I will understand if for some reason this is not the big news of the day. I’m not sure if there is supposed to be any kind of major story going on for the Pittsburgh Steelers today, but Gil Brandt posted another list of the best players in NFL history at a given position, and we obviously need to do some conversating over it.
We have already talked about a few of his lists, including the wide receivers, but he recently looked at the all-time centers. One omission from the list was not surprising to me at first, until I saw some of the other names that were included.
The Steelers are represented with two centers on the 17-player list that Brandt posted. The long-time NFL analyst placed Mike Webster sixth and Dermontti Dawson sixth and seventh on his list, respectively. Both are in the Hall of Fame, and deservedly so, trailing only the likes of Jim Otto, Chuck Bednarik, and Dwight Stephenson.
Okay, so I get that maybe Maurkice Pouncey is not on the list. But Alex Mack and Travis Frederick are both on the list, so that really caught my attention. If Brandt considers Mack and Frederick all-time greats at the center position, what has he seen in them that he has not seen from Pouncey—particularly Frederick, who has only been in the league for five seasons?
Pouncey, a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, was a day-one starter and has made the Pro Bowl in six of his eight seasons. The only two seasons in which he did not make it, he played a combined seven snaps. He suffered a torn ACL in the first quarter of the season opener in 2013, and a fractured leg during the preseason in 2015.
That is nearly as many Pro Bowls as Mack and Frederick have combined. He has also been named an All-Pro in four of his six healthy seasons, including two times on the first-team list, though he has not made the All-Pro team since 2014 (which I believe to be his best season to date).
Mack and Frederick, make no mistake, are two very good centers, and frankly Mack has spent most of his career being underrated due to the fact that he was toiling away in Cleveland, now mercifully relieved from that purgatory in Atlanta.
But have either of them had a more accomplished career up to this point, or been a better player, than Pouncey? I realize that is a loaded and biased question to pose to an audience consisting almost entirely of Steelers fans, but nonetheless, I welcome your input.