The National Football League officially announced their 2019 Hall of Fame finalists, and longtime NFL guard Steve Hutchinson made the cut. Hutchinson spent 12 years in the National Football League with the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, and the Tennessee Titans. Hutchinson was eligible for the Hall of Fame last year but didn’t receive enough votes to make it into the Hall of Fame. The NFL has a chance to right that massive wrong and give one of the best players in football history one of football’s highest honors.
Steve Hutchinson Deserves to Be in the Hall of Fame
Each and every last one of the 2019 Hall of Fame finalists has a strong case for induction. With Hutchinson being a guard, it’s easy to overlook his accomplishments when compared to the likes of Tony Gonzalez and Ed Reed. However, when looking at Hutchinson’s resume, it’s clear to see that he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
In order to be in the Hall of Fame, a player should have been among the best in the league for an extended period of time. For example, despite being a 15-year veteran, nobody would argue that tight end Ben Watson is a Hall of Famer, as his peak just wasn’t good enough. Likewise, nobody would claim that Peyton Hillis is an all-time running back despite his memorable 2010 season.
Hutchinson deserves to be inducted because he was among the best at his position for just about every season he was in the league. Hutchinson initially joined the Seattle Seahawks back in the 2001 season. The 24-year old started all 16 games of his rookie season before injuries limited him to just four games in 2002. However, Hutchinson returned to the field in 2003 and officially established himself as one of the best guards in all of football.
Steve Hutchinson’s Peerless Play
From 2003-2009, Hutchinson went on a streak of nearly-unparalleled dominance at the guard position. Playing in all 112 possible games, Hutchinson won five First-Team All-Pro’s and two Second-Team All-Pro honors over the seven-year timeframe. Along with the aforementioned personal achievements, Hutchinson was a key cog in several of the leagues more dominant rushing attacks.
Running back Shaun Alexander had one of the best seasons in recent memory back in 2005, rushing for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns en route to winning NFL MVP honors. Nobody’s denying Alexander had a fantastic season, but that type of production wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for Hutchinson’s elite blocking ability. Seattle made it all the way to the Super Bowl, in large part because Hutchinson was clearing run lanes for Alexander and keeping quarterback Matt Hasselbeck upright.
Following the 2005 season, Hutchinson signed on with the Minnesota Vikings. Hutchinson earned Second-Team All-Pro honors during his first year in Minnesota before earning First-Team All-Pro honors from 2007 to 2009. Over that three-year stretch, Hutchinson led an offensive line which allowed Adrian Peterson to run for a combined 4,484 yards and 40 touchdowns.
Hutchinson was undeniably good when on the field, and he had a knack for staying on it. Playing offensive line is one of the most physically demanding positions in football, and staying healthy isn’t easy. Fortunately for the Vikings and Seahawks, Hutchinson was one of the most durable players of his generation.
Hutchinson spent five seasons with Seattle, playing in 68 of a possible 80 games. While that’s impressive on its’ own, it’s also worth noting that all 12 of Hutchinson’s missed games came during the 2002 season. In every other season with the Seahawks, Hutchinson played and started in every possible game.
Hutchinson’s ironman durability carried over to the Minnesota Vikings. Hutchinson played in every game during his first four and a half years with Minnesota before landing on the injured reserve 11 games into the 2010 season. Injuries wouldn’t keep him down, as Hutchinson returned to play in 14 games during his age-34 season. The left guard came back for one more season with the Tennessee Titans, playing in 12 games during his age-35 season.
In all, Hutchinson played and started in 169 out of a possible 192 games. The left guard played in 11 or more games in 11 of his 12 seasons and played all 16 games a grand total of eight times. This type of longevity is rare in the NFL, especially for offensive linemen. To play at this high a level for this long of a time should make Hutchinson a no-brainer Hall of Fame inductee.
Last Word on Steve Hutchinson and the Hall of Fame
Steve Hutchinson was one of the best guards of his time, and it’s about time the NFL recognize his incredible career. Few in league history boast a resume as impressive as Hutchinson, as the longtime guard has both the high caliber of play and the longevity to make it into the Hall of Fame.
Hutchinson was a five-time First-Team All-Pro, two-time Second-Team All-Pro, and a seven-time Pro Bowler. His blocking was a key reason for Shaun Alexander’s magical 2005 MVP campaign, and he helped clear rushing lanes for a young Adrian Peterson. This work in the run game, combined with his equally dominant pass blocking, earned Hutchinson a spot on the NFL’s All-2000’s Team.
Hutchinson carries his prolonged excellence throughout a 12-year NFL career. Hutchinson was always available for his team, playing in 169 of a possible 192 games. He played a full 16-game season eight times and played fewer than 11 games just once in his 12-year NFL career. Additionally, Hutchinson started every game in which he played, which shows that his career longevity wasn’t artificially inflated by riding the bench.
In short, Hutchinson is the definition of a Hall of Fame guard. Steve Hutchinson should have made it in during his first year of eligibility, but now voters have the chance to rectify that wrong. Look for Hutchinson to earn his gold jacket and join the ranks of football immortality this summer.
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