The Top 10 Centers in NFL history is our subject today. While it’s not a fancy position it is one of the most important positions on the field and one of the hardest to play.
10) George Trafton, Chicago Bears
Trafton was the first center to snap the ball with just one hand. Trafton played 100 games over his 13-year career and he dominated defensive lines during that entire 13 years.
9) Clyde”Bulldog” Turner, Chicago Bears
Turner made seven All-Pro teams in an eight-year span, clearly distinguishing himself as one of the best centers ever. The Chicago Bears won four NFL Championships with Turner as their primary protector of future Hall of Fame quarterback Sid Luckman.
8) Mick Tinglehoff, Minnesota Vikings
Tingelhoff was a First-team All-Pro center seven times and that is impressive and in 1969 he was the NFL’s Offensive Linemen of the Year. He played seventeen years, started seventeen years, never missed a game (240 straight), and was the team’s long snapper his whole career.
7) Jim Langer, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins had a devastating running attack throughout most of the 1970s and Jim Langer was as big a reason as any. Langer was selected to 6 Pro Bowls and was named all-pro 4 times.
6) Mel Hein, New York Giants
Mel Hein was the first offensive lineman to ever win the NFL MVP Award. This feat was accomplished in 1938 and has not been duplicated since, and I am guessing this is a feat that will never be accomplished ever again. In Hein’s 14 year career he was an all-pro 5 times and helped the Giants win two world championships.
5) Jim Ringo, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles
At the start of the Lombardi dynasty, Ringo was a huge part of the legendary Packers ground game. After leaving Green Bay in 1963 Ringo would be named all-pro 3 times as a Philadelphia Eagle.
4) Dermontti Dawson, Pittsburgh Steelers
Dawson dominated opposing AFC defenses for the better part of a decade, opening up holes for the likes of Barry Foster and Jerome Bettis throughout his career. Dawson was selected all-pro on six different occasions.
3) Dwight Stephenson, Miami Dolphins
Stephenson replaced Langer and became the best in the league from 1982 until an injury ended his career after just six healthy seasons. Without the injury, Dwight might be in the number one spot on this list. He anchored a Dolphins offensive line that gave up the least amount of sacks for a record six consecutive seasons, from 1982-1988.
2) Mike Webster, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kansas City Chiefs
Webster was a big reason the Steelers became a dynasty, he was as good at run blocking as he was at pass blocking. Over the course of an eight-year span from 1978-1985, Webster was a staple in the Pro Bowl, making it each season.
1) Jim Otto, Oakland Raiders
Otto was one of the first of the more athletic centers the game produced. Assigned with protecting quarterbacks such as Tom Flores, Daryle Lamonica, and Ken Stabler, he was the absolute best at what he did. From 1960-74 he was the best center every season in the league and it wasn’t even that close. Otto played in an astounding 308 consecutive games for the Raiders during his stellar career.