The Birmingham News (July 3, 2016) released a list, “The 100,” their rating of the 100 greatest football players of all time with Alabama roots. They range from number 1 Don Hutson, Alabama end from the 1930’s, who also played for the Green Bay Packers in the NFL, to number 100, David Palmer, Alabama wide receiver. Familiar names along the way included Cam Newton, Auburn quarterback, #5; Mark Ingram, Alabama running back, #48; and Ken Stabler, Alabama quarterback, #10.
Rather than rely entirely on opinion, the list was based largely on honors received such as membership in the college and NFL halls of fame, NFL MVP, Heisman trophy, etc. No doubt other factors not revealed were included. I found it interesting that the other end for Alabama when Don Hutson was playing was a fellow Arkansas native, Paul W. “Bear” Bryant. Bryant did not make the list of “The 100.”
Hebrews 11 contains a similar list, given in chronological order, beginning with Abel, who by faith “offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4). The list, sometimes called “Faith’s Hall of Fame,” continues with Enoch who “had this testimony, that he pleased God” (11:5). Other on the list include Noah, Abraham, Sara, Moses, Rahab, and many others, some unnamed.
Verse 13 is a summary statement for all of those who made the list: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
We are in a better position than these Old Testament saints, because they “received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us” (11:39-40). We have the full revelation of God’s will, and knowledge that Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” has endured the cross for us and “is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
It is not necessary for our name to be on the list of “The 100,” but it must be in the book of life (Revelation 3:5). Paul looked forward to receiving a crown of righteousness from the Lord, the righteous judge, “and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).