Jim Langer joined the Miami Dolphins as a free agent in 1970, stayed with the club for 10 years through the 1979 season and then wound up his career with the Minnesota Vikings in 1980 and 1981. In his decade with the Dolphins, Jim developed from an obscure substitute to one of the finest centers ever to play.
Langer was named first-team All-Pro four times and All-AFC five straight years from 1973 to 1977 and was also picked for the Pro Bowl six straight times. During that period, he started in three AFC championship games and Super Bowls VI, VII and VIII.
Many qualified observers insist that Langer was the most proficient performer on a talent laden offensive line that fueled Miami's vaunted ball-control offense. Jim played middle linebacker at South Dakota State before being signed by the Cleveland Browns as a free agent early in 1970, but was cut during training camp. Jim then latched on with the Dolphins.
For two years, he saw only limited action as a guard and a special teams player. But In 1972, he switched to center, won the starting job and wound up playing every offensive down in Miami's perfect season.
Hard working and quick, Langer was a compact, low-driving blocker who had the strength to stymie the bigger defensive linemen. At first, Jim snapped only on T-formation scrimmage plays but, after long practice in his own backyard, he started snapping on punts and placekicks in 1974. Langer also proved to be durable.
Continuing to play in spite of injuries, Jim saw service in 141 consecutive games from 1972 until a knee injury ended his Miami tenure with seven games left in the 1979 season. Early in the 1980 campaign, he was traded to the Vikings, with whom he played two more seasons.