To the casual fan, evaluating offensive linemen can be a challenge. Steve Hutchinson is the exception that proves the rule. Hutchinson was a bully in the trenches and an ironman for much of his career.
There are two names that support the immovable Hutchinson’s candidacy: Shaun Alexander & Adrian Peterson. Hutch spent a combined ten years blocking for the star running backs. There is one year to highlight in particular. In 2005, Alexander ran for 1880 yards with 27 rushing TDs behind Hutchinson as the Seahawks made a run to the Super Bowl. Having moved to the Vikings for 2006, he was a major reason for Adrian Peterson’s early success. In Peterson’s first three years, he ran for 4480 yards with 40 TDs.
It’s easy to say that offensive line success is down to the team but Hutchinson has the team accolades to support his case. The lineman made the Pro Bowl every year from 2003-2009 but was also an All Pro selection each of these years too. Two of them were second team All Pro selections in 2004 & 2006 and then first team All Pro in 2003, 2005 and 2007-09. Hutchinson was also selected to the NFL 2000s All Decade team.
Steve Hutchinson: Iron Man
Then there is Hutchinson’s durability. First things first, let’s take into account that he played one of the most physical positions where players are likely to get injured by being rolled up on, twisting the wrong way or anything happening in the pile. Hutchinson was an ironman from 2003-2009, starting very game he played. He played every game in a season eight times and at least 11 games 11 times out of twelve. That all tallies to playing 169 games out of a possible 192.
Hutchinson had team success; we went to the Super Bowl, although the Seahawks lost. He nearly went again in 2009 but lost in the ‘bountygate’ NFC Championship Game. He was also National Champion in college with Michigan, although this is of course the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hutchinson was the best at his position for most of his career, his five first team All Pros show that. He also had the greatest ability in football: availability.
There shouldn’t be a debate whether Steve Hutchinson is a Hall of Famer. The debate is whether he is the best lineman of all time.