Former Buffalo Bills center Kent Hull would have been 55 years old today.
Hull may be the most underappreciated member of the '90s Bills. Without him, the "K-Gun" offense wouldn't have been as successful. Buffalo was loaded on offense between the likes of Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and James Lofton, but Hull helped run the offense. Hull was responsible for calling out blocking fronts at the line of scrimmage on the fly.
All of the names listed above, minus Hull, are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and in a just world Hull would join them. Hull certainly had a Hall of Fame career.
The center joined the Bills in 1986 after spending three years in the USFL. Hull joined the Bills because he felt he could compete for the starting job immediately. It was a smart move by Hull as he was named the starter over Will Grant during his first training camp. The center started all 16 games with Buffalo in 1986 and never looked back.
In his 11 year career with the Bills, Hull played in 170 games, starting in 169 of those games. During that time, Hull was named to three consecutive Pro Bowls (1988-90) and was a two-time First-Team All-Pro (1990 and 1991). He earned these individual awards but also helped the Bills as a team.
Buffalo had the highest scoring offense in 1990 and 1991 and the team led the NFL in rushing in 1991 and 1992 with Hull at center. He started in 19 playoff games with Buffalo, including four consecutive Super Bowls.
Hull retired in 1996 and was named to Buffalo's Wall of Fame in 2002. Seven years later, Hull was named to Buffalo's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
It's my personal opinion, but if Buffalo had won at least one of those four Super Bowls, Hull would already be in the PFHOF. He was a special player on a special team that gets overlooked because the Bills never won the big game. Former Bills owner, Ralph C. Wilson, said it best when it came to Hull:
"Kent was a terrific player for us, who was often overshadowed by some of the bigger names we had in our Super Bowl teams," Bills owner Ralph Wilson said in a statement released by the team. "But Kent was one of the key components of our team and of our high-powered offenses in the 1990s."
Hull has never been named as a PFHOF semi-finalist but it's my hope that he's added to the Hall of Fame by the Seniors Committee. According to the PFHOF website, Hull can be nominated as a Senior Nominee 25 years after his playing career ended. Since Hull retired in 1996, he'd be eligible starting in 2021.
As Wilson stated, Hull was a key component on a special Bills team. Many members of the "K-Gun" offense are in the Hall, and in time the man who called out the blocking fronts should join them.