Mike Munchak Houston Oilers
"It’s just my personality to become mean when the game starts. My mean streak is just part of my desire to be competitive in everything I do. I get very wrapped up in the game and I tend to be very aggressive.”
Mike Munchak was the eighth player overall and the first offensive lineman chosen in the 1982 National Football League Draft. Selected by the Houston Oilers, the former Penn State standout was an immediate success with the Oilers, earning the starting left guard spot in his first training camp.
The 6-3, 281-pound lineman wasted little time establishing himself as one of the premier guards in the NFL. In 1984, in just his third year in the league, he was named to the first of seven All-AFC teams. That same year he received the first of nine Pro Bowl invitations.
Not coincidentally, the Oilers’ on-the-field successes increased as Munchak’s development and experience increased. From their dismal 1-8-0 record in the strike-shortened 1982 season, the Oilers improved nearly every year that Munchak played. Along the way, the team advanced to the playoffs seven consecutive years (1987-1993) and captured the 1991 and 1993 AFC Central Divisional crowns.
Munchak was a devastating blocker and considered the key to an offensive line that kept the Oilers at or near the top of the NFL’s offensive statistical categories. In 1988 he led the Oilers’ offensive line that gave up just 24 quarterback sacks which was third in the NFL. It was also the fewest sacks allowed by the team in 10 seasons.
The following season the offensive line held opponents to no sacks in six games. In 1991, the Oilers offensive line finished second in the AFC and fourth in the NFL in the fewest quarterback sacks allowed. Behind the Munchak-led line, Houston led the NFL in total offense in 1990 and passing offense in 1990 and 1991. The Oilers finished second in points scored in 1990 and second in total offense in 1991.
Equally effective as a run blocker, Munchak led the Oilers offensive charge in 1993 as the team finished fourth in the NFL in both average gain per rushing play (4.4) and average gain per offensive play (5.3). Although he suffered from chronic knee problems, Munchak played in 159 regular season games. His 12 seasons with the Oilers tied him for second longest in the franchise’s history at the time of his retirement.