6 Greatest NFL careers in Iowa football history

Who were the Hawkeyes that made the biggest impact at the next level?
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Emlen Tunnell. Emlen Tunnell. . . Emlen Tunnell. player. 1948-1961. 3. 31. Defensive Back

Now for the player Pro Football Reference didn't have a proper WAV score for. I stumbled upon his page while seeing who had the most Pro Bowls from Iowa. The answer was Emlen Tunnell.

With just a WAV of six, it appears Pro Football Reference simply hasn't gone that far back with some of their data points. Nonetheless, Emlen Tunnell had a wildly impressive career through the 1950s.

The NFL Draft used to be a good bit less structured than it is today. Tunnell's Hall of Fame page relays that NFL teams thought the defensive back nicknamed "The Gremlin" would play one more year at Iowa, so he went undrafted in 1948.

He landed with the New York Giants anyway and made an immediate impact, snagging seven interceptions in just 10 games played and only three starts. In 1949, Tunnell was promoted to start five games, playing in all 12, and hauled in 10 picks, the most he'd post for the remainder of his career.

After becoming a full-time starter in 1950, Tunnell was named to eight straight Pro Bowls. In 1959, he was named to his ninth. He also was named First-Team All-Pro four times. Both honors are the most for any former Hawkeye. Needless to say, he was named to the Hall of Fame's All-1950s Team.

Tunnell hauled in 79 interceptions, returning them for 1,282 yards and four touchdowns. Only one other player had more career interceptions and his return yardage is fifth all-time.

Tunnell was rightfully named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967.