Holler: Tingelhoff’s résumé an impressive one

Mick Tingelhoff appears to be one of the easiest decisions for Hall of Fame voters on Saturday. His accomplishments are many and his induction long overdue.

There are those who believe Mick Tingelhoff’s enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame has been far too long in coming. If not for the stigma of not having a Super Bowl ring, Tingelhoff would have been inducted years ago. On Saturday, he may finally get his opportunity – 36 years after he retired and in his 32nd year of Hall of Fame eligibility.

Tingelhoff’s name has been forwarded to the Hall of Fame voters by the seniors committee. Given Tingelhoff’s body of work, it may be more difficult for the voters to ignore his résumé than any seniors candidate in years.

It’s interesting that almost every photo of Tingelhoff that has been used with stories is in black and white – even at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s official website. He played until 1978 and there have been numerous color photos of Fran Tarkenton, Alan Page, Carl Eller, Bud Grant and the like, but it seems somehow fitting that almost every photo you see of Tingelhoff is in black and white. He’s so old school, he just called it school.

Whether they be first-year potential inductees or making the rounds for multiple attempts, few if any of the current modern-era nominees can match his résumé for induction.

Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska, Tingelhoff was little more than a member of the cattle call of the Vikings’ second training camp in 1962. He wasn’t given better than a 50/50 chance of making the team, even in its sorry condition. But second-year QB Fran Tarkenton needed to be protected and nobody did it better than Tingelhoff. He made the team and started building a body of work that is impressive to say the least.

If you’re making the case for Tingelhoff, it’s just too easy.

  • He won a starting job as a rookie and started every NFL game he played.

  • He played 17 years and started 240 consecutive games.

  • If not for Jim Marshall being with the Vikings a year earlier and having more consecutive starts with the Vikings than him, Tingelhoff would have retired with the most consecutive starts in the history of the NFL.

    In the 36 years since he retired, he remains behind only Marshall, whom he couldn’t catch, and Brett Favre – who caught him.

  • He was an ironman at center despite being 6-2, 237 pounds.

  • He was the part of a Vikings organization that won 10 division titles in 11 years.

  • He won an NFL championship.

  • He played in four Super Bowls.

  • He was named first-team All-Pro/All-NFL seven times on a team that only takes one center.

    There are times when the general fan base says “Who’s that?” when a great from yesteryear that the majority of fans are unfamiliar with gets inducted into the Hall of Fame. For that group, Tingelhoff remains a mystery. To Vikings fans, he’s a treasured anchorman/ironman from the team’s glory years.

    Hopefully, the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters will look at the bust-worthy résumé that Tingelhoff brings to the table and, by Saturday night, he will take his rightful place in Canton.

    Then we get working on rectifying the travesty of Marshall not being in the Hall.


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