The final game of the 2011 NFL season for the New England Patriots ended in frustration and anguish, as the Super Bowl barely slipped through their fingers. But that pain and anguish set in a lot earlier for New England's starting center, Dan Koppen.
Koppen was lost for the season, following an ankle injury suffered in the Week 1 win over the AFC East rival Dolphins in Miami. A combination of fill-ins helped Tom Brady and the Patriots get through the season and to the big game in Indianapolis, but Koppen's presence was certainly missed on the field.
Now, after a season away from the field, one of the league's most highly-regarded players at the center position has all but been forgotten.
In the Bleacher Report's most recent installment of the NFL 1,000 list, a ranking of the top-1,000 players in football, Koppen was seemingly left off the list of the leagues top-32 centers. Meanwhile, interim replacement Dan Connolly found his way onto the list at No. 24.
A list that also includes such great centers as Pittsburgh Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey (No. 14), Cleveland Browns' Alex Mack (No. 9) and Indianapolis Colts Jeff Saturday (No. 4) was headed up by a pair of grizzled vets on the offensive line.
New York Jets' center Nick Mangold was penciled in at No. 2 on the list, while the Houston Texans' Chris Myers found himself atop the list of centers in the NFL.
Koppen may have been the forgotten member of the list, but even with his future in New England in doubt due to his oncoming free agency, fans can expect to see the Boston College graduate back atop this list in the near future.