Offensive linemen — like the Kansas City Chiefs’ Creed Humphrey — are not the world’s most glamorous individuals. They make their money doing dirty work: physically moving other human behemoths against their will.
While most people might see that as an impossible task, it’s just another day at the office for men like Humphrey, who say that pro football games are won or lost because of what happens in “the trenches.”
“Whoever’s going to be playing the best as far as the line of scrimmage,” said Humphrey of Sunday’s AFC Championship matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, “that’s who’s going to win the game.”
Humphrey has earned a reputation as one of the league’s best centers — and believes that the formula for success is really pretty simple.
“[It’s] just playing smart, sound, assignment football,” he revealed. “Playing with extreme effort — and playing with awareness, too.”
For Humphrey, that includes recognizing a quality opponent.
“We know they have a very talented front seven,” he said of the Bengals’ defense, “so it’s going to be a good challenge for us. We’re excited about it, though.”
With the possibility that Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes could be limited with an ankle injury, Humphrey would approve of the team running the ball more often during Sunday’s game.
“I think every offensive lineman would tell you we want to be able to run the ball effectively,” he remarked. “You know that’s kind of a big thing for offensive linemen. We want to win the battle up front: [to] be able to run the ball effectively [and] be able to keep Pat clean.”
Humphrey admires what his quarterback did after suffering a high ankle sprain during last Saturday’s 27-20 Divisional Round victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“That’s when Mahomes showed his toughness,” Humphrey noted. “We all knew he was tough. We knew he’s competitive and all that. So seeing him come in and finish the game? That was really cool to see.”
Like so many other young NFL players, Humphrey acknowledges that he’s living a dream. In just his second season, he’s been selected to the Pro Bowl, been named a second-team All Pro and is preparing to play in his second AFC Championship.
“Being able to come in here and play big games?” he asked. “I don’t take it for granted — for sure.
“I’m having fun with it. [I] had fun with it last year, too. So just coming in here, having fun with it and just playing how you know you can play? That’s kind of the main thing.”