Musing from your Post Master General
Last night’s game between the Patriots and the Jets officially kicked off Week Two of this young NFL season with New England besting New York in a close contest. For fans of the rest of the teams who have yet to play, don’t worry if your squad is 0-1, Week Two can be your week of redemption. And if your team is 1-0 after last week, well all you can hope for is to keep the momentum going. Of course, NFL Week Two also means it’s time for the second installment of our series, Football Americano. Today we profile Hall of Famer and NFL legend Anthony Munoz.
Anthony Munoz was born in California on August 9th, 1958 and little did his parents know that he would one day change the way we play football forever. His grandparents called Chihuahua, Mexico home but young Anthony made Southern California his playground, first as a two sport star at Chaffey High School and later as a University of Southern California Trojan. With the Trojans, Munoz pitched his way to a National Championship in baseball, but it would be on the gridiron where he would forge his legacy.
Munoz would be drafted third overall by the Bengals in 1980 and would play for them for his entire thirteen year career. During his time in Cincinnati, Munoz played in two Super Bowls and protected the blind side for the likes of Ken Anderson and Boomer Esiason among others. It was this blind side protection that revolutionized the sport.
In 1987, Anthony Munoz asked to be paid $500,000 for his services, which at the time was an unheard of number for player playing a position that never touched the ball but these were the days before free agency. Once free agency was instituted in 1992, offensive lineman playing Munoz’s blind side tackle position became the second highest paid players in the league after the quarterback. Many lineman of today can thank Munoz when they get their paychecks as Munoz proved that an efficient blocking scheme based around a skilled player at the position not only allowed for a dominant passing game due to quarterback protection but an optimal running game as well. With quarterback arguably being the most important position in sports, protecting the man behind center from blitzing linebackers like Lawrence Taylor became a foundation for prolonged team success.
Anthony Munoz collected every possible accolade someone at his position could. He was named Offensive Lineman of the Year for the 1981, 1987 and 1988 seasons. He made a whopping eleven straight Pro Bowls from 1981 to 1991. He was named All-Pro first team nine times and All-Pro second team twice. He was named to the 1980’s All Decade Team and was rated the 12th greatest played in NFL history by NFL.com. The superlatives surrounding Anthony Munoz reached their pinnacle when in 1998 he became the one of the first Hispanics ever elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is hard to dispute the claims that many have made about Anthony Munoz, not just being the greatest Hispanic or Latin American player of all time, but the best offensive lineman to ever lace up a pair of cleats.
Enjoy NFL Week Two everybody. Don’t forget to like my Facebook page, follow me on twitter and read all my other posts, especially the ones from my Football Americano. Thanks.
Photos Courtesy of profootballhall.com