The NFL’s 10 Biggest One Hit Wonders

A big season in the NFL raises the expectations for a player. People always believe that if a player has a great season one year, he will have to do just as good if not better the next. It makes sense

A big season in the NFL raises the expectations for a player. People always believe that if a player has a great season one year, he will have to do just as good if not better the next. It makes sense, but it is not always the case. The NFL is a fast moving environment. Superstars emerge and fade all the time. Eventually some players are forgotten.

There are a few players who were good for a short while and disappeared so quickly, that we cannot help but remember them. They made a ton of noise in the game and then went completely silent for the rest of their careers. We are always left scratching our heads after this, asking ourselves how something like that could happen. However, mostly we sit and wonder what could have been.

Some of these players burn out due to injury. However, some just never live up to their expectations. They go as quickly as they came and leave us with nothing more than a fleeting memory. These are the most memorable from that group of players. Unfortunately, they are remembered for why they were never any good after taking the league by storm.

10 David Tyree


David Tyree definitely has a very important place in the history of the National Football League. He made one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history. In 2008, the New York Giants were facing the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. The Giants needed to convert a first down in order to have any chance of beating the then undefeated Patriots. Eli Manning dropped back, broke a few tackles and tossed the ball to Tyree who made what is now known simply as the “Helmet Catch”. The play kept the drive alive and the Giants ended up winning the game 17-14. It was his shining moment. The reason Tyree is at the bottom of this list though is that he was never any good. If it was not for that play nobody would know who he is. He ended up retiring from a seven-year career with 650 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

9 Vince Young


Vince Young looked like the next great quarterback after his rookie season. He was drafted third overall by the Tennessee Titans in 2006 and won the Rookie of the Year Award that season. He was a Pro Bowler and set the record for the most rushing yards by a rookie quarterback. Unfortunately, his early success gave him a big head. He ended up getting benched early in the 2007 season for breaking team rules. This started a long running dispute with head coach Jeff Fisher. The disagreements led to his dismissal from the team. He was never a starting quarterback again. Every once in a while, you will hear he is trying out for a new team, but he has never made the cut.

8 David Boston

The San Diego Chargers thought they had finally found a top notch receiver when they signed David Boston for a seven-year, $47 million contract. Boston was coming off a 1,598 receiving yard season with the Arizona Cardinals when he signed with the Chargers in 2002. He never lived up to the expectations. In 2004 he was suspended for the first four games for failing a drug test and ended up missing the whole season due to injury. He was released by the Chargers and picked up by the Dolphins who would release him the following year. In 2006, he was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who cut him shortly after he got arrested for driving under the influence.

7 Timmy Smith


Much like David Tyree, Timmy Smith was another player who became memorable through a Super Bowl appearance. Smith played running back for the Washington Redskins from 1987 to 1988. In his first season he set a Super Bowl record for rushing for 204 yards. His performance allowed the Redskins to beat the Denver Broncos 42-10. He had some very high expectations going into the next year. Instead his career was plagued by injuries and drug abuse. In 2006, once he was already out of the NFL, he pled guilty to allegations of cocaine distribution. Unlike Tyree, Smith had his whole career ahead of him which is why he is a bit higher on the list.

6 Ickey Woods


Most people remember Ickey Woods for his touchdown dance, the “Icky Shuffle”. In his rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals, Woods rushed for a league leading 15 touchdowns. His power running style helped the Bengals reach Super Bowl XXIII. Woods would tear his ACL the following season and his game never recovered.

5 Drew Bennett


Following an amazing season in 2004, Drew Bennett became known as a fantasy football owner’s worst nightmare. In 2004 he tied an NFL record by scoring eight touchdowns in just three games. He finished the season with 1,247 receiving yards and 11 scores. The expectations for him the following year were astronomical. Unfortunately, Bennett never reached 1,000 yards again and never scored more than four touchdowns in any other season. He retired in 2009 following a knee injury.

4 Jim McMahon


Jim McMahon was the NFL’s bad boy leader of the 1985 Chicago Bears. The quarterback was part of the offense which was just good enough to not screw up the game for the best defense in NFL history. In Super Bowl XX, he became the first quarterback to ever rush for two TDs in the big game. The Bears were never as good as they were in that 1985 season and neither was McMahon. He ended his career as a journeyman and backup for seven different teams.

3 Charles White


Charles White was a draft day bust. He was selected in the first round of the 1980 draft by the Cleveland Browns following a Heisman-winning season at USC. He was cut by the Browns after four terrible seasons. He later admitted he was using cocaine during this time. He was then picked up by the Los Angeles Rams. In 1987 he rushed for 1,387 yards and 11 touchdowns. He led the NFL in both categories. White earned a trip to the Pro Bowl that year as well as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award. He retired immediately afterward.

2 Rex Grossman


The Chicago Bears selected quarterback Rex Grossman in the first round of the 2003 draft. He spent most of his first three seasons on the bench with injuries. He completed his first full season in 2006. That year the Bears went to Super Bowl XLI and lost to the Indianapolis Colts. Grossman had seven games with a passer rating greater than 100 that year. In 2007, he was benched following three horrible games. Grossman spent the rest of his career as a backup.

1 Mike Jones


Mike Jones is the ultimate one hit wonder when it comes to the NFL. He is famous for making the final play of Super Bowl XXXIV. Jones stopped Titans’ wide receiver Kevin Dyson at the one yard line as time expired to give the St. Louis Rams their only Super Bowl victory in franchise history. Jones had his best season that year. The linebacker recorded one sack, four interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and two touchdowns in 1999. After a twelve-year career in the pros, he retired with only nine sacks, eight interceptions, and five fumble recoveries.

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The NFL’s 10 Biggest One Hit Wonders