The NFL lags behind other pro sports leagues in international influence. While the percentage of foreign players in the NBA and MLB are 25 percent and 27 percent, respectively, and Americans are the minority in NHL as roughly 75 percent of the league comes from another country, the NFL is as domestic as they come. Less than 3 percent of the players are international players.
That doesn’t mean there haven’t been some great foreign players to step on the gridiron. Nine Pro Football Hall of Famers were born in another country, and American football has gained in popularity in foreign places. Canada and Germany have produced the most NFL players, combining to send nearly 200 players into the league. Smaller countries like Cyprus and the Virgin Islands have sent just one player each to the NFL, and those players made this list.
We’ve gone through every player from every foreign country to rank the best 30 international players. It may be a surprise that some of these players aren’t from the United States. For others, it’s just interesting to hear about their journeys to the States. Here are the best foreign players in NFL history.