Anthony Muñoz Cincinnati Bengals
"One thing we always worked on…was dominating our opponents. We called it finishing our blocks. We were taught to finish off our man until we heard the whistle.”
Anthony Muñoz, a 6-6, 278-pound offensive tackle, was the first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals and the third player selected overall in the 1980 NFL Draft. Some considered the pick a risk because of multiple knee injuries and the fact he played only one full game his senior year at the University of Southern California. But as the two-time All-America lineman (1978-1979) proved, the concerns were unnecessary.
An exceptional straight-on blocker, Muñoz was agile, quick and strong. He had great foot quickness and the mobility necessary to block quick defensive ends. Considered by many to be the premier tackle during his 13 seasons of play, he started 164 of 168 games from 1980 to 1990.
An all-around athlete, he even caught seven passes and scored four touchdowns on tackle-eligible plays. His stalwart play was the key to the success that propelled Cincinnati to three AFC Central Division titles and two AFC championships (1981 and 1988).
The recipient of virtually every possible honor, Anthony was elected to 11 consecutive Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro 11 straight times from 1981 through 1991. He was named the NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1981, 1987, and 1988 and the NFL Players Association Lineman of the Year in 1981, 1985, 1988, and 1989.
Always in top-notch condition, Muñoz missed only three games due to injury. His rigorous routines included working out in the weight room he had installed in his home and running three to four miles every day. He set high personal standards and worked tirelessly to achieve them.
Born August 19, 1958, in Ontario, California, Muñoz was too big to play Pop Warner football as a youth. Instead, he concentrated on becoming an excellent baseball player. Eventually, as a college sophomore, he pitched for USC’s national championship team in 1978. By then, however, it was clear that his size and his talents were more suited for football.