Football HOF Profile: Dermontti Dawson

There is no sport in the world that involves more team play than football as everyone needs to do their job to make a play. Despite this there are only a handful of players who truly get the glory in the sport. These players are known as the skill players and can essentially be defined as those players who touch the ball. These are the wide receivers, quarterbacks, and running backs on offence while on defence the majority of the team gets recognition. There is one group that rarely gets any recognition when it comes to the game as the Offensive Lineman rarely get much recognition. There is of course some recognition of lineman but more often than not when someone speaks about the offensive line it is about how bad they are, how many sacks they have allowed, or how many holding calls they have had. The lack of recognition does not bother lineman because they know how important they are to the team. Without a solid line the offence is nothing as they start every play off with the push that can make or break a play. Although the overall sense of recognition is not too high there is one place that seems to realize the importance of great linemen. That is the Hall of Fame as the 2012 class will see two offensive linemen join the best players to step onto a field. One of these lineman will be a former Steeler great Dermontti Dawson. Dawson played one of the more essential spots in the line as the Center is essentially the captain of the line. As a center Dawson was the player to look out and guide the rest of the line in their blocking scheme. He would look downfield to see who was coming on a blitz and let the rest of the line know before he snapped the ball. This position among the line was essential and Dawson was one of the best but for many it is difficult to see. There are no real stats for lineman besides the amount of games they played and the amount of sacks allowed, which may not be entirely accurate in telling if a lineman was great or not. Instead Dawson must be judged on whether or not he was essential to the Steelers and whether or not he was recognized for this with awards like Lineman of the year. Dawson had all of these aspects as he won awards and was an essential part to the team making him a good choice for the Hall of Fame.

Dawson began his now hall of fame career as an essential part of the Steelers 1988 draft class as a second round pick. Almost immediately Dawson made his impact as he joined the starting line in his rookie season as a guard. It was not a great season for Dawson as a knee injury limited him to only 5 games that year. Coming back in his next year Dawson would fill some big shoes as he would replace future Hall of Famer Mike Webster at the center position but it did not seem to phase him as he played the entire season and the remaining 12 seasons at the position. He quickly became one of the best centers in the league but also became one of the most respected players in the league. As he continued to anchor the offensive line for the Steelers Dawson began rising more and more winning the AFC Offensive Lineman of the year in 1993 and the NFL Offensive Lineman of the year in 1996. He was also one of the most consistent players through his time in the league as he made 7 Pro Bowls in seven straight seasons, from 1993-1999. He also added 6 straight All-Pro selections during that time making him one of the most reliable players in the league. When he retired in 2000 Dawson had played the 2nd most consecutive games by a Steeler proving his reputation as one of the most consistent players in the NFL. Dawson is a member of the unrecognized group of lineman but come this year he will join the lineman who have been recognized by the hall of fame. Consistency is the name of the game as a lineman and Dawson was one of the most consistent which has put him into the hall with the class of 2012.

 

Dermontti Dawson, C (1988-2000)

6’2” 292 lbs

Pittsburgh Steelers

184 G

– 1996 NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year

– Selected to the NFL All Decade Team (1990s)

– 6-time All-Pro Selection

– 7-time Pro Bowl Selection

– Appearance in Super Bowl XXX

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