Isaac Bruce
Memphis star Isaac Bruce went on to a monster NFL career (PHOTO COURTESY Memphis Athletics)

AAC Football's All-Time NFL Team

FanBuzz takes a look at the All-time NFL team using just pro products who played college football at present-day AAC schools.

The American Athletic Conference may only date back to 2014, but many of the teams that make up the fresh-faced league in 2023 (six new schools in the league) have had programs going back many decades — and in some instances, more than a century.

There was so much talent the NFL got from present-day AAC school that is mind-blowing. From Hall of Famers to players that are now contributing to teams. Could you imagine what a throw from the legendary Navy QB Roger Staubach to hall-of-fame Tulsa WR Steve Largent would be like? How about the speed of SMU RB Eric Dickerson through college and NFL defenses? There is so much talent in the wide receiver depth that these schools developed.

The players will also have an all-time offensive line, with Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg (SMU) leading that group. These five offensive linemen below (see chart) had a combined twenty-four pro bowls — this line could defend the best of the best. This list has legends, and they could win any bowl game in their prime, and could even win Super Bowls in their pro heydays.

These current AAC programs helped developed defensive legends throughout their history with three defensive line halls of farmers. Just imagine Mean Joe Greene tearing apart offensive lines with Temple's Joe Klecko and Navy's Ed "The Claw" Sprinkle. This is a defensive line that will eat offensive linemen for breakfast in any era of football. Just having one of these legends could bring fear to an offense. This is just a start of what they had on defense with recruiting and developing future NFL stars. The linebackers also include Tulsa product Tracy Scroggins, who had a great career in the NFL, especially forcing fumbles.

There are also some good defensive backs for the secondary. These players are considered the best that the AAC has played in the pros and could play in any era. This includes Tulane's Richie Petitbon, who had an amazing NFL career with 48 interceptions and four touchdowns for his career. Along with Petitbon, imagine if he played along with SMU's Jerry Norton, covering the backfield of the defense. There is also Memphis alumni Bobby McCain, who is still an active safety in the league today, and just signed with the New York Giants this spring after starting 16 games last fall for Washington.

Along with both offenses and defenses, the AAC also had some great special team players. One of them is Tulane PK Eddie Murray, who had two Pro Bowls and a career 352 field goals in his NFL career. Along with Murray making game-winners with winning kicks, current punter Thomas Morstead (SMU), who was a pro bowler and Super Bowl champion with New Orleans, has had great longevity for the NFL and is with the New York Jets this year.

These current AAC programs provided so much talent for the NFL, and if combined could have won Super Bowls — that's what we at FanBuzz think.

Please note: The list below goes back to the beginning of NFL football, and it is based on a points system rewarded by the excellent database website Pro Football Reference. Also — and this is critical — yes, the AAC is a young conference, and yes there are six new teams even this year. This team is based on the teams that currently make up the AAC, in 2023, and that's it. And yes, some of these players did play a year or two at another school but did have substantial time and success at the program listed below.

AAC All-Time NFL Team

Former St. Louis Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce runs after the catch.

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images


QB NAVY Roger Staubach* 1969-1979 22,700 yds, 153 TDs
RB SMU Doak Walker* 1950-1955 5,000 yds, 534 pts.
RB SMU Eric Dickerson* 1983-1993 13,259 rush yds, 90 TD
WR TULSA Steve Largent* 1976-1989 13,089 rec yds, 100 TD
WR MEMPHIS Isaac Bruce* 1994-2009 15,208 rec yds, 91 TD
WR SMU Raymond Berry* 1955-1967 9,275 rec yds, 68 TD
TE TULANE Max McGee 1954-1967 6,346 rec yds, 50 TD
OL NORTH TEXAS Brian Waters 2000-2013  6 Pro Bowls
OL TEMPLE Bucko Kilroy 1943-1955  3 Pro Bowls
OL MEMP./ARK ST. Ray Brown 1986-2005  1 Pro Bowl
OL TULSA Bob St. Clair* 1953-1963  5 Pro Bowls
OL SMU Forrest Gregg* 1956-1971  9 Pro Bowls

(*) — Indicates Hall of Famer


DL TEMPLE Joe Klecko* 1977-1988  78 Sacks
DL NORTH TEXAS Mean Joe Greene* 1969-1981 77.5 Sacks
DL NAVY Ed Sprinkle* 1944-1955  4 IT, FR yards 111
DL SMU Jerry Mays 1961-1970 65.5 Sacks
DL/LB TULSA Tracy Scroggins 1992-2001 60.5 Sacks, FF 8
LB/DL MEMPHIS Tim Harris 1986-1995 81.0 Sacks
LB SMU Bill Forester 1953-1963 21 Int
LB/DB TULANE Bill Svoboda 1950-1958 9 Int, Int yds 102
DB TULANE Richie Petitbon 1959-1972 48 Int, 3 TD
DB SMU Jerry Norton 1954-1964  35 Int, 99 Lng
DB MEMPHIS Bobby McCain 2015-2022  11 Int, 141 Yds

(*) — Indicates Hall of Famer


K TULANE Eddie Murray 1980-2000  2 Pro Bowls, 352 FGs
P SMU Thomas Morstead 2009-2022 46.5 yd career avg.

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