The Value of the Offensive Line

Sunday we had another wonderful Super Bowl to follow in a close game befitting the quality of the adversaries. The result and what I observed brought me back to the fall of 1957. It was the only year I played for an organized football team as a twelve year old. I played left guard on offense. Playing that position helped me over time to appreciate the key nature of the offensive line.

John Unitas a non-heralded college quarterback became a great quarterback and was protected by the phenomenal lineman Jim Parker. Vince Ferragamo had Tom Mack who played in about a dozen Pro Bowls. Later the largely unknown Kurt Warner had an O-line in St. Louis anchored by the great Orlando Pace.

Tom Brady was a 6th round draft choice and has had a phenomenal career. The commentators actually said when his O-line gets leaky he’s just another quarterback. The line got porous as his forced fumble was the key to the Patriots loss.

The Eagles on the other hand played a journeyman, second string quarterback, Nick Foles, who was brilliant behind a line that never allowed a sack.

The longer the offensive line can keep its own team’s defense off the field the more rested the defense is in the key 4th quarter. That helped account for the Eagles forced fumble essentially ending the contest.

Finally pro salaries affirm the theory as the two highest paid positions are quarterback and offensive left tackle. That lineman protects the QB’s blind side during a pass rush.

H. Robert Rubin, memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel, an e-book on Amazon and How Did I Get Through This? to be published on Amazon this year

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