Ray Lewis and Linebackers with the Most Interceptions in NFL History

Ray Lewis Has 30 Career Interceptions, Most of Any Linebacker  in 30 Years

Ray Lewis Has 31 Career Interceptions, More Than Any Linebacker in 30 Years

Ray Lewis is arguably one of the best linebackers to ever play football.

Following Lewis’ retirement announcement last week, he, Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus have been frequently cited as the all-time holy trinity of NFL linebackers.

No LB charged the quarterback or changed the game more than Lawrence Taylor.

“Lawrence Taylor, defensively, has had as big an impact as any player I’ve ever seen,” former Raiders coach John Madden said. “He changed the way defense is played, the way pass-rushing is played, the way linebackers play and the way offenses block linebackers.” (ESPN)

Meanwhile, Butkus was “the blueprint for the linebacker position.  He was flat-out nasty, with the size and power to compete in any era.” (FOXSports)

Straight out of Taylor’s backyard, though, nj.com called Ray Lewis the “best linebacker ever.”

However you tackle it, these three will forever be mentioned in any discussion of not only the greatest linebackers to play the game, but also the greatest defensive or all-around players to hit the grid.

One thing to note about Lewis that he had on the other two. He covered the field better than both of them.

First, Lewis has the second most tackles of all time.

Secondly, he’s one of only six linebackers in NFL history with at least 30 interceptions, and the only one after 1982, as evinced by today’s list.

Thirdly, as the Boston Herald points out, “he’s started more games at middle linebacker than anyone in NFL history and is the only member of a club having 40 sacks (41and 1⁄2) and 30 interceptions (31).”

1. Don Shinnick  37  1957  1969  Baltimore Colts
2. Stan White  34  1972  1982  Baltimore Colts, Detroit Lions
3. Jack Ham 32  1971  1982  Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Lee Roy Jordan  32 1963  1976  Dallas Cowboys
5. Ray Lewis  31  1996  2012  Baltimore Ravens
6. Sam Huff 30  1956  1969  New York Giants, Washington Redskins
7. Donnie Edwards  28  1996  2008  Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers
7. Jack Lambert 28  1974  1984  Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Dave Robinson  27 1963  1974  Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins
9. William Thomas  27  1991  2001  Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders
11. Ted Hendricks 26  1969  1983  Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers, Oakland/L.A. Raiders
12. John Anderson  25  1978  1989  Green Bay Packers
12. Bill Bergey  25  1970  1980  Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles
12. Derrick Brooks  25  1995  2008  Tampa Bay Buccaneers
12. Mike Curtis  25 1965  1978  Baltimore Colts, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins
12. Chuck Howley  25  1958  1973  Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys
12. Ray Nitschke 25  1958  1972  Green Bay Packers
12. Isiah Robertson  25  1971  1982  Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills
19. Doug Buffone  24 1966  1979  Chicago Bears
19. Seth Joyner  24  1986  1998  Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos
19. Joe Schmidt 24 1953  1965  Detroit Lions

Thanks to pro-football-reference‘s play index, where I posted this query.

Photo: eyeofthehurricane.net


Posted on January 6, 2013, in NFL Football and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Having watched all of these fine athletes play (with the exception of Shinnick and Huff) and being an NFL historian, I would still give the nod the Butkus as the best MLB ever, despite having his career cut short by bum knees. One can make a strong case to place Lambert ahead of Lewis as well. However Lewis is definitely in the top 3. Saying this will upset Chief fans (Lanier) and Packer fans (Nitschke). If you’re going to compare INTs of players from the 16 game season era to players from the 12 and 14 game season era, without pro-rating the stats, it’s a pointless comparison. Not to mention the NFL was 50-50 run/pass back then. Now it’s about 39-61 run/pass. Far more opportunities to accumulate sacks and INTs now as compared to then.

  2. You forgot Bobby Bell (26)

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