Team for the Ages — CB Mel Blount
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
Pittsburgh Steelers CB Mel Blount
Read the quote below for context — Blount was the most physical corner of his time, a truly unique player whose CB dimensions (6-foot-3, listed at 205 pounds) might be considered ideal in today’s game but were unheard of at the time.
In fact, many opponents believed that Blount’s listed weight was actually a short sell, that he likely played in excess of 215 pounds, which would have made him about the same size as Steelers LBs Jack Ham and Jack Lambert. And how did Blount use that body? To physically maul receivers and eliminate one side of the field.
They said it
“I know of very few players in the history of the NFL where the league changed the rules because one guy was too good at one thing. And eliminating a receiver on a play-by-play basis is what Mel Blount did.” — Former Bengals TE Bob Trumpy, to NFL Films
Blount was one of only five players from 1968 to 1985 (the period two years prior to his NFL debut to two years after he retired) to have more than 50 interceptions. He had at least one pick in each of his 14 NFL campaigns, including a league-high 11 in 1975.
Did you know?
Prior to the 1978 season, as Trumpy alluded to, the NFL changed the rules with defensive backs and receivers — a rule that remains today — prohibiting contact after five yards downfield. It should have hurt Blount’s career in theory; after all, it became known as the “Mel Blount Rule” for a reason. But all Blount did was pick off 22 passes, make three Pro Bowls and earn first-team All Proin 1981.
Blount and the Steelers’ vaunted defense might never have been better on a bigger stage than in Super Bowl IX. They erased Fran Tarkenton and the Vikings’ offense, allowing zero offensive points, nine first downs (two by penalty) and 119 total yards.
Blount and the secondary limited Vikings wide receivers to catching one pass all game and it came on their first play from scrimmage. After that: zero on five targets. Blount also made an interception near the Pittsburgh goal line right before halftime to end one of the few promising drives Minnesota had all game.
Previous “Team for the Ages” player announcements