(Kevin Mawae photo courtesy Tenn. Titans)
Talk of Fame Network
The Talk of Fame Network continues its series on Hall-of-Fame candidates this week with a visit to one of the most remarkable centers in NFL history, Class of 2017 semi-finalist Kevin Mawae.
Mawae was not only an eight-time Pro Bowl performer and seven-time All-Pro for the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans but a member of the NFL 2000s all-decade team and a past president of the NFL Players Association during one of its most tumultuous times.
Despite all those accomplishments, however, he had no problem recalling his greatest one.
“Those 13 1,000-yard rushers,’’ said Mawae on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast.
Mawae anchored offensive lines for 16 years, and in 13 of them someone gained 1,000 yards rushing. That, and the fact he started 238 of the 241 games he played in and missed only 15 games in 16 years, are among the hallmarks of what seems a Hall-of-Fame career.
But more than that, Mawae revolutionized the center position, becoming one of the few to be used as a “pulling’’ center under then-Jets’ coach Bill Parcells.
“He changed his position,’’ says Parcells of Mawae. “No centers but Mawae were out there leading the blocking on a toss sweep.’’
Also visiting with your Hall of Fame Guys -- Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge -- is Hall-of-Fame linebacker Dave Robinson. The former Green Bay Packer helps us kick off our series of December heroes with Robinson recalling the infamous “Ice Bowl’’ against the Dallas Cowboys in a 1967 rematch of the 1966 NFL championship game.
Both were won by the Packers, and Robinson made big plays in each.
“If we don’t win those games,’’ he said, “they might have called (the Super Bowl Trophy) the Landry Trophy not the Lombardi.’’
Tom Landry coached the Cowboys in those two tight losses, but the one Robinson will always remember most was the Ice Bowl in Green Bay, a game played on a day so cold Robinson joked, “I felt like a Fudgecicle.’’
“It was 13-below when I got up and 22-below without wind chill at game time,’’ Robinson said. “By the end it was 57-below with the wind chill.’’
Vince Lombardi had instructed all receivers, running backs and linebackers not to wear gloves, but Robinson got around that with a little trick of his own.
“I went to the equipment manager and asked for brown gloves,’’ Robinson said. “He’d never know the difference. In passing situations I’d take them off and put them in my pants. If they threw when I didn’t expect it, I’d drop them on the ground. I didn’t want the Old Man to see me with those gloves on.’’
Everyone has secrets, even Hall-of-Fame linebackers like Dave Robinson.
It’s no secret that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have suddenly become playoff contenders and the TOF visits with long-time Bucs’ beat man and Hall-of-Fame voter Ira Kaufmann to discuss if the Bucs’ recent rise is for real.
The guys also visit with football historian John Turney of Pro Football Journal for his take on quarterback Tom Brady and his legacy, as well as the future for rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott.
There’s also the Rinnai Game Changers of the Week and much more during TOF’s weekly two-hour show that can be heard on 80 SB Nation Radio affiliates or that can be found on the TuneIn radio app, as a free weekly podcast at iTunes, or by going to the show’s website, talkoffamenetwork.com and clicking on the helmet icon.