Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Sep 2010

Kevin Mawae To Retire

Former Seahawks, Jets, and Titans center Kevin Mawae is reportedly going to announce his retirement.

Is Mawae a Hall of Famer? Offensive linemen seemingly forget their way to the Hall, but Mawae made it to eight Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams during a 16-year career. For an extended period of time, he was arguably the best center in football.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 10 Sep 2010

17 comments, Last at 14 Sep 2010, 8:52pm by bachslunch

Comments

1
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 10:52am

Hall of famer? Maybe. He was very, very good.

Hall of fame douche? Most definitely.

2
by Shattenjager :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 11:32am

My immediate thought is yes, but then there's the fact that he was a center. Centers have a tough time getting in. There are seven modern-era centers in the HOF*, with only two (Dwight Stephenson and Mike Webster) having played significant time after the 1978 rules changes.
Dermontti Dawson, a 6-time first team All-Pro, hasn't made it.
Mick Tingelhoff, a 5-time first team All-Pro who started for 17 years and went to four Super Bowls, didn't make it.

*Note: This includes Bruce Matthews, who, according to PFR, played 5+ years at C, 11 at G, and 2+ at T.

For the sake of discussion, every center with at least 3 first team AP All-Pro selections: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny/WoSO3

Every center with at least 8 Pro Bowls: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny/K3Nn6

Every center with at least 100 points of Approximate Value (note that AV only goes back to 1950): http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny/5BQsi

6
by Bobman :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 1:19pm

Good, if depressing, work there. I need a drink.

7
by Shattenjager :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 1:45pm

As a Bronco fan who spent 14 years watching Tom Nalen (whose profile at the end of his career is quite similar to how Saturday will probably end up), I agree that it's a little depressing.

3
by MJK :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 11:40am

Getting into the Hall seems to require three things:

1). Being the best, or in the discussion of the best, at your position for an extended period of time (CHECK).

2). Being on a SB winner at least once (more is better) OR being on a team that either goes to the playoffs enough or puts up enough fantasy points that the media talks about you a lot (MAYBE?)

3). Not being a DT, guard, or center. Not being a safety also helps (Sorry Kevin).

9
by Jerry :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 2:28pm

Should #3 be "not playing a position or a role that doesn't have statistics"? Someone on the committee will take up Dr. Z's position of advocating linemen, but I don't expect to see 3-4 DEs or offensive linemen (with the possible exception of highly drafted left tackles) get in easily.

If you want to debate Dawson vs. Mawae (and I'll say that both deserve enshrinement), there's very little in the way of objective data available. Not only are you stuck with subjective analysis, but there's no threshold like, say, 10,000 yards rushing that you can use to start the discussion.

4
by dedkrikit :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 12:33pm

He blocked for a 2,000 yard rusher. That should be part of his HoF discussion.

5
by Bobman :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 1:19pm

It would help to have a HOF QB advocating your case everywhere he goes.

The numbers look really grim for C's, just horrid. (and Grimm for OTs, but I digress.) I LOATHE the HOF and the voters more and more.

I keep thinking of Jeff Saturday who is probably seen by most as a tier below Mawae, rightly or wrongly. Two more pro bowls and one more SB ring and I used to think he'd be pretty close to making it to Canton, but in light of what I just read above... not unless Manning makes a full court press every time he sees a HOF voter along the lines of "I'd be nothing without Jeff..." Saturday will retire having blocked for a HOF QB who has among the lowest sack % in history, multiple 1,000 yard rushers, etc. Lots of team success, a playoff game where he notably switched positions to take on Denver's best DL... And still it's a loooong shot.

Damn. There is no justice in this world.

13
by Mr Shush :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 5:29pm

While I absolutely think Dawson and Tingelhoff should be in, I'm not really sold on Mawae and certainly don't think Saturday or Nalen belongs. Center is just not that valuable a position, and it's entirely fair that a center should have to have a better career than a quarterback (or indeed a left tackle, or wide receiver, or corner, or whatever). There's a reason why they're pretty much never picked in the top twenty of the draft, and why the highest paid center in the league only gets $7.5m average over a 5 year contract - less than his counterparts at every position barring full back and specialists. Even tight ends and safeties make more (though right tackles don't, because if they were really that good they'd be left tackles).

As it happens, the recent center I think has been jobbed overall in the post-season voting over the years (not that he should be a Hall of Famer, or anything) is Casey Wiegmann, who was a key part of both the best lines of the past decade.

It is of course broadly true that there are too many non-QB skill players in Canton (Floyd Little, Art Monk, Lynn Swann etc.) and far too few OLs and defenders, but I'm not sure centers would be the main beneficiaries of more enlightened voting.

15
by Go, Horsie, Go! (not verified) :: Sat, 09/11/2010 - 1:51pm

A Center may not be as valuable, relatively, as a tackle, but it would be difficult to overstate the value of a Centaur. He run sswiftly like a horse AND has the manual dexterity to throw spears. He can also talk - just like a man!

16
by Mr Shush :: Sun, 09/12/2010 - 9:33am

Which is all very well, right up until the point where Rex Ryan de-bones the little f***er.

8
by andrew :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 2:13pm

Think him not finding a team was related to his prominent role in the player's union?

If nothing else, I'm really surprised the Vikings didn't pursue him, given how much of a drop-off they had with John Sullivan from Matt Birk, and given that Sullivan was injured all preseason.

The Vikings haven't been an effective run-blocking team since they lost Birk.

As for Tingelhoff, he was for many years owner of the second-longest consecutive games started streak behind teammate Jim Marshall, at something like 240. He's since been passed by Favre, Feagles and a couple others i think.

I think he's hurt partly by the perception that Tarkenton scrambled out of need because he played behind a bad offensive line.

14
by Tom Gower :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 8:14pm

Kevin Mawae not finding a team is more than adequately explained by his play last season. I could also mention that once Jeff Fisher verbally offered to bring him back as a backup and at a backup's salary, his public stance changed from an offer like that would be acceptable to what he was really interested in was more like a multi-year deal that paid him starter-caliber money.

I'll be angry if he makes it into the Hall before Dawson, and would have no problem with him not making the Hall at all.

10
by jfsh :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 3:38pm

I understand that centers don't make it in very often, but if not Mawae, then who? Was there a better center during the last 15 years?

Having watched him play quite a bit, I would say no, at least no one that can match both his performance and his longevity.

11
by Tom Selleck (not verified) :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 3:46pm

I think both Mawae and Dawson should be in.

12
by foolio (not verified) :: Fri, 09/10/2010 - 5:24pm

Mawae was one of the dirtiest players I've ever seen, a real throwback to a nastier game, and all the better for it.

17
by bachslunch :: Tue, 09/14/2010 - 8:52pm

Based on postseason honors, Kevin Mawae easily has the best numbers of his time for a center, assuming that his time is after Dermontti Dawson's (which is reasonable to say): 7(3AP)/8/00s. Given this, if there's going to be a center voted into the HoF from this time period (and there usually is at least one from each era), Mawae will likely be it.

His competition doesn't quite measure up here:

-Tom Nalen: 2(2AP)/5/none
-Olin Kreutz: 2(1AP)/6/00s
-Jeff Saturday: 2(2AP)/4/none
-Matt Birk: 0(0AP)/6/none
-Jeff Hartings: 1(1AP)/2/none

My guess is that he'll be the only one from this group to make it in, and will do so fairly late in his candidacy.

It's still too early to say on Nick Mangold -- he's likely to be in the mix for the next era's centers.

Re Mick Tingelhoff -- yes, I think he definitely belongs in the HoF and is one of its most puzzling snubs. But he's only Senior-eligible now, sorry to say.