The Top 10 Centers in NFL history is our subject today. While it’s not a fancy position, it is one of the most critical positions on the field and one of the hardest to play. You may not have heard of some of these guys but they all played a critical part in the success of their teams.
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.
Turner made seven All-Pro teams in eight years, 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.
Tingelhoff was a First-team All-Pro center seven times, and that is impressive; 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.
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 four times.
Mel Hein was the first offensive lineman to 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 achieved again. Hein’s 14-year career was an all-pro five times and helped the Giants win two world championships.
Ringo was a considerable part of the legendary Packers ground game at the start of the Lombardi dynasty. After leaving Green Bay in 1963, Ringo would be named all-pro three times as a Philadelphia Eagle.
Dawson dominated opposing AFC defenses for the better part of a decade, opening up holes for Barry Foster and Jerome Bettis throughout his career. Dawson was selected all-pro on six different occasions.
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 sacks for a record six consecutive seasons, from 1982 to 1988.
Webster was a big reason the Steelers became a dynasty; he was as good at run blocking as pass blocking. Throughout eight years from 1978-1985, Webster was a staple in the Pro Bowl, making it each season.
Otto was one of the first 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 to 74, he was the best center in the league, and it wasn’t even that close. During his stellar career, Otto played in an incredible 308 consecutive games for the Raiders.
If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”
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