Getting to the NFL takes a combination of natural talent and hard work, but growing up in the right place can also help. A large portion of NFL players hail from large states like California, Texas, and Florida. Yet some smaller states produce an outsized share of great NFL players.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the birthplace and career accomplishments of NFL players throughout league history to determine the best player of all time from every state. To determine which player was best, we considered Hall of Fame status, Pro Bowl and All-Pro appearances, Super Bowl rings, and more, using data from Pro-Football Reference.
The concentration of talented football players in certain states has allowed college football programs in the region to excel by recruiting from a large talent pool. These schools consistently win championships and churn out NFL-ready players. These are the colleges that produce the best NFL players.
Most states are not known for producing football players. Some small, rural states do not have a strong high school football culture, while others may be better known for producing pros in other sports like hockey or basketball. But there have been at least a handful of NFL players born in all 50 states. Smaller states like Delaware and Maine have never produced a player with any Pro Bowl appearances or Super Bowl rings, while the best players from Connecticut and Wyoming have been retired for decades.