The offensive linemen in the National Football League (NFL) play a crucial role in protecting the quarterback and creating opportunities for running backs. Throughout NFL history, there have been exceptional offensive linemen who have left a lasting impact on the game. Here, we highlight 15 of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history:
- Anthony Muñoz
- Jim Brown
- Joe Thomas
- Bruce Matthews
- Orlando Pace
- Jonathan Ogden
- Walter Jones
- Larry Allen
- Forrest Gregg
- John Hannah
- Randall McDaniel
- Dan Dierdorf
- Gene Upshaw
- Will Shields
- Art Shell
- Dwight Stephenson
- Jackie Slater
- Jim Parker
These offensive linemen not only excelled in their positions but also had a significant impact on the success of their respective teams. Their contributions to the game have solidified their places among the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history.
1. Anthony Muñoz
was one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. He played for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1980 to 1992. Muñoz was known for his exceptional skills and strong work ethic. He was a key player in the Bengals’ success during that era.
Muñoz consistently displayed outstanding technique and agility on the field. He was a dominant force in pass protection, using his quickness and strength to keep defenders at bay. His ability to open running lanes was also exceptional, allowing the Bengals’ running backs to gain significant yardage.
During his career, Muñoz was selected to the Pro Bowl 11 times, showcasing his consistent excellence. He was also named an All-Pro nine times, further solidifying his reputation as one of the best offensive linemen of all time.
Off the field, Muñoz was known for his professionalism and leadership. He was respected by his teammates and was often sought after for advice and guidance. Muñoz’s commitment to the game and his team was unparalleled, making him a beloved figure both on and off the field.
Anthony Muñoz’s impact on the game of football cannot be understated. His exceptional skill, dedication, and leadership have cemented his status as one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. It is clear that Muñoz’s legacy will continue to inspire future generations of football players.
2. Jim Brown
was one of the greatest football players in NFL history. He played as a running back for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965. Brown’s talent and athleticism set him apart from other players of his time. During his career, he achieved numerous impressive accomplishments.
Jim Brown consistently demonstrated his skills on the field. He rushed for 12,312 yards and scored 106 touchdowns, making him one of the most prolific running backs in NFL history. His incredible rushing statistics still stand as a testament to his excellence.
Brown’s physicality and strength were unmatched. He was known for his power, speed, and agility, which allowed him to break through defensive lines and make impressive plays. His dominance on the field was evident through his ability to evade tacklers and gain significant yardage.
Jim Brown was a record-setter. He led the league in rushing for eight seasons and was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player three times. His exceptional performances not only solidified his place in NFL history but also set new standards for future generations of players.
In addition to his football achievements, Jim Brown also made an impact off the field. He advocated for civil rights and became an influential figure in the fight for equality. His activism and dedication to social issues further enhance his legacy as an exceptional athlete and a role model.
Jim Brown’s impact on the NFL is immeasurable. His remarkable career, outstanding statistics, and dedication to social causes make him one of the greatest players in football history.
3. Joe Thomas
is widely regarded as one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. He played his entire 11-year career with the Cleveland Browns, displaying exceptional skills and durability throughout his time in the league. Thomas was known for his technique, athleticism, and consistency, making him a dominant force on the field.
During his career, Joe Thomas earned numerous accolades, including being selected to the Pro Bowl for 10 consecutive seasons from 2007 to 2016. He was also a seven-time First-Team All-Pro selection, highlighting his excellence and impact in the game. Thomas was a key component of the Browns’ offense, providing critical protection for quarterbacks and creating running lanes for the team’s rushers.
In terms of durability, Joe Thomas was incredibly reliable. He started 167 consecutive games, a remarkable feat for any player, especially an offensive lineman. This showcases his ability to stay healthy and consistently perform at a high level over an extended period.
Off the field, Joe Thomas was known for his leadership and professionalism. He was highly respected by his teammates and coaches, serving as a mentor and role model for younger players.
His legacy extends beyond his playing career. He has become a prominent television analyst, offering insightful analysis and commentary on the game he knows so well.
Joe Thomas’s impact on the game of football cannot be overstated. His exceptional skills, longevity, and leadership have solidified his place among the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history.
To learn more about Joe Thomas and his remarkable career, check out the in-depth profiles and documentaries available that provide a comprehensive look at his journey in the NFL.
4. Bruce Matthews
Bruce Matthews is considered one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history, known for his exceptional skills and longevity in the league.
Matthews played his entire 19-year career with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise, from 1983 to 2001.
During his career, Matthews was selected to the Pro Bowl an impressive 14 times, which is tied for the most in NFL history.
He was also named to the All-Pro First Team nine times, demonstrating his consistent performance at the highest level.
Matthews played multiple positions on the offensive line, showcasing his versatility and football intelligence.
His durability was remarkable, as he played in a staggering 293 games, which is the second-most in NFL history.
Matthews was known for his exceptional technique, strength, and ability to dominate opposing players.
He was a key part of the offense, providing stellar pass protection and paving the way for successful running plays.
Matthews’ impact on the game was recognized when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
In summary, Bruce Matthews’ impressive career and numerous accolades solidify his place among the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history.
5. Orlando Pace
Orlando Pace was a standout offensive lineman in the NFL, known for his exceptional skills and contributions to the game.
- Pace played in the NFL for 13 seasons, all of which were with the St. Louis Rams.
- During his career, he was a critical component of the Rams’ high-powered offense that led them to two Super Bowl appearances, including a win in Super Bowl XXXIV.
- Pace was selected as a Pro Bowler seven times, showcasing his dominance on the field.
- His pass blocking abilities were unrivaled, providing crucial protection for the Rams’ quarterbacks and allowing them to execute plays effectively.
- Pace’s presence on the offensive line greatly contributed to the Rams’ offensive success, which consistently ranked among the top in the league during his tenure.
- He was a key factor in helping the Rams lead the NFL in scoring for three consecutive seasons.
- Pace’s exceptional performance earned him recognition as one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history.
- His impact on the game extended beyond his playing days, as he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
- Pace’s legacy as a dominant force on the offensive line remains unparalleled, leaving a lasting impact on the game of football.
Orlando Pace’s contributions to the NFL have solidified his status as one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever play the game.
6. Jonathan Ogden
Jonathan Ogden is considered one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. He played his entire career with the Baltimore Ravens, from 1996 to 2007. Ogden was known for his exceptional size and athleticism, standing 6’9″ tall and weighing 345 pounds. He used his imposing physicality to dominate opposing defenders.
Ogden was a key element in the Ravens’ success, helping the team win Super Bowl XXXV in 2001. He was selected to the Pro Bowl 11 times, showcasing his consistency and skill throughout his career. Ogden’s impact on the field was undeniable, as he consistently protected his quarterback and created running lanes for the Ravens’ rushing attack.
Not only was Ogden a force in pass protection and run blocking, but he also displayed remarkable agility and footwork for his size. His ability to move quickly and fluidly allowed him to effectively neutralize opposing defenders. Ogden’s technique was flawless, and he rarely made mistakes on the field.
Off the field, Ogden was known for his leadership and professionalism. He was respected by his teammates and coaches alike for his work ethic and dedication to the game. Ogden’s impact went beyond his individual achievements, as he set a high standard for offensive linemen across the league.
Jonathan Ogden’s combination of size, athleticism, and skill made him one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. His consistent dominance on the field and leadership off the field solidify his legacy as an all-time great.
7. Walter Jones
Walter Jones, widely regarded as one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history, had an illustrious career that spanned 13 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. Let’s take a closer look at some of his remarkable accomplishments:
|Pro Bowl Selections||9|
|First-Team All-Pro Selections||4|
|Consecutive Games Started||180|
|Consecutive Pro Bowl Selections||9|
|Jersey Number Retired||71|
|Induction into Pro Football Hall of Fame||2014|
Throughout his career, Walter Jones demonstrated exceptional skill, tenacity, and consistency. His dominance on the field earned him numerous accolades, including Pro Bowl selections in nine consecutive seasons and seven All-Pro selections. He was the anchor of the Seahawks’ offensive line, contributing to their success, including an appearance in Super Bowl XL.
Not only was Walter Jones a force to be reckoned with on the football field, but he also displayed remarkable durability. He started 180 consecutive games, a testament to his physical prowess and dedication to the game.
His contributions to the sport were further recognized when his jersey number, 71, was retired by the Seattle Seahawks. In 2014, Walter Jones was rightfully inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, solidifying his status as one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever play in the NFL.
8. Larry Allen
Larry Allen is widely regarded as one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. He was known for his exceptional strength and power on the field.
- Physical dominance: As an offensive lineman, Larry Allen dominated his opponents with his sheer size and strength. Standing at 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 325 pounds, he was a force to be reckoned with on the football field.
- Exceptional blocking ability: Allen’s skill as a blocker was unmatched. He was able to overpower defenders and create running lanes for his teammates. His technique and footwork allowed him to excel in both pass protection and run blocking.
- Versatility: Despite primarily playing as an offensive guard, Allen could also play multiple positions on the offensive line. This versatility made him even more valuable to his team.
- Achievements and accolades: Throughout his career, Larry Allen achieved numerous accolades. He was an 11-time Pro Bowler and a 7-time All-Pro selection. He was also named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
- Work ethic and dedication: Larry Allen’s success was a result of his incredible work ethic and dedication to his craft. He was known for his commitment to improving his skills and maintaining his physical condition.
Larry Allen’s combination of size, strength, skill, and dedication made him a dominant force on the football field. He will always be remembered as one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history.
9. Forrest Gregg
“Forrest Gregg was an exceptional offensive lineman in the NFL. He played for the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys during his career. Known for his outstanding blocking skills, Gregg was a key contributor to the success of both teams.
- Accomplishments: Gregg is a legendary figure in the NFL, having been named to the Pro Bowl nine times and selected as a First-Team All-Pro seven times. He was also part of the Green Bay Packers team that won the first two Super Bowl championships.
- Versatility: Gregg was not only an exceptional offensive tackle but also played at the guard position. His versatility and ability to excel in different positions on the offensive line made him a valuable asset to his teams.
- Durability: Throughout his career, Gregg was known for his durability. He played in a remarkable 188 consecutive games, demonstrating his toughness and commitment to the game.
- Leadership: As a team captain and a respected figure in the locker room, Gregg provided leadership and inspiration to his teammates. He set a high standard for professionalism and work ethic, earning the respect of coaches and players alike.
- Legacy: Gregg’s impact on the game extends beyond his playing career. After retiring, he continued to contribute to football as a coach, guiding teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and the Green Bay Packers. His knowledge and expertise helped shape the next generation of offensive linemen.
Forrest Gregg was one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. His exceptional skills, versatility, durability, leadership, and lasting legacy make him a true legend of the game.
If you’re interested in learning more about the achievements of other legendary offensive linemen in NFL history, be sure to check out the full article. It provides fascinating insights into the contributions of these exceptional players who played a crucial role in shaping the game.
10. John Hannah
John Hannah, one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history, had an impressive career that spanned thirteen seasons with the New England Patriots.
Hannah was known for his exceptional strength and technique. He was an outstanding run blocker, creating openings for running backs with his powerful blocks. His pass protection was impeccable, making it difficult for defenders to get past him and reach the quarterback.
Throughout his career, Hannah was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times and was a six-time First-Team All-Pro. He was recognized as the best offensive lineman in the league during his time.
His dominance on the field helped the Patriots achieve success, and he played a crucial role in the team reaching the Super Bowl in 1985.
Off the field, Hannah was known for his humility and work ethic. He was a dedicated teammate who always put the team’s success above his individual accomplishments. His commitment to excellence inspired those around him.
In one memorable story, during a game against the Miami Dolphins, Hannah suffered a severe injury to his right hand. He fractured multiple bones but refused to leave the game. Despite the excruciating pain, Hannah continued to play and give his all to support his team.
John Hannah’s legacy as one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history is not only based on his remarkable skills and achievements but also on his toughness, dedication, and selflessness.
11. Randall McDaniel
|Name||Team||Years Played||Pro Bowl Appearances||All-Pro Selections||Super Bowl Wins|
|Randall McDaniel||Minnesota Vikings||1988-1999||11||7||0|
Randall McDaniel, an offensive lineman who played for the Minnesota Vikings from 1988 to 1999, was one of the greatest players in NFL history. He was selected to the Pro Bowl 11 times and was a seven-time All-Pro selection. Although he did not win a Super Bowl during his career, his impact on the field was undeniable.
During his tenure with the Vikings, McDaniel was known for his exceptional skills as a lineman. He was agile, strong, and possessed excellent technique. His ability to protect the quarterback and create running lanes for the offense made him a crucial component of the team’s success.
McDaniel’s consistent performance and mastery of his position earned him a place among the top offensive linemen in the history of the NFL. He showcased his skills year after year, gaining the respect and admiration of fans and fellow players alike.
Throughout his career, McDaniel displayed a level of proficiency that few players can match. His dedication and hard work cultivated a legacy that will forever be remembered in the annals of football history. With his numerous Pro Bowl appearances and All-Pro selections, McDaniel solidified his status as one of the all-time greats.
Randall McDaniel’s remarkable career as an offensive lineman is a testament to his exceptional skills and dedication to the game. His impact on the field, both individually and as part of the Minnesota Vikings, will forever be cherished by fans and celebrated in the NFL community.
12. Dan Dierdorf
was an exceptional offensive lineman in the NFL, known for his impressive skills and contributions to the game. He played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1971 to 1983 and was known for his agility, strength, and blocking abilities.
Dierdorf was a dominant force on the field, consistently showcasing his skills to neutralize opposing defenders. His active presence on the offensive line ensured that the quarterback had ample time to make plays and that running backs had open lanes to gain yardage.
Throughout his career, Dierdorf displayed a deep understanding of the game, allowing him to make split-second decisions that benefited his team. His proficiency in executing blocks and protecting the quarterback enhanced the overall performance of the offense.
Dierdorf’s impact on the game was widely recognized, and he received numerous accolades for his outstanding play. He was selected to the Pro Bowl six times and was also named to the All-Pro team three times.
Off the field, Dierdorf was respected for his professionalism and dedication to the sport. He cultivated a strong work ethic and set a high standard for himself and his teammates.
Dan Dierdorf’s contributions to the game of football were significant. His well-honed skills, expertise, and professionalism made him one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history.
13. Gene Upshaw
Gene Upshaw was an influential figure in NFL history. He played as an offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders from 1967 to 1981. Upshaw was known for his exceptional skills and contributions to the success of the team.
During his career, Upshaw won two Super Bowl championships with the Raiders in 1976 and 1980. He was a key component of the Raiders’ offensive line, providing strong protection for the team’s quarterbacks and opening up lanes for the running backs.
Upshaw’s impact extended beyond the field. After retiring from playing, he became the executive director of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), a position he held for 25 years. As the head of the NFLPA, Upshaw played a crucial role in negotiating collective bargaining agreements and advocating for the rights and well-being of players.
Under Upshaw’s leadership, the NFLPA saw significant advancements in player benefits and financial compensation. He fought for improved player safety protocols and worked towards ensuring fair contracts for all NFL players.
Upshaw’s contributions to the NFL and the welfare of players cannot be overstated. His dedication and leadership have left a lasting impact on the league. As a player, he exemplified skill and determination, and as an advocate, he fought tirelessly for the rights and betterment of his fellow athletes. Gene Upshaw will always be remembered as one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history.
14. Will Shields
is one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. He played his entire professional career with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he excelled in protecting the quarterback and opening up holes for the running game.
Shields was known for his exceptional strength and agility, which allowed him to dominate opposing defensive players. He was a key contributor to the Chiefs’ success during his tenure with the team.
Throughout his career, Shields was a consistent performer, earning 12 Pro Bowl selections and being named an All-Pro player multiple times. His skill and technique were unmatched, and he was widely regarded as one of the most reliable and dependable offensive linemen in the league.
In addition to his on-field accomplishments, Shields was also recognized for his off-field contributions. He was known for his leadership qualities and his involvement in various charitable endeavors. He was a respected figure in the community, making a positive impact both on and off the field.
Will Shields left a lasting legacy in the NFL and is remembered as one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever play the game. His achievements and impact on the sport will continue to be celebrated for years to come.
15. Art Shell
Art Shell was a highly respected offensive lineman in the NFL. He played for the Oakland Raiders from 1968 to 1982.
Art Shell was known for his exceptional skills on the field. He was a powerful blocker and had a strong understanding of the game. Shell’s size and strength allowed him to dominate opposing defenders and protect his quarterback. He played a key role in the success of the Raiders’ offense during his career.
Shell was a six-time Pro Bowler and was named to the All-Pro team three times. He was also a pivotal part of the Raiders’ Super Bowl-winning teams in 1976 and 1980. Shell’s contributions to the offensive line were instrumental in the team’s success.
Pro Tip: When analyzing offensive linemen in NFL history, consider their individual accomplishments, team success, and impact on the game. Art Shell’s impressive career and accolades make him one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history.
16. Dwight Stephenson
|Rank||Name||Team||Years||Super Bowl Wins|
|15||Dwight Stephenson||Miami Dolphins||1980-1987||2|
Dwight Stephenson, holding the 15th position among the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history, had a successful stint with the Miami Dolphins from 1980 to 1987. Throughout this period, Stephenson played a significant role in helping the Dolphins secure two Super Bowl victories.
Stephenson’s exceptional athletic abilities set him apart from fellow players. His unmatched agility and strength allowed him to dominate opposing defensive players, solidifying his reputation as one of the premier centers of his era.
Beyond his impressive skills on the field, Stephenson played a crucial role in the Dolphins’ offensive strategy. His ability to analyze the game swiftly and make decisive choices contributed significantly to the overall success of the team.
Throughout his career, Stephenson showcased exemplary leadership qualities, motivating and influencing his teammates to perform at their highest level. His unwavering commitment to excellence and relentless dedication to the sport solidified his status as a legendary figure in the history of the Miami Dolphins.
It is evident that Dwight Stephenson’s impact on the game and his team’s triumphs cannot be understated. As a vital member of the Miami Dolphins, he firmly established himself as one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history, leaving behind a lasting legacy that continues to be celebrated to this day.”
17. Jackie Slater
|Teams Played For||Los Angeles Rams|
|Pro Bowl Selections||7|
|NFL Championships||1 (Super Bowl XXIV with the Rams)|
|Length of Career||20 seasons|
18. Jim Parker
Jim was one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history, known for his exceptional skills and contributions to the game. Here are some key facts about Jim Parker:
- Accomplishments: Jim Parker was a dominant force on the football field throughout his career. He was an 8-time Pro Bowl selection and a 9-time All-Pro, demonstrating his consistent excellence and impact on the game.
- Durability: Parker showcased remarkable durability, starting in all but one game during his 11-year NFL career. This showcases his durability and reliability as a player.
- Strength: he was renowned for his incredible strength, which allowed him to overpower opposing players. His strength played a vital role in both pass protection and run blocking, making him an invaluable asset to his teams.
- Technique: he possessed exceptional technique, which further enhanced his effectiveness as an offensive lineman. His ability to use leverage, footwork, and hand placement allowed him to dominate his opponents consistently.
- Leadership: Parker was not only a talented player, but also a leader on and off the field. He provided guidance and inspiration to his teammates, setting a high standard of professionalism and work ethic.
Jim Parker’s legacy as one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history is cemented by his numerous accolades, durability, strength, technique, and leadership abilities. He had a long NFL career and his contributions to the game continue to be appreciated and celebrated.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who is considered the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history?
According to various sources, Anthony Munoz is widely regarded as the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history. He was a dominant tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals and was selected to 11 Pro Bowls in a row.
2. Which offensive lineman won the most NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year awards?
Anthony Munoz holds the record for winning the most NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year awards. He won the award three times, in 1981, 1987, and 1988.
3. Who was the best center in the NFL during his era?
Mick Tingelhoff, a center for the Minnesota Vikings, is considered the best center of his era. He was named First-Team All-Pro multiple times and played in all four of the team’s Super Bowl appearances.
4. Which offensive lineman is considered a potential Hall of Fame inductee?
Richmond Webb, who played for the Miami Dolphins, is considered a potential Hall of Fame inductee. He set team records and was a seven-time Pro Bowler during his career.
5. Who was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s?
Walter Jones, a tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and one of the best offensive linemen of his time.
6. Which offensive lineman later became the President of the NFLPA?
Gene Upshaw, a guard for the Oakland Raiders, later became the President of the NFLPA. He played 15 seasons, was named to seven Pro Bowls, and won two Super Bowl championships during his career.