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Who are the top 5 greatest Centers of all-time?


Jetsfan80
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Who is the # 1 greatest Center of all-time?  

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  1. 1. Who is the # 1 greatest Center of all-time?

    • Jeff Saturday, IND/GB (1999-2012)
    • Mike Webster, PIT/KC (1974-1990)
    • Jim Otto, OAK (1960-1974)
    • Dwight Stephenson, MIA (1980-1987)
    • Jim Ringo, GB/PHI (1953-1967)
      0
    • Kevin Mawae, SEA/NYJ/TEN (1994-2009)
    • Mick Tingelhoff, MIN (1962-1978)
      0
    • Tom Nalen, DEN (1994-2007)
      0
    • Dermontti Dawson, PIT (1988-2000)
    • Jim Langer, MIA/MIN (1970-1981)
      0
    • Jason Kelce, PHI (2011-present)
      0
    • Bruce Matthews, HOU/TEN (1983-2001)
    • Kent Hull, BUF (1986-1996)
      0
    • Alex Mack, CLE/ATL/SF (2009-2021)
      0
    • Maurkice Pouncey, PIT (2010-2020)
      0
    • Jay Hilgenberg, CHI/NO (1981-1993)
      0
    • Joe Fields, NYJ/NYG (1975-1988)
      0
    • Matt Birk, MIN/BAL (1998-2012)
      0
    • Travis Frederick, DAL (2013-2019)
      0
    • OTHER (Specify in thread)
  2. 2. Who is the # 2 greatest Center of all-time?

    • Jeff Saturday, IND/GB (1999-2012)
    • Mike Webster, PIT/KC (1974-1990)
    • Jim Otto, OAK (1960-1974)
    • Dwight Stephenson, MIA (1980-1987)
    • Jim Ringo, GB/PHI (1953-1967)
    • Kevin Mawae, SEA/NYJ/TEN (1994-2009)
    • Mick Tingelhoff, MIN (1962-1978)
      0
    • Tom Nalen, DEN (1994-2007)
      0
    • Dermontti Dawson, PIT (1988-2000)
    • Jim Langer, MIA/MIN (1970-1981)
      0
    • Jason Kelce, PHI (2011-present)
      0
    • Bruce Matthews, HOU/TEN (1983-2001)
    • Kent Hull, BUF (1986-1996)
      0
    • Alex Mack, CLE/ATL/SF (2009-2021)
      0
    • Maurkice Pouncey, PIT (2010-2020)
      0
    • Jay Hilgenberg, CHI/NO (1981-1993)
      0
    • Joe Fields, NYJ/NYG (1975-1988)
      0
    • Matt Birk, MIN/BAL (1998-2012)
      0
    • Travis Frederick, DAL (2013-2019)
      0
    • OTHER (Specify in thread)
  3. 3. Who is the # 3 greatest Center of all-time?

    • Jeff Saturday, IND/GB (1999-2012)
    • Mike Webster, PIT/KC (1974-1990)
    • Jim Otto, OAK (1960-1974)
    • Dwight Stephenson, MIA (1980-1987)
    • Jim Ringo, GB/PHI (1953-1967)
    • Kevin Mawae, SEA/NYJ/TEN (1994-2009)
    • Mick Tingelhoff, MIN (1962-1978)
    • Tom Nalen, DEN (1994-2007)
      0
    • Dermontti Dawson, PIT (1988-2000)
    • Jim Langer, MIA/MIN (1970-1981)
      0
    • Jason Kelce, PHI (2011-present)
    • Bruce Matthews, HOU/TEN (1983-2001)
    • Kent Hull, BUF (1986-1996)
      0
    • Alex Mack, CLE/ATL/SF (2009-2021)
      0
    • Maurkice Pouncey, PIT (2010-2020)
      0
    • Jay Hilgenberg, CHI/NO (1981-1993)
      0
    • Joe Fields, NYJ/NYG (1975-1988)
    • Matt Birk, MIN/BAL (1998-2012)
      0
    • Travis Frederick, DAL (2013-2019)
      0
    • OTHER (Specify in thread)
  4. 4. Who is the # 4 greatest Center of all-time?

    • Jeff Saturday, IND/GB (1999-2012)
    • Mike Webster, PIT/KC (1974-1990)
    • Jim Otto, OAK (1960-1974)
    • Dwight Stephenson, MIA (1980-1987)
    • Jim Ringo, GB/PHI (1953-1967)
    • Kevin Mawae, SEA/NYJ/TEN (1994-2009)
    • Mick Tingelhoff, MIN (1962-1978)
    • Tom Nalen, DEN (1994-2007)
      0
    • Dermontti Dawson, PIT (1988-2000)
    • Jim Langer, MIA/MIN (1970-1981)
    • Jason Kelce, PHI (2011-present)
      0
    • Bruce Matthews, HOU/TEN (1983-2001)
    • Kent Hull, BUF (1986-1996)
      0
    • Alex Mack, CLE/ATL/SF (2009-2021)
    • Maurkice Pouncey, PIT (2010-2020)
    • Jay Hilgenberg, CHI/NO (1981-1993)
      0
    • Joe Fields, NYJ/NYG (1975-1988)
      0
    • Matt Birk, MIN/BAL (1998-2012)
    • Travis Frederick, DAL (2013-2019)
      0
    • OTHER (Specify in thread)
  5. 5. Who is the # 5 greatest Center of all-time?

    • Jeff Saturday, IND/GB (1999-2012)
    • Mike Webster, PIT/KC (1974-1990)
    • Jim Otto, OAK (1960-1974)
      0
    • Dwight Stephenson, MIA (1980-1987)
    • Jim Ringo, GB/PHI (1953-1967)
      0
    • Kevin Mawae, SEA/NYJ/TEN (1994-2009)
    • Mick Tingelhoff, MIN (1962-1978)
    • Tom Nalen, DEN (1994-2007)
    • Dermontti Dawson, PIT (1988-2000)
    • Jim Langer, MIA/MIN (1970-1981)
      0
    • Jason Kelce, PHI (2011-present)
    • Bruce Matthews, HOU/TEN (1983-2001)
    • Kent Hull, BUF (1986-1996)
    • Alex Mack, CLE/ATL/SF (2009-2021)
      0
    • Maurkice Pouncey, PIT (2010-2020)
    • Jay Hilgenberg, CHI/NO (1981-1993)
      0
    • Joe Fields, NYJ/NYG (1975-1988)
      0
    • Matt Birk, MIN/BAL (1998-2012)
    • Travis Frederick, DAL (2013-2019)
      0
    • OTHER (Specify in thread)
      0


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Leading up to the start of the season, I'll be posting a thread once every day or so devoted to determine the top 5 all-time at each position, as voted on by JN.

I am using football-reference.com's AV (Approximate Value) metric to help compare across eras.  The "Peak AV Average" means the average "score" for each player's among their top 5 performing years in the league, to help establish which players had the high peaks and which players were more of the "compilers" over a long career.  Utilizing a "peak AV" also allows for players with careers shortened by injury to be included.

Also note that AV only goes back so far, so some players from the earliest days in NFL history (primarily the 30s, 40s and early 50s) are, unfortunately, excluded.

 

Yesterday, JN voted on 3-4 Defensive Ends:

 

 

 

Today, we vote on Centers!

Below are the candidates and their resumes, ranked in the order weighted by AV/Peak AV:

 

1.  Jeff Saturday, IND/GB (1999-2012)

  • Career AV:  156
  • Peak AV Average:  16
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  2
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  6

2.  Mike Webster, PIT/KC (1974-1990)

  • Career AV:  161
  • Peak AV Average:  15
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  5
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  9

3.  Jim Otto, OAK (1960-1974)

  • Career AV:  163
  • Peak AV Average:  13
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  10
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  12

4.  Dwight Stephenson, MIA (1980-1987)

  • Career AV:  90
  • Peak AV Average:  16
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  4
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  5

5.  Jim Ringo, GB/PHI (1953-1967)

  • Career AV:  95*
  • Peak AV Average:  13
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  6
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  9

* The football-reference.com database only began calculating AV beginning with 1960

6.  Kevin Mawae, SEA/NYJ/TEN (1994-2009)

  • Career AV:  153
  • Peak AV Average:  13
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  3
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  8

7.  Mick Tingelhoff, MIN (1962-1978)

  • Career AV:  152
  • Peak AV Average:  13
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  5
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  6

8.  Tom Nalen, DEN (1994-2007)

  • Career AV:  133
  • Peak AV Average:  14
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  2
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  5

9.  Dermontti Dawson, PIT (1988-2000)

  • Career AV:  123
  • Peak AV Average:  14
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  6
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  7

10.  Jim Langer, MIA/MIN (1970-1981)

  • Career AV:  107
  • Peak AV Average:  15
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  3
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  6

11.  Jason Kelce, PHI (2011-present)

  • Career AV:  105
  • Peak AV Average:  15
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  4
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  5

12.  Bruce Matthews, HOU/TEN (1983-2001)

  • Career AV:  215
  • Peak AV Average:  12
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  7^
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  14

^ 1 of the 7 1st-Team All-Pro selections was at C; the others were earned while Matthews was a Guard

13.  Kent Hull, BUF (1986-1996)

  • Career AV:  109
  • Peak AV Average:  14
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  2
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  3

14.  Alex Mack, CLE/ATL/SF (2009-2021)

  • Career AV:  111
  • Peak AV Average:  12
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  0
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  7

15.  Maurkice Pouncey, PIT (2010-2020)

  • Career AV:  94
  • Peak AV Average:  13
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  2
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  9

16.  Jay Hilgenberg, CHI/NO (1981-1993)

  • Career AV:  104
  • Peak AV Average:  12
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  2
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  7

17.  Joe Fields, NYJ/NYG (1975-1988)

  • Career AV:  103
  • Peak AV Average:  12
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  1
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  2

18.  Matt Birk, MIN/BAL (1998-2012)

  • Career AV:  110
  • Peak AV Average:  11
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  0
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  6

19.  Travis Frederick, DAL (2013-2019)

  • Career AV:  67
  • Peak AV Average:  12
  • 1st Team All-Pro Selections:  1
  • Pro Bowl Selections:  5

 

Just missed the cut:  Chuck Bednarik, Bart Oates, Mark Stepnoski, Jess Sapolu, Jeff Van Note, Len Hauss

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48 minutes ago, UntouchableCrew said:

I'm not exactly sure how the ratings work but Jeff Saturday being 1st is laughable to me.

Some combination of Webster, Dawson, Mawae, and Stephenson feels right.

Bruce Matthews should be a guard for this exercise, IMO.

Matthews will be making another appearance on the RG poll.  But he did spend 6 seasons as a starting Center, so he deserves to get recognized as a Center too.

Saturday is # 1 per the football-reference.com AV metric because of a very strong peak.  During the span of 2005-2007 he received scores of 20, 17, and 19 over those 3 seasons, respectively.  He was an All-Pro all 3 seasons (1st team in '05 and '07).

That gives him a slight edge over Webster who, for whatever reason, never reached a peak like that.  His highest score in any given season was 16.

But I do think longevity matters, and Webster was better for longer, hence why he's still my own personal # 1.  And he sacrificed so much on the football field.

Saturday is my # 2 and I don't think that's laughable.  He was indeed excellent at his craft, and played an essential role in the complex offense that Peyton Manning operated.  

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59 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

Matthews will be making another appearance on the RG poll.  But he did spend 6 seasons as a starting Center, so he deserves to get recognized as a Center too.

Saturday is # 1 per the football-reference.com AV metric because of a very strong peak.  During the span of 2005-2007 he received scores of 20, 17, and 19 over those 3 seasons, respectively.  He was an All-Pro all 3 seasons (1st team in '05 and '07).

That gives him a slight edge over Webster who, for whatever reason, never reached a peak like that.  His highest score in any given season was 16.

But I do think longevity matters, and Webster was better for longer, hence why he's still my own personal # 1.  And he sacrificed so much on the football field.

Saturday is my # 2 and I don't think that's laughable.  He was indeed excellent at his craft, and played an essential role in the complex offense that Peyton Manning operated.  

To each his own. Saturday wasn't in the same league as Mawae.

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22 minutes ago, Nixhead said:

How can a top centers list be on the Jets Nation message boards without Nick Mangold at least on the list. I'm balking - not touching that poll.

Because this is numbers-based, and the metric used had Mangold outside the top 25 at his position.  Mawae and Joe Fields made it, however.  

Homers are coming out strong in this one, boy I tell ya.

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6 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

Because this is numbers-based, and the metric used had Mangold outside the top 25 at his position.

Homers are coming out strong in this one, boy I tell ya.

What numbers-based metric was that?

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2 minutes ago, Warfish said:

What numbers-based metric was that?

I’ve posted that in the OP of each of the polls.  Here it is again for your convenience:

 

I am using football-reference.com's AV (Approximate Value) metric to help compare across eras.  The "Peak AV Average" means the average "score" for each player's among their top 5 performing years in the league, to help establish which players had the high peaks and which players were more of the "compilers" over a long career.  Utilizing a "peak AV" also allows for players with careers shortened by injury to be included.

Also note that AV only goes back so far, so some players from the earliest days in NFL history (primarily the 30s, 40s and early 50s) are, unfortunately, excluded.

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6 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

Because this is numbers-based, and the metric used had Mangold outside the top 25 at his position.  Mawae and Joe Fields made it, however.  

Homers are coming out strong in this one, boy I tell ya.

Not an excuse. I’m not buying what your selling. What u think he wouldn’t get any votes because he’s outside the top 25 on some jagoffs list?

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3 minutes ago, Nixhead said:

Not an excuse. I’m not buying what your selling. What u think he wouldn’t get any votes because he’s outside the top 25 on some jagoffs list?

It’s not a “jagoff’s list” and I’m not the one “selling” it.  Read my response to Warfish above.  

These polls are about entertainment value and discussion.  If you think Mangold should be on the list just because he was a really good Jet, great.  Even better might be making, you know, a case for why.  

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7 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

I’ve posted that in the OP of each of the polls.  Here it is again for your convenience:

 

I am using football-reference.com's AV (Approximate Value) metric to help compare across eras.  The "Peak AV Average" means the average "score" for each player's among their top 5 performing years in the league, to help establish which players had the high peaks and which players were more of the "compilers" over a long career.  Utilizing a "peak AV" also allows for players with careers shortened by injury to be included.

Also note that AV only goes back so far, so some players from the earliest days in NFL history (primarily the 30s, 40s and early 50s) are, unfortunately, excluded.

Thanks.  Fair enough.  Sounds (and maybe I'm wrong) that your criteria is basically someone else's list, with a bit of "Advanced math" handwavium to try and equalize the balance between eras.  All jokes aside, I have no issues with that for a purpose like this, got to have some basis I suppose.  I just don't generally pay alot of attention to scores like this.  I think they're far more subjective than objective.  

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1 minute ago, Jetsfan80 said:

It’s not a “jagoff’s list” and I’m not the one “selling” it.  Read my response to Warfish above.  

You don’t have to defend yourself - just go back and edit the list - take off Jay Hilgenberg and insert Mangold and all will be forgiven 😎. Nobody’s gonna vote for Hilgenberger anyway. 

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7 minutes ago, Warfish said:

Thanks.  Fair enough.  Sounds (and maybe I'm wrong) that your criteria is basically someone else's list, with a bit of "Advanced math" handwavium to try and equalize the balance between eras.  All jokes aside, I have no issues with that for a purpose like this, got to have some basis I suppose.  I just don't generally pay alot of attention to scores like this.  I think they're far more subjective than objective.  


I just couldn’t find a better metric.  Reducing players down to, essentially, one number is almost impossible, and thus will always have severe flaws.  But I think it’s better than using lists from a bunch of “experts”.  Plus it’s less work on my end, as I’m pulling all this from one easy to use source/database.

In the end, JN is deciding a top 5 from a list of 19 guys (polls on JN only allow for 20 options), which provides some room to account for the subjective error.  Even if, say, Dermontti Dawson is more like the 4th best Center than the # 9, it doesn’t matter too much for our purposes.  

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8 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:


I just couldn’t find a better metric.  Reducing players down to, essentially, one number is almost impossible, and thus will always have severe flaws.  But I think it’s better than using lists from a bunch of “experts”.  Plus it’s less work on my end, as I’m pulling all this from one easy to use source/database.

In the end, JN is deciding a top 5 from a list of 19 guys (polls on JN only allow for 20 options), which provides some room to account for the subjective error.  Even if, say, Dermontti Dawson is more like the 4th best Center than the # 9, it doesn’t matter too much for our purposes.  

No stress brother.  All good.

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