Five greatest centers in NFL history

Mike Webster
Mike Webster played a pivotal role on Super Bowl winning teams. Photo from Behind The Steel Curtain.

Without a center, a game of football can’t happen. Who have been the greatest NFL centers of all-time?

The center is the among the most important position in the offensive team.

Greatest NFL centers of all-time

They are the linesman who is responsible for snapping the ball back to the quarterback and for helping them to make the call about the next play. They are also instrumental in making sure that the quarterback stays safe and doesn’t get sacked while making these plays.

A good center has a strong body and a tactical mind. Today, we are going to look back at the 5 greatest NFL centers of all time.

#5 – George Trafton, 1920-1932

If you are looking for the man who created the modern role all centers now play, then his name is George Trafton.

During his time in the NFL, Trafton started in 100 games and was the man that most people believe invented the one arm snap. Trafton played for the Chicago Bears but went on to coach many other teams and helped to build some of the best offensive lines the game has ever seen.

Trafton was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1964.

#4 – Jim Otto, 1960-1974

Otto was named as one of the top centers in the NFL 100th anniversary team and for good reason. In the 15 years that Otto played for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL, there was not a single center that came close to playing as well as he did.


What was perhaps most notable about Otto was that he took the role of the center from purely being a mauler to also being athletic. Otto’s playstyle had a huge influence on the players that came after him.

Otto was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1980. He’s clearly one of the greatest NFL centers of all-time.

#3 – Jim Ringo, 1953-1967

Ringo is a two-time NFL champion, which is not something that all the other centers on this list can claim. The hard work of centers often goes unnoticed, but Ringo joined the Green Bay Packers at the right time and made their wins possible.

When playing with the running backs Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung, Ringo was asked to open up holes for them as well as looking after his quarterback.

Ringo excelled at this – in the first season of his play, the pair combined for over 1,800 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. They beat that the year after thanks to Jim Ringo.

Ringo was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1981.

#2 – Dwight Stephenson, 1980-1987

Has there ever been a better pair than Dan Marino and Dwight Stephenson? Dolphin fans certainly don’t think so.

Stephenson built an incredible offensive line at the Dolphins. They were so good that they were the least sacked team for six seasons running.

Dwight Stephenson was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1988.

Are there any current centers in the NFL that are catching your eye? You can bet on their teams and NFL player props here.

#1 – Mike Webster, 1974-1990

We think that everyone will agree with us that Mike Webster deserves the number one spot on this list.

If you don’t know much about Webster and his impact on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Look up the Steel Curtain. This offensive line won the Steelers four Super Bowl Championships while Webster was with them.

Webster played in the Pro Bowl for four years in a row between 1978 and 1985. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1997.

Sadly, Webster passed away at the incredibly young age of 50. It was said that he had suffered head trauma in the NFL equivalent to being in 21,000 automobile accidents.

He really was the greatest center in NFL history.

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About Sam Cox 709 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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