Winston Hill was selected today as one of the members for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2020 Centennial Class.
Hill, the most decorated Jet in franchise history, was chosen to play in four AFL All-Star Games (1964, 1967-69) and four Pro Bowls (1970-73). He holds the franchise mark for offensive linemen with 195 consecutive games played and 174 consecutive starts despite breaking a leg in the 1965 preseason and having his throat stepped on in 1974.
"I am beyond thrilled that Winston will join football's immortals in Canton," said Jets CEO Christopher Johnson. "Winston was a generational talent who became our greatest pillar along the offense line. He was a durable champion who was blessed with an uncommon humility. Loved by his teammates, Winston was a towering figure inside the locker room and his presence is forever lasting."
A member of the Jets' first Ring of Honor Class along with Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Joe Klecko, Curtis Martin and Coach Weeb Ewbank, Hill protected Namath's blindside in Super Bowl III. In the Green and White's historic 16-7 triumph over the Baltimore Colts, Hill helped the Green & White, an 18-point underdog, rush for 142 yards. Of Hill's franchise best eight all-star appearances, the first five came at left tackle and the last three at right tackle.
"As a football player, his record of winning games, winning teammates over, the number of years he played, the number of times he made all-everything — Winston Hill deserves to be in the Hall of Fame," Namath said this fall. "What made Winston Hill one of the best offensive linemen to ever play was his ability to execute and protect the quarterback and block for the running game. If you look at one game, the Super Bowl, you see Matt Snell running that ball so many times behind Winston. Emerson Boozer was leading, too, and Dave Herman and other guys, too, but without Winston Hill that day – we don't win the championship."
The 6-4, 270-pound Hill, a tennis champion at Weldon HS in Texas, played both offensive line and defensive line in college at Texas Southern and was an All-American. An 11th-round draft pick (No. 145 overall) of the Colts in 1962, Hill was released and signed with New York's AFL franchise in August. The versatile athlete, who played 14 seasons with the Jets and three games with the Rams in 1977, was a sturdy pass protector and tenacious run blocker.
"There wasn't anybody he couldn't handle," former Jets C John Schmitt said. "He could play any position on the line and play it well. He was the greatest pass-blocker you could find. Having the quick feet from tennis helped him a lot. He was able to move so unbelievably well, but he was very strong."
Hill, who was 74 when he died in the spring of 2016, will be inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame next fall. He and nine other seniors will be honored in a Centennial Celebration in Canton Sept. 16-19 when they are enshrined. Hill is survived by this two daughters, Heather and Hovlyn, and son, Marc, and three grandchildren: Grant, Amelia and Emerald.