The Sunday afternoon sun burned down upon the big man as he readied himself for the next play. The guy facing him had a smile on his face, he had a right to, he was one of the best defensive ends in the league and he had been beating up on his offensive counterpart for most of the game.
The big man heard the quarterback call for the ball and the center snapped it to him, with one great crushing blow, the offensive line met the defensive line. Everything was in slow motion, the quarterback handed the ball off to the halfback. The halfback threaded his way up behind the big man and sprung through a hole that had just been created for him there.
Finally, the defensive end broke free from his blocker and sent the small halfback crashing to the ground. It was a two yard gain.
The big man helped the halfback up from the ground and both of them trotted back to the huddle.
Sure, its true that the NFL's offensive linemen are the least recognized players in the league but they are some of the most important. Line Joe Montana or any other great quarterback that you can think of up behind center and if that center doesn't block for him then his arm or scrambling skills will do him no good. He'll be useless. Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson, or any of the others wouldn't ever get any kind of gain if their offensive line didn't block for them.
If the game was a play and the players were the actors, then the offensive line would be the stage crew.
A good offensive line is one of those things that you don't realize that you have until you've lost them.
So, the next time that you watch your favorite quarterback unleash a long spiraling pass or your favorite halfback rip spring free for a long game, look at who's blocking for them and thank them, thank them for doing the best, trying their hardest, and making that one play special.