There have been some incredible NFL rookie seasons over the years. Individual production and team success both play a role in determining the greatness of an NFL rookie season. Of all the NFL rookie performances in history, these five stand out above the rest as the best of all time.
Top 5 NFL rookie seasons of all time
#5 - QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (2004)
Ben Roethlisberger's NFL rookie season was one that was truly defined by the success of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The year before he arrived, the Steelers had a 6-10 season and it looked like they were heading into the rebuilding process. Instead, they went 15-1 the following year with the help of Roethlisberger's NFL rookie season.
His individual passing statistics were respectable in his NFL rookie season, but they were nothing too special. What made his NFL rookie season so spectacular was his perfect 13-0 record as a starter in the regular season. He also won a playoff game and led the Steelers to an AFC Championship game appearance as an NFL rookie.
#4 - RB Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (1983)
Eric Dickerson took the league by storm in his NFL rookie season. He was a highly rated prospect of the famed SMU "Pony Express" and he didn't disappoint. He was instantly one of the best running backs in the league and was named an All-Pro as an NFL rookie. He led the league with 1808 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in his NFL rookie season.
#3 - CB Dick "Night Train" Lane, Los Angeles Rams (1952)
As an NFL rookie, Night Train Lane recorded 14 interceptions. That's still the record for most interceptions in a single season of all time. Even more amazing is the fact that he did it in just 12 games played and wasn't even a cornerback before that season. He converted to the position after trying out for wide receiver.
#2 - WR Randy Moss, Minnesota Vikings (1998)
Randy Moss had one of the most legendary NFL rookie seasons of all time. He was admittedly annoyed when he fell too late in the first round of the NFL Draft. He believes he should have been selected much higher and proved why in his NFL rookie season. He recorded 69 receptions for 1313 yards and 17 touchdowns.
#1 - RB Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears (1965)
Gale Sayers is responsible for the best season of all time by an NFL rookie. He is a dynamic player that was ahead of his time because of his abilities in passing the game as a running back. He was a great returner as well. As an NFL rookie, he scored 22 touchdowns, 14 rushing, six receiving and two returns. He had six touchdowns in a single game that season, which is still an NFL record today.