New England Patriots: A look back at the legend of John Hannah

Jul 27, 1991; Canton, OH, USA; FILE PHOTO; New England Patriots former tackle John Hannah prior to the 1991 Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 1991; Canton, OH, USA; FILE PHOTO; New England Patriots former tackle John Hannah prior to the 1991 Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots are a pretty fortunate football franchise. Not only have they won as many Super Bowls as any other team (and all six in the free agency era, thank you), but they also possess three of the very best at their positions who ever played the game.

The legacies of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are fresh in the minds of even the youngest fans in Patriot Nation. The one who isn’t is a distant memory of all but the most veteran Pats fans.

Yet, those fortunate “veteran” fans got to see an offensive lineman who redefined the position and left all those before and those since in his wake. That was John Hannah.

Hannah was that good, that dominant, that feared. Affectionately known as “hog” Hannah, he holds a lofty rung on the ladder of New England Patriots’ great players (2nd) and perhaps even in the entirety of NFL football, as well.

It’s still hard to think of any other NFL players than Tom Brady and perhaps Lawrence Taylor of the NY Giants who resides in that lofty realm.

New England Patriots John Hannah was The Destructor

John Hannah was drafted with the 4th overall pick in the 1973 NFL draft. This season, many observers were perplexed at the Patriots drafting Cole Strange with the 31st pick in the first round. After all, he’s just a guard. You can get them later on. Fair enough. (Parenthetical – Strange has been just fine.)

But in 1973, no one in memory argued with selecting Hannah as the fourth overall pick. This topic is not new to this space. It’s been covered before.

Yet, a special on YouTube reprised the desire to again comment on just how great this NFL player of the New England Patriots was.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame sums up the accolades of one of its member’s careers this way,

"By starting his first 13 games before a freak leg injury forced him out of the final game of his rookie season, Hannah dispelled any concerns the Patriots might have had about his ability to adjust from the straight-ahead blocking of the college wishbone offenses to the drop-back blocking and pulling required of guards in the pros.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."

He was actually more than that, better than that. John Hannah was the most dominant offensive lineman who ever played the game – both before and after his time.

The hope here is the New England Patriots will create a film about the career of John Hannah so that folks of younger generations can appreciate just how dominating this player was.

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Hopefully, this brief missive will inspire Patriots’ now long-time owner, and even longer-time fan, Robert Kraft, who for certain would have seen Hannah play to commission this work. It’s long overdue.

The New England Patriots have had three players who have been the best at their positions in the history of the NFL. First, there is the still dominant, TB12, Tom Brady. Prior, they had John Hannah. And, they also had the best tight end in league history, Rob Gronkowski.

Next. New England Patriots top 5 offensive linemen in franchise history. dark

And let’s just say this, in the pantheon of the NFL’s all-time greatest players at any position, there are three players who surpass all others. Brady is unquestionably first, and then there are Lawrence Taylor and John Hannah, not necessarily in that order.

It’s time that the Patriots made a lot more of this man’s career than they have to date. How about it Mr. Kraft? It’s time.