Way back in 1961, Nick Buoniconti was an All-American offensive tackle at Notre Dame, but he switched to linebacker after leaving college. A 15-year Hall of Fame career would follow, highlighting the wisdom of this decision.
Buoniconti was taken in the 13th round of the AFL draft by the Boston Patriots and would star for them for the next seven years, becoming one of the greatest linebackers in franchise history. He’d then spend the back half of his career in Miami, going down in Dolphins history as well.
He was named First Team All-AFL five times early in his career and paid a pair of Pro Bowls in the NFL as well. Additionally, Buoniconti won both Super Bowls VII and VIII while playing with the Dolphins.
An impressive career that spanned over a decade included 32 interceptions and plenty of impactful tackles, though sacks were not yet an official statistic. He was also part of that 1972 Miami Dolphins team that remains the only undefeated Super Bowl champion.
Buoniconti struggled with neurological issues later in life and passed away in 2019, but he was alive to accept his place in the Hall of Fame, as he was voted in back in 2001. He remains a top-tier linebacker in football history and a legend for both the Patriots and the Dolphins.