One of Joe Namath’s most trusted protectors during the Jets’ only Super Bowl-winning season was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Tackle Winston Hill earned the honor posthumously as part of the Centennial Class, which was created to celebrate the league’s 100th anniversary and vote in 15 new members who may have been overlooked in the past — 10 players from at least 25 years ago, three contributors and two coaches.
Hill, who died in 2016 at the age of 74, played 14 seasons for the Jets and was the starting left tackle who protected Namath’s blindside in Super Bowl III, when the Jets shocked the Baltimore Colts to win their only championship.
It ironically was the Colts who cut Hill, their 11th-round draft pick in the 1963 draft, leading the Texas native to the Jets that same season.
Once in New York, Hill became a model of durability playing 195 consecutive games — a franchise record for offensive linemen — keeping that streak alive even after breaking his leg in the 1965 preseason. He made eight All-Star games, four Pro Bowls and four AFL All-Star teams, which also stands as a team record.
Despite his place in Jets lore, the Hall never called.
“He was fantastic, a great teammate and a great guy,” former teammate and guard Randy Rasmussen told the Jets’ website. “Finally the Hall of Fame opened its doors and we’re very happy they did.”
Hill joins George Young, the Giants’ Super Bowl architect who delivered two titles to Big Blue, in the incoming class, which was announced in full on Wednesday. Super Bowl-winning former head coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson learned they had been elected to the Hall while working on-air during the NFL playoffs last week.
The 25-member voting panel included several journalists, Bill Belichick and John Madden among others.
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