The name Winston Hill will mean something to you if you're a lifelong fan of the New York Jets — or if you've been an even more die-hard fan of Denver barbecue over the past several decades. Hill, a former all-star offensive lineman who helped keep quarterback Joe Namath safe during the Jets' 1967 Super Bowl victory, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 74. But his name lives on over a tiny smokehouse at 5090 East Arapahoe Road in Centennial. Winston Hill's Ribs & Stuff will continue to serve slow-cooked brisket, pork, turkey, chicken and spicy chorizo hot links in the south suburban shopping center, thanks to managing partner Ron Mitchell.
Hill retired from the National Football League in 1977 and still holds the Jets record for consecutive games played, with an unbroken streak of 195, including 174 consecutive starts. That longevity continued into Hill's restaurant career. He opened the original Winston Hill's barbecue at 8th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in 1977 and the current Centennial smokehouse, which Mitchell opened, will celebrate its 25th anniversary next week.
Winston Hill's Ribs & Stuff is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and also offers catering. Hill was a native of Texas who played the majority of his football career for New York but finished his final season with the Los Angeles Rams. After that, he made Denver his permanent home; his memorial service will be held at the First Church of the Nazarene in Englewood this weekend.