NFL's All-Time Team: Rob Gronkowski, Mike Ditka, Gene Upshaw Among TE, OL Added

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2019

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 06: Former New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski looks on during the game between the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets  at TD Garden on December 06, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Nuggets 108-95. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The NFL continued filling out its All-Time Team on Friday, adding tight ends, offensive linemen and four new coaches to the group to celebrate the league's 100th anniversary.

Here is a look at the 27 people added. Additions will be made every Friday through Week 17, culminating with 100 players and 10 head coaches.

Tight End (5): Mike Ditka, Tony Gonzalez, Rob Gronkowski, John Mackey, Kellen Winslow

Offensive Tackle (7): Roosevelt Brown, Forrest Gregg, Cal Hubbard, Walter Jones, Anthony Munoz, Jonathan Ogden, Art Shell

Offensive Guard (7): Larry Allen, Dan Fortmann, John Hannah, Bruce Matthews, Randall McDaniel, Jim Parker, Gene Upshaw

Center (4): Mel Hein, Jim Otto, Dwight Stephenson, Mike Webster

Head Coach (4): George Halas, Curly Lambeau, Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi

The committee tasked with selecting the all-time team has shown a clear preference to the past while largely ignoring active players. Gronkowski is only the fourth player named to the team thus far who was drafted after the turn of the century. There are more running backs drafted before 1960 who made the team than players taken after 2000.

While it's probably fair to quibble with the deference to bygone eras, it goes to show just how special Gronkowski was in less than a decade on the field. He is perhaps the single most talented tight end in NFL history thanks to a generational combination of size, strength, speed and hands.

His dominance made him a clear successor to the tight end throne from Gonzalez, who himself inherited the GOAT status at the position from Winslow. Ditka and Mackey helped revolutionize the position in their time as well, so these selections bordered on no-brainers.

Mackey, Anthony Munoz and Jim Parker were the only unanimous player selections in the group revealed Friday. Munoz was an 11-time Pro Bowler and 11-time All-Pro during his career, and Parker's career was so decorated his number is retired by the Colts and he is in the Ravens' Ring of Honor.

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