Over the offseason, 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.
The entire Team For the Ages roster will be unveiled at "Football Legends LIVE!" Sept. 8 in Crystal Lake, Ill. Tickets are on sale now: https://shawmediaevents.com/e/pfw50
The first offensive lineman drafted No. 1 overall in nearly 30 years, Pace backed it up by blocking for three straight league MVPs (Kurt Warner in 1999 and 2001; Marshall Faulk in 2000) and being named to the All-2000s NFL team. Pace helped the Rams win Super Bowl XXXIV, was named to seven Pro Bowls and was voted All-Pro five times — in a golden age for left tackles.
They said it
“I knew how special he was [coming out of Ohio State]. We drafted him to be great. Really, we drafted him to be a Hall of Famer. The expectations were sky-high the minute he arrived, and they were beyond met. He was the best big-man athlete I ever coached. Everyone was looking for that type of player, but they were hard to find.”
— Dick Vermeil, to Yahoo Sports in 2016
The Rams averaged 523 points from 1999 to 2001, with Pace starting every game.
Did you know?
Mike Martz once told me he never remembered calling a play in a normal situation — let's say non-short yardage — where he used an extra blocker on Pace's side. He usually didn't receive chipping help from a running back or tight end either.
"Didn't need it," Martz said. "Even running four- and five-wide, doing what we did, we just assumed Orlando was going to erase his man. I used to put a big 'X' through his guy on the [whiteboard] before games because he was usually going to be a non-factor."
Winning Super Bowl XXXIV was the pinnacle for the Rams during the Pace era, but he also showed how tough he was two years later in the playoff win over the Eagles. Pace had his leg rolled up on by an Eagles defensive tackle and missed a little less than a quarter before returining with a sprained MCL and leading the way for Faulk's huge game (159 yards on 31 carries, two second-half TD runs) to advance to Super Bowl XXXVI against the Patriots.
Previous "Team for the Ages" player announcements