Mick Tingelhoff, a farm boy from Lexington, lettered for Nebraska from 1959 to 1961, a bleak period in which the Huskers won a combined 11 games. He did a lot more winning in the NFL.
After going undrafted and signing as a free agent, he started 17 straight seasons at center for the Minnesota Vikings, snapping to quarterbacks Fran Tarkenton and Joe Kapp. Tingelhoff helped Minnesota win 10 Central Division titles and reach the Super Bowl four times. The Vikings lost all four, but Tingelhoff was All-Pro seven times.
"Mick was a catalyst for our team and one of the most respected players on those teams. I have no doubt that had he not played center he would have been a Hall of Fame linebacker," said Bud Grant, the Vikings’ coach from 1967-83.
Now, Tingelhoff is a Hall of Fame center.
In part because of his 240 consecutive starts — still the third-longest streak in NFL history — he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a Seniors Committee nominee in the 2015 class. Tingelhoff became the fifth former Husker to be enshrined in Canton.
He wasn’t big, carrying 240 pounds at most on his 6-foot-2 frame. But "he was very quick," said Ron McDole, who played with Tingelhoff at Nebraska and against him in the NFL.
He was also heady. "The center usually has to call all the blocking," McDole said. "You have to be smart to know what’s going on and be able to read defenses."?
These are the players who built Nebraska football.
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