When trying to compile a list of the best left tackles in the history of the NFL, you have to also examine the history of the position. In today's NFL, the left tackle is one of the most important players on the team, because he protects the quarterback's blind side.
If the quarterback can go back to pass and has the confidence and faith in his left tackle to know that he won't be creamed by the rush coming from his blind side, he then has time to survey the field and look for his second, third or fourth options.
If you visit the NFL Hall of Fame website, you will note that the majority of players that were enshrined as an offensive linemen were also two-way players, as they played a role on both offense and defense. As such, it is very difficult to discern which side of the ball was their forte and how to rank them appropriately in a list like this. So, we will focus on tackles from the 1950's through to the modern-day era.
The other issue I encountered was that a number of Hall-of-Fame-caliber tackles didn't just play left tackle. They might have split time between tackle and guard in their career. Another development is a guy starting his career at right tackle and then eventually moving over to playing at left tackle. In both of these scenarios, it would be grounds for moving a player lower in the rankings.
Finally, since we are talking about the best in history, this list is designed for players that have longevity on their side. They played for many years and proved their abilities due to a long career that stood up over time.
While there are a number of promising tackles that are currently employed in the NFL, like Jake Long, Joe Thomas and Jason Peters, just to name a few, those type of tackles simply have not put in enough years to be considered as the best in history. Down the road, some of them will qualify. If you are wondering why they are not on the list, now you know.
On to the presentation of the 13 best NFL left tackles of all-time.