PFHOF Profile: Mick Tingelhoff

(COPY SCAN / the Omaha World-Herald) Top 100 Nebraska athletes. Mick Tingelhoff, Minnesota Vikings. 1965.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is not the toughest hall to get into as classes usually run around five people every year.

That doesn’t mean that some very good players don’t see their time on the ballot come and go even with a great career under their belts.

Whether it is because of the people they are up against when they are eligible for induction are just too good or their careers are overlooked as the year go on plenty of great players do not make it to Canton.

That is what the Senior Committee was created for as they mark a second look at potential hall of famers and giving them another look.

After going through the first process players who have been inactive for 25 years go into the senior committee pool where a new group takes a look.

The senior committee is made up of senior members of the selection committee along with representatives from the senior nominee eras that provide advice but cannot vote.

This group takes a look at those players that have been passed over and with players from their eras giving insight into their playing years.

It is an important step for the Pro Football Hall of Fame as players that deserve a bust in Canton get a chance to earn their way in even after being passed over.

That is the case for the only senior nominee in the Class of 2015, Mick Tingelhoff who marks an old school player that was often overlooked.

In an era when the Minnesota Vikings were all about Fran Tarkenton and his ability to move the pockets while always looking down field the man who snapped the ball to Tarkenton was often overlooked.

Tingelhoff came into the league with little to no hype as he was signed as a free agent in 1962 before taking the starting centre role in his first year.

From then on he never gave it back as he became the linchpin of a line that had to deal with a quarterback that had rarely been seen.

Tarkenton was truly the first mobile quarterback in the NFL and for a lineman that is used to straight ahead blocking for running backs and every now and then blocking for a quarterback that just dropped back it was a change.

Lineman now had to be aware of a quarterback that often left the pocket to create something more on the play and that was a challenge for the Vikings line.

Leading the charge was Tingelhoff who led the entire line from the centre and ensured that Tarkenton was free to do what he did best and become one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.Tingelhoff_Mick_4-630

Tingelhoff’s leadership role was extremely important in this era for the Vikings and it was always there.

He is known for being an ironman in the NFL before Brett Favre even played a game in the league.

He ranks third all-time in consecutive games played as he never missed a game from his first as a rookie in 1962 until his last in 1978.

In all that is 240 straight games and many of those were played while he was injured with stories of him playing with torn muscles and separated shoulders.

Still he went on and led the line for 240 games without missing a beat and that was a large reason for the success of the Vikings throughout the 1970s.

A lifelong Viking, Tingelhoff was the centre of a line that was revolutionary at the time in dealing with a brand new type of player behind them.

As good as the line was the success of that line all depended on the ability of Tingelhoff to lead and to block some of the best players in the history of the NFL.

Going up against Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke on a regular basis is tough enough but to do it when you don’t truly know where your quarterback is at any point in time makes it that much tougher.

Still he was a lineman and often the lineman get overlooked especially when they have a hall of fame quarterback behind them making the plays.

He may have been overlooked for years but with the senior committee in place Tingelhoff will get his rewards for being one of the toughest ironmen and one of the greatest centres in NFL history as he enters Canton.

mtingelhoff.fw

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