Category Archives: Defensive Line

Mean Awards 1945-2017

The Mean Award, named for legendary tough guy and fulcrum around which the Steel Curtain defense revolved, is given annually to the league’s standout defensive tackle. With defensive ends, I have an unabashed preference for pass rushers. For tackles, on the other hand, I prefer a more well-rounded repertoire of skills. This is especially true for linemen who played prior to about 2004, when the value of passing increased from its already high level. While I look at the same stats that I looked at…

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Deacon Awards 1943-2017

Named in honor of the feared pass rusher who coined the term “quarterback sack,” Deacon Jones, the Deacon Award goes to the finest defensive end in the league each season. I don’t see any reason to overcomplicate this award. I want a defensive end who can make life hard on quarterbacks, and if he can play the run well, that’s an added bonus. Obviously, I’d prefer someone who can do both, but if I only get one, the choice is a simple one. Sacks are…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Defensive Tackles

Manning the interior line, defensive tackles tend to be the biggest and strongest players on the field. Their lower bodies must simultaneously be powerful enough to anchor against the run and quick enough to bypass blockers. Their arms must be both mighty and precise, in order to disengage linemen to make plays (or occupy linemen to allow others to make the plays). More so than their line mates on the outside, defensive tackles tend to have higher expectations to shut down rushing attacks and lower…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Defensive Ends

The ideal defensive ends are immovable objects against the run and unstoppable forces against the pass. In reality, the best ends tend to be great at one or the other, or good at both, with a few extraordinary exceptions. As a committee, we strove to recognize those defenders who had few holes in their game, and we had an implicit preference for the guys who excelled in both areas. However,  we recognize the importance of the pass relative to the run, and we honor those…

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