Born in California's Central Valley in the 1970s, Tony Boselli grew big and strong in the North American epicenter of agriculture. He turned out to be a dominating force on the Fairview High School Knights football team, and his junior and senior seasons at the high school were essentially one giant highlight reel that helped him garner the attention of college scouts throughout the nation.
Boselli took advantage of the opportunity to attend the University of Southern California on a full-ride scholarship, and he established himself as an anchor on the offensive line throughout his stay in Los Angeles. He was showered with accolades and awards throughout his college career as it became clear that he had the potential to thrive in the NFL. His ability to wall off the offensive line for the quarterback during passing plays and his ability to create gaping holes for running backs garnered the attention of pro scouts everywhere.
The Jacksonville Jaguars considered themselves lucky that Boselli was not selected with the first overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft, and they took him at number two. He was the first draft selection in the history of the team, and his arrival in Jacksonville excited a new and burgeoning fan base. The Jaguars certainly weren't the first team to subscribe to the philosophy that solid offensive lineman are the building blocks of a successful team, but Boselli immediately provided the franchise with an inherent level of respect that echoed throughout the league. His arrival coincided with that of young quarterback Mark Brunell, and both were instrumental in the success of the brand-new team in the following years.
Boselli helped the Jaguars sneak into the 1996 NFL Playoffs on a 9 – 7 record, and they were able to get past both the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos the score of 30 – 27. They ended up losing in the AFC Championship, but the hard-nosed approach that Boselli and other teammates took combined with a general fearlessness towards the greatest teams in the league quickly catapulted Jacksonville to the top of the power rankings.
Boselli's career was cut short when he suffered a shoulder injury during the 2001 NFL season. Following the surgery Boselli has said he regrets, the lineman never recovered.
After the 2001 season, the Jaguars were facing what can only be described as salary cap hell. The club was forced to make some difficult decisions. One of those decisions was to make the injured Boselli available in the Texans' expansion draft. The Texans selected him (along with many other of the Jaguars' players), and the Jaguars lost the contract burdon.
Boselli never played a down for the Texans. The five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All Pro was widely considered the best left tackle in the league, and would likely be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame had he been able to play a few more seasons.
Boselli ended up having seven successful seasons in Jacksonville, during which the team made the playoffs four times. Coincidentally, the feared and respected lineman was taken by the Houston Texans during a supplemental expansion draft in 2002. It served as proof that many years into a physically grueling career, another franchise was more than willing to make Boselli a cornerstone of their initial build. The transaction was a testament to his work ethic, character and talent as a professional football player.
Boselli has gone on to become a commentator for Fox Sports, providing insight and critical analysis. Boselli is also active within the community, particularly through his work with The Boselli Foundation.