The All-Time U of Arizona NFL Team
Rob Gronkowski, Nick Foles and more
Michael Bates may have been the most complete special teams player in NFL history.
For starters, Bates was an elite return specialist. He led the NFL in kickoff returns in both 1996 (30.2-yuard average) and 1997 (27.3-yard average) and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in 1999. He went to five consecutive Pro Bowls from 1996-2000 as the NFC’s return specialist.
But Bates did more on special teams than return kicks. An Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 meters (1992), he used his speed to cover kicks. He set a Carolina franchise record with 22 special teams tackles in 1993 and also blocked three punts in his career.
Arizona has produced a Super Bowl MVP (Nick Foles) and a member of the NFL’s 100th anniversary team (tight end Rob Gronkowski). But the Wildcats have had some of their best NFL success in the kicking game. Bates returned five career kickoffs for touchdowns. Fellow Wildcats Rickie Harris and Dennis Northcutt returned three punts for touchdowns apiece.
Nick Folk has kicked for 14 seasons and has been to a Pro Bowl. He has 321 career field goals and 1,389 points. Josh Miller, Frank Garcia, Mitch Hoopes and Ruben Rodriguez have all cashed checks in the NFL for their punting.
And Brant Boyer was a long-time special-teams ace for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is now the special tteams coach of the New York Jets.
Here is the all-time Arizona NFL team:
*-QB—Nick Foles, Pro Bowl, 2018 Super Bowl MVP
HB—Paul Robinson, 2 Pro Bowls, 1968 AFL Rookie of the Year
FB—Brad Hubbert, Pro Bowl, 4 seasons, 42 receptions, 12 touchdowns
WR—Vance Johnson, one of John Elway’s “Three Amigos”
WR—Dennis Northcutt, 10 seasons, 399 receptions, 18 touchdowns
TE—Rob Gronkowski, NFL’s 100th anniversary team
T—John Fina, 11 seasons, 131 starts
T—Eben Britton, 6 seasons, 34 starts
G—Glenn Parker, 12 seasons, 141 starts
G—Edwin Mulitalo, 10 seasons, 128 starts
C—Bob Whitlow, 8 seasons, 38 starts
DE—Anthony Smith, 7 seasons, 57 ½ sacks
DE—Brooks Reed, 10 seasons, 23 ½ sacks
DT—Mike Dawson, 9 seasons, 90 starts, 33 sacks
DT—Earl Mitchell, 10 seasons, 61 starts, 6 ½ sacks
OLB—Lance Briggs, 7 Pro Bowls, 12 seasons, 8 100-tackle seasons
MLB—Tedy Bruschi, Pro Bowl, 13 seasons, 30 ½ sacks, 3 Super Bowl rings
ILB—Antonio Pierce, Pro Bowl, 9 seasons, 4 100-tackle seasons
CB—Chris McAllister, 3 Pro Bowls, 11 seasons, 26 interceptions
CB—Darryl Lewis, Pro Bowl, 10 seasons, 32 interceptions
S—Chuck Cecil, Pro Bowl, 7 seasons, 2 100-tackle seasons
S—Randy Robbins, 10 seasons, 13 interceptions
*-K—Nick Folk, Pro Bowl, 14 seasons, 321 field goals, 1,389 pints
P—Josh Miller, 12 seasons, 750 punts, 43.1-yard average
KR—Michael Bates, 5 Pro Bowls, twice led the NFL in kickoff returns
ST—Brant Boyer, 10 seasons, coverage ace for the Jaguars