You No Longer Have The Right To Remain Silent.

One of the more interesting traditions to observe as a Broncos fan was the offensive line’s refusal to talk to the press at all (with the rare exception of Super Bowl weeks and a quote or two in training camp). This is why, when the Broncos were featured on Sunday night games on NBC, Al Michaels had to read off the offensive line starters’ names, as Tom Nalen, Matt Lepsis, and crew would not do the pre-production taping of saying their names and their schools for them. In recent years, the line would appoint one member per week to speak to the media for them as a whole. However, like so many other things in the NFL, Lord Rog has deemed this practice unacceptable, and the O-Line Omerta will no longer be tolerated.

The Denver Post piece is interesting for the origins of the practice — like much having to do with recent Bronco success, it starts with former lineman Gary Zimmerman:

He had stopped talking to the Minnesota press while he was with the Vikings and carried the silent treatment with him to Denver in 1993. When Alex Gibbs joined Mike Shanahan’s new coaching staff in 1995, the media boycott became common law among all Broncos blockers.

“It fit the personality of the job,” Zimmerman said from his Bend, Ore., home. “Lineman is a very humble job and you need to remain that way. If you’re plastered all over the media, it’s hard to remain humble.”

The whole tradition wound up being its own kind of cool joke, albeit one with a consequence for violation ($1,000 per infraction), but the guys liked it. Now, Goodell’s rule mandates players be available at least once a week and after games, and while it’s actually not the biggest thing in the new media policy (I’d say the new way of reporting injuries will make more of an impact, cutting down on the tinkering of folks like Bill Belichick with injury reports), the “whoa” factor of these big, silent dudes on the O-Line was a nice side aspect of being a Broncos fan; rooting for tackles and guards who did their talking by laying defensive players out.

New policy unzips lips of Broncos’ O-line [Denver Post]


13 Responses

  1. […] Hat tip: Signal to Noise. […]

  2. Yes, Goodell. We get it. You’re a warrior. Jesus.

  3. Lord Rog is overcompensating, Holly.

  4. Seriously, can he be a shred over 5’5″?

  5. I say 5’7″ at most.

  6. […] You No Longer Have The Right To Remain Silent. [image]One of the more interesting traditions to observe as a Broncos fan was the offensive line’s refusal to […] […]

  7. nice title
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  8. I must have missed the point. What does Goodell’s height have to do with anything?

  9. That’s too bad; now if the Broncos’ O-line has to talk, one of them might slip and give away how they’ve been getting away with chop blocks for 15 years.

  10. CUT blocking, not chop blocking. There’s an enormous difference. It’s legal and half the teams in the league do it…just not as well as Denver.

  11. Chop blocking, not cut blocking. Many teams around the NFL do indeed use cut blocking. The Broncos are knee-hawking bastards. Foster, Nalen… you could put together a ten minute montage of Broncos linemen making dirty blocks.

  12. Do you even know the difference between cut blocks and chop blocks? Knee-hawking bastards? What the f do you think cut blocking is? It’s going at knees…legally.

    Denver wasn’t whistled for a single chop block last year. They get all this negative publicity simply because a bunch of clowns cant tell the difference between a cut and a chop.

    You can call it dirty all you want, but it’s legal and it’s effective.

  13. I’m on o-lineman at a NCAA FCS School and EVERY football team from pee wees to high school to college to the CFL, AFL, and the NFL cut blocks. There is nothing illegal about it. I personally will continue cut blocking

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