Orlando Pace anchored the offensive line for eleven years in St. Louis as the Rams made him the first overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. In an interesting twist, when Tennessee’s Peyton Manning decided to forgo the draft and come back to school for his senior season, it was Pace who shot to the top of the draft boards. The New York Jets had the first pick, but traded it to the Rams just before the draft, and it was the Rams who selected the mammoth tackle as the number one pick. He was the first lineman chosen first overall in almost twenty years.
A durable player, Pace started all 16 games eight times in his career and had a string of 154 consecutive starts. He had the privilege of blocking for NFL MVP’s Kurt Warner and Marshal Faulk.
Pace was a five-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl selection, and won a Super Bowl ring with the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV. He finished his career in 2009 with the Chicago Bears.
After being named an alternate for the 1998 Pro Bowl team, he made the team as a player in 1999. It was the first time a Rams' offensive tackle was named to the Pro Bowl since Jackie Slater in 1990. 1999 was also the Rams first Super Bowl championship, and Pace was an important part of the team as his blocking helped make the Rams offense one of the highest scoring units in NFL history.
Orlando Pace. Thanks to Monica's Dad at flickr.com for the picture.
In the 2000 season, Pace started all 16 regular season games and was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl. Pace was a big reason the Rams produced the most passing yards in NFL history, and even more amazing, he was not called for holding once during the year.
In 2001, Pace started every game for the fourth consecutive season, and played on every offensive down. After a close loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl, he was off to his third consecutive Pro Bowl.
In 2005, he earned seventh consecutive Pro Bowl invitation, tying him for fourth in Rams history, behind Hall of Famer DT Merlin Olsen (14), Hall of Famer G Tom Mack (11), and LB Les Richter. That season, Pace started all 16 games at left tackle, joining C Andy McCollum and G Adam Timmerman as only Rams linemen to start every game.
After his career ended with the Chicago Bears after the 2009 season, Pace turned his attention to giving back to the community. Pace owns "Big O's Ltd" in his hometown of Sandusky, Ohio. He makes appearances at the family-friendly sports-bar, where he will greet the patrons and sign autographs. He also owns several homes in Sandusky that he rents out to low-income families.
Pace is also a spokesman for "Our Little Haven "Safe & Warm" expansion project. He is still active in the St. Louis community as he donates five tickets to every home game for disadvantaged kids and is the spokesman for Diversity Awareness Partnership along with former Rams’ player Ryan Tucker.
For all these reasons, we put Orlando Pace on our NFL All-Time Team.
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