A Hall of Fame Comparison – WINSTON HILL

There is a feeling among AFL fans that the American Football League players are consistently overlooked for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  In truth there are many players, the bulk of whose careers were spent in the AFL, that deserve serious consideration, if not outright induction.  In an effort to spark some discussion regarding their hall of fame worthiness, I will occasionally compare AFL players to their NFL (and Hall of Fame) counterparts. The short biographies on the NFL players have been taken directly from the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.

autographed 1965 topps winston hill

#116 – Winston Hill

Today’s comparison is between Winston Hill of the New York Jets/Los Angeles Rams and two HoF tackles, Bob Brown and Art Shell.

Winston Cordell Hill Drafted by Baltimore Colts in 11th round, picked up by Jets…  Eight-time AFL All-Star/NFL Pro Bowler…  Named to numerous all-pro teams…  Incredibly durable, missed only 1 game over 15-year career…  Overpowering blocker, guarded Joe Namath’s blind side over entire career…  Super Bowl III champion…  Member of the AFL All-Time Second Team

Robert Stanford “Bob” Brown – First-round draft pick (2nd overall), 1964 draft. . .Aggressive blocker who utilized great size and strength. . .Battled knee injury for much of career. . .Named first-team All-NFL seven times. . .Earned NFL/NFC offensive lineman of the year three times. . .Elected to six Pro Bowls – three with Eagles, two with Rams, and one with Raiders. . . Named to the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1960s.

Arthur “Art” Shell – No. 3 draft pick, 1968. . .Possessed size, speed, agility, intelligence, strength to be premier offensive tackle. . .Mild-mannered, hard working, great team player. . .Equally adept on running, passing plays. . . Starred in Super Bowl XI vs. Vikings. . . Played in 207 regular-season, 23 post-season games, eight Pro Bowls. . .All-Pro, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977. . . All-AFC six times.

When discussing AFL offensive tackles, Jim Tyrer and Ron Mix are usually the players most thoroughly discussed, while Winston Hill is somehow overlooked.  Hill was a workhorse on the Jets line, playing in 195 of 196 games during his 14 seasons in New York.  With eight all-star/pro bowl appearances, he matches Mix and falls short to Tyrer by just one.  He was also a member of the Jets Super Bowl III team, and fended off a tough Colts defensive charge, and while helping lead Matt Snell to 121 yards rushing.  Additionally, Hill excelled in both the pre- and post-merger eras.  How is it that this man has never even received a sniff from HoF voters?  Thoughts?

Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

5 Responses to A Hall of Fame Comparison – WINSTON HILL

  1. Howard says:

    Was Hill ever a nominee? We have agreed that the selection process is skewed toward QB’s and Running backs. But, I am surprised that Hill was never allowed a vote. When did he retire?
    The Jets beat reporter is generally given a vote for HOF. It would be interested in why Hill was not given a shot. You can argue that their are “too many” Chiefs in the HOF. But, the Jets have only a few members installed.

    • Howard says:

      In 2007 the person who was given the Jets “seat” for nominating a candidate to the HOF was none other than:
      New York (Jets) Paul Zimmerman, Sports Illustrated .
      Zimmerman was no Tex Maule. I would be interested in knowing if an actual vote was allowed for Hill.

  2. billd says:

    Of course Winston Hill belongs in the HOF. Look at his record and accolades. Weeb Ewbank said Winston belongs in the HOF. Hill just dominated on the big stage in SBIII. He was very athletic. To prove his athleticism there is a short Universal Newsreel from 1965 narrated by the late great Ed Herlihy of WWII fame. Jets vs Chargers 1965. Watching the Jets and a rookie by the name of Joe Namath in Balboa Stadium note #75 of the Jets filling in at center for the Jets. Is this the first case of a black athlete playing center in pro ball? Back in 1965 the positions of center, middle linebacker and QB were all manned by white athletes. Winston is long over due for induction into the HOF.

  3. Tim says:

    Winston Hill was the reason I tried to be an O-lineman. He was quietly efficient…he would never blow his own horn. That endearing quality is what hurts his chances in the end.

  4. Virgil Baldon, Jr. says:

    I agree with Tim…Winston Hill, Ron Mix, Ernie Wright, Art Shell, Stew Barber and other AFL OTs were much more athletic than NFL tackles. They pass blocked with more fluidity, run blocked better, and fairly often got to pull downfield and even reverse trap block (very difficult-tackle comes inside and traps the DT like a guard would) due to the innovations and advanced concepts of AFL coaches.

    As far as Mr. Hill, his excellent technique (watch him wear out DE Braase and LB Shinnick in SB III) equal success at both the LT and RT spots, longevity and cool, humble demeanor despite playing for 14 years in NY and 1 in LA (Rams) qualified him long ago for the Hall of Fame.

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