RZL All-Decade Team – 2010s (Centers)
This is the next article in what has become a long series of articles. In an effort to explore our league’s history, I’m developing an All-Decade team for the years 2010 to 2019. To do so I have had to sift through a lot of our archives, so it’s likely there are some errors. At the same time, we have a very rich history with many talented players. So it’s very likely that a few were excluded that some think should be included, especially since each of us may value some elements of the game over others. Either way, this series is meant to be fun and enlightening. I hope you enjoy.
For the Centers, I chose 2 players to represent the All-Decade Team. But most teams carry 2 Centers, so the All-Decade team will as well. Here’s a big disclaimer on the Centers (as was with the Tackles and Guards): Our league has a nice tradition of moving lineman around quite liberally. A team needs a Center? Get a veteran Tackle on his last legs and repurpose him into an interior lineman. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it gets tricky when trying figure out who played what. So for this I’ve pretty much gone off of the Pro Bowl listings. Here many Pro Bowl selections for Tackles show up for players who played Center later in their career. So honestly, I just did the best I could. Not much in the way of stats for these guys, but c’mon – they’re Centers!
Here are the Centers of the Decade
Jamey Richard (Steers, 2010-2019). He’s the most decorated offensive lineman you’ve never heard of. Jamey Richard. This guy has 6 Pro Bowls to his name which is about as impressive as you’re going to find on the All-Decade list. Richard seems to have benefited from the success of the Steelers during these years. This doesn’t take anything away from his achievements because he consistently averaged around 70 pancakes and 3 sacks allowed during the middle of the Decade. 2011 was a good year for Richard with 72 pancakes and only 1 sack allowed. The next season Richard allowed only 2 sacks with 76 pancakes. In Richard’s 12 year career, he only allowed more than 3 sacks twice – 5 in 2013 and 6 in 2019. Ironically, his best season was his penultimate, with 85 pancakes and no sacks allowed.
Pancakes/Sacks Allowed (Ratio): 696 pancakes/30 sacks (22.2)
Pro Bowls: 6 (2011, 2015, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019)
League Leader in Pancakes (Centers): None
Top 5 in Pancakes (Centers): 4 times
Nick Mangold (Jets, 2010-2013; Eagles, 2014-2018; Panthers, 2019). Even though Mangold was selected almost by default due to his confirmed Center status, it shouldn’t take anything away from his selection. Mangold was stout for many years in New York and Philadelphia. In fact, he has the remarkable distinction of recording 50 pancakes in 3 different decades. Mangold may have given up too many sacks – 7 in both 2010 and 2011 – but he was consistently good and one of the better Centers in the league. It’s hard to point a defining season for Mangold, but in 2015 he had 83 pancakes and 4 sacks allowed. Then again, in 2017 he allowed 0 sacks while providing 60 pancakes for Philly. Even though his career extends beyond the confines of the Decade, his career total of over 1,000 pancakes is quite an achievement.
Pancakes/Sacks Allowed (Ratio): 667 pancakes/38 sacks (17.6)
Pro Bowls: 2 (2011, 2015)
League Leader in Pancakes (Centers): None.
Top 5 in Pancakes (Centers): 3 times
Others Considered: Honestly, nobody! I have no idea who played Center when and no one cares that much anyway. I just wanted to be done with this part of the series. Feel free to nominate someone in the Forum.