Ask any football fan who their favorite player is. I would imagine that you would get a multitude of answers. Walter Payton, running back for the Chicago Bears. Jerry Rice, wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. Roger Staubach, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Maybe even defensive players like Deion Sanders or even ‘Mean’ Joe Greene. But how likely are you to come across someone who would name an offensive lineman?

The answer: hardly anyone. Offensive lineman rarely ever get the credit they deserve. What do I mean? Follow me if you will. Where does the ball begin? On the line of scrimmage. With whom does that ball reside? With the center, a member of the offensive line. The game play itself starts with the offensive line. This in and of itself should speak to the importance of this squad.

Then comes the snap. The center then hurls the ball between his legs in such a fashion that it has to be quick and obtainable by the quarterback. While the quarterback is deciding who he should throw the ball to, or what the special is at Olive Garden this week, or why his idiot sister decided to name her child ‘Jaxon’ instead of ‘Jackson,’ the offensive line is trying in earnest to hold back a flood of testosterone and unresolved anger management issues. All while trying to not literally hold them back. For some unbeknownst reason the bipedal zebras seem to frown upon this.

Should the quarterback decide to go Chili’s instead, or even hand the ball off to yet another guy just hanging around in the backfield, the O-line then has to which from Keep-The-Quarterback’s-Head-On-His-Shoulders Mode to pushing these modern Nephilim backwards down the field. Oh, and by the way: the longer your offense is on the field, the more time you give your defense a chance to rest their weary legs from being on the business end of aforementioned living rampart.

And the gig’s getting tougher. With defenders increasing in size and strength, offensive linemen have been forced to follow suit. Linemen used to average six foot even and 211 pounds back in the 1920s. That’s roughly the size of a wide receiver nowadays, and to secure a spot in the trenches you need to be closer to the 6’5” mark and weigh a little north of the 310 pound mark. For those of you playing along at home, that’s a stifling 31.9% increase in sheer mass.

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Despite who your favorite player is or was, they owe their success to an offensive line unit somewhere along the way. Maybe they bought your favorite quarterback the time to find an open man. Perhaps your favorite wideout was the recipient of said window of time in which we was able to break past his adversary downfield and take one to ‘da house.’ The running back you idolized as a kid relied on his entrenched teammates to put a hat on a defender and spring him for a big run. Perhaps your favorite defensive end ate right tackles for brunch and defecated out stat lines that made upcoming opponents weak in the knees. But one way or another, my friend, you owe your love of football to an offensive lineman.