10 Best Samoan Football Players Of All Time
It's no secret that American Samoa is well known for producing a high number of star football players, but which are the 10 best Samoan football players of all time? The island is home to only 60,000 people, the size of a small city, but has sent over 100 players to the National Football League. The 10 best Samoan football players of all time includes future Pro Football Hall of Famers as well as up and coming stars of tomorrow.
- David Dixon After failed attempts to join the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys, Donald Dixon played over 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. The offensive guard grew up playing rugby, picking up American football at Arizona State University.
- Luther Elliss Known as "Pass Rushing Luther," Luther Elliss went from being named the Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1994 to being selected 20th overall in the 1995 NFL Draft. He spent eight seasons with the Detroit Lions and one with the Denver Broncos before retiring in 2004.
- Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala Running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala saw perhaps his best years playing high school football and leading his team to state championships in each of his seasons. He went on to play for the Utah Utes, Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars, rushing for 453 yards and three touchdowns during the 2001 season alone.
- Al Lolotai While his professional career was rather short, Al Lolotai was the first Samoan football player in the National Football League. Lolotai played guard for the Washington Redskins in 1945, then with the Los Angeles Dons in the All-America Football Conference from 1946 to 1949.
- Troy Polamalu A fan favorite at the University of Southern California and with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Troy Polamalu easily ranks as one of the best Samoan football players of all time. The strong safety and his trademark locks have been selected for five Pro Bowls, won the Joe Greene Great Performance Award in 2003 and helped the Steelers win the Super Bowl twice.
- Brandon Manumaleuna Tight end Brandon Manumaleuna joined the NFL in 2001, playing five seasons with the St. Louis Rams. He went on to join the San Diego Chargers from 2006 to 2009 before signing a five-year contract with the Chicago Bears in 2010.
- Rey Maualuga While the youngest player among the 10 best Samoan football players of all time, Rey Maualuga earned numerous awards in high school and playing with the Southern California Trojans in college. After joining the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009, the linebacker was limited to just 63 tackles and one sack in his rookie season following an ankle injury.
- Junior Seau Selected fifth overall in the 1990 NFL Draft, linebacker Junior Seau enjoyed a long career between the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. The 12-time Pro Bowl selection remains active with the Patriots and the league, appearing in television broadcasts and his own show, "Sports Jobs with Junior Seau" on the Versus network.
- Lofa Tatupu Yet another University of Southern California product, Lofa Tatupu is perhaps one of the most successful Samoan football players of all time, with three Pro Bowl selections. Tatupu joined the NFL in 2005, becoming a key player for the Seattle Seahawks in the years since.
- Kimo von Oelhoffen After starting his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, efensive tackle Kimo von Oelhoffen joined fellow Samoan football player Troy Polamalu as the Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XL. He went on to play for the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles, but is perhaps best known for his tackle on Carson Palmer, causing the Bengals' quarterback to undergo reconstructive surgery on his knee.