The New York Jets offense last season featured a rookie quarterback and two new starting offensive linemen, one of whom was also a rookie. It did not feature anyone you’d particularly want to draft for your fantasy football team. Yet the offense did not completely collapse, and the team clawed its way to a surprising eight wins. Much of the credit goes to the man in the middle, center Nick Mangold. In football the center is the linchpin of the offensive line, a five-man unit requiring sophistication and precision and, above all, toughness. To put it bluntly, Mangold was the unifying force on the offense. One of the few centers able to block top nose tackles one-on-one, Mangold relieved pressure along the rest of the line and helped the Jets rush for more than 2,100 yards. No statistic can do justice to Mangold’s impact. But his peers in the league recognize his importance: Mangold was the only offensive player on the Jets to make the 2014 Pro Bowl.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2014