Over the past three months, thousands of fans voted in our "Team For the Ages" contest to construct the best imaginable 50-man roster from the NFL’s modern era, which began in 1967. The votes have been counted, and we’re unveiling one player each weekday between now and the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.
Bengals OT Anthony Munoz
Eleven years, 11 Pro Bowls, 11 All Pro teams. Playing in an era when more than a dozen Hall of Fame pass rushers played the majority of their careers, Munoz was the gold standard for blocking. He is the greatest player in Bengals history, spending his entire 13-year career there.
They said it
"Anthony's only negative is that he has no negatives.""
— Longtime OL coach Jim McNally, to SI in 1990
Prior to suffering a dislocated elbow in 1991, Munoz hadn't missed a regular-season game to injury over 12 seasons. He missed the 1990 playoff loss to the Raiders with a major shoulder, but only otherwise missed games previously in the strike-shortened 1987 season.
Another fun one: The 6- 6, 280-pound Munoz, one of the most agile tackles of his day, caught seven career passes — four for TDs.
Did you know?
Munoz played only 16 games at USC and one full game — the Rose Bowl — as a senior, making him a controversial pick at No. 3 overall in 1980. Several NFL teams medically flunked Munoz after three college knee surgeries.
The Bengals sent new head coach Forrest Gregg, one of the NFL's best tackles in the 1960s, to work him out. During a blocking drill with the 56-year-old Gregg shadowing him, Munoz unleashed his punch — one NFL defenders would come to know well — and knocked Gregg on his tail.
After a quick apology from Munoz, Gregg brushed it off and knew who the Bengals needed to draft.
Munoz made his eighth straight Pro Bowl and was named NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1988, despite facing a slew of excellent pass-rushing teams that year. In the AFC title game, Munoz faced his biggest challenge: the Bills’ Bruce Smith. The NFL ruled the Bengals’ hurry-up offense was illegal two hours before kickoff, and Smith beat Munoz twice in the first six plays. But Munoz eventually won his head-to-head battle, and the Bengals advanced to their second Super Bowl.
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