Any NFL team that makes it to the Super Bowl has a roster dotted with big names. With the mere mention of the name Peyton Manning football fans don’t need an explanation as to who he is or his accomplishments. And the name Manning is often followed by the name Marvin Harrison, the star Colts receiver whose career has benefited being associated with Manning and vice versa. But bring out the names of other Colts’ players like Jeff Saturday, Ryan Lilja, Jake Scott and Ryan Diem, only the hard core Colts’ fans might know who we are talking about. One thing is for certain, Manning and Harrison both know they are the unsung hero’s of the celebrated Colts offense, the offensive line.
It’s hard to define what makes an offensive line great, however when a unit develops a chemistry and comes together great things happen. It’s a great offensive line that allows the big name players to do their thing.
Colts’ offensive line coach Howard Mudd thinks this current group is the best he has had since joining the coaching staff in 1998.
“I think it’s the combination of athleticism and experience,” Mudd said. “That’s not to say that other people weren’t athletic or that sort of thing. But I think this group is intelligent, athletic and there’s a good blend of experience with three of the players (Glenn, Diem and Saturday). I said there’s a blend of athleticism and experience, and I also think stability comes into play. I’m talking about personal stability. There’s a lot of demand. I’m pretty demanding on them. They stand up to the stress of the moment. They’re stable in that if we need to make an adjustment, they’re very adaptable and not excitable because we’re going to change something in the course of things.”
The Colts' offensive line has consistently been among the NFL’s best, helping Manning to be one of the NFL’s least-sacked quarterbacks during his career. The Colts also have been a consistently strong running team, with running backs Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes combining for 1,722 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in the 2006 season.
The continuity and ability of the Colts line play has allowed the offense to accomplish many things over the years like allowing Harrison to produce the six finest reception seasons in club history, while allowing him to become the only NFL player with four plus 100 yard seasons. The line has also helped Manning produce the nine highest seasonal yardage passing totals in franchise history while becoming the only quarterback in NFL history to post seven 4,000 plus seasons.
The Colts will have plenty of confidence in this line going into the Super Bowl XLI against the Bears. The line is what got them there.