Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Jan 2010

Hall Of Fame Semifinalists

More skill position players please!

  • Jerry Rice , WR
  • Emmitt Smith , RB
  • Tim Brown , WR
  • Cris Carter , WR
  • Andre Reed , WR
  • Shannon Sharpe , TE
  • Roger Craig , RB
  • Dermontti Dawson , OL
  • Russ Grimm , OL
  • John Randle , DT
  • Cortez Kennedy , DT
  • Richard Dent , DE
  • Charles Haley , DE/OLB
  • Rickey Jackson , LB
  • Don Coryell , coach

Senior candidates are Floyd Little and Dick LeBeau.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 08 Jan 2010

64 comments, Last at 12 Jan 2010, 3:50am by t.d.

Comments

1
by Flounder :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 6:51pm

I'd really like to see Rickey Jackson get in. That dude was awesome.

2
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 6:52pm

guys who deserve inductuiion from list above:
Rice, Brown, jsckson, Sharpe, e smith, crater, little

dont like brobcos getting in but maybe if get 2 in this year, j elway doesnt have to feel alone anymore and denver fans stop whining

3
by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 7:12pm

We won't stop whining.

I actually don't think Sharpe or Little deserves to go in, but as long as Randy Gradishar is not in, we can whine.

I'm sorry to see Branch come up short again. I've been in his corner for a while (admittedly partly because I, for some ineffable reason, would like there to be a Hall of Famer from the University of Colorado).

13
by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 9:53pm

Shannon Sharpe is great in the one stat that matters the most to HOF voters.

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

22
by alexbond :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 12:22am

Oh, RJ, you don't have enough respect for your old AFC West foe Cortez Kennedy to support him? An animal, as one would have to be to get DPOY on a 2-14 team.

23
by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 1:04am

Cortez Kennedy extremly close. Had one great year (1992) but after taht seem to get pro bowl votes based on reputation. Deserved some of them but others maybe not.

1992 Seahawks horrible.
59 poitns in first 10 gamnes
61 points in games 11-14
6 and 14 points total in last two games

Star of tream was Kennedy but #2 man was Rick Tuten. If punter is #2 player on team than team have major problmes. Oh was Mike Sinclair on team in 1992? Think was on team. Sinclair play end for Sacramentio Surge in WLAf then go on to make good carere in nfl.

32
by Chris Owen (not verified) :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 11:33am

#1 Nnamdi Asomugha; #2 Shane Lechler
QED

4
by Tom Gower :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 7:19pm

It's mildly surprising to see Tags got cut from the list of 25, considering he made the final 10 last year. It'd probably be bad form to induct him given the current labor situation.

Also axed from the previous list were Ray Guy (good), Art Modell (good), Cliff Branch (good), Steve Tasker (who made the list of 25 how?), Aeneas Williams (HOF hates CBs), Lester Hayes (ditto), Terrell Davis (candidacy losing steam?), Chris Doleman (behind Dent, Haley, and Jackson? really?), and Kevin Greene. Axe Coryell, Craig, and Randle, and give me Williams, Hayes, and Doleman.

Locks: Rice and Emmitt. My preferred other 3 would be Dawson, Grimm, and Kennedy, but of course the HoF hates interior linemen almost as much as it hates CBs.

11
by billsfan :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 7:50pm

Tasker: Considered by many best special-teams gunner. NFL changed rules because of him, so he literally changed the game, which not many stats-based HOFers can claim. Played in 4 Super Bowls. 5 All-Pro teams, 7 Pro Bowls. More here: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=5041


Tasker was certainly a unique player, and in many ways has the profile of a typical Hall of Famer. He was the best at his position, he changed the way the game was player, he shined brightest in the biggest moments, and he forced teams to gameplan around him. Tasker literally changed the way the game was played; the rule that requires the punting team's gunners to stay in bounds was designed to stop Tasker. Tasker made 7 Pro Bowls and was selected to the Associated Press' first-team All-Pro roster five times; before Tasker, special honors weren't given out to non-returner, non-kicker, special teamers. He blocked a punt in the Super Bowl and won the 1993 Pro Bowl MVP. He forced teams to, on occasion, put three blockers on him because as a gunner, he could get past just two men. If he didn't invent the idea of special teams star, he certainly encapsulated it. Tasker's career was as unique as it was noteworthy.

In an NFL-Network documentary, he was named one of the top 10 players not in the HOF:

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-top-ten/09000d5d809990c5/Top-Ten-N...

It's the Hall of Fame, not Hall of Stats.

(I also like the Eagles)

24
by MC2 :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 2:16am

It's the Hall of Fame, not Hall of Stats.

This is one of my least favorite cliches ever. What does it even mean? That we should take the word "Fame" literally, by electing the most famous players? Using that logic, Brian Bosworth and William Perry would deserve to go in ahead of, say, Walter Jones. Is that really what you're suggesting?

Also, if you hate using stats as the criteria for induction, why do you base your argument largely on stats like number of All-Pro selections, number of Pro Bowl appearances, and number of Super Bowl appearances?

Finally, I realize Tasker was clearly the best at what he did, but the idea of putting a gunner in the HOF makes about as much sense to me as the idea of putting a great pinch hitter or a great setup man in the baseball HOF.

Edit: I read the linked article from the PFR blog, and it seems you picked out the one paragraph that was favorable to Tasker. The rest of the article is devoted to listing all the reasons why he shouldn't make the HOF.

36
by Lance :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 12:35pm

This is one of my least favorite cliches ever.

Far more annoying is the "... it's not the Hall of Very Good" line, often used to argue that so-and-so doesn't deserve to be in because his stats don't appear to measure up.

What does it even mean? That we should take the word "Fame" literally, by electing the most famous players? Using that logic, Brian Bosworth and William Perry would deserve to go in ahead of, say, Walter Jones. Is that really what you're suggesting?

While I can't speak for the original poster, I suspect that he's not arguing that and you're just being supercilious. I've never heard anyone suggesting that the Boz deserves to be in the Hall, and no one's arguing that one's statistics play no role in determining enshrinement.

My guess is that his point centered more on the notion that HoF enshrinement consider things beyond raw numbers. That said, I'd agree that Tasker probably shouldn't be in the HoF. But there are others who may not have big numbers but deserve to get in for other reasons. Last winter after the Super Bowl, there was discussion in various media circles about Warner's HoF potential. The nays were listing how his stats don't measure up. But my gut is that it would be impossible to talk about the NFL's history over the last decade without talking about Warner. So even if he doesn't measure up in terms of stats (he's 26th in yards and TDs, just ahead of Jim Everett and way behind guys like Bledsoe and Esiason), those stats coupled with what we will call (for lack of a better term) "fame" would, for me, put him in the HoF.

45
by Mr Shush :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 7:13pm

But Warner's stats only fail to stack up if you're talking about career totals, which is a very crude tool and far from the only one available. His career rate stats are amazing, and his season performances in 1999 and 2001 are statistically exceptional. It's quite straightforward to make an argument for Warner as a Hall of Famer using statistics - for starters, one might note the considerable similarity between his career numbers and those of Steve Young.

53
by Lance :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 10:57am

While I agree with you, the sports media talking heads weren't convinced last February. We'll see if that attitude changes in the coming years.

54
by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 11:53am

Warner trmemndous player. Clearly Hall of Fame level. Went to SB with 2 teams and pass for over 300 yards in all three Supet bowls. So what if Warber have greta WRs in St. L and Arizona? Didn't Bradshaw have great teamates just like Montana, Young, Fouts, Unitas, Jurgensen, Aikman, and some others?
If anyone here hates Warner take a look at T Green and M Bugler. With same team they didnt play as well. Then Green leave to go to KC and never win a playoff game there. Wow!

Bulger stay with Rams, make playoffs as 8-8 team one yera but mostly suck and now in toilet and cant get out. Stuck in too much crap.

Warner even have winning reocrd with Gaints but was benched beuaase coach wantted to trake shot with rookie Eli Mannign. Also from 2001-2004 Warner had multiple injuries especially to hands. Montana and Staubach and badshaw had some lost years too but it not keep them out of hll of fame,

46
by MC2 :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 2:49am

... no one's arguing that one's statistics play no role in determining enshrinement.

Similarly, I don't think anyone's arguing (or at least, I'm not) that stats should be the only criteria for the Hall. After all, it's pretty tough to use stats to evaluate O-linemen, or head coaches, for that matter. Heck, it's tough to evaluate any position if you just look at the stats in a vacuum, without considering the context in which they occurred.

So, I agree that there's a lot more to consider than just stats. What irks me is when people take that obvious fact and use it to try to justify the induction of players who have no business getting in, by saying "it's not the Hall of Stats", or something like that. It's almost as if they're arguing that a player being famous despite having weak stats (or no stats at all) automatically means that player must have been great, while it's more likely to mean he was just highly overrated.

41
by billsfan :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 1:32pm

As others stated below, the hall is meant for those who made significant contributions to the game. If the NFL changed the rules on gunners going out-of-bounds, and added a non-kicker, non-returner special teams slot to the Pro Bowl roster, then he certainly made a significant contribution to the game. Who else has made the NFL change rules? Tom Brady's weak knee? Peyton Manning's receivers' getting mugged downfield? TO's celebrations? Those are all likely HOF candidates.

I linked only that excerpt from the PFR blog because I strongly disagree with the subsequent paragraph, which claims that despite having been on 5 all-pro teams, he was never among the best 50-60 players in any season.

With other special-teams players, like kickers, punters, and returners, there are at least on-field stats that you can use to judge them, and you'll see things like Ray Guy wasn't even the best punter of his era, let alone all time, and Vinatieri isn't even as good as, say, Janikowski. And with kick returners, very few perform at a high level for multiple seasons. I'm not suggesting that Lonnie Paxton and Larry Izzo are suddenly HoFers, but with a lack of on-field stats to go by, is it not fair to count individual accolades such as Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams? Can you even find stats for punt blocking or special-teams tackles on the internet?

I don't think baseball analogies are valid here--baseball is a series of 1-on-1 matchups, and thus players are easily analyzed and compared by simple statistics that are readily accessible to simple sportswriters. That's not the case in football--how would you even quantify the performance of a left tackle?

What really amused me was that in the NFL Network video, somebody not named Chuck Bednarik criticized Tasker as "not an every down player."

(I also like the Eagles)

42
by Lance :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 1:43pm

Fine. I'll support Tasker if you support Moose Johnston.

43
by billsfan :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 2:57pm

Dr. Z. put him at #10 all-time for the position, behind numerous old-time HoFers, which is good enough for me.

Where do we cast our fictitious ballots? Or should we just wait a couple decades for them to sneak in as seniors?

(I also like the Eagles)

48
by MC2 :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 3:01am

I don't think baseball analogies are valid here--baseball is a series of 1-on-1 matchups, and thus players are easily analyzed and compared by simple statistics that are readily accessible to simple sportswriters. That's not the case in football--how would you even quantify the performance of a left tackle?

I agree. The reason I brought up the analogy was because special teams players, like pinch hitters or middle relievers, are usually only on the field for a small fraction of the time that other players are. Therefore, it's almost impossible for them to have as big an impact on the game as other great players who are on the field much more often. It's the same reason why FO uses DYAR to rank players, rather than DVOA. It's better to be 20% better than average for 50 plays per game than it is to be 80% better than average for only 10 plays per game.

As for the specific merits of Tasker's candidacy, my feelings are summed up pretty well by the PFR article that you linked to in your original post.

59
by billsfan :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 9:49am

Completely different skill-sets are involved. A good pinch hitter or set-up man doesn't stay there for long. If he's that good at getting on base or striking batters out, they find a way to get him more time on the field, as a DH or corner outfielder, or as a closer or starting pitcher. Even good closers can end up in the starting rotation.

Other than kick coverage, when in a football game do you need a player to run full speed in a straight line to a fixed point and then make a tackle?

(I also like the Eagles)

60
by MC2 :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 5:46pm

A good pinch hitter or set-up man doesn't stay there for long.

That's true, but hypothetically, as long as he does stay there, he adds much less value to the team than a similar player who gets a lot more playing time.

For example, imagine a pinch hitter on the Phillies who is having a tremendous year at the plate, but the only position that he can play competently is first base. He's an absolute butcher at any other position. They can't put him at DH, and there's no way they're going to bench Ryan Howard, so unless (or until) they can trade him, they're stuck with him as a pinch hitter.

In the meantime, the fact that he's so one-dimensional severely reduces his value to the Phillies, just as Tasker's inability to contribute in other phases of the game (besides special teams) severely limited his value to the Bills.

62
by billsfan :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 6:49pm

I like your example with the Phillies, because Tasker played on a team with James Lofton and Andre Reed.

It's not a stretch to say that Tasker played WR just as well as, say, Don Beebe, nor that he added more value to the team at gunner than Beebe would have. Anecdotal evidence suggests that his virtuosity at special teams is what kept him from getting more playing time at WR.

(I also like the Eagles)

47
by BigCheese :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 2:59am

"Finally, I realize Tasker was clearly the best at what he did, but the idea of putting a gunner in the HOF makes about as much sense to me as the idea of putting a great pinch hitter or a great setup man in the baseball HOF."

That is one of the arguments about special teamers in the hall that most angers me, as it's completely fallacious.

A pinch-hitter and a set-up guy have limited roles doing EXACTLY what other players do for the rest of the game, just doing it at a very specific and short time. This is NOTHING like special teams play. There are no returners, kickers or gunners on offense or defense. The analgoy is completely flawed.

The ACTUAL analogy would be to put in the best nickel back or 3rd-down RB in the game. THOSE are comparable. CB to CB and RB to RB just like pitcher to pitcher and hitter to hitter.

And I REALLY want to see the same people who spout off the set-up man falacy when Wes Welker comes up for induction (although in the modern game, I would compare him to a DH myelf, not a pinch-hitter).

- Alvaro

50
by MC2 :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 3:06am

See my comments in post #48.

As for Welker, I doubt he'll ever get serious consideration, given that Moss will be retiring soon, which should put a significant damper on his numbers.

The best baseball analogy for Welker is like the guy who leads the league in RBIs because people are scared to pitch to the guy in front of him.

20
by Harris :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:54pm

Maybe it's just DBs they hate? It's not like safeties get in with any regularity.

Hail Hydra!

37
by Lance :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 12:36pm

Darren Woodson for the HoF. Just sayin'.

5
by RugbyRuss (not verified) :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 7:19pm

Cortez Kennedy. Man was a beast, the best DL man of his era.

6
by Steve (not verified) :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 7:23pm

For the record, this is the FINAL-ist list, not semi-finalist.

The one's I'd vote for -

Brown, Carter, Dawson, Haley, Jackson, Kennedy, Randle, Rice, Sharpe and Smith.

Biggest surprise that made the list: Craig

Biggest omission: Aeneas Williams or Kevin Greene

Re: Branch. I would've liked to see him make the finalist list, too, (probably over Craig or Reed) but I'm not surprised that he didn't. Hopefully, getting as far as he did this year will help his chances of being a Seniors nominee at some point.

Re: Broncos & the HOF -

Sharpe - yes
Little - no
Davis - no
Gradishar - YES!

I'd also like to see Louis Wright get more consideration.

26
by Kibbles :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 4:22am

Roger Craig being on the finalists list is a joke. The guy has essentially the same career rushing numbers as Terrell Davis (500 more yards, 4 fewer TDs). Sure, he's got some decent (but not really spectacular) receiving numbers backing them up... but Terrell Davis was a league MVP, SBMVP, 2xOPoY, 3x 1st team AP All Pro, and the most dominant postseason rusher in NFL history. Roger Craig is a glorified Ricky Watters. In fact, I'm not sure that I wouldn't take Watters over Craig in the first place.

As for Broncos and the HoF, as a Broncos fan, here's how I would rate the former Broncos in terms of how deserving they are of the HoF:

Gradishar (times infinity, best player not in the hall)
Sharpe
Davis
Tombstone
Mecklenberg
Little
Wright
Tom Jackson (if they count his broadcasting career like they counted Madden's)

I'd personally draw the line between Tombstone and Meck. I'd put Tombstone on the yes side of borderline and Mecklenberg on the no side of borderline. Also, if the HoF voters want to continue this farce of pretending that special teams specialists should be inducted to the hall, Rick Upchurch is way more deserving than either Ray Guy or Steve Tasker. Elite returners produce more value than elite punters and WAY more value than elite gunners, and in addition to being one of the top 3 returners of all time (with as many first-team AP All Pro awards as Guy, I might add), Upchurch also contributed 4700 yards and 27 TDs on offense.

49
by BigCheese :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 3:04am

"Elite returners produce more value than elite punters and WAY more value than elite gunners."

And elite QBs produce WAY more value than elite Safeties and CBs, so let's stop putting DBs in the hall. That's a nonsensical argument.

- Alvaro

63
by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 7:48pm

Steve Atwater belongs in. I put him second only to Gradishar. I'm not sure there's another eligible Bronco I would say definitely belongs in (Tombstone, TD, and Meck are all close but not definite in my mind).

7
by Steve (not verified) :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 7:28pm

Re: #4

"Locks: Rice and Emmitt. My preferred other 3 would be Dawson, Grimm, and Kennedy, but of course the HoF hates interior linemen almost as much as it hates CBs."

They do seem to have gotten better in recent years, though. I think either Dawson or Grimm makes it this time. Dawson has the better overall resume, but Grimm's been waiting longer and there are a number of people that want one of the 'Hogs" in the HOF. We'll see what happens.

8
by Steve (not verified) :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 7:33pm

Also Re: #4

Tom, I'm with you on some of the guys who were on the Semifinalist list. Instead of continuing to put people like Guy, Tasker, Modell and Tags (no, I don't think he makes it until/unless(?) the labor situation is resolved) who we know have little/no chance of making it in, why not put guys like Ken Anderson, Joe Klecko and Albert Lewis on?

I do suspect that Guy (and Hayes) will at least make it to the finalist list next year, since it will be the last shot as a 'modern-era' candidate for both.

9
by Duff Soviet Union :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 7:42pm

Rice, Emmitt, Brown, Cortez Kennedy and Dermontti Dawson. Toughest omission: Sharpe or Grimm. Aeneas Williams got screwed.

10
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 7:46pm

Let me explain about Little. porbably doesnt deserve to get in b ut is much better than dick Lebeau. Dick leBeau pretty good dback but horrible head coach. Has to be gerat player or great coach to get inducted. So why is this guy even being considered for hall of Fame? LeBaeu for hall of fame = complete joke.
Hall of Fame doesnt give lifetime acheievment award but acting like wants to start now. Seems like lebvau getting sympahty beecauuse good assistnant coach with Steelers but cmon Buddy Ryan not in hall of fame, b arnsparger not in, shaughnesy not in, b carson not in, erhardrt not in, Joe bugel probably not getting in.
lebeau as player- pretty good
lebau as head coach- crap
lebeau as assita coach- great but doesn;'t matter as far as HOf concerned not till the assistant coachess mentioned above get in and maybe some others too.

12
by billsfan :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 7:54pm

I agree completely. LeBeau is likely being, but isn't supposed to be, judged on his zone-blitz schemes.

(I also like the Eagles)

14
by Thok :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 10:31pm

If I had a choice, I'd vote for all 15 (and probably most of the list of 25 this came from.) OK, I'd think about 3 or 4 of the above could be seen as borderline Hall of Fame players, but the Football Hall of Fame has a tremendous backlog and could realistically elect 30-40 people this year and not make the Hall worse.

Since I can only vote for 5+ up to two seniors, I'll probably do Rice, Smith, Dawson, Grimm, and Kennedy among the nonseniors. Actually, I'd probably negotiate in order to make sure at least five players go it; as I said I think all 15 are worthy unless you have a relatively small Football Hall of Fame, and just getting 5 people elected each year is almost as important as getting a specific 5 people elected.

I'd almost certainly vote for LeBeau and I'd have to think about Little.

27
by Bobman :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 4:42am

I agree about the backlog issue and don't think it dilutes the quality/spirit of the HOF by increasing the annual number from 5 to 8 or so. But even with that, the backlog is huge, so have a one-time lump-sum addition of 25-40 guys (5-8 current years' worth) who are from a pool that is slightly older (say a min of 8 years removed from playing instead of 5), and then bump the max to 8 per year. This would allow us to honor the greats of the 60s/70s/80s and then with future voting take care (with the larger "pipeline") of the more recent candidates who are fresher in our memories.

5 per year was nice when there were 24 teams in the league--but the league has grown; so logically, proportionately, should the HOF.

And maybe that backlog busting class could NOT inlcude QBs, RBs, WRs..... or is that a colossal pipe dream?

38
by Lance :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 12:47pm

No, this has to happen. Think about guys who are just finishing up their careers (or who have just retired) and are certain HoF locks. Manning. Favre. Brady. Moss. Owens. Ray Lewis. Faulk. Tomlinson. Deion Sanders. Harrison.

That's two years' worth of players just off the top of my head. Throw in Rice and Smith from this class, and you're still looking at a host of players deserving of serious consideration (Andre Reed, Shannon Sharpe, Chris Carter, etc.) who are on this list who will have to wait until later. And then the myriad others who didn't make the cut this year.. and it's getting pretty sad. And throw in your point about under-represented positions like OL and DB and there's a fear that a whole host of legitimate and deserving players are going to miss out because of this 5-player cap.

15
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 10:33pm

Two offensive linemen. 1 1/2 linebackers. The fools, and that really isn't hyperbole, who participate in this farce should be ashamed, but to feel shame one must have a greater intellectual capacity than the average mollusk.

28
by Bobman :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 4:55am

Awesome, Will, but you have to remember that before the great rules shift of 1978, NFL teams typically had 4 QBs, 6 RBs, 6 WRs, and just one lineman on offense, and the HOF's roster reflects that. And defenses had just six men, I think, which really renders the dead ball era especially confusing. But the mollusks have it figured out, I guess.

And of course after passing rules were liberalized in 1978, the NFL as we currently know it came into being, with 7 QBs, 5 RBs, 8 WRs, and even fewer linemen and defenders per team.

Say for various reasons Favre, Manning, and Brady all retire after next year. Then in six years, the HOF class of five is pretty much guaranteed to have 60% QBs, assuming there is no backlog, but who knows, guys like McNair might be voted in then, or Vinny Testaverde or Bernie Kosar or Kenny Anderson. There you go--a 100% QB induction class.... because sure as shit, during those QB's collective 100 years in the league, there was not a single OL or DL worthy of the hall.

(shakes head) turds....

29
by Bobman :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 5:04am

One could also do the same exercise with WRs who had great numbers over the past 15 years. Say Owens, Moss, Bruce, Holt, and Ward all retire next year. Then in a very short timeframe (say, two consecutive years), the voters will have to consider a couple locks and a handful of very strong candidates--add in McCardell, Jimmy Smith, Marvin Harrison who are already out of football (officially or not). I am sure I am forgetting somebody.

The stats explosion has taken these voters by surprise, and it will get worse for WRs--20 years ago a 100 catch season was very unusual, and now 5-6 guys a year seem to hit that mark. What happens when today's crop of super-talented WRs, each boasting 900+ receptions for 14,000+ yards and 125+ TDs, comes due at the same time? "Hey, dude, I am in the all-time top-15!" "Get in line, buddy, so are the next nine guys ahead of you and they're not in yet."

And this means even fewer of the non-glamor-guys will make it inside, unless they pay for a ticket, or get invited to the ceremony by their QB....

16
by Marko :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 10:37pm

Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith obviously are locks. Richard Dent absolutely should be in. Shannon Sharpe also belongs, as does Russ Grimm. Cris Carter should make it, too.

There are others that are worthy, but they can't all make it. I highly doubt that 3 WRs get elected. Since Rice certainly will be elected, I can't see Carter and Tim Brown both making it, although Brown could get in instead of Carter.

17
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:03pm

To give an example, I love Roger Craig, but there isn't a GM in the league who would have preferred to have Craig's career for his team, as opposed to, say, Mike Kenn's or Joe Jacoby's, and those two guys didn't even make the last 25 cutoff. Having these selectors vote on the Pro Football Hall of Fame is like having the Mormon Tabernacle Choir deciding what are the whiskys in the world.

18
by Alexander :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:04pm

Dividing it up:

Locks: Jerry Rice , WR Emmitt Smith , RB

Should be a lock, but people are idiots: Don Coryell , coach

High borderline: Richard Dent , DE

Low Borderline: Tim Brown , WR Cris Carter , WR Andre Reed , WR Shannon Sharpe , TE Russ Grimm , OL

Why?: Roger Craig , RB Dermontti Dawson , OL John Randle , DT Cortez Kennedy , DT Charles Haley , DE/OLB Rickey Jackson , LB

25
by An Onimous (not verified) :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 4:12am

I can answer your "why" on Dawson: 6 consecutive first-team AP All Pros.

30
by Bobman :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 5:06am

the extra "t" does it for me. It's pretty sweet. Or should that be sweett?

19
by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:29pm

Rice, Smith, Dent, Sharpe, Dawson.

21
by mm (not verified) :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 12:13am

It's really sad how poorly some of you are treating Rickey Jackson, one of the best OLBs of the 1980s. Yes, he didn't get quite the sacks that LT got, but he wasn't rushing from the blindside (instead, there were many QBs throwing hurried balls away as they saw him getting free into the backfield). He was an all around great defender.

31
by Omroth :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 6:36am

Since no-one seems to be reading the forum, I'll repost something that I said there about the HoF:

I am a big fan of FO and PFR and the intelligent football analysis both their writers and readers post.

However, I think it is actually innapropriate to take the same approach to Hall of Fame discussions.

The clue is in the name - it's the Hall of FAME. Not the Hall of Good Numbers or Pro Bowl Selections or the Hall of Helping One's Team The Most.

Fame is subjective, by its definition. Unlike trying to decide which team is better in any given season, all people have an equal say in how famous someone is. No-one has an incorrect opinion about who should or should not be in the hall of fame. And I hear that a lot here - "it's ridiculous most people think x is a HoF-er". THAT statement is ridiculous.

33
by Mr Shush :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 11:59am

"Hall of Fame" is a name, not a description or a constitution. The relevant part of the Hall's mission statement is "To honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to professional football". Now, there is of course room for legitimate debate about what constitutes an outstanding contribution to professional football, but that does not strike me as a charter to simply pick the most famous or popular players.

For the record, I would vote:

Jerry Rice , WR - duh
Emmitt Smith , RB - duh
Tim Brown , WR - yes, but not this year
Cris Carter , WR - yes, but not this year
Andre Reed , WR - no
Shannon Sharpe , TE - yes, but not this year
Roger Craig , RB - no
Dermontti Dawson , OL - yes, this year
Russ Grimm , OL - close, but no cigar
John Randle , DT - yes, this year
Cortez Kennedy , DT - yes, this year
Richard Dent , DE - close, but no cigar
Charles Haley , DE/OLB - no
Rickey Jackson , LB - yes, but not this year
Don Coryell , coach - yes, with the understanding that it's as an innovator/contributor more than as a coach per se, but not this year
Floyd Little - no
Dick LeBeau - no, unless they change policy and start inducting great assistant coaches, which I would be all in favour of, but as which he clearly would not yet be eligible

35
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 12:27pm

Nice rhetoric. Fortunately, or perhaps more accurately, ridiculously, the institution also has a mission statement on it's website.....

"The Mission of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is:

To honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to professional football

To preserve professional football’s historic documents and artifacts

To educate the public regarding the origin, development and growth of professional football as an important part of American culture

To promote the positive values of the sport."

Now, unless one believes that the game of football is about quarterback and wide receiver performance, independent of the other guys on the field, that the other guys are essentially parking meters, and thus relatively rarely make outstanding contributions to the game of professional football, this institution is a farce, and it is ignorant to argue otherwise. This is how Roger Staubach gets in right away, and Rayfield Wright almost gets left to the mercies of the veterans committee. Go ask Staubach if his contribution could have been anywhere near as outstanding absent Wright's.

Go ask HOFers Joe Gibbs, John Riggins, and Art Monk if their outstanding contributions would have been anywhere near where they were without Russ Grimm's and Joe Jacoby's outstanding contributions. Then take up a guys like Mike Kenn, who only made the minor contribution of being one of the best at playing offensive tackle for 17 years, but didn't get accolades consistent with his performance because of the franchise he played for. Well, people who watched the game were able to see Kenn go up against the Taylors, the Deans, the Whites, and others, and thus provide tremendous entertainment. Golly, if the Hall of Fame took on the mission of educating people about the growth of the game, maybe people could learn more about such things....oh, yeah......the Hall of Fame says that is part of their mission..

Look, if these jerks want to change their mission statement to, "We recognize guys who were talked about a lot by Tony Kornheiser", fine, I won't call them jerks any longer.

34
by Packfan6 :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 12:11pm

I'd like to see Dawson, Randle and Jackson to go along with Smith and Rice.

39
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 12:52pm

I saw every game of Randle's with the Vikings, and while I won't say he doesn't belong, I do think other defensive guys are more deserving, because Randle was so one dimensional. Yes, the scheme asked him to play pass first, but Randle often wouldn't even play the run third, fourth, or fifth, and it sometimes really cost the Vikings against teams that good running games. Throw in the fact that his pass rush was highly correlated with the home field, and I'm just not a booster.

40
by andrew :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 1:00pm

From a strictly vikings DL standpoint, no way should Randle be ahead of Chris Doleman. Randle was a one-dimensional pass rusher and even by those standards (sacks) Doleman far surpassed him, both for career and on an individual season basis...

44
by mm (not verified) :: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 6:48pm

I'd like to propose the following simple change to the voting process. Since the voting is done by a bunch of guys in a room together, it should be easy enough to do.

Every year they first vote in 1 offensive skill position player, 1 offensive lineman, and 2 defensive players. Players elected this way will be considered only for their playing career. If they can't pick a player for that spot, there will simply be 1 less inductee that year.

Every 10th year, there will also be an extra spot they can vote on that must be a player who contributed primarily as a special teamer.

Every 4th year, they get 1 spot to vote in a 'contributor' (a coach, owner, GM, commissioner, or whatever). They should definitely consider the persons playing career, but the person should have made some significant contribution as a non-player that adds to his HOF eligibility. Dick LeBeau could be elected this way.

After all of the above elections are complete, they get to vote for one 'wild card' per year, who can be someone who played any position (Offense, Defense, or Special teams) and/or was a contributor.

Once in the Hall of Fame, they can all be displayed together, without any distinction between them, but the voting should be done separately.

Each 10 years, this will produce 20 defensive players, 10 offensive linemen, 10 skill position players, 1 special teamer, 2.5 contributors (1 coach, 1 GM, and .5 owner/commissioner??), and 10 other players (almost certainly offensive skill players). In other words, an elite team for the 10 years in question.

For the first 5 years of this process, I'd let them vote for one extra Offensive Lineman and one extra defensive player each year. I'd also let them elect 1 special teamer the first year (5 years later they'd elect another, with the next reserved spot 10 years after that). This would allow them to 'catch up' a little in the non-skill position, non-contributor positions.

57
by Lou :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 7:24pm

I like this idea.

58
by jebmak :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 1:19am

I too, like this idea.

51
by BigCheese :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 3:13am

My vote would be Rice, Smith, Dawson, Cortez and Dent.

Carter, Brown, Haley, Jackson and Coryell definitely should get in as well (in fact Carter probably belongs in over Dent, but he's my homer pick).

Randle and Craig being finalists with so many deserving members being cut in the semi-final stage or not even making it *couhg* Ken Anderson *cough* is a travesty.

- Alvaro

52
by packerpalooza (not verified) :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 10:20am

Anyone who thinks John Randle is a Hall of Fame defensive lineman is looney. The guy ran up the field after the quarterback. Period. That was his schtick.

Wow, I am stunned anyone who comes to this site would suggest such silliness.

And kudos to Viking fans for recognizing that fact. It has to be tough because Randle was a fun guy to watch for a few years if you looked past him leaving the run defense to the other 10 guys on the field.

55
by Mr Shush :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 11:54am

I reckon Freeney's going to be in there one day - he'd be the third member of the 2000s Colts I'd induct if it were up to me, after Manning and Polian but in preference to Harrison and Wayne. Rushing the passer is really important. Getting sacks is really important. Getting penetration up the middle, and therefore collapsing the pocket, is arguably more valuable than pressuring the quarterback by beating the tackle around the edge or flattening a tight end. In the modern game, a defensive lineman can be a poor run defender and still be a great player, if that's his role. Warren Sapp wasn't exactly Kris Jenkins either, and I don't suppose many people will oppose his candidacy when the time comes.

56
by packerpalooza (not verified) :: Sun, 01/10/2010 - 12:14pm

Freeney is very active and will chase down runners from behind when possible. Warren Sapp was an INCREDIBLY disruptive player in his heyday. He would blow up runs in the backfield regularly.

Randle would run up the field and that would be it. Period.

I refuse to believe that a guy so focused on a singular achievement is a Hall of Fame player.

And if I were either of those players and had seen tape of Randle I would not just be insulted I would be incensed at being lumped in with an extreme one trick pony like JR.

61
by S :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 5:53pm

Rice, E. Smith, Dent, Jackson, Carter. The most deserving from a very strong list.

But honestly, 13 of those 15 are very deserving. Reed is a boarderline candidate (Pro Football Reference did an excellent analysis which changed my opinion). Charles Hayley was a very good player who was an important player on some historic teams. But honestly, if he had played for, say, the bengals, would we be discussing him as a HOFer right now? I'm undecided on that right now.

64
by t.d. :: Tue, 01/12/2010 - 3:50am

not saying it should be decisive, but, for the oowboys, at least, he was 'the missing piece'. they became a championship team when he arrived, and they stopped being one when he left.