Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1998
The Bengals' Anthony Munoz, who defined the art of playing offensive tackle in the National Football League, was inducted on Aug. 1, 1998 to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was the first year of Hall eligibility for Munoz, whose final NFL season was 1992 with the Bengals. There currently are 362 Hall of Famers, and Munoz is one of only 90 players selected in their first year of eligibility.
Munoz was a consensus All-American at the University of Southern California, and the Bengals claimed him with the third overall pick in the 1980 draft, despite the fact some teams considered him damaged goods due to past knee surgery. The
move turned out as one of the best draft gambles in franchise history, as Munoz went on to play 13 Bengals seasons (1980-92), including 11 ('81-91) in which he was chosen for the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl game. At the time of his retirement (1992), that was the most selections of any player in NFL history. He also earned All-Pro honors (full NFL, not just the AFC) every season from 1981 through '91.
Munoz's off-field efforts earned him the NFL's prestigious Man of the Year Award in 1991.
Munoz played for the Bengals in both of their Super Bowl appearances, as a second-year player in Super Bowl XVI at Pontiac, Mich., and as a ninth-year vet in Super Bowl XXIII at Miami.
In 1994, he was one of three offensive tackles named to the NFL's official 75th Anniversary Team. He joined his fellow tackles from that 75th Anniversary Team — Forrest Gregg and Roosevelt Brown — in the Hall of Fame.
Munoz's exceptional agility and athleticism is reflected by his entry line in the Bengals' all-time pass receiving statistics. He caught seven passes in his career, playing as a tackle-eligible, and four of those receptions were for touchdowns.
In six of his 13 Bengals seasons, Munoz earned at least one major award as NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year. One award citation, issued by NFL Alumni, reads: "The NFL has three levels of offensive linemen. The bottom rung is for players aspiring to make the Pro Bowl. The next step is for those who have earned all-star status. Then there's Anthony Munoz. He's alone at the top, a sure Hall of Famer."
Though there are other Hall of Fame members with some Hispanic ancestry, Munoz is considered the first player of primarily Hispanic background to enter the Hall. Munoz was born in Ontario, Calif. His parents also are native Californians,
and his grandparents were born in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Anthony’s induction was very gratifying to our organization and to all of our fans ... It was particularly so because the selectors recognized Anthony as a truly special player and person who deserved election on his first try. During his playing days, no one in the NFL was better. It’s justifiable to consider him as the best offensive lineman ever, and he has conducted his personal and family life in a way that is a great credit to the Bengals and the NFL. Mike Brown, Bengals President