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Top 10 NFL Centers of All Time Rankings

Ranking the best NFL Centers of All Time such as Jeff Saturday, Jim Ringo, and more as Jim Otto leads the way


By admin | June 10, 2022

The prime-time positions on the offensive side of the ball receive most of the attention and recognition across the National Football League. As those positions that include quarterback, wide receiver and running back receive the attention, one position that typically goes unnoticed and sometimes unrecognized is the NFL center. A position that can’t rack up physical statistics such as passing yards, rushing touchdowns or yards after the catch. Despite this the center position is one of the most important keys to success on the offense and these Top 10 Best NFL Centers of All-Time are well deserving of recognition.

In all reality, the center position holds the keys to the offense and with one bad snap or failed block assignment success on offense will be a disaster. As you look around the best NFL centers of All-Time, they are all aggressive, tough, physical, strong, and smart while being extremely durable over their entire NFL career. Nonetheless, here is our list of the Top 10 NFL Centers All-Time:

Honorable Mention

Alex Mack

Team(s): Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons & San Francisco 49ers

Coming in just outside of the Top 10 NFL Centers All-Time rankings list is the only current football player still suiting up on Sunday, in 13-year veteran Alex Mack.

Mack, who made his seventh NFL Pro Bowl team with the San Francisco 49ers last season, has been as consistent as any NFL center over the course of his career. Mack, who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 21st overall pick during the 2009 NFL draft, has also spent time with the Atlanta Falcons.

In addition to the seven Pro Bowl trips, Mack has appeared on three NFL All-Pro second teams and was named to the 2010’s All NFL Decade team.

  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (2013, 2016, 2017)
  • 7× Pro Bowl (2010, 2013, 2015–2018, 2021)
  • NFL 2010s All-Decade Team
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (2009)

Olin Kreutz

Team(s): Chicago Bears & New Orleans Saints

When you look around the NFL it is difficult to put a measurement on how good the center position is and to slot them in ranked order.

The NFL center position doesn’t have a ton of actual metrics to analyze making it difficult to determine who ranks where on the All-Time NFL Centers list. However, it is easy to see which centers are well deserving and Olin Kreutz is one of those players.

Kreutz, who was an All-American for the Washington Huskies, was drafted by the Chicago Bears within the 1998 NFL draft. Kreutz racked up a long list of accolades including six Pro Bowl honors, one NFL First Team All-Pro, and was named to the NFL 2000’s All-Decade team.

  • First-team All-Pro (2006)
  • Second-team All-Pro (2005)
  • 6× Pro Bowl (2001–2006)
  • NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
  • 100 greatest Bears of All-Time

Top 10 Best NFL Centers of All Time

10. Dermontti Dawson

Team(s): Pittsburgh Steelers

Rounding out the Top 10 NFL Centers All-Time rankings list is the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers center Dermontti Dawson. Dawson, who started 181 career games for the Steelers, was a key member of the Steelers team from the late 1980’s through 2000.

He racked up six NFL First-Team All-Pro honors as well as making seven different NFL AFC Pro Bowl teams and was named to the 1990’s NFL All-Decade team.

Dawson had the luxury of playing his rookie season along another NFL great center Mike Webster while blocking for fellow NFL Hall of Famer, Jerome Bettis from 1996 to 2000. Dawson was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

  • 6× First-team All-Pro (1993–1998)
  • 7× Pro Bowl (1992–1998)
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team
  • Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Honor

9. George Trafton

Team(s): Decatur Staleys, Chicago Staleys & Chicago Bears

One of the NFL centers to help revolutionize the position was longtime Chicago Bears center George Trafton.

Trafton, who was a staple for the Notre Dame’s undefeated 1919 National Championship team, also was considered one of the roughest and toughest players during his playing days while also being credited as one of the first centers to use one hand to snap the ball.

Trafton was a two-time NFL champion, two-time NFL First-Team All-Pro and a member of the 1920’s NFL All-Decade team.

  • 2× NFL champion (1921, 1932)
  • 2× First-team All-Pro (1920, 1924)
  • Second-team All-Pro (1927)
  • NFL 1920s All-Decade Team
  • 100 greatest Bears of All-Time

8. Clyde “Bulldog” Turner

Team(s): Chicago Bears

When you get the nickname Bulldog based on the style of play, it is easy to see how Clyde “Bulldog” Turner lands on the Top 10 NFL Centers All-Time rankings list. Turner, who only played for the Chicago Bears, put together a stellar 13-year NFL career all with the Bears.

Over those years, Turner helped guide the Bears to four NFL championships while earning seven First-Team NFL All-Pro honors and four NFL Pro Bowl appearances.

  • 4× NFL champion (1940, 1941, 1943, 1946)
  • 7× First-team All-Pro (1941-1944, 1946-1948)
  • 4× Pro Bowl (1940-1941, 1950-1951)
  • NFL interceptions leader (1942)
  • NFL 1940s All-Decade Team
  • Chicago Bears No. 66 retired
  • 100 greatest Bears of All-Time

7. Jeff Saturday

Team(s): Indianapolis Colts

The long-time personal center of Peyton Manning, Jeff Saturday was one of the best centers to play the position during the early 2000’s.

Saturday, who helped block for Manning, spent nearly his entire NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts after being let go by the Baltimore Ravens after going undrafted and one year with the Green Bay Packers.

Saturday racked up 202 games started over his career while being named to two NFL All-Pro first teams and six Pro Bowl teams including one during his final year in the NFL.

  • Super Bowl champion (XLI)
  • 2× First-team All-Pro (2005, 2007)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro (2006, 2009)
  • 6× Pro Bowl (2005–2007, 2009, 2010, 2012)
  • NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year (2007)
  • Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor (2015)

6. Dwight Stephenson

Team(s): Miami Dolphins 

It is hard to replace one legendary NFL player at any position, but that is exactly what happened with the Miami Dolphins as Dwight Stephenson stepped into center to replace Jim Langer.

That said, Stephenson did exactly that while blocking for future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. Despite having his career cut short due to an injury, the Dolphins star was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1998 after racking up four All-Pro honors and five Pro Bowl trips.

  • NFL Man of the Year (1985)
  • 4× First-team All-Pro (1984–1987)
  • Second-team All-Pro (1983)
  • 5× Pro Bowl (1983–1987)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Miami Dolphins Honor Roll (1994)

5. Jim Ringo

Team(s): Green Bay Packers & Philadelphia Eagles

After being selected by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of the 1953 NFL draft, Ringo went on to put together a Hall of Fame resume.

Ringo who was athletic, mobile and had speed was able to help transform into an exceptional blocker in a Vince Lombardi offense that relied on the sweep. Ringo helped set up four 1,000-yard rushing seasons for Jim Taylor over his time with the Packers.

The Packers great helped the team to back-to-back NFL Championships in 1961 and 1962 while also making 10 Pro Bowl trips and being named to seven NFL First-Team All-Pro selections.

  • 2× NFL champion (1961, 1962)
  • 7× First-team All-Pro (1957–1963)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro (1964, 1966)
  • 10× Pro Bowl (1957–1965, 1967)
  • NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
  • Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame
  • Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame

4. Mel Hein

Team(s): New York Giants 

Considered one of the most durable players of his time, Mel Hein played 15 NFL seasons all for the New York Giants.

Over the course of his career, Hein was considered the best player at his position while also being named the NFL MVP in 1938 and still the only offensive lineman to win the award.

Hein helped guide the Giants to two NFL Championships while also earning eight First-Team NFL All-Pro honors and four All-Star game nods. Hein is a member of the 1930’s NFL All-Decade team as well as the NFL 75th and 100th Anniversary teams.

  • 2× NFL champion (1934, 1938)
  • NFL Most Valuable Player (1938)
  • 8× First-team All-Pro (1933–1940)
  • 4× NFL All-Star Game (1938–1941)
  • NFL 1930s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • New York Giants No. 7 retired
  • New York Giants Ring of Honor

3. Kevin Mawae

Team(s): Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets & Tennessee Titans

Considered one of the best NFL centers of All-Time as well as during his playing days, Kevin Mawae put together a Hall of Fame career.

Mawae, who was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2019, was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection while racking up seven NFL First-Team All-Pro honors including four straight from 1999 to 2002.

The longtime NFL center blocked for a solid list of Pro Bowl running backs including Curtis Martin, Chris Warren as well as 1,000 yard running backs such as LenDale White and Travis Henry.

  • 7× First-team All-Pro (1999–2002, 2004, 2007, 2008)
  • Second-team All-Pro (1998)
  • 8× Pro Bowl (1999–2004, 2008, 2009)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1994)
  • NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
  • New York Jets Ring of Honor

2. Mike Webster

Team(s): Pittsburgh Steelers & Kansas City Chiefs

As far as the top two NFL Centers landing on the Top 10 NFL Centers All-Time rankings list, the two could be flipped flop for each other depending on who you ask.

Those two centers are the great Mike Webster and Jim Otto. Webster who was a key member of the Pittsburgh Steelers team that dominated the league en route to four Super Bowl championships.

The Steelers legend helped open up running lanes for the great Franco Harris as well Christian Okoye. In addition to four Super Bowl titles, Webster was a six-time NFL First-Team All-Pro and nine-time NFL Pro Bowl member.

  • 4× Super Bowl champion (IX, X, XIII, XIV)
  • 6× First-team All-Pro (1978–1983)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro (1982, 1984)
  • 9× Pro Bowl (1978–1985, 1987)
  • NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team
  • Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Honor
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1974)

1. Jim Otto

Team(s): Oakland Raiders

Landing at number one on the Top 10 NFL Centers All-Time rankings list is the Oakland Raiders great and NFL Hall of Famer, Jim Otto.

Otto, who played his entire NFL career with the Raiders, racked up three Pro Bowl trips, one first-team All-Pro honors within the NFL as well as nine first-team All-Pro Honors and All-Star selections within the AFL.

Otto was considered the best center during his playing days and still considered by many the Greatest NFL Center of All-Time.

  • First-team All-Pro (1970)
  • Second-team All-Pro (1972)
  • 3× Pro Bowl (1970–1972)
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • AFL champion (1967)
  • 9× First-team All-AFL (1960–1965, 1967–1969)
  • 9× AFL All-Star (1961–1969)
  • American Football League All-Time Team

How would you rank the greatest Centers in NFL history? Rank below to be added in the Power Rankings.

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Players Count 10
  1. Alex Mack

    Centers All-Time
  2. Jeff Saturday

    Centers All-Time
  3. Clyde Turner

    Centers All-Time
  4. George Trafton

    Centers All-Time
  5. Dermontti Dawson

    Centers All-Time
  6. Olin Kreutz

    Centers All-Time
  7. Kevin Mawae

    Centers All-Time
  8. Mel Hein

    Centers All-Time
  9. Jim Ringo

    Centers All-Time
  10. Dwight Stephenson

    Centers All-Time
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