COLUMBUS, Ohio – Orlando Pace, one of the all-time greats at Ohio State as well as in college and professional football, is a finalist for the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Pace, a first-year Hall of Fame nominee, played 13 seasons in the NFL, 12 with the St. Louis Rams and one with the Chicago Bears. He was a member of the Super Bowl XXXIV champion Rams squad that was dubbed the “Greatest Show on Turf.” St. Louis’ high-powered offense, of which Pace was the anchor of the offensive line, is one of only four squads to ever score 30 or more points 12 times in the season. The Rams offense compiled more gross yards than any other team during his 12 years in St. Louis (50,770 in 12 seasons), finished second in completion percentage (61.8 percent) and fifth in touchdown passes (289) over that time. Pace started all 16 regular season games eight times in his pro career, and blocked for three straight NFL MVPs (Kurt Warner in 1999, 2001; and Marshall Faulk in 2000).
Pace, a member of the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame class, was the first overall selection in the 1997 NFL Draft. He made an immediate and long-lasting impact in St. Louis – consider the following:
The Rams’ passing offense compiled more than 3,000 yards in all 12 of his NFL seasons
Four different quarterbacks eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark in a season, including three times surpassing the 4,000-yard mark
He blocked for seven 1,000-yard rushers and started 154 consecutive games.
Made Seven Pro Bowl trips, earned five All-Pro honors and a spot on the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade team.
At Ohio State, Pace took over a starting position from his first day of preseason camp as a freshman at Ohio State in 1994 and the firsts have not stopped since for the Sandusky, Ohio native and Sandusky High School star. In 1995, he became the first sophomore to win the Lombardi Award and just a year later he was the first to ever win the Lombardi Award twice. A first-team consensus All-American in 1995 and 1996, he was a two-time first-team all-Big selection (1995, 1996) and in 1996 was the first offensive lineman since Ohio State’s John Hicks in 1972 to finish among the Top 4 vote getters for the Heisman Trophy.
The 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinees will be officially announced at a later date.