Hail to the Hogs

Talk of Fame Network

It’s fashionable to give the great defensive lines in football history nicknames. There was the Fearsome Foursome. The Sack Exchange. The Purple People Eaters.

It’s not often that an offensive line has been christened with a nickname. But if a blocking front is worthy of a nickname, it’s worthy of being declared the greatest offensive line in the history of the NFL.

That’s what our voters decided in this week’s poll, voting the Washington Redskins and their Hogs of the Joe Gibbs era the best set of blockers the game has ever seen — and by a wide margin. The Redskins received 95 percent of the vote to trounce the 1960s Packers, 1970s Raiders and 1990s Cowboys at the ballot box just as easily as they trounced the 1982 Dolphins, 1987 Broncos and 1991 Bills on the field in Super Bowls.

The Hogs received a staggering 95 percent of the vote – the most lopsided victory of the 14 polls the Talk of Fame Network has posted to date. The Cowboys were next with three percent vote while the Packers and Raiders barely pushed the needle at one percent.

Gibbs won his Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks and three different running backs. But there was consistency up front where center Jeff Bostic and left tackle Joe Jacoby started every game. Raleigh McKenzie started two Super Bowls and Hall of Famer Russ Grimm the first one. Mark May, Mark Schlereth and George Starke were among the other blockers who plugged in as Hogs.

The Talk of Fame’s Clark Judge cast his vote for the Packers.

“They have two Hall of Famers (Forrest Gregg and Jim Ringo) and should have a third (Jerry Kramer),” Judge said. “You don’t win six championships in eight years with sub-par lines, and the Packers had the best in the business.

“When people talk about those teams they start with the Power Sweep, and it was led by Kramer — a member of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team. I know the Raiders of the 1970s had the best left side in history, but they won one Super Bowl. The Packers won numerous championships because Lombardi understood what others did not — It’s what’s up front that counts.”

The Talk of Fame’s Ron Judge cast his vote for the Raiders.

“Who else had a Hall of Fame left side (Art Shell, Gene Upshaw) and Hall of Fame center (Jim Otto) side-by-side-by-side for five years (70-74),” Borges said, “plus a right side nearly as dominating that included a future gospel singer at right tackle in Henry Lawrence?”

Nonetheless, the people have spoken – and their voice was heard loud and clear.

It’s the Hogs.


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1 Comment

  1. Scott Dochterman
    October 15, 2014

    There’s no doubt The Hogs rank among the best offensive lines in NFL history. But there’s one unit that often gets overlooked and that’s the Kansas City Chiefs of the early-to-mid 2000s.

    The group already boasts one Hall of Famer in left tackle Willie Roaf, an 11-time Pro Bowler and four of those seasons took place in Kansas City. Guard Will Shields should join Roaf fairly soon in Canton. Shields was selected to 12 Pro Bowls and started 223 consecutive games, every game of his career except the opener.

    Guard Brian Waters is a six-time Pro Bowler spanning 13 years after moving from tight end early in his career. Center Casey Wiegmann began his career as an undrafted free agent and ended up starting 200 games over 16 years. He was the ultimate iron man, playing an astounding 11,162 consecutive snaps and earned one Pro Bowl nod. Tackle John Tait played 10 years total (139 career starts), five of which took place in Kansas City.

    If you consider tight ends as part of the offensive line, Tony Gonzalez will join Roaf and Shields in Canton. Jason Dunn was among the best blocking tight ends in his era and played eight seasons for the Chiefs.

    Kansas City led the NFL in points scored in 2002 and 2003, and in total yards in 2004 and 2005. Behind that offensive line, running back Priet Holmes led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 2001 (2,169) and 2002 (2,287). In 2003, Holmes rushed for a then-NFL record 27 touchdowns and posted 2,110 yards from scrimmage. Holmes scored 60 touchdowns from 2002-2004. Quarterback Trent Green passed for more than 4,000 yards in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

    When Holmes was hurt, running back Larry Johnson took over with more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 2005 and 2006 with 40 combined touchdowns those two years.

    Counting Gonzalez, this is a unit that will have three Hall of Famers within the next decade. Waters and Wiegmann boast significant resumes as well. This unit can hold its own with any other that has played. If you go player-for-player, the Chiefs not only hold their own with The Hogs, they’re better at every position (maybe Shields and Grimm are a wash). The only thing it lacks is a catchy nickname, a Super Bowl ring (thanks to a porous defense) and charisma.

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