Why Ed Reed is the greatest ball hawk in NFL history

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03: (L-R) Ray Lewis /

This is why the first ballot hall of fame inductee, Ed Reed, is the greatest ball hawk of all-time:

Ed Reed finished his career with 64 interceptions which is the seventh highest total in NFL history. Reed may not have the most interceptions of all-time, yet no player has more interception return yards. Reed made more out of his 64 picks than any player to ever play the game. Reed was a weapon for the defense. He practically played offense.

Reed had 1,590 interception return yards. That sounds more like a top running back’s season total than a defensive back’s career total. Reed had a 106 yard interception return and a 107 yard interception return.  That’s like lightning striking the same place twice, it just doesn’t happen. That sums it up fairly well: Reed did things that nobody else could do.

He scored seven touchdowns on interception returns. He also took two recovered fumbles to the house and he scored on a punt return as well. Reed is a defensive player with 10 career touchdowns. He was the most dangerous safety there ever was in football. Reed is tied for the fifth most touchdowns for a non offensive player.   

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Reed played games with even the best quarterbacks. When you can baffle Peyton Manning and get two picks off of him in a playoff game, you’re almost too good. Reed was a student of the game, much like his mentor and friend, Ray Lewis. That’s why the Ravens’ defense was always prepared going into a game. They knew their opponents as much as they knew themselves.

The distinction of ball hawk is important here because it gets to the heart of the matter. Reed knew where the ball was, he knew where it would end up and he knew how to be the one who ended up with it. He attacked the football better than any safety in the league’s history. His understanding of the game sets him apart.

Reed had another thing in common with Lewis. Those two players may be the most instinctual players to ever touch the football field. As great as Lewis was, Reed may have been even greater in this respect. It’s almost like Peter Parker’s spidey sense in real life. While Lardarius Webb had the appropriate nickname of “Spiderman” it would have almost worked for Reed too.

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So with Reed you have a prolific ball hawk, a student of the game and a natural talent that defies the limitations of just about every safety in the history of football. Denying that Ed Reed is the greatest ball hawk is just not something you can do. He is the best ball-hawk there ever has been. Case closed, good bye.