Playing center in the NFL is one of the most crucial yet unglorified jobs there is. The quarterback depends on him, the running backs depend on him, the coaches depend on him. And unless he makes a mistake, you seldom hear much about him.
When a team finds a good center, they hang on to him, and the Atlanta Falcons have…well, had…a good one.
After more than a decade in the NFL, the Falcons long-time center Todd McClure is calling it quits, and rather than try to poetically capsulize how important McClure is to this time, I thought I’d just show you–by the numbers.
925,000 – The number of dollars McClure was paid in 2012 to help lead the team to the NFC Championship game.
2000 – The year McClure got his first start at center.
1999 – The year the Falcons drafted McClure out of LSU.
236 – The number of players drafted ahead of McClure in that year.
198 – The number of games McClure played in the NFL.
195 – The number of games McClure started in the NFL.
129 – The number of consecutive games McClure played for Atlanta at one point in his career, breaking Keith Brooking‘s franchise record.
36 – McClure’s age when he files his retirement papers with the league.
14 – The number of seasons McClure played in the NFL.
12 – The number of starting quarterbacks McClure snapped the ball to during his career.
10 - The number of fumbles McClure recovered during his career.
6 – The number of head coaches (including interim) McClure played under during his career.
5.24 – The number of seconds it took McClure to run 40 yards in his best time (I see you giggling. You try to find me many other 6’1, 300 lb guys who can run a 40 in under 6 seconds).
0 – The number of McClure’s remaining games with the Atlanta Falcons.
Countless – The number of teammates, coaches and fans who will miss having McClure on the team, and hate seeing him retire.
Countless but silent – The number of defensive linemen and linebackers who won’t miss seeing McClure on the other side of the ball, and are glad to see him retire.
The Atlanta Falcons have been in existence for 47 years, and the position of center was occupied for 30 of those years between Jeff Van Note (1970-1986) and Todd McClure (2000-2012)
Like I said, when a team finds a good center, they hang on to him.