NEW YORK - Mick Tingelhoff, the former Nebraska great and Minnesota Vikings center, has been named the 2011 recipient of the President Gerald R. Ford Legends Award.
The award will be presented during the 12th Annual Rimington Trophy Presentation banquet on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Neb.
"I'm very honored that the Ford Award committee has decided to name me as this year's recipient of the President Gerald R. Ford Legends Award. It is truly humbling to join this distinguished list of some of football's greatest centers," said Tingelhoff.
To be considered for the President Gerald R. Ford Legends Award, candidates must have either played the Center position at the collegiate or professional level, made extraordinary contributions to his team during his football career, or have proven to be an exemplary citizen, philanthropist or leader in the business or football community.
"I'm very happy to announce Mick as our 2011 recipient of the President Gerald R. Ford Legends Award. He blazed a trail for centers at the University of Nebraska then carried that over to the National Football League for 17 years. His leadership on the offensive line was something I personally tried to emulate. I sincerely congratulate Mick, as he is a well-deserving recipient of this prestigious award," said Dave Rimington, president of the Boomer Esiason Foundation.
Tingelhoff was a three-year letterman as a center for Nebraska in 1959, 1960 and 1961. A native of Lexington, Neb., he was an anchor on the Cornhusker offensive line at the end of Coach Bill Jennings' tenure at NU.
The 6-1, 210-pounder from Lexington, Neb., served as one of three Nebraska co-captains as a senior in 1961. NU averaged 205.5 yards per game in total offense during Tingelhoff's senior season - the Huskers' highest offensive output since the 1956 season.
As a junior in 1960, Tingelhoff played a reserve role behind captain Don Fricke, who moved back to the position from the fullback spot for his senior season after starting at center for NU in 1958. Tingelhoff earned his first letter in 1959, after joining the Huskers as a freshman in 1958.
Following his senior season at Nebraska, Tingelhoff participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and in the All-American Bowl. Although he was not an All-American or an all-conference performer as a Husker, the undrafted Tingelhoff went on to produce one of the longest NFL careers in Nebraska football history.
After signing as a free agent with the Vikings in 1962, Tingelhoff earned a starting job as a rookie and spent his entire 17-year NFL career as a member of Minnesota Vikings, serving as a starter in four Super Bowls (IV, VIII, IX, XI).
The only player in NU history to enjoy a longer NFL career was Tingelhoff's Husker teammate, Ron McDole, who spent 18 years in the league from 1961 to 1978 with the Cardinals, Oilers, Bills and Redskins. Irving Fryar, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1984 NFL Draft, matched Tingelhoff's NFL tenure by spending 17 seasons in the league with the Patriots, Dolphins, Eagles and Redskins.
Tingelhoff was perhaps the most dominant NFL center of his era, earning six trips to the Pro Bowl from 1964 to 1969, including four starts. He was also a seven-time All-NFL selection from 1964 through 1970. Along with being dominant on the field, he was also remarkably durable and made 240 consecutive starts. At the time of his retirement, he had started the second-most consecutive games in NFL history, trailing only his Viking teammate Jim Marshall (270).
Tingelhoff was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1980. His name was enshrined into the Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor in 2001.
Henry Michael "Mick" Tingelhoff was an All-American, all-state and all-conference center as a senior at Lexington High School in 1957. He was born May 22, 1940, in Lexington, Neb.