Mick Tingelhoff 6' 2" 237 lbs Center Minnesota Vikings 1962 - 1978 17 Seasons 240 Games Played (Consecutive) 6 Pro Bowls
Henry Michael Tingelhoff was an undrafted rookie signed by the Vikings before the 1962 season. Mick earned three letters during his collegiate football career at Nebraska University, but did not start until his senior year in 1961. Mick was a co-caption on that team, which had its biggest offensive output in over five seasons. Tingelhoff participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile , Ala. , and in the All-American Bowl after the season was over. Mick Tingelhoff is a member of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.
Mick earned the starting job at Center in the second preseason game of his rookie year. It was a role he would not relinquish until he retired after 1978. He made his first All Pro team in 1964, and would attain that honor every year until 1969. 1969 was the year the Vikings were crowned NFL Champions, and went on to play the AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV and lose. He was named to the 1,000-Yard Club in 1969, honoring the NFL’s top blocker. In 1970, he was named to the First Team All NFL by both the Pro Football Writers and Pro Football Weekly. He was named First Team All Conference by the Associated Press and Pro Football Weekly. He was named Second Team All NFL by Newspaper Ent. Association and Second Team All Conference by the UPI. The Vikings went back to the Super Bowl in 1973, before losing to the Miami Dolphins. The Vikings returned to the Super Bowl the following season, but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Vikings continued to be an NFL powerhouse throughout the decade and returned to Super Bowl XI in 1976, but lost to the Oakland Raiders. Mick returned after the 1978 season having started every game the Vikings played his entire career. His 240 consecutive starts were then the second most in NFL history, thirty starts behind his Vikings team mate Jim Marshall. The only player in Nebraska University history to enjoy a longer NFL career was Tingelhoff's Husker teammate, Ron McDole, who spent 18 years in the league from 1961 to 1978. Mick has been inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor and has had his #53 jersey retired by the franchise.
Mick's omission from Canton is one of the most confusing in all of my CCC profilees. The numbers are obvious. Mick was one of the most dominant Center's of his era, and defined the true definition of an iron horse. You can easily note his consecutive starts streak, the fact he was a Pro Bowler six straight seasons, and was part of the most dominant team in the NFC during the 1970's. The Vikings were a well balanced offense that scored points off the ground and via the air. Tingelhoff snapped the ball to such great NFL QB'S like Hall Of Famer Fran Tarkenton and Joe Kapp. He also helped pave the way for Vikings great Chuck Foreman, and others, to gain huge chunks of yardage. Much of the yardage Tarkenton acquired thru the air to set a then NFL record in passing yards and passing touchdowns were helped along by Mick's protection. He was a sound technical blocker who used his intelligence, grit, and determination to get the job done better than most Centers who ever played the game. The fact that the voters have passed on him over these years truly shows many hardly pay attention to the battles in the trenches. There is absolutely no question that Mick Tingelhoff belongs in the NFL Hall Of Fame.
Notable Players Noted in 1962 (* Denotes Hall Of Famer)
1. Ernie Davis, RB, Washington 2. Roman Gabriel, QB, Los Angeles Rams 3. Merlin Olsen, DT, LA Rams * 4. Gary Collins, WR, Cleveland 8. Lance Alworth, WR, San Francisco * 10. John Hadl, QB, Detroit 12. Irv Goode, G, Saint Louis Cardinals 16. Joe Carollo, G, LA Rams 40. Pat Holmes, DE, Philadelphia 43. Billy Neighbors, G, Washington 66. Dan Birdwell, DT, Detroit 82. George Andrie, DE, Dallas 88. Jim Bakken, K, LA Rams 93. Fred Miller, DT, Baltimore Colts 104. Gary Ballman, WR, Pittsburgh 115. Ike Lassiter, DE, LA Rams 151. Clifton McNeil, WR, Cleveland 163. Bake Turner, WR, Baltimore 211. Tommy Brooker, DE, Washington 220. Tom Sestak, DT, Detroit 249. Sonny Bishop, G, Cleveland