Presented here in our list of 5 famous Italian football players are four of the National Football League’s all-time greats and one man who represents the kind of courage and spirit that has come to define America.
- Nick Buoniconti. The 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team to go undefeated in a season, start-to-finish, and a big reason for their unequaled success was the play of their fabled “No Name Defense.” A key member of that defense was Hall-of-Fame middle linebacker Nick Buoniconti who finished his fifteen-year career with 32 interceptions helping make him one of the most famous Italian football players of all time.
- Tony Canadeo. This running back from Chicago had a Hall-of-Fame career with the hated Green Bay Packers. Piling up more than 1,000 yards rushing in 1949 on his way to a career total of 4,197, Tony Canadeo, known in his college days as “The Gray Ghost of Gonzaga,” makes our list of famous Italian football players.
- Dan Marino. This Miami Dolphins Hall-of-Famer threw for more than 61,000 yards in his long career, including a record 5,084 in just his second pro season (1984). Ranking second to Brett Favre in career touchdown passes and passing yards, Dan Marino is among the most famous Italian football players of all time.
- Joe Montana. Next on our list of five famous Italian football players is the man who led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl rings and designation as “The Team of the ‘80s.” With a career 63.2% completion percentage, 273 touchdown passes, and less than half that many interceptions, few quarterbacks have thrown with as much precision as Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana.
- Brian Piccolo. A tough, blue collar type running back for the Chicago Bears, Brian Piccolo played in the shadow of his famed roommate Gale Sayers. Midway through the ’69 season, the fan favorite was diagnosed with cancer and died less than a year later. Piccolo’s tragic story—told beautifully in the film “Brian’s Song”—earns him a spot on our list of five famous Italian football players.