New England Patriots top 5 offensive linemen in franchise history

New England Patriots John Hannah (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
New England Patriots John Hannah (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
New England Patriots guard John Hannah (73). Mandatory Credit: Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports /

New England Patriots all-time offensive lineman: No. 1 – John Hannah

If there is any doubt, the greatest New England Patriots offensive lineman of all time is John Hannah.

In fact, for this poor observer’s money, there has never been a better offensive lineman in the history of the game. The only other player who is even close, is the magnificent Anthony Munoz, Pro Football Hall of Fame tackle from the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hannah was in a class by himself as an offensive guard. It was clear during his time as an All-American at Alabama playing under legendary coach, Bear Bryant.

It continued immediately thereafter when he was drafted fourth overall in the 1973 NFL draft and throughout his illustrious career with the Patriots. The only missing accolade from his Curriculum Vitae would be Super Bowl winner. He played in one, but the team lost to the Chicago Bears.

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Hannah epitomized everything that was required in an offensive lineman and specifically a guard. For his time in the league, he was a very big guard, checking at 6’2″ tall and weighing in at about 265 pounds when the norm was more likely about 15-20 pounds lighter.

He carried the nickname “hog” and his demeanor on the fields was every bit as tough as that. He was a road-grading guard who plowed the way for the best running game in league history.  He also could handle any pass-blocking assignment. No one was stronger, had more talent, or could match his unrivaled tenacity, and desire top to play the game all-out on every play, and dominate.

Here’s part of what the Pro Football Hall of Fame has to say about John Hannah after his being drafted by the New England Patriots,

"In the next 12 years, Hannah became widely recognized as the premier guard of pro football. He was named All-Pro 10 straight years from 1976 through 1985. He won the NFL Players Association’s Offensive Lineman of the Year award four straight years from 1978 through 1981. Hannah was named to nine Pro Bowls but missed the game following the 1983 season because of an injury… In spite of the constant contact his body had to absorb, Hannah missed only five games because of injuries of a possible 191 in his 13-season career… During his career, New England enjoyed seven winning seasons and a 100-91-0 cumulative record. Hannah was given a large share of the credit when the Patriots rushed for a then-record 3,165 yards in 1978. John finished his career after the 1985 season on a high note. His final campaign had produced an AFC championship and Super Bowl XX appearance for the Patriots, and All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl invitation for himself."

Next. New England Patriots: The 10 greatest defensive players of all-time. dark

All-Pro 10 straight years pretty much sums up what John Hannah’s contributions to the Patriots offense were during his dozen years wearing the red, white, and blue.  Hannah didn’t just dominate anyone he was matched against, he destroyed them.

That included even fellow All-Pros who had the distinct misfortune of lining up against him on any given Sunday during those 12 years. It didn’t matter who you were, or how good, if you played the Patriots on the right side of the defensive line you were in for a thrashing that game. And there wasn’t a thing you could do about it. He was that good, that dominant, that insuperable.