Getty Images Bo Jackson

Rather than rounding up the usual suspects for a list of famous NFL nicknames, we decided to take a different approach. Now this is no disrespect to some fantastic nicknames like "Minister of Defense" for Reggie White, "Concrete Charlie" for Chuck Bednarik, "Prime Time" for Deion Sanders or "Beast Mode" for Marshawn Lynch. We wanted to focus on nicknames that are such a part of a player's persona that the real first name is effectively replaced and some fans wouldn't even know what it was.

This is why we passed on guys who simply had a descriptive word added to the front of their first name like "Mean Joe" Greene, "Broadway Joe" Namath, "Iron Mike" Ditka, "Slingin' Sammy" Baugh or "Big Ben" Roethlisberger.

The tougher judgment calls came on deciding whether use of the first name and nickname in tandem was more common than just the nickname alone. That's why someone like "Too Tall" Jones didn't make the cut, because he is called Ed "Too Tall" Jones enough that lots of people are aware of his actual first name. But if you've got a gripe with our not featuring him or the likes of Dick "Night Train" Lane, Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds and Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, we hear you. But that's where we drew the line.

Deacon Jones

Deacon Jones

"Football is a violent world and Deacon has a religious connotation," David Jones told the Los Angeles Times in 1980. "I thought a name like that would be remembered." Jones is also remembered for inventing the term "sack" for taking down the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage and perfecting the head slap, a move the NFL later banned.

Bo Jackson

Bo Jackson

"Vincent Edward Knows" just doesn't have quite the same ring to it, eh? "I was a real bad kid, the bully of the neighborhood," Jackson told the New York Times in 1994. "My older brothers said I was mean as a boar hog. 'Bo' is short for boar hog."

Pepper Johnson

Pepper Johnson

As a kid, Thomas Johnson sprinkled black pepper on his cereal. An aunt noticed this, and a nickname was born. When he was a rookie with the Giants in 1986, his jersey actually said "T. Johnson" but after that, it became "P. Johnson." As a linebacker, he helped the Giants win two Super Bowls, then earned additional fame by having his name mentioned in a "Seinfeld" episode. George thinks his work colleague resembles Sugar Ray Leonard and shows Kramer a photo of him. George: "Who does that look like?" Kramer: "I don't know." George: "Come on, come on. Not salt, but ... ?" Kramer: "What, Pepper Johnson?"

Champ Bailey

Champ Bailey

Roland Bailey Jr. was an active baby, and that was enough for him to be called Champ, and that's what he has been called ever since. Bailey, a 12-time Pro Bowler at cornerback, also has a younger brother, Robert Bailey, who is better known as a Boss Bailey, a former linebacker for Detroit and Denver.

Mercury Morris

Mercury Morris

Eugene Morris was known for his speed as a running back at West Texas State, and sportswriter Frank Godsoe of the Amarillo Daily News dubbed him "Mercury." As a member of the Dolphins, he won two Super Bowls and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as Mercury Morris.

Bubba Smith

Bubba Smith

Charles Smith was a two-time All-American defensive end at Michigan State and helped the Baltimore Colts win Super Bowl V. When Charles was a kid, his older brother had trouble saying the word brother, which is how he became known as Bubba.

Boomer Esiason

Boomer Esiason

Norman became Boomer while he was still in the womb. "Our first two children were girls," Esiason's dad told the New York Times in 1988. "My wife's third pregnancy was different. The baby was kicking all the time. I said: 'This can't be a girl. It's got to be a boomer because he's kicking too much.' He had his nickname before he was born.

Big Daddy Lipscomb

Big Daddy Lipscomb

Gene Lipscomb was a defensive tackle who helped the Colts win the NFL championship in 1958 and 1959. Lipscomb liked to call his teammates "Little Daddy." Being 6-foot-6, Lipscomb thus became "Big Daddy."

Ickey Woods

Ickey Woods

The man who made the Ickey Shuffle a classic end-zone dance in the late 80s was born Elbert Woods. When his younger brother tried to pronounce the name, it came out "Eee-eee. Eee-eee." This sound reminded the rest of the family of a cartoon character named Ickey.

Jumpy Geathers

Jumpy Geathers

James Geathers was a defensive tackle who helped Washington win Super Bowl XXVI. His grandparents called him Jumpy because as a kid he liked to jump on things. Geathers' signature pass-rush move was called the Forklift as he carried a blocker and drove him into the quarterback. Too bad he was already Jumpy, because Forklift is a name that needs to be on a list like this.

Red Grange

Red Grange

Harold Grange became Red Grange simply because of his red hair. But he also became the Galloping Ghost, thanks to sportswriter Grantland Rice, which gives him the special distinction. Grange dominated in college at Illinois, and when he signed with the Bears in 1925, he gave instantly gave credibility to the NFL, which had started five years earlier.

Spider Lockhart

Spider Lockhart

At Carl Lockhart's first training camp with the Giants, secondary coach Emlen Tunnell called him "Spider" for the way he covered receivers. Lockhart, who went to the Pro Bowl twice, died of cancer when he was 43. His death came just before the 1986 season, and the Giants wore patches on their jerseys that said "Spider 43" along with a rendering of a spider. The team went on to win the Super Bowl that season.

Bronko Nagurski

Bronislau Nagurski became Bronko because Bronislau was too tough for his schoolmates to pronounce. The Bears retired his No. 3 after he helped them win three NFL championships as a fullback. He was also won various titles as a professional wrestler.

Tiki Barber

Tiki Barber

Similar to Nagurski, this was a classic case finding a name that's easier for everyone to pronounce. Tiki trumps Atiim Kiambu. Barber is the Giants' all-time leader with 10,449 rushing yards. (Update: Tiki tweeted to us that his twin, Jamael Orondé, better known as Ronde, the longtime Buccaneers defensive back, "may be jealous" for not being mentioned on this list.)

Rocket Ismail

Rocket Ismail

Raghib Ismail's eighth-grade track coach called him The Rocket for his speed. By the time Ismail helped Notre Dame win a national championship and become a two-time All-American with his dazzling kick and punt returns, he was Rocket Ismail on first reference. He had 1,000-yard receiving seasons in the NFL (one with Carolina, one with Dallas).