 1988-1994, Oakland Raiders 1995-2003, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2004

Larry Fitzgerald
Arizona Cardinals, 2004-present

Calvin Johnson
Detroit Lions, 2007-2015


Charles Woodson
Oakland Raiders, 1998-2005, 2013-2015; Green Bay Packers, 2006-2012

Champ Bailey
Washington Redskins 1999-2003; Denver Broncos, 2004-2013

Darrell Green
Washington Redskins, 1983-2002

Deion Sanders
Atlanta Falcons, 1989-1993; San Francisco 49ers, 1994; Dallas Cowboys, 1995-1999; Washington Redskins, 2000; Baltimore Ravens, 2004-2005

Rod Woodson
New England Patriots, 1976-1982; Los Angeles Raiders, 1983-1989

Tight End:

Tony Gonzalez
Kansas City Chiefs, 1997-2008; Atlanta Falcons, 2009-2013

Shannon Sharpe

Rob Gronkowski
New England Patriots, 2010-2019

Jason Witten
Dallas Cowboys, 2003-2018


Ronnie Lott
San Francisco 49ers, 1981-1990; Oakland Raiders, 1991-1992; New York Jets, 1993-1994

Ed Reed
Baltimore Ravens, 2002-2012; Houston Texans, 2013; New York Jets, 2013

Troy Polamalu
Pittsburgh Steelers, 2003-2014

John Lynch
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1993-2003; Denver Broncos, 2004-2007

Offensive Line:

Bruce Matthews (G)
Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans, 1983-2001

Larry Allen (G)
Dallas Cowboys, 1994-2005; San Francisco 49ers, 2006-2007

Dwight Stevenson (C)
Miami Dolphins 1980-1987

Dermontti Dawson (C)
Pittsburgh Steelers 1988-2000

Randal McDaniel (G)
Minnesota Vikings, 1988-1999; Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2000-2001

Joe Thomas (T)
Cleveland Browns, 2007-2016

Willie Roaf (T)
New Orleans Saints, 1993-2001; Kansas City Chiefs 2002-2005

Anthony Munoz (T)
Cincinnati Bengals, 1980-1992

Jonathan Ogden (T)
Baltimore Ravens, 1996-2007

Defensive Tackle:

Aaron Donald
St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, 2014-Present
Cortez Kennedy
Seattle Seahawks, 1990-2000

Warren Sapp
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1995-2003; Oakland Raiders, 2004-2007

John Randle
Minnesota Vikings, 1990-2000; Seattle Seahawks, 2001-2003

Special Teams:

Justin Tucker (Kicker)
Baltimore Ravens, 2012-Present

Shane Lechler (Punter)
Oakland Raiders, 2000-2012; Houston Texans, 2013-2017

Steve Tasker (Special Teams)
Houston Oilers, 1985-1986, Buffalo Bills, 1986-1997

The Rosters to Come

The “Battle of the Eras” still has a few positions left! We have to select including Quarterback, Running Back, Defensive Ends, and Linebackers. Don’t miss the next episode of The NFL Basement as we select our Linebackers! Also, feel free to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and give us your thoughts. Who is building the most dominant roster, Adam or Nate?