Green Bay Packers: Titletown's Top 10 Offensive Linemen of All Time
Most of the men who go to work in the trenches only receive recognition when they'd rather hide their massive frames beneath the turf than be shamed in the spotlight.
Offensive linemen are arguably the hardest workers and most important players on the field. Without their tedious and unrecognized efforts, the rest of the offense could not function.
Yet to be an offensive lineman means you will be overlooked and forgotten. That fact hasn't changed, and it may have even gotten worse since the Green Bay Packers had some greats at the position in their early days.
It is time to honor the men who have made the Pack's 13 championships possible and bring out their names for a good reason. The many honorable mentions, as well as one dishonorable mention, in this ranking are due to the many noteworthy offensive linemen in the franchise's rich history.
Note: Some information for this slideshow was gathered from the Packers Hall of Fame website and the great Wikipedia.org. Also special thanks to Dennis Venhuis for contributing ideas.
Dishonorable Mention: Tony Mandarich
Once considered the best offensive lineman prospect of all time, Tony Mandarich quickly became one of the biggest draft bust in Packers history and ultimately in the history of the NFL.
Between attitude issues, poor work ethic, holdouts, shadows of steroid use, painkiller addictions and a bulky bad boy image, Mandarich never came close to the expectations Green Bay held for him when they selected him second in 1989 before even Deion and Barry Sanders.
He was cut after only three seasons.
Tauscher has dealt with several major injuries in his career and has never been to the Pro Bowl, yet he has been a solid tackle for the Packers since he was drafted in 2000. His career in Green Bay may now be over, but his impressive longevity deserves to be mentioned.
Although a Second-Team All-Pro selection in 1982 was his only major achievement as a Packer, Koch gave Green Bay nine effective seasons at the right tackles position. He was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in 2010.
Reuttgers spent his entire 12-year career in Green Bay and was named the team's offensive MVP in 1989. He deserves to be honored for his great contributions on the Packers' offensive line throughout so many seasons.
A decade of work at the center position earned Bowman a spot in the Packers Hall of Fame. He may best be known for blocking for Bart Starr's famous Ice Bowl-winning QB sneak and helping the Pack to their first two Super Bowls.
Even More Honorable Mentions
Hall of Fame tackle Robert "Cal" Hubbard won three titles in six seasons with the Packers and is a member of the 1920s All Decade Team.
As a first-round draft pick in 1982, Hallstrom went on to play 11 seasons in Green Bay as a passionate blocker on the Pack's offensive line.
Skoronski was the team's offensive captain from 1965-1968, yet he was selected to the Pro Bowl only once. However, he played all over the line for the Pack and is now a member of the team's Hall of Fame.
10. Chad Clifton
Jeffrey Chad Clifton has served as the Packers left tackle since his rookie season in 2000,
The 12-year veteran may have another good year or two in him if he continues to play like he did toward the end of 2010, a year in which he was selected to his second Pro Bowl.
Clifton propelled the Packers to a victory in Super Bowl XLV after successfully protecting the blindside of the big game's MVP, quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In doing so, he solidified his spot as one of the most dominant pass protectors in Packer history.
9. Frank Winters
Frank Winters was a hardworking rock of a center who spent 11 seasons in Titletown, nine of which he was a regular at the position.
Although his nickname was "Bag of Donuts," Winters was a fierce competitor and an indestructible force. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1996, and he was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2008.
8. Marco Rivera
Marco Rivera battled through nine seasons with the Packers and was selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls in the early 2000s.
He consistently competed at a high level despite playing through multiple injuries, and his service recently earned him membership with the Packers Hall of Fame class of 2011.
Rivera was athletic and versatile which undoubtedly made him one of the top guards of his time as well as in Packers history.
7. Larry McCarren
Laurence McCarren started 162 consecutive games for the Packers, more than any other center in team history.
McCarren's toughness and durability earned him the the nickname "Rock" as well as two trips to the Pro Bowl in 1982 and 1983.
In 1992, he was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame.
6. Mike Michalske
Widely considered to be the first great guard in NFL history and undoubtedly the first to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Mike Michalske spent eight seasons playing on both sides of the ball for the Packers.
His explosiveness and toughness paved the way for a few of the Pack's early championships in the 1930s, and he was also named a member of the 1920s All Decade Team.
Michalske is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
5. Fred Thurston
Fred "Fuzzy" Thurston's determination and passion at the guard position paved the Pack's way to five championships and secured his membership in the Packers Hall of Fame.
Thurston often paired up with fellow guard Jerry Kramer to create one of the best tandems in team history, leaving little doubt why Lombardi's power sweep was so effective in the 1960s.
His nickname has obviously nothing to do with his playing style, and it was given to him as a baby by his sister due to his dark fuzzy hair. Thurston was one of the toughest blockers of his time, and he'll be the first to tell you that he was one of the main reasons for the team's string of titles.
They say boasting isn't bad if you can back it up.
4. Gale Gillingham
3. Jerry Kramer
Jerry Kramer wasted no time in becoming one of the best offensive lineman in franchise history after being drafted by the Packers in 1958.
He became a starter at right guard as a rookie and played 11 seasons in Titletown, winning five championships and five All-Pro selections despite undergoing 22 surgeries throughout his career.
Kramer was also an effective kicker, but his blocking skills were what earned him three Pro Bowl appearances and a spot on the 1960s All Decade Team.
He has been a Hall of Fame finalist many times, but now he's considered one of the biggest Hall snubs in history.
Unfortunately, Kramer will have to settle for only the Packers Hall of Fame and No. 3 on this list.
2. Jim Ringo
Jim Ringo spent 11 seasons as the leader of the Packers offensive line and was selected to the Pro Bowl in seven of them.
Although he was small for his position, Ringo's quickness and technique as one of the game's best centers made him a perfect match for Vince Lombardi's signature play, the power sweep.
He was also an outstanding pass protector for the Pack, and his football brains may have even surpassed his ability on the field.
Ringo was selected to the Packers Hall of Fame after finishing his career in Titletown as a two-time champion and was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.
1. Forrest Gregg
The legendary Vince Lombardi said it best when he declared that Forrest Gregg was the best player he had ever coached.
Gregg is a member of the 1960s All Decade Team, a decade in which he propelled the Packers to five championships and was selected to eight of his nine Pro Bowls. He was a hard worker who played with passion all over the offensive line for the Pack.
Gregg was a tough, durable and smart blocker who played with such finesse and effectiveness at the tackle position that he has been considered one of the greatest players of all time.
Also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Gregg is the best offensive lineman who ever played in Green Bay.