Offensive lineman Larry Allen will give his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement speech on Saturday night in Canton, Ohio. Allen is arguably the most dominant offensive lineman to ever play the game. His NFL career spanned 14 seasons, and his list of accomplishments over that time is long.
Allen was an All-Pro in seven of his 14 seasons and was elected to the Pro Bowl a whopping 11 times. He spent 12 of his seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, and won a Super Bowl with them in 1996, his third season in the NFL. He was a second-round pick and started 10 regular season games in his rookie season.
How solid Allen was as a player can be summed up pretty well by this fact: Allen was named to the NFL All-Decade Team twice. That is to say, he made it for the 1990s and the 2000s.
When the list of finalists was announced, many wondered whether or not Allen deserved to make it as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. This was compounded by the fact that Jonathan Ogden, another offensive lineman, was also eligible for the first time this year.
After all, only 63 players have made it as first-ballot Hall of Famers since 1970, and none have made it in the past four years. But both Ogden and Allen made it into the Hall this year, and Allen was arguably more dominant than Ogden by a wide margin. Not only that, Allen also did it for a longer period of time.
Allen was the left tackle for Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, one of the best quarterback-running back combinations of all time. He's one of only three players to be named an All-Pro at three different positions. From 1994-98, Allen's line allowed just 115 sacks, which comes out to 1.4 sacks per game.
For being so incredibly dominant, Allen was surprisingly versatile. He made it to the Pro Bowl at multiple positions in addition to his All-Pro selections. It's difficult to physically dominate to that extent for that length of time, but Allen simply made it look easy. He compares favorably to any offensive lineman to ever play the game, and seeing his path to the Hall of Fame is incredibly easy to do.