He was smaller than most, but badder than all.
While he wasn't the biggest name elected to the Hall this year, Curley Culp's resume is fit to stand next to anyone else who'll be on that stage in August. In fourteen years with the Broncos, Chiefs, Lions and Oilers Culp tallied 1 Super Bowl Ring, 1 DPOY Award, 3 Conference Championship appearances, 4 first or second team All-Pro appearances and 6 Pro Bowls. While he won his ring with the Chiefs, Curley is remembered by longtime Oilers and Titans fans as a star member of the franchise's Love Ya' Blue era.
At 6'2" and 265 lbs., Curley was undersized by his era's own standards for a 3-4 nose tackle, but he played much bigger than his size thanks to his history as an D-1 NCAA wrestling champion. Curley landed in Houston after a blockbuster trade involving John Matuszak and the no. 1 pick in the draft. After acquiring Culp, then defensive coordinator Bum Phillips' newly installed 3-4 defense took off, and the Love Ya' Blue era was off and running.
How good of a pass rusher was Curley? In 1975 he totaled 11.5 sacks... as a 3-4 nose tackle. Hall of Fame Center Jim Otto, a man who saw the biggest and baddest players of the 60's and 70's, once called Culp the strongest man he ever played against.
So while we tend to leave the history of the Oilers to the fans still in Houston, lets make a toast to one of the most-overlooked, under-appreciated defensive linemen in the history of the NFL.