With offensive linemen, invisibility is often an asset. If no one notices you outside of the folks who love a good film breakdown, it’s probably because you’re doing your job, and you’re doing it well.
Bill Fralic was one of the exceptions to that rule. He stood out the same way a steamroller stands out at a kiddie pool, because of its size and power and extreme potential for harm. He inspired the term “pancake block” because of the way he, well, pancaked folks. Fralic went to four Pro Bowls as a Falcon, and while he’s not remembered the way say Mike Kenn or Jeff Van Note is, he was as nasty on the field and thoughtful off of it as anyone in the team’s history, and a legitimately terrific player. He was also a vocal anti-steroids voice during a time where the NFL certainly wanted to pretend that was not an epidemic, and he also participated in Wrestlemania 2. Bill Fralic was awesome.
Fralic died Friday at 56 of cancer, and current and former Falcons and fans mourned the loss of a big man with an outsized reputation for decency and, again, pancaking people.
Sorry to hear of the passing of my former teammate Bill Fralic. He was such a leader and mentor to all us rookies. Rip Bill...— Pass Rush Specialist (@chucksmithnfl) December 15, 2018
Arthur Blank’s statement on the passing of former Falcons offensive lineman Bill Fralic. pic.twitter.com/fjsiPeUB2L— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) December 14, 2018
Bill Fralic was a Falcon in the bad old days (as opposed to the wine and roses now). More importantly, he was a rare whistleblower in the PED culture of the 90s. https://t.co/6u1z0yNWGx— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) December 14, 2018
Rest in peace Bill Fralic, great teammate but even better guy. Toughest dude you could ever know!! Sad day.— Brett Favre (@BrettFavre) December 14, 2018
Our thoughts are with Fralic’s family and friends tonight, and we hope yours are too.