10 best Texas football football NFL careers

Earl Campbell
Earl Campbell / George Gojkovich/GettyImages
8 of 11
Steve McMichael
Steve McMichael / Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

. NFL: 1980-1994. Teams: New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers. 4. player. Steve McMichael. 57. Steve McMichael. Steve McMichael.

Steve McMichael was one of the most accomplished and decorated defensive tackles in the era of the 1980s and early 1990s in the NFL. McMichael was an instrumental part of the Chicago Bears success in the mid-to-late 1980s, helping them win a Super Bowl during the 1985 season.

McMichael's dominant stretch of play along the defensive line for the Bears in the mid-1980s from 1985 to 1987 was a critical part of head coach Mike Dikta's vaunted defenses. The Bears had the top-ranked defense in the NFL regarding total defense and scoring defense in 1985 and 1986.

Chicago also had a top-five ranked defense in the NFL during the 1987 season.

McMichael registered over two dozen sacks between 1985 and 1987 as the Bears' most dominant interior defensive lineman. He earned two Pro Bowl nods and three All-Pro selections during those three years from 1985 to 1987.

The toughness McMichael brought to the Bears' defensive line set the tone for Ditka's aggressive defensive style that was so infamous in the 1980s. When McMichael was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2023, the late Ditka called him the "toughest player he ever coached".

He continued to be a disruptive force to anchor the Bears' stifling defensive front in 1988 and 1989. Still, the team's regression at the end of the 1980s decade meant McMichael wasn't getting the same leaguewide recognition that he was in the prior seasons.

Ditka and the Bears rebounded from a six-win campaign in 1989 by making the playoffs and winning double-digit games in 1991 and 1992. McMichael and fellow Hall-of-Fame inductee, defensive end Richard Dent, led the way for the Bears' fierce some defensive line in 1991. They combined for nearly 20 sacks in 1991, leading a top-three ranked pass rush in the NFL.

McMichael played three seasons for the Bears in the 1990s and then one year with the division rival Packers in 1994 before calling it quits after a lengthy 15-year NFL career. He finished his career with nearly 100 sacks, 850 total tackles, 17 fumble recoveries, and three safeties.