Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Turf Type and NFL Injuries: Part II

In our second look at turf and injuries, we look at specific stadiums, with some surprising results. It turns out the turf in Washington isn't nearly as dangerous as you may have been led to believe.

29 Jul 2008

The Hall of Fame Index, Part Two

by Mike Tanier and Doug Farrar

In late June, the Broncos blog Mile High Report investigated a phenomenon that has stuck in many a Broncos fan's craw for years. The Broncos have been an incredibly successful franchise since the mid-1970s, with six Super Bowl appearances, two championships, and tons of playoff appearances. But the Broncos have just two official representatives in the Hall of Fame: John Elway and Gary Zimmerman. The article calls the low Broncos representation a "snubbing" and a "gross injustice."

A couple of us at Football Outsiders decided to use the Mile High Report as a springboard for a larger Hall of Fame discussion. We wanted to know what the typical ratio of Hall members to franchise accomplishments truly is, and to determine what teams are over- or underrepresented. So we cooked up a method to measure each franchise's Hall of Famer-to-Accomplishment Index, then used the numbers as an excuse to publishing a rambling discussion about the Hall of Fame. This is the second part of that article; the method is described at the start of part one, which also includes discussion of teams from the Arizona Cardinals to the Miami Dolphins.

To aid in the discourse, we've linked every player's name to their page at the Hall of Fame site (for HoFers) or their page at pro-football-reference.com (for hopefuls).

The Teams, Part Two

Minnesota Vikings

Accomplishment Score: 165
Hall of Famers: 8
Index: 4.8

Doug: I'm going to assume that someone can explain to me why Jim Marshall is not in the Hall of Fame. 282 straight starts, 127 sacks (per the Vikings franchise), a key member of one of the all-time great defenses. I could go on and on, but I won't. I really like Chuck Foreman as the unheralded precursor to Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk (he led the NFL in receptions in 1975), but the career's too short. The Marshall omission is so ridiculous, it was tough to move on to other names. Who might you include?

Mike: NFL's Top 10 is running a show tonight (Tuesday) at 8pm on the top players not in the HAll of Fame, and Marshall is on the list. I taped a segment for the show and I mentioned that he's punished for running the wrong way after that fumble, punished for losing four Super Bowls, punished for playing on a line with two other all-time greats, and punished for playing in an era before official sack totals. I think the four Super Bowls are key. The Broncos lost four before they won two, and the Bills of course lost four. I would bet you a beer that many voters think losing a Super Bowl is worse than laboring for years on some average team. The Vikings were like the Broncos a few years ago, with very few HoFers before Ron Yary and Paul Krause got in. Mick Tingelhoff, a five-time first team All-Pro, still cannot get in, and when you ask older sportswriters they talk about his bad performance in Super Bowl IV.

And we agreed earlier that Cris Carter is an obvious choice.

Doug: Speaking of Vikings named C(h)ris snubbed by the Hall, what about Chris Doleman? Two-time All-Pro with eight Pro Bowl trips, fourth all-time with 150.5 sacks, 31st all-time in starts with 231. We talked about players penalized for losing Super Bowls. Doleman has been penalized for missing great eras with two different franchises. Playing for the Vikings from 1985 through 1993 meant that he missed the Bud Grant Super Bowl teams by a good decade, and the apex of the Denny Green/Carter/Moss/point-per-minute teams by a few years on the other side.

Then, he played for the 49ers from 1996 through 1998, when the team was great but couldn't get in the Super Bowl. Bonus points for playing in Atlanta in 1994 and 1995, just a few years before their only Super Bowl appearance, and in a mini-era best known for the sideline snit between June Jones and Jeff George. Doleman finished his career back in Minnesota in 1999, racking up eight sacks at age 38. Just because he kept missing the bus doesn't mean he shouldn't be considered. In fact, he's barely remembered. Was he even discussed on that Top 10 Pass Rushers show? An honorable mention? I don't think so.

New England Patriots

Accomplishment Score: 117
Hall of Famers: 4
Index: 3.4

Mike: The Patriots accomplishments are skewed recent; their 2001 Super Bowl win makes the list, but the others don't because we stop the study five years ago. Tom Brady will lead a host of recent Patriots into the Hall of Fame a decade or so down the road, though it's hard to sort out who will make it from the 2001-2008 teams.

Doug: I think Brady and Richard Seymour are locks. Everyone else is up in the air. I don't think of Junior Seau as a multi-team guy. Rodney Harrison?

Mike: Harrison should get in, and I do think of him as a two-team guy. Adam Vinatieri may get in, and will be the worst player in the Hall of Fame if he does.

New Orleans Saints

Accomplishment Score: 66
Hall of Famers: 0
Index: 0.0

Doug: The NFL Network recently voted the Mora-era linebacker corps as the NFL's all-time best (Hey, was Mike Tanier on that Top 10 show?). While that's good grist for argument, I don't think Rickey Jackson's credentials are in doubt. Six Pro Bowls, more sacks than Derrick Thomas, and the pointman for that wonderful Dome Patrol defense. Sam Mills may also have a shot down the road. Great leader, smart player, undersized linebacker in the Zach Thomas/Derrick Brooks/Lofa Tatupu line.

Mike: I wasn't on that show, but I would argue Jackson for the Hall if I was. Mills isn't a bad choice either. If Mills and Kevin Greene joined Reggie White, Panthers fans could at least take solace in the fact that they picked up lots of Hall of Famers near the ends of their careers.

New York Giants

Accomplishment Score: 155
Hall of Famers: 9
Index: 5.8

Doug: The modern accomplishments were pretty stacked around Parcells; the '70s were a vast wasteland for this franchise. Do more members of the Tuna's defenses get in?

Mike: I don't see it. I also don't see any New York bias in the voting. If anything, it seems like voters shy away from some "second-tier" candidates, like Phil Simms, and they took forever to decide on Harry Carson. Our list even includes Fran Tarkenton, a guy most people think of as a Vikings HoFer but who earns dual-citizenship for our purposes.

New York Jets

Accomplishment Score: 103
Hall of Famers: 3
Index: 2.9

Mike: The Jets' overall accomplishment list is pretty scant once you get past Super Bowl III. Still, the numbers say that their HoF total is pretty light. Is there someone who belongs in?

Doug: Yup. I'm gonna get my American Football League ya-yas out in this article, for sure. Defensive end Gerry Philbin. First-team All-Time All-AFL Team, and he was the man on that late-'60s defense. Unofficially, 19 sacks in 1968. Offensive tackle Winston Hill made eight All-Star Games/Pro Bowls in the AFL and NFL. Will Curtis Martin be a two-team guy?

Mike: I think of Martin as a Patriot and a Jet. Hill is an odd case because he was also one of the stars of Super Bowl III, with Matt Snell running right over him for 146 yards. I don't know why he and Philbin didn't merit more consideration.

Oakland Raiders

Accomplishment Score: 162
Hall of Famers: 12
Index: 7.4

Mike: Al Davis thinks there aren't enough Raiders in the Hall. Our numbers say otherwise. They top the AFL franchises by a wide margin, Index-wise.

Doug: And there aren't any unfairly denied stragglers. The most interesting thing to me about this franchise is that four different quarterbacks have taken the Raiders to the Super Bowl -- Daryle Lamonica, Ken Stabler, Jim Plunkett, and Rich Gannon -- and none of them, in my opinion, make the cut. Maybe Plunkett if your vote is heavily weighted in favor of the postseason, but that'd have to be a heavy weight to counterbalance 198 picks to 164 touchdowns. The appropriate four members of that unbelievable offensive line from the early '70s are in – Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Jim Otto, and Bob Brown. Oakland's glory years were marked by a lot of castoffs on defense like John Matuszak and Lyle Alzado, and the ones who stayed around long enough to be truly great like Ted Hendricks (one of my all-time favorite players) are in there as Raiders. Maybe there's an argument for Todd Christensen in a slow year.

Mike: Christensen has a case. Stabler has a pretty good case. Plunkett is the worst quarterback ever to win two Super Bowls. He really had the Trent Dilfer career -- top pick, stunk early, bounced around a bit, stumbled onto a great team -- then picked up a bonus ring because Marc Wilson wasn't good enough to replace him and the Raiders stayed great. There's still a lot of support for Ray Guy, who was a finalist again this year. Do you wanna tackle the punter?

Doug: Well, if you're going to tackle anyone ... I can't sign on to the idea of a guy who did nothing but punt making the Hall. Unless he revolutionized the position, or put opposing teams in a field-position hole unlike any other punter in history. ANYthing that stands out. Was he the best punter of his era? Sure. Why not? And normally, being the best at your position in an era gets you in automatically. That's the argument for. The argument against is just as simple: He's a freakin' punter. I tend to err on that side.

Philadelphia Eagles

Accomplishment Score: 135
Hall of Famers: 9
Index: 6.7

Doug: I'll defer to your expertise on this fine franchise. Looks like a pretty fair representation to me. Is there anyone from the 1970s who merits consideration? Harold Carmichael is a name that comes to mind, but that could be a product of my childhood memories of his consecutive games streak. In PFP 2007, Ned Macey wrote about the longtime Art Monk debate in an article entitled, "What Makes a Hall of Fame Receiver?," and Carmichael's pretty high in the stats adjusted for era presented there.

Mike: Carmichel would be an excellent candidate. That's about it. Bill Bergey might have been a marginal candidate. The Eagles get a high representation score because they fielded championship teams in 1948 and 1949, just before our study begins. HoFers like Pete Pihos and Steve Van Buren made their bones with those teams.

With an Eagles guy and a Seahawks guy here, it's a good opportunity to bring up Ricky Watters. Are you a Watters Kool-Aid drinker?

Doug: Well, seven backs have amassed more than 10,000 rushing yards and 3,800 receiving yards in their careers: Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk, Tiki Barber, Walter Payton, Thurman Thomas, Warrick Dunn, and Watters. But this is where you start to think about "stat collectors" again. How many of those guys aren't HoFers? We talked about Dunn, and Barber will get a good argument. Watters never made the Pro Bowl as a Seahawks player, though as we discuss in the Cortez Kennedy section, the Dennis Erickson Seahawks were about as juiceless a squad as you will ever see. There's also the perception of selfishness, and that could hurt Barber as well. This isn't supposed to be a popularity contest, but it's naïve to say that it isn't (see Mike's comment about Warren Sapp). Based on my own impressions, Barber and Watters are the two exclusions in that group.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Accomplishment Score: 175
Hall of Famers: 12
Index: 6.9

Mike: A few years back, I argued that the Steelers are almost comically overrepresented in the Hall. This was after Lynn Swann and John Stallworth got in, when the voters seemed determine to induct the whole starting lineup of those 1970s teams. Now, we've had six straight classes with no Steelers, and the ratios feel much better. The voters dip into the 1970s and grab a worthy player or two every year: Elvin Bethea, Roger Wehrli, Fred Dean, Carl Eller. The list of HoFers from that decade is a lot more inclusive, and the Steelers' overall inductees appear to be more in line with their accomplishments.

Doug: Right. The question becomes, who eventually goes in from the Blitzburgh teams of the mid-'90s? Rod Woodson is as sure a thing as there will ever be. I would be pretty shocked if Kevin Greene didn't make it. Dermontti Dawson has been on the top 25 list multiple times. Jerome Bettis down the road.

Mike: Greene's sack totals are hard to argue with. I am not sure about his reputation. He bounced around a lot and never engendered a lot of loyalty in any one city. Also, Derrick Thomas has been on the ballot for three years with no takers. High sack totals may not impress some voters, as I said earlier.

St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams

Accomplishment Score: 182
Hall of Famers: 12
Index: 6.6

Doug: It's too bad we're not doing coaches in this one; I'll have to save my Chuck Knox argument for another time. Linebacker Isiah Robertson is primarily known for the NFL Films highlight in which he gets gored by Earl Campbell, but the guy was a six-time Pro Bowler on a set of top-5 defenses. Anyone else we're missing before the Greatest Show on Turf?

Mike: Robertson was a great player, but I think the voters inducted Jack Youngblood, Merlin Olson, and Deacon Jones, then figured they had the Great Rams Defender of the 1960s-'70s category covered. I can't say I disagree. When Marshall Faulk, Orlando Pace, and some random assortment of Isaac Bruce or Torry Holt gets in, the Rams may look downright overrepresented in the Hall.

San Diego Chargers

Accomplishment Score: 107
Hall of Famers: 6
Index: 5.6

Mike: Fred Dean: borderline inductee? I am of two minds about him.

Doug: "Borderline" is a good way of putting it, though the general consensus was that he pushed that first Walsh San Francisco defense over the edge. There are more egregious inductees. I'd have liked to see Russ Washington elected before Dean, if we're talking Chargers linemen. One of the most underrated offensive tackles in the modern game. Five-time All-Pro. John Matuszak wrote that Washington was the one opponent that would have him tossing and turning the night before the game.

Mike: Washington's a good player. Dean's resume has a little of everything. Stats? He's got some. Great teams? Got some. He just doesn't have a lot of anything. And I remember that he had the "sacks only" reputation late in his career. Like I said, reputations fade.

San Francisco 49ers

Accomplishment Score: 188
Hall of Famers: 11
Index: 5.9

Doug: I tend to think that the Siefert/Young/Mariucci 49ers will eventually become one of those series of teams where you get random players inducted over time. I'm a bit more interested in the early '70s squads that couldn't ever get past Dallas in the playoffs. John Brodie put up some AFL numbers back when the NFL was an earthbound league, and he did it over a long period of time. He's my cause celebre, for the purposes of this article. Thoughts?

Mike: Look at Brodie, Roman Gabriel, and John Hadl side-by-side. Good numbers guys, played for successful teams, went to some Pro Bowls. Can you really advocate Brodie over the other two? And if you advocate all three, well, doesn't that open the door for Ken Stabler, Ken Anderson and about a dozen others?

Seattle Seahawks

Accomplishment Score: 53
Hall of Famers: 1
Index: 1.9

Doug: Cortez Kennedy: Eight-time Pro Bowler, 14.5 sacks in 1992 for a defense saddled with an offense that made the 2005 49ers look like the 1999 Rams. Basically unblockable through the 1990s. Not even on the list in his first year of eligibility. Duh, guys.

Mike: An absolutely great player at his peak, but no one cares about the Seahawks of the early 1990s. Seriously, talk about a team with no juice. I'm not sure Kennedy is a Hall of Famer, but he should be on the ballot. He should be talked about. Again, is this a sign of there being too many worthy players, or of a system that doesn't identify the best players quickly enough?

Doug: As much as I would love to say that Kenny Easley is a flat-out Hall-of-Famer, I just can't. There just aren't enough years in the career, and the curve of excellence just doesn't look quite right, though he was as much of a joy to watch as any player I've ever seen. Mike, I've been going back and forth on Dave Krieg for years. Is he one of those Steve DeBerg/Vinny Testaverde guys who just racked stats in a long career, or is he one all-time fumbles record away from a bust in Canton?

Mike: Homer alert. Homer alert. Back away from the Dave Krieg cigarettes. Yes, he is one of those DeBerg/Testaverde guys.

Doug: Yeah, I know. But I had to bring him up, because if you write about the Seahawks long enough, you get people saying, "But Krieg is in the all-time Top 10 in X number of categories (paints face blue)!"

Interesting thing about the 1980s Seahawks, and I think this true of most teams coached by Chuck Knox though his career, is that there were lot of good-but-not great players that skew the accomplishment/talent ratio to a point. Many high (over)achievers in the 1980s. The 1990s featured long stretches of mediocrity broken up with a patch of suckitude. If you include their current head coach (and I think most people would), there may be as many potential inductees on the current team as there have been in franchise history. Low indexes can mean different things. The Broncos have been screwed by the voters. The Seahawks just haven't had that many HoFers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Accomplishment Score: 73
Hall of Famers: 1
Index: 1.4

Doug: When you go 15 straight seasons without a winning record, it's tough to argue that you're being ignored at the Podium of Destiny. There will be enough to talk about when Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch go in. I'm voting Warrick Dunn in as the last back under 200 pounds who will ever rush for more than 10,000 yards. Anyone we're missing here?

Mike: I don't think Lynch is a shoo-in, and I am not even certain about Sapp, who may become the victim of a backlash in the next few years. He's one of those guys for whom it is very easy to remember the "downs" with the ups, and it may take voters a few years to forget his off years and sometimes dumb behavior.

Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers

Accomplishment Score: 139
Hall of Famers: 8
Index: 5.8

Mike: The Titans/Oilers franchise is pretty high on the "accomplishments" list because they racked up a lot of secondary accomplishments: a lost Super Bowl, two AFL titles, scads of playoff appearances. When you look at their HoF members, there's a good balance of 1970s, '80s, and '90s players on the list. The one guy I would add, Curley Culp, would count for both the Oilers and Chiefs in our study. Culp was an outstanding defensive tackle, a starter on the Chiefs team that won Super Bowl IV, then played on that great Oilers defense of the 1970s.

Doug: Agreed on Culp. I don't see anyone from the Bum Phillips days that isn't in there and really should be. Eddie George just got beaten down a few years too soon.

Steve McNair: HoF-level great or stat collector?

Mike: Neither. A great player and competitor who just comes up short. You can make a pretty impressive grouping of sub-HoF quarterbacks who were still very good: McNair, Phil Simms, Ken Anderson, Ken Stabler. Joe Theismann fits in here, as do some guys like John Brodie that we mention elsewhere. You can do the same at every position. The fact that there are quite a few guys and that it is hard to put them in an order everyone can agree upon makes a good argument that they didn't separate themselves enough to become true Hall of Famers.

Washington Redskins

Accomplishment Score: 142
Hall of Famers: 10
Index: 7.4

Doug: At least one of the Hogs has to get in, right? Which one?

Mike: Russ Grimm, probably. Though when you look at each Hog individually, you don't see a great HoF resume among them. Grimm was a consensus All-Pro during the Redskins' best seasons, so he's a good candidate.

With Art Monk's enshrinement, it seems like the voters are just getting around to those 1980s Redskins. Darrell Green and Riggo are in, and I have a hunch Grimm will join Monk, and that will probably wrap things up.

The Expansion Teams

Baltimore Ravens

Accomplishment Score: 27
Hall of Famers: 0
Index: 0.0

Mike: The least accomplished team on our list to win a Super Bowl. Of course, the Ravens have two HoFers in the pipeline in Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis. And Shannon Sharpe if you count him as a dual-team star.

Doug: I would. And add Ed Reed if things keep going as they are.

Carolina Panthers

Accomplishment Score: 14
Hall of Famers: 0
Index: 0

Doug: I think Kevin Greene is a future Hall-of-Famer, though most people think of him as a Ram or Steeler. Looking at Carolina's history, I don't know if they have a homegrown immortal yet. Steve Smith would have to put a lot more together, and those defensive linemen -- I just don't see it yet. Am I missing someone?

Mike: Let's see if Julius Peppers bounces back in a big way. There's nobody who is even halfway in right now.

Houston Texans

Accomplishment Score: 4
Hall of Famers: 0
Index: 0.0

Mike: We'll be arguing about Mario Williams in the year 2025 or so.

Doug: Not to mention all-time passing leader David Carr! Yeah, that's a team in need of a little more history.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Accomplishment Score: 34
Hall of Famers: 0
Index: 0.0

Mike: Tony Boselli had a chance to be the first Jaguars player in the Hall, but injuries cut his career short. I don't think Jimmy Smith belongs in. Any Jaguars HoFers on the horizon?

Doug: Nobody stands out, though if the team keeps preserving Fred Taylor in whatever solution they've been dipping him in over the last few seasons, he might amass enough yardage to tag some votes.

Closing Arguments

Mike: After the 1960s Packers and the 1970s Steelers, I think we have an expectation that a team that wins multiple Super Bowls should have six or seven Hall of Famers. Isn't that over-optimistic?

Doug: I think it depends how the team is built, and how many years the span of excellence goes. With the 49ers, you're talking about a Super Bowl era from 1981-1994, where they were never really out of contention. That's going to bring more players to the fore than a team like the Cowboys of the early 1990s, where it's basically the same team in a more condensed timeframe.

Mike: Another question: Is there a backlog of exceptional candidates? If we're still trying to push the best players from the 1980s through in 2008, should the Hall have a few nine-member classes so we can celebrate recent-era greats while we still remember them?

Doug: If that's done, it had better be done soon. More and more, as the bar is raised, you're going to get guys from prior eras losing out because the standard has changed. That's always the case, but my sense is that it's accelerated in the last 15 years or so.

I'm all for the Bill Simmons concept of tiers in the Hall of Fame. You start at the bottom with the guys who are on the bubble, and move up to the top of the pyramid where the all-time greats reside. I think it adds more potential for discussion (Ken Stabler can go in now, but in Level Three or Level Four?), which is the foundation of fandom. You're allowing for the remembrance of those players who currently fall just short, without denying the greats their greatness.

Mike: Oh, I can hear it now. "It's a travesty that Cris Carter is only going in as a Level Two Hall of Famer!" Do the Level Four guys get teeny-weenie busts and 30-second acceptance speeches? The levels are great to talk about, because it helps frame discussion. You can call Dave Kreig a Level Four HoFer, while Randy Gradishar might be a Level Two guy. But you couldn't actually build such a hall.

Doug: Sure you could. So, it looks like the Luxor Hotel instead of a giant grapefruit squeezer. What's wrong with that?

Mike: Visit Cooperstown, and you will see that baseball's Hall of Fame is filled with little shrines to the best teams. I always tell Phillies fans that Garry Maddox and Bob Boone are in the Hall of Fame: There's an exhibit about the 1980 Phillies, and you can see pictures of the second-tier stars, memorabilia, and other trinkets. Canton doesn't have as many exhibits. Maybe they can become more inclusive by beefing up the museum part of the Hall of Fame museum.

But first, they should induct a few more Broncos.

The Numbers

Here are the final results, with every franchise ranked by HoF Index:

Franchise Accomplishments HoFers HoF Index
Cardinals 73 7 9.6
Bears 138 12 8.7
Lions 133 11 8.3
Packers 170 14 8.2
Browns 190 15 7.9
Raiders 162 12 7.4
Redskins 142 10 7.0
Steelers 175 12 6.9
Eagles 135 9 6.7
Rams 182 12 6.6
Niners 188 11 5.9
Giants 155 9 5.8
Oilers/Titans 139 8 5.8
Chiefs 122 7 5.7
Colts 159 9 5.7
Chargers 107 6 5.6
Franchise Accomplishments HoFers HoF Index
Dolphins 159 8 5.0
Vikings 165 8 4.8
Bills 140 6 4.3
Cowboys 212 9 4.2
Patriots 117 4 3.4
Jets 103 3 2.9
Bengals 75 2 2.7
Broncos 131 3 2.3
Seahawks 53 1 1.9
Buccaneers 73 1 1.4
Falcons 75 0 0.0
Saints 66 0 0.0
Jaguars 34 0 0.0
Ravens 27 0 0.0
Panthers 14 0 0.0
Texans 4 0 0.0

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 29 Jul 2008

149 comments, Last at 19 Aug 2008, 7:29pm by bachslunch


by Geronimo (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:16am

I think Pat Swilling should get consideration along with Ricky Jackson and Sam Mills. He compares well with Andre Tippett, I think.

For the Rams/Oilers/Redskins, I have a soft spot for two WRs who began as kick returners and blossomed late in their careers, and were very productive late (one sign of a very good player).

Henry Ellard
Drew Hill

Were they Hall-worthy? Probably not. But I think they deserve some discussion. They are hurt by playing on some non-descript teams (especially Ellard) and for racking up numbers in a gimmicky-pass offense (Hill).

But if one of the Oiler run-and-shoot receivers deserves to go, it's Hill.

Redskins that I think belongs in the Hall: Gary Clark. Deserving consideration: Dave Butz.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:26am

I'll repost from the other thread, while asking how you guys ignored a guy with nine All-Pro selections, while mentioning Chris Doleman?

My synopsis of Vikings who are possibles….

Tinglehoff: should be in. Is hurt by Super Bowl performances when he was past his prime. In his prime, Butkus said he was the center who played him toughest, and praise doesn’t get more authoritative than that.

Marshall: Very, very, good player, but not quite dominant enough, and a HOF caliber guy shouldn’t get TOO much credit for longevity and durability, even when those qualities are possessed in ridiculous amounts, as in the case of Marshall.

Browner: Not dominant enough for long enough, in my opinion.

Doleman: Never was committed to being a great player versus the run. No.

Randle: Same as Doleman.

McDaniel: Obviously yes. Yes, Pro Bowl and All Pro selections are flawed measures of performance, but when it gets to the point that there are 12 Pro Bowls and 9 All-Pro selections, even flawed measures of performance can demonstrate worthiness.

Cris Carter: Obviously yes. Any system of evaluation which leaves out a guy who was as dominant as Carter was in the red zone passing game is missing something. Ask defensive coordinators what it means to have a receiver who can just flat out beat dbs on a very short field, time after time.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:43am

Regarding over-representation; it's unfortunate that a guy like L.C. Greenwood, who, in my opinion, is more worthy than Fred Dean or Jim Marshall, gets snubbed because people think enough Steelers from the era are in. I think Greenwood was more dominant at his position than either Swann or Stallworth were at their position.

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:48am

Will, I expected you to mention Henry Thomas. He had 1000 tackles and 100 sacks as a nose tackle. I can't think of anyone who comes close to that.

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:50am

Do the niners get any credit for Ricky Jackson and Deon Sanders from the 94 championship team?

by Dean (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:50am

What about Joe Klecko? The ever-controversial Jack Tatum? People forget how good he really was (not that I expect to see Pats fans willing to give him a fair shake). Robert Brazile and Bruce Matthews? If they're not in, they should be.

Eric Allen wasn't mentioned, and he deserves enshrinement. Six pro bowls. Once first-team all-pro. 54 INTs (18th all-time) for 820 yards (20th all time) and 8 TDs (5th all time). Started 214 games (29th all time). And that's just the numbers. In terms of impact, he was the guy in the secondary making the big play at the crucial time. If it wasn't for Eric Allen, then Randall Cunningham wouldn't have had nearly as many opportunities to choke.

Do any of Dan Fouts's old linemen deserve mention? Louie Kelcher? Big Hands Johnson? (heh, heh)

It's been discussed to death, but Jerome Bettis is NOT Hall-worthy. (And neither are Warrick Dunn and Tiki Barber, for that matter)

Nice to see some love for Winston Hill.

by Dean (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:53am

Almost forgot - yeah, the Steelers are over-represented, but what about Donnie Shell?

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:56am

Sorry for the triple post but I forgot to mention my number one niner who should be in the HOF.

Tom Rathman

Yes, I know he's a fullback but he was a vital part of the greatest offensive machine ever assembled. In the modern era fullback has been a part of most offenses (I know it's decreased in use but that is partly because noone uses their fullbacks as a run-pass-block threat anymore) I have never seen another fullback that is much better than Rathman as either a blocker (pass or lead), runner or receiver (OK Larry Centers there)

He was an awesome player who did great things in big games and personally I hate the Hall's approach that any half decent qb gets in while greats from less glamorous spots are overlooked.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:01pm

The selectors would need to maximize inductions for at least five years to get even close to having all the guys in who deserve to be.

by Jon (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:02pm

As far as the Giants go, besides Simms, Carl Banks should at least be in the discussion considering some of the other borderline candidates mentioned here. That defense wasn't all LT. Banks was thought highly enough of to be named to the 80s all-decade team after all.

Landeta and Marshall would be the other guys who you can at least realistically raise. Once he's eligible, Jesse Armstead will garner some discussion too. Unfortunately, he was stuck on some god-awful Reeves era teams.

As far as the Hogs go, Grimm seems like the best candidate. You also had to respect Gary Clark on those Washington teams, and I think he would have been a much better addition to the Hall than Monk. Chris Hanburger was before my time, but 9 Pro Bowls at least warrants a second look.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:09pm

Hanburger is glaring evidence as to the under-representation of linebackers.

by Peder (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:12pm

Suprised to not see any Randy Moss discussion. Does he fall short or do we need to wait and see?

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:34pm

If we're counting Shannon Sharpe for the Ravens as a dual-teamer, then Rod Woodson should be on the Ravens list also.

by Whelk (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:38pm

From the Bucs, Brooks is definitely a lock. Sapp should be, even if he had some downs. He was maybe the most dominant pass rushing tackle of his era, and the centerpiece (or at least mouthpiece) of the best defense of the DVOA era. While I would like Lynch to be in, I'm not as sure. He seemed like a more replaceable commodity than the other two. Dunn may have made up for it in Atlanta, but I think his case suffers from the overall suckitude of the Bucs offense when he was there.

Not mentioned in the article (great article, btw), I think that Ronde has a real argument. He's criticized for being a system guy, but really, every player in any system is a product of what's around him and what his job is. I think that his run support and pass rushing makes him different (the only CB with 20 ints and 20 sacks), and there's something to be said for uniqueness.

While I'm not going to argue here for Donnie Abraham and Hardy Nickerson, I think they're closer than people give them credit for, especially Nickerson.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:41pm

Some random thoughts on this very fun exercise:

1) I'm a Patriots diehard, and (counting Seau as a Charger) Brady is the only one from this decade that I can say "absolutely Hall-worthy". I could see Rodney making in as well in a lean year. There haven't been many safeties who have been better over the last 10 years. From earlier teams, I've maintained for years that if Stanley Morgan played for a better team in the 80s, not even a great team, but maybe the Browns or Oilers, he'd be getting strong HoF consideration.

2) I still say the only reason Ray Guy gets so much love is that John Madden has been pounding it into our heads for over two decades now. I mean, was he really the best punter ever? Based on what? Was he decidedly, or even a little bit, better than guys like Luke Prestrige, Reggie Roby, Rich Camarillo, or Rohn Stark, just to think back of my football cards from the era?

3) Dave Krieg in the HoF? Really? Was he any better than guys like Steve Bartkowski, Bert Jones, Danny White, Craig Morton, Pat Haden, Bobby Hebert, Neil Lomax, Lynn Dickey, Brian Sipe, Tommy Kramer, David Woodley, or Steve Grogan? I don't even think he's on Testaverde's level, although that's probably the best comp. Even staying within Seattle history, wasn't Jim Zorn a better quarterback?

4) Warren Sapp should be a no-brainer on the first ballot. If he's not, start taking away some people's right to vote.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:46pm

I know this is a touch of a contraversial (or inflammatory) topic, but I think that the Hall voters made a huge mistake when they finally succumbed to the pressure and put Art Monk into the Hall. In the end it seemed like the two main reasons for enshrining Monk were his statistical production and the rabid support of his Washington fanbase. If he had put up the same numbers for a team like Jacksonville or Seattle he would never have gotten a sniff. Hardly anyone ever thought he was one of the elite receivers in the game.

It isn't really Monk himself that winds me up, but rather that his name can now be used as an example for every productive but non-elite player with a long career on a big market team. Curtis Martin for example; was he really a great player? No, but I bet he ends up in after Monk did. While all this is going on offensive and defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs are getting ignored because their stats never show up in fantasy football. And some morons want to put punters and kickers in??!!

If people want to see a better Hall of Fame then the first thing that needs to change is the selection method. Closely followed by the Selectors themselves, at least half of them appear to be cretins.

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:52pm

Whelk, I'm with you on Nickerson but not Abraham.

Re Randy Moss: Of course he goes in, he's the most talented receiver ever to play the game and the best deep theat too. If it wasn't for Jerry Rice you could have argued that Moss was the greatest ever. Same goes for Owens. (I'm going to clarify this, I'm not saying Moss or Owens is the 2nd best WR ever, just that they're good enough to be considered.

Dryheat: The issue with Sapp isn't that he won't get in but rather due to the crush of very good players who retired. Personally I think Bryant Young was a better player than Sapp, they were comparable as pass rushers (though Sapp was probably a little better there, partially due to the Tampa 2 scheme) but BY is so much better in run defence than Sapp, for me he's the better DT.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:55pm

The problem with this exercise is that the hall of fame is pretty silly. Maybe if you redid it and had the gms/scouts from each era or scouts take a vote. Even then by now history will have changed the memories of the old ones. Maybe take some present days GMs/scouts and watch all the old tapes.

In any case, I think the institution is too flawed to care about. Nice article though.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 12:59pm

If Sapp gets in before Bryant Young (assuming that BY stays retired) then it is a traversty. The only argument for Sapp is that he was a better pass rusher. Even that probably wsn't true as they had similar levels of sacks and Young played on far worse defenses for most of his career. Young was a HOF calibre pass rusher and run stuffer, even his biggest fans wouldn't make both those claims for Sapp. I do think Sapp should get in, just not before Young.

Why Dave Krieg or Testaverde or any of the marginal QBs when there are already so many in the Hall. If you couldn't get in ahead of Warren Moon then tough, you clearly aren't good enough as Moon was at least one QB too far in my opinion. More Marshalls, McDaniels and their ilk, fewer QBs, RBs, and WRs. No Ray Guy or Viniatieri until every single OG, DT, LBer or DB who merits selection gets in. As that will never happen, keep them out while more deserving people are made to wait as well.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:07pm

Bruce Matthews is in. I did my own analysis of which Tennessee-era Oilers/Titans should make the Hall, and concluded none other than Matthews would. Keith Bulluck may end up deserving to (top 5 OLB for 5 years in a row, top OLB in 2004 and maybe 05 or 03, too). Seriously, though, does anybody outside Tennessee think Frank Wycheck deserves to be in the Hall of Fame?

Players mentioned:
-I loved Drew Hill, and was sad to see him go to the Falcons, but he's not very close to enshrinement.
-I would have been happier to see Henry Ellard go in than Art Monk. I'm waiting to see his 1996 DYAR-52 catches, 19.5 ypc, tops in the NFL at age 35. Stat-wise, I'd say he compares favorably to Stanley Morgan.
-Randall McDaniel should be in. C'mon, did he have to make 3 All-Decade teams instead of just 2?
-I felt like a lonely voice when I argued last offseason Randy Moss deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. I feel less lonely now.
-Richard Seymour is probably deserving in in my book.
-Derrick Brooks yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
-Dave Krieg no, no, a thousand times no.
-Ray Guy only after Dave Krieg. And after Shane Lechler and Tommy Davis, too.
-Dunn to me has a shot at making it because of the guy he's been, and, you know, that doesn't bother me at all.

by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:09pm

For the Vikings, I think Randle, Carter, and when he's eligible Moss should be in. Surprised Randle wasn't even mentioned when so few DTs have several years of double digit sacks. In a couple years, Bryant Young of the 49ers should be a lock. Agree with Tatum, even if the Raiders are over-represented. I'm not sure I agree with Bettis, but shouldn't he be a two-team guy. He was ROY with the Rams and their only offensive threat in the bad years before the Greatest Show on Turf. Finally, Hardy Nickerson (Tampa, Steelers) was the MLB on the first of those great Tampa-2 defenses and on the NFL's all-1990s team.

by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:22pm

Woops, posted this in the wrong spot, so I'll repost:

I heard an interesting theory about why the Broncos players get shafted (besides geopolitics), which is that so many of their greats played the middle of the field, where HOFers are few and far between. Safeties and linebackers have a hard time getting in, and Denver’s most obviously over-looked guys are a safety and two linebackers.

But for Tombstone Jackson — there’s no excuse. Who hasn’t heard of Tombstone Jackson?

To pervert an old, bad argument, it’s called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Excellence.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:25pm

You know, before I read these articles, it had never even occurred to me that Dunn might get HoF consideration. Was he ever even one of the five best backs in football?

by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:33pm

I have said this before and I will say it again: If Lynch gets in before Dawkins, then I will travel to the home of every HOF selector and punch him in the face.

by KillerB (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:37pm

I'm going to throw two names out there who I think are borderline, but didn't get a mention that I noticed:

Randall Cunningham
Kurt Warner

by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:40pm

I never saw him play, but it is my impression that Hanburger is the most deserving Redskin not yet in the Hall. 9 Pro Bowls, 4 1st team all-pro selections, 1972 NFC DPOY (Kansas City Committee of 101, see link in name).

True, some of his accomplishments were pre-merger (when there was less competition), but the majority of his Pro Bowls, all-pro selections, and his DPOY came after the merger. He is generally viewed by fans as the best LB in Redskins history (including Sam Huff and Wilbur Marshall).

by Dean (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:46pm

RE#20 - I'll gladly help! Dawkins is the single best safety of the last 20 years, bar none. Six time pro-bowler. 4 times first-team all pro. THE undisputed leader of Philly's defense for a decade now. The only player in NFL history with 15 sacks, 15 interceptions, 15 fumbles forced, and 15 fumbles recovered. No other player has 15 in any 3 of the 4 categories. One of only 6 players with 30 INTs and 15 sacks. 15 fumble recoveries ranks 18th all time. 18 sacks is 5th all time among DBs. Forced fumbles doesn't have an all-time list that I could find, but he's done that 26 times. Oh yeah, and 34 picks - despite being a safety. He's the only player in NFL history to have a sack, INT, fumble recovery and TD all in the same game. He needs one more INT to tie Eric Allen for the teams all-time lead. I think that he's been so good for so long that people have started taking him for granted and have forgotten just how incredible a player he really is.

RE#21 - Kurt Warner - a couple good years, but not great over a long enough period, so no.

Randall Cunningham???? Randall Freakin' Cunningham??? As an Iggles fan, I say no, no, a thousand times no! He never met a big game he couldn't choke in. If you induct Randall, you may as well let in Kordell Stewart and Michael Vick.

He's not even in the top 5 QBs in Eagles history, let alone worrying about his place in league history.

There's probably a dozen or so names (Stabler, Brodie, Kreig, et al) who have been mentioned and don't belong, yet all of them should be in line ahead of Randall Cunningham.

by MarshallRob (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:50pm

I'm surprised there's no mention of Harold Jackson in the Rams comment. The 2007 Prospectus made a good case for him in the Monk article. Jackson's been hurt by a few things: (1) his athletic peak coincided with the 70's "dead-ball" era; (2) he played with horrible QB's; and (3) his Rams teams could never get past Minnesota and Dallas (and the QB position pretty much tells the tale as to why). He never played in a Super Bowl but Jackson had a number of big catches in the postseason; I think he's third all-time in postseason YPC. In my opinion he was a better player than Charlie Joiner, his almost-exact contemporary, but Joiner had the benefit of a late-career statistical surge thanks to Air Coryell.

by Whelk (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:56pm

23 - Not saying you're wrong, but name five Eagles QBs better than Cunningham.
20,23 - Totally agree on Brian Dawkins.

I perused Dunn's stats. It doesn't look like he's ever sniffed top 5 in rushing DPAR, and he's not been that outstanding in receiving either. He was a really good player, but I think he goes in the stat collector box.

by good grief (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:03pm

warrick dunn in the HOF? - WTF -

The argument is whether or not Warrick Dunn should have ever been a starter.

I don't believe that Dunn would have been a starter on most teams. He was a pretty decent back-up, I'll give him that. Which categorizes him with about 100 other stiffs.

Warrick Dunn.


I am so disappointed in this site now.

People questioning Curtis Martin, and putting Warrick Dunn in the HOF?

I need a drink.

by Geronimo (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:06pm

23,25. Interesting question!

I'd probably put Cunningham in the top 5 of eagles QBs, but it's close.

The contenders:
Van Brocklin
Roman Gabriel

Who else is there? Even van Brocklin, Gabriel, and Jurgensen could be said to have had their better years with other teams, no?

Hell, Cunningham might be number two. Kind of depends how good you think Jaworski was.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:12pm

If John Randle ever finishes ahead of Randall McDaniel in the selection process, to say nothung of actually being inducted before McDaniel, the HOF shuld be dissolved, it will have become so silly.

by Dean (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:13pm

#26 - well said.

#25 - Donovan McNabb is the best QB in team history.

Norm Van Brocklin is a Hall Of Famer who lead them to their last championship. Yes, his best years were on other teams, but he wasn't washed up in Philly, and he got us a championship.

After that, Jaws.

4th? Tommy Thompson was one of the best QBs of his era, and lead Philly to 2 championships.

5th? Sonny Jurgensen is another Hall Of Famer. Yeah, he didn't play in Philly long, but he gave us 3 years of elite play, one of which he was 1st team all pro.

Don't like those guys? Norm Snead was no slouch, either, and he gave us 8 good years when the team was awful around him. Roman Gabriel was decent, even if we got him at the end of his career.

I'd probably rank Randall 7th, between Snead and Gabriel.

Some numbers to back up Randall Cunningham choking in the playoffs:

We all know Passer Rating isn't much of a barometer of anything, but for an 80's/90's QB, a rating of 74.3 wasn't anything to brag about, yet that's his rating is in 12 playoff games. His vaunted rushing skills amounted to just under 23 yards/game in the playoffs. His two rushing TDs were a 2nd QTR 1-yard sneak in the Minnesota/Atlanta game, and a garbage time run to turn a blowout into slightly less of a blowout in the '96 Philly/Dallas game.

12 TDs/9 INTs isn't anything to brag about.

6.6 yards per attempt (which, IMO, IS a good barometer) is downright awful.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:35pm

I'm not a Cunningham fan, primarily because I very much dislike qbs with big wind-ups, but I would caution anyone against evaluating career performance via small samples of playoff games.

Then again, Cunningham's wind-up cost the Vikings 7 points just before halftime in the Conference Championship game against the Falcons, and then he underthrew a completely wide open Randy Moss, fifty yards downfield, in ot in the same game, which allowed the db to close and break up the pass, so to hell with ol' Randall!!!!!!

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:37pm

Re #26
Ok, fine, so it's laughable for Warrick Dunn to be in the discussion. But if he is, it's also laughable for Eddie George to be in the discussion. Dunn has almost as many rushing yards, averaged half a yard more a carry over the course of his career, and did far more catching the ball. The man's 18th in career rush attempts, 21st in rush yards, and 20th in yards from scrimmage. Those are IN NFL HISTORY, not "among last year's NFC South running backs."

Ok, there's a very reasonable argument that his peak value wasn't high enough to deserve enshrinement, and I agree with it. But, he's provided a whole lot of value over the course of his career. Oh, and since you mentioned it, he was the best running back on his team the first 9 years of his career except maybe 2003 because he missed 5 games.

by Geronimo (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:52pm

Warrick Dunn : RBs :: Dave Kreig : QBs

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:53pm


I chose Martin as a good example of the kind of player I was referring to; good player, great longevity, played for big market teams. I don't think Dunn should go in ahead of him. I don't think either of them should go in.

Dunn would be most suitable for a Hall of Awesome People rather than the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Dawkins is the single best safety of the last 20 years, bar none.

I think in 1988 Ronnie Lott would have disagreed with you.

Please don't take that to mean that Dawkins shouldn't get in, he should, quickly, he is a very deserving player. I would put Lynch in too though, not enough safeties make it.

by MilkmanDanimal (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:55pm

#11, what you said regarding Ronde Barber. I realize stats don't tell it all, but he's the kind of guy who in a roto league would be great--he gets INTs, sacks, TDs, pass defenses, you name it. His picture should be next to the words "complete CB" in the dictionary; maybe he isn't the flashiest cover guy or the fastest runner, but he's good at basically *everything* he does. Oddly enough, while he has four Pro Bowl appearances, he's got five All Pro nominations. Would think Pro Bowls would be more common than All Pro, but I guess that's an artifact of the Pro Bowl voting process.

20 INTs, 20 sacks, 11 return TDs, league recognition . . . does he not even deserve a sniff? Brooks should absolutely go right away, Sapp was dominant for a number of years, and I'd probably throw Barber third on the pile, ahead of Lynch and certainly Dunn (if there's ever a Decent Human Being Hall of Fame, he's a first-teamer, though). Barber may not make it, but he at least should be in the conversation.

by Dylan (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:03pm

Anyone else notice how low the bar gets set for RBs? I understand the "Hall of Fame" v. "Hall of guys who actually help the team win" argument, but that doesn't mean I agree with it. Dunn? George? Bettis? No thanks. If you're going to make it in because you're famous, you'd better have been a trendsetter. What backs are in the league because Warrick Dunn blazed a trail for them? Sure, he's a great guy and a damn good football player, but he doesn't belong in the HOF.

That being said, Cunningham (to me) absolutely merits discussion at least. Three split MVPs, the first dual threat QB of my lifetime who was actually a threat both ways ... basically a perennial playoff QB and THE weapon on the Eagles' offense ... sure they never won it all, but trying to make it through the Cowboys, Niners, and Giants in that era was NOT easy.

Of course, as a Viking fan, I do agree with Will on '98 and Cunningham's role in it ... but a handful of bad games are no reason to keep a guy out of the HOF. Let's remember 2007 Week 10 when Eli gets inducted in 10 years ...

... not that I'm advocating that, by the way.

Oh, and Warner is an interesting case, but look at the INT numbers from '99-'02. Of course ... yeah, that crappy joke belongs in the spygate thread ...

by Dean (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:25pm

RE#33 - I'll give you Ronnie Lott. I suppose he was pretty good. :)

In a totally unrelated bit of news that hopefully won't completely hijack this thread, profootballtalk is reporting that Emmitt Smith is out at ESPN!

The world just became a better (if less interesting) place.

His contract has been "blowed out." Chris Carter "inherit this success." Apparently, "it take a [analyst] who know how to communicate" after all. As we know, "all those things messes with the mentality of your [studio program]." Now, Carter will undergo the "rice of passage." Fortunately, he appears to have "all the confidences he needs."

Apparently, the networks agreed with the idea that "the way you perform make them feel about you different." My advice to Emmitt? "Don't quit. Don't even give up." Even if you get "blindsided by Al Wi... Al Wi... Al Jackson." After all, "you cannot change the stripes of a leopard."

This just shows that "the leadership definitely have to come from the leaders," who have chosen Chris Carter. Hopefully, Carter is aware that "the percentages for teams that go into score before the first half is pretty high that they wins the game." If not, at least he can enlighten us with nuggets like "as my offense get better, my defense is goin be that much more better." I just hope he doesn't remind us how "that defense got after Tom Brady's behind today." Emmitt would know - he watched Aikman all those years. Maybe that's where he learned about "carousing the football carrier?" I'm pretty sure that's what he was talking about when he said "that can be a swing their way eventually. I just hate to be the team that they winned it against."

Hopefully, this doesn't mean Emmitt's entire life "got debacled."

I think I'm actually a little sad about this. The world just became a more boring place.

by Kick Me! (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:31pm

Why all the hate for kickers? I undertand that they're 150-pounds-soaking-wet headcases that have no earthly business sharing a field with all the real "atheletes", but they can really impact a game in an individual fashion more than anybody except a quarterback. I mean, kicking the ball 40+ yards in the wind/rain with the entire team's fortune riding on the result is a pretty mean feat. Saying they have no business in the hall is (to me) analogous to saying that closers shouldn't get into Cooperstown. They both have specific roles, at specific points in the game, and can totally change the outcome based on their performance.
Punters I won't really argue for, as they rarely have an impact on the games final result (6 yard shanks from your own 2 notwithstanding).
That being said, what kickers out there should at least get a mention?
Morten Andersen and Gary Anderson-1 and 2 all time in just about every category, and if they would just stay retired, we might actually get them put to a vote in a few years. I say they should both be in. Yes, they were definitely stat compilers, but when you are far and away the most prolific of all time at a position, you should probably get some recognition for it.
Matt Stover should at least get a nomination, if not for singlehandedly carrying the SB-winning Ravens "offense" through a 5 game TD-less stretch, for being one of the most reliable and accurate kickers in the league for 15 years.
Jason Elam might get consideration, but I think the "Denver Air" qualifier knocks him right out.
Anybody else warrant any mention at all?

by steelersfan26554 (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:41pm

"I’m going to assume that someone can explain to me why Jim Marshall is not in the Hall of Fame."

I'll give it a shot. How about the fact that he was only selected to the Pro Bowl twice during his long career? How about the fact that he was never named first-team All Pro (or maybe even second-team)? On the surface, the 127 sacks looks very impressive until, again, you take into the account that he played for twenty years. Don't get me wrong, Marshall had a very nice career, but I don't should be in just because he played forever. And, yes, I think that if two guys from the same line are already in the HOF, the third guy needs to have a very strong case. What makes Marshall so much more deserving than guys like Claude Humphrey and L.C. Greenwood? I think Tinglehoff's the bigger snub from the Vikings of that era.

Another pass-rusher from that era I'd add is Cedrick Hardman. I didn't see him in the section for the 49ers. Unofficially, he's credited with around 120 sacks. Probably deserves at least a mention.

Also, I'd add Robert "Dr. Doom" Brazile for the Oilers. And I don't understand why John Randle was at least discussed as one of the possibilities for the Vikings. If Warren Sapp ever makes it in, then Randle should, as well.

by Kevin from Philly (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:53pm

Kurt Warner??? He ony had 2 great years and nothing since. Terrel Davis deserves in before Warner.

And Sapp can drop dead, as far as I'm concerned. Cheap shot blabbermouth.

by TomG (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:54pm

I was a little surprised with the lack of discussion over Stanley Morgan's credentials. Like dryheat, I feel that had Morgan played for a more successful team, he'd probably be a more popular pet selection in the mold of Art Monk.

I think Rodney Harrison has a tough time making the Hall. He's more than deserving but that "dirty player" stigma plus his general cockiness will probably demerit him a few votes.

Finally, maybe it's just me but I always felt that Steve Wisniewski deserved more serious consideration than he has received. He kind of gets lost in the shuffle of great interior linemen of the early 1990s but it's hard to argue against his credentials (8 Pro Bowls, All-1990s Team).

by Subrata Sircar (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:58pm

If the voters had chosen to induct the entire Steel Curtain defense (picking and choosing from various lineups), there wouldn't be that many bad choices:

LC Greenwood
Joe Greene
Ernie "Fats" Holmes
Dwight "Mad Dog" White

Jack Ham
Jack Lambert
Andy Russell

Mel Blount
Mike Wagner
Donnie Shell
Ron Woodson

I wouldn't care to make a HoF case for Holmes or White, but the HoF would not be worse off with Greenwood/Russell/Wagner/Shell (and Woodson, eventually).

Of course, I'd agree with those who would say that Chris Hanburger should be in before Russell, and various others before Wagner/Shell ... but I'd guess that many people here would tend to say that the Hall would be better off with more "trench warriors" and fewer RB/WR types.

Jan Stenerud is the only (pure) placekicker in the HoF. I'm not sure how I feel about that ... I guess if any pure kicker should be in, it's him.

by Steve Sandvik (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:59pm

Speaking as a Seahawks fan:
No, Jim Zorn wasn't better than Dave Krieg. Not demonstrably. Then again, Zorn was forced into the Tarkenton school of quarterbacking by the lack of a solid offensive line, so it's hard to say what he could have done with a better supporting cast. But no, neither one of them belongs in the HoF.
Ken Easley...It was my impression (and I wasn't that old at the time) that Easley was good enough to alter the way opposing teams played--he could play very good pass defense and also be a real force against the run. Purely subjectively, I would have thought he belonged--but I haven't checked the stats (although safeties' stats are very defensive system-dependent) and haven't seen film of that era in a very long time. I do recall that he returned punts for a year or so after Paul Johns hurt his neck and had to retire abruptly, though, (and served as the disaster quarterback before Mike Tice arrived, back when teams *had* disaster quarterbacks that weren't just an immediately activatable third quarterback) and gave every evidence that he would do anything to make his team better that he possibly could.
Circumstances conspired to prevent me from watching as much football as I would have liked during the Tez era, but I would certainly say that during my time in the Navy he was the Seahawks player who was consistently mentioned by fans of other teams--even in conversations that weren't otherwise about Seattle.

Other than that, there's reason to expect Walter Jones and Shaun Alexander to get in, and presumably Lofa Tatupu barring anything career-altering, so I think we're doing OK.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 4:14pm

Re #35
Yeah, the bar is set lower for RBs than it is for, say, most OL or CB or S. To some extent that makes sense, as RBs are probably elite for a shorter period of time than any other position. I don't really like it that a guys like Randall McDaniel and Dermontti Dawson, who were All-Pro 9 and 6 times respectively, aren't in, but I think you have to look at players at the position they played in context of the position they played and the bar set for that position.

by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 4:15pm

#29 I think his point was that the competition is between Jaws and Cunningham for second, not between Jaws and McNabb for first.

Cunningham is hard to evaluate. He had freakish skills, but played for a coach who knew little and cared less about offensive football and openly disparaged the very concept of spending money on offensive linemen. Buddy Ryan was an oaf who wasted an incredible accumulation of talent.

And why no love for Seth Joyner? One of only nine men with at least 20 sacks and 20 INTs, SI Player of the Year, runner-up Defensive Player of the Year. Played with a 102-degree fever against the Oilers in 1991 and recorded eight solo tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two sacks. His stats that year were unreal, 110 tackles, 6.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and 3 INTs. Plus, he'd decleat his momma if she was wearing the wrong jersey. The very epitome of what an NFL LB should be.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 4:42pm

We all know Passer Rating isn’t much of a barometer of anything, but for an 80’s/90’s QB, a rating of 74.3 wasn’t anything to brag about, yet that’s his rating is in 12 playoff games.

On average, everyone's passer rating goes down in playoff games. Because, y'know, the teams are better. So that's a silly argument to make.

I prefer a much simpler argument against Cunningham - there was only one year at all where he rightfully was one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and that was the rookie year of some guaranteed future Hall of Fame receiver (who tends to make every quarterback he plays with look fantastic) you might've heard about.

His three Pro Bowls before 1998 were akin to Michael Vick getting voted in: highlight plays dominating the public opinion rather than actual football value. He wasn't bad those years, but he certainly didn't deserve to go to the Pro Bowl (except maybe in 1990).

by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 4:45pm

With to the regards to the Seahawks, Cortez Kennedy should be a lock. Defensive player of the year on a 2-14 team in 1992 is one of the most impressive achievements in the history of the defensive tackle position. He was a rock in the run game and a frightening pass rusher.

Dave Krieg doesn't deserve to get by any stretch, but I do think he deserves to get mentioned in articles like this. If the Hawks had won the 1984 AFC championship on gone to (and quite possibly won) the Super Bowl, he might warrant a spot on the ballot, but he was one of those guys who was always pretty good and never dominated.

Walter Jones deserves it, of course, but it is interesting to see Shaun Alexander mentioned in comment #42. I worry that his last two bad years will make people forget how good he was. He was an incredible cutback runner, and is currently the only player in NFL history to have scored 15 or more touchdowns in 5 consecutive seasons, which I think gives him reasonable claim to be possibly the best fantasy football player of all time. Of course, FO's stats don't like him, and his career is basically over now, preventing him from getting some of the gaudy career stats he had potential for (500 yards away from 10,000). Shaun doesn't deserve the Hall, I think, but for a couple of years there, he made you say "Wow!" a couple of times every game.

by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 4:59pm

His three Pro Bowls before 1998 were akin to Michael Vick getting voted in: highlight plays dominating the public opinion rather than actual football value. He wasn’t bad those years, but he certainly didn’t deserve to go to the Pro Bowl (except maybe in 1990).

In 1990, Cunningham was second in touchdown passes and fifth in rating, and also ninth IN THE NFL in rushing. He should have been MVP that year.

by John (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 5:01pm

Yeah, I think Tez should be in. Tez, Atwater, and Derrick Thomas are the first 3 90's defensive stars that I think of as far as who should be in the Hall. As far as Rodney Harrison is concerned, his cheap shot rep will keep him out. Also, I don't know if Seymour is a lock, and, after Spygate, Brady shouldn't be a first-ballot HOFer anymore.

And, as far as the Texans are concerned, don't forget about Dunta Robinson, Andre Johnson, and Amobi Okoye getting discussed someday as well.

by Kevin from Philly (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 5:02pm

Re: #46.

If "wow" was a factor, Randall Cunningham would be a first ballot selection. The TD to Jimmie Giles after being hit on MNF would be enough. Unfortunately, you also have the "oh, WOW!" factor, in which I put my head in my hand and said "oh, wow! How could he be so dumb?". That happened far too often as I sat in the Vet in the 80's and 90's for him to ever deserve the HoF.

Unfortunately for Shaun, his "oh wow" moment was "oh wow, without Hutchinson this guy isn't much".

by Zac (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 5:06pm

Re: 37. Your point is noted. However, imagine that the NFL changes field goals so that they're decided by coin toss. Each team has their own coin tosser who comes out on the field, and flips a coin to decide whether the FG makes it or not. Do these coin flippers make it into the HoF?

The problem with kickers is that there is no consistency, making it impossible to identify the top performers. In turn, you're basing a HoF pick entirely on longevity (which is what you're doing for Morten and Gary) or on anecdotal evidence based on a small sample size (Vinatieri). I mean, the holder of the highest career FG percentage is still Vanderjagt.

And Stover's a fine player, but in no way does he have the accolades that the first HoF kicker since Jan Stenrud should have. Stenrud was a 6-time Pro Bowler. Stover's been there once.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 5:08pm

#47: And he also led the league in sacks. I'll give you that I was a bit over the top in saying he shouldn't've gone to the Pro Bowl (yeah, I might be a little bitter on that one), but MVP is a bit much.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 5:56pm

Redskins 7th on HOF index chart.
So no more crying from those fans.
Also, never forget 38-9.

by Jim Glass (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 6:02pm

Jets: Philbin and Hill, definitely.

Philbin was a killer. He once said about the other DE, Verlon Biggs, who had great physical ability but kind of lackadaisical, "If I had his body people would have to pay me to let them live". If you saw him play you believed it.

Hill wiped out the whole side of the Colts DL in SB III.

From the next generation: Klecko. The guy was All Pro at three different DL positions. What more do you want? Munoz called him the strongest player he ever lined up against.

But his Jets teams never won anything, and he seems to have been kind of blackballed due to off-field issues. A steep price to pay for participating in those Smokey and the Bear movies.

by Mike Tanier :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 6:08pm

More Hall of Fame talk on NFLs Top 10 tonight! Be sure not to blink, because I am bound to be on there somewhere!

by Bobman (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 6:16pm

#49 Kevin, was that the rollout to his right about the 10 yard line vs the Giants, hit in the thigh pads by (Carson? Banks?) and almost knocked flat. Got back up and tossed a dart for the TD?

Yes, 20 years later, that's still a wow. Put that video clip in the hall.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 8:14pm


yes, play was against Giants at vetarans Stadium.

player was not Carson. Pretty sure it was Banks or LT, but leaning towards Banks.

Maybe after I do some drinking later tonire it will come to me

by nmsu (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 9:53pm

What about Kurt Warner QB? He probably had the best two or three year run of any player I have ever seen, including T. Davis and E. Campbell.

by John (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 10:01pm

You have been talking about Chris Hanburger, the old Redskin LB, and it made me think of a teammate of his, CB Pat Fischer. He played 17 seasons, was elected to 3 Pro Bowls, is one of the 70 Greatest Redskins, and had 56 INT's in his career.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 10:18pm

#61: All that needs to be said about Kurt Warner at QB is that Trent Green, with the same cast, put up similarly stellar numbers in 2000. Marc Bulger, with the same cast, put up similarly stellar numbers in 2002.

Warner had Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt at skill positions, not to mention a solid-to-great offensive line, and a system that greatly favors passing.

The Rams were the "Greatest Show on Turf," not the "Greatest Quarterback on Turf." Faulk's obviously a giant "duh" Hall of Fame lock, Holt's probably a lock, and Bruce is up there too (I'm sure most Rams fans would think he's a lock, too).

Faulk, Holt, and Bruce have succeeded regardless of who's throwing the passes, who the head coach was, or what the system was. You can't say the same about Warner. That's why they're great, and he's just a good quarterback.

by Travis (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 10:46pm

Re: 63

You could use a similar argument against Terrell Davis, if you wanted.

Davis had his four good years in the only four years in which Shanahan was the head coach and Elway the QB; wasn't effective in the 4 injury-free games he played in 1999 after Elway left; and future Denver RBs have done pretty well in the same system.

by mm (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:02pm

Well, lots of interesting discussion, but I think I'll limit my discussion to Saints players.

I think Pat Swilling should get consideration along with Ricky Jackson and Sam Mills. He compares well with Andre Tippett, I think.

I wouldn't put Swilling in the Hall. He was very good, but wasn't great for as long as the other two (both of whom I think deserve to get in).

Since its the Pro Football Hall of Fame (as opposed to the NFL Hall of Fame), USFL records should give small boosts when considering some players, like Sam Mills.

In addition to Jackson and Mills, two others who are worthy are Willie Roaf (mentioned in the last article) and Morten Andersen.

The problem with kickers is that there is no consistency, making it impossible to identify the top performers. In turn, you’re basing a HoF pick entirely on longevity (which is what you’re doing for Morten and Gary) or on anecdotal evidence based on a small sample size (Vinatieri). I mean, the holder of the highest career FG percentage is still Vanderjagt.

During Andersen's years with the Saints (his first 12 years, I think), he was the best kicker in the league. He consistently attempted more long distance field goals (50+ yards or more), was one of the best (if not the best) at kicking off, and was still always neck and neck with Minnesota's Anderson for the best field goal percentage of the era (note, Minnesota's guy did not attempt as many deep field goals, so his percentage was easier to attain).

At his peak, Andersen was the best in the league. Since then, his spectacular longevity ensures good 'career value' (even though it brings down his rate stats). If you're going to put any kicker in the Hall, it has to be him.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:22pm

#64: Yes, you could. Which is why you'll never hear me support Terrell Davis for the Hall of Fame. There's just way too much evidence he was a good back in a great position. The fact that he started to blow up a year after his best season and one in which they won a Super Bowl just adds an air of "what if" in people's minds, in my opinion.

If Kurt Warner had retired after 2001 due to some random injury or something, I think we'd be hearing the exact same comments about Warner that you do about Davis. Especially if they had won the Super Bowl.

That being said, the argument against Davis is weaker than that against Warner, simply because Davis didn't play much after that year. Warner's played a lot more. Someone could easily make excuses for Davis's later performance, or argue that his successors didn't have nearly as much success as him.

by BK (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:31pm

Randall Cunningham is easily a Hall of Fame player in my opinion. There isn't another player (maybe Lawrence Taylor) that has changed the game more than he has in the last 20 years. Not only did he perfect the art of scrambling, he also played a huge part in opening the door for athletic quarterbacks such as Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, and Steve McNair. Over a span of four years Randall averaged 3,000yds passing and 24tds. Not to mention that he also led his team in rushing in each of them four years. How many times did Vick or Tarkenton lead their teams in rushing? Oh that's right....zero! He was a 3 time NFL MVP (depending on which entity you go by) and arguably the most exciting player of his time...Barry Sanders the other. His passing and rushing stats are better than HOF quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw. The only difference is Randall wasn't surrounded by HOF players/coaches to carry him to Super Bowl wins. The biggest complaint against Cunningham was his success in the playoffs. It's all his fault...forget the fact that when in Philadelphia he had the worst offensive lines in NFL history, they had no running game besides his own, and legendary coaches in Buddy Ryan, Rich Kotite, and towards the end..Ray Rhodes. Did I mention that during the 11 years Randall played in Philadelphia that the NFC East teams won SEVEN Super Bowls? And plenty of people actually have the nerve to blame him for the loss in Minnesota during the 1998 NFC Championship game as well. Forget the fact that the defense was easier to score on than Paris Hilton. And please..don't put any blame on the field goal kicker who hadn't missed a field goal all year long but then just happens to miss a chip shot at the end to put the game away for good. Thanks Gary Anderson!!! If you wan't to keep Randall out because of his lack of playoff success then take Warren Moon out of the Hall while you're at it because he sucked too. Randall's pioneer status, statistics, and legendary plays far outweigh the fact that his TEAMS were never good enough to win a Super Bowl. Put Randall in!!!!

by irrational (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:31pm

M. Andersen got to spend the prime years of his career kicking most of his games indoors, in a division with conditions generally very favorable for his specialty. Props for the consistency and longevity but there are almost certainly many other guys who would have matched his stats in similar circumstances. Of the many kickers working on long careers and compiling good numbers, Matt Stover has the best case. Outstanding accuracy and consistency even though a significant percentage of his games were in conditions neutral or unfriendly for kickers. But really, nothing about Stover's career screams FAME, does it? Knee jerk bashers of Vinatieri need to remember that he also compiled his numbers while kicking outdoors in the northeast and that some of his most famous kicks were in lousy conditions (the two in the snow bowl plus the sub freezing game winner in the playoffs against Tennessee).

If you're going to put one kicker in the Hall to represent all kickers from the last 25 years post Stenerud, for various reasons it really should be one of those two, Vinatieri or Stover, not M. Andersen or G. Anderson.

If your argument is that no one short of Robo Kicker should go in, point taken.

by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 11:51pm

I'm surprised no one brought up the name Tiki Barber (outside the Ricky Watters reference). His final 7 years in the NFL will be a better stretch (yards from scrimmage) than any RB not named Ladanian Tomlinson. Among RBs with 10,000+ yards rushing, only Jim Brown and Barry Sanders averaged more yards per carry. Tiki, along with Faulk and Tomlinson are the only RBs with at least three 2,000+ yard from scrimmage seasons. Only Faulk had more yards from scrimmage in a season than Barber.

He's certainly no guarantee, but I think he has an excellent chance. However, his numbers could become diluted over the next few years.

by FullMoonOverTulsa (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 12:44am

As a Cowboy fan, I agree that Bryant Young should be in. He was a disruptive force at DT, and played at a high level for some time.

I also though it odd that his backup was named Junior Bryant. Byant Young/Junior Bryant, both from Notre Dame.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 1:12am

How, exactly, did Cunningham change the game? He didn't scramble as effectively as Tarkenton, who had worse teammates than Cunningham until Tarkenton was past his prime. He really wasn't all that more athletic than Elway, or perhaps even Staubach. I was being facetious regarding holding him out due to the Conference Championship against the Falcons, but I do think the Cunningham as traiblazer notion, other than perhaps the racial angle, is sometimes overplayed.

by Harris (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 8:19am

No more athletic than Elway or Stallworth?! Are you kidding? Nobody could do the things Cunningham could do. I'm on the fence about his HOF worthiness, but to suggest there are QBs not named "Vick" who were as athletic is just nonsense.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 8:37am

re #52 and, after Spygate, Brady shouldn’t be a first-ballot HOFer anymore.

Really? After having the greatest QB season of the modern NFL, his ability is tarnished by stealing defensive signals? I realize I'm walking the line between productive thread and useless argumentative thread #2, but if there's one team last year that I am sure didn't use videotape, it's New England.

Did Moss help Brady's game? Absolutely, and to a very large yet unmeasurable degree. But it seems we're not holding Marvin Harrison against Manning, John Jefferson, Charlie Joiner, Kellen Winslow and Air Coryell against Fouts, or Jerry Rice against Young or Montana. With at least five more seasons in his prime, I can't imagine a world where Brady isn't a first ballot lock.

by Herm? (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 8:55am

all I have to say is lazy + uninformed.
The Pro Bowls are voted for by lazy people, the hall of fame is voted on by lazy people. Throw the MVP's and other superlative votes in there.
It's been this way forever. When your voters discredit players because the other 52 guys around him didn't win a superbowl, he is penalized. When you play your tail off, but the rest of your team doesn't compete, no probowl, and no MVP. When you make the probowl once in a position that no one knows how to analyze, you're a probowler for life, or at least until Dr. Z changes his mind.

Light a match and start over.

by Dylan (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 9:11am


Is having Green/Bulger put up "similar" numbers really that damning? Green would have in interesting HOF case if not for all the years on the bench (assuming production remained the same), and Bulger isn't too bad himself.

And were their numbers really THAT similar after controlling for opponent/environment? This is an open question ... I'd do the research, but I'm at work now, so I'm only going to post. But I think it's an interesting question ... especially in the year Warner broke his thumb.

I realize that we're arguing Warner for the HALL OF FAME, and I'm probably on the same side of the fence as you on this, but I think that the case isn't as open-and-shut as you're making it out to be.

by Rob (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 9:40am

Who are these 4 Patriots Hall of Famers referenced?

(1) John Hannah
(2) Mike Haynes - (went in as a Raider)
(3) Andre Tippett - going in this month
(4) ?????

I think there was a mistake.

by Andrew B (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 9:41am

"Adam Vinatieri may get in, and will be the worst player in the Hall of Fame if he does."

Dude, its the Hall of FAME, not the Hall of Prtetties Stats.

Why shouldn't Vinatieri get in? Is he not the anti-Norwood?

by Rob (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 9:42am

Nick Buonocotti - pretty much a career Dolphin

by mrparker (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 10:09am

It's my opinion that any budding HOFer must be able to pass the speech test. By that I mean must be a lock to give a speech that everyone is going to be on the edge of their seats ready to listen to.

I don't really care what Tiki or Curtis Martin might have to say(for now). But Terrell Davis on the other hand, thats a speech I would have in my tivo.

If you are just making a list of deserving players to be declared hall of famers thats great. However, since their is a speech involved in the induction process that means the HOFers are going to have to have stories that we can relate to.

What the induction ceremony really amounts to is the 5 or 6 guys the committee wants to hear speak or be spoken of.

by Toxikfetus (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 10:32am

Cunningham is a good choice for those of you who want a punter in the Hall. He booted a 91 yarder one time, which I believe was the second longest punt in NFL history at the time.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 10:38am

Well, Harris, arm strength and delivery are part of athleticism. Elway had better arm strength and a much, much, better delivery. Accuracy is part of atheleticism. Elway and Cunningham were about the same in that area, as measured by completion percentage. Speed is part of athleticism, and I don't think it is proven Cunningham was faster than Elway. Cunningham had better balance and was more elusive, but balance and elusiveness aren't the only aspects to athleticism. What is the basis for saying that it is "nonsense" to assert that Elway was as athletic as Cunningham?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 10:42am

Also, if "athleticism" is going to be defined that narrowly, it should be noted that Tarkenton was every bit as elusive as Cunningham, and was a much more effective qb while being elusive.

The notion that Cunningham "changed the game" is entirely overblown.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 11:16am

People need to wrap their minds around this - Curtis Martin is going in the Hall of Fame. It might take a few ballots, but I wouldn't be shocked if he went in first try. (I don't know who else is eligible that year.) But it's going to happen, so you might want to start getting used to the idea.

by Dean (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 12:22pm


I guess my only question is, why be so defensive about it? I wouldn't have any issue with Martin in The Hall (although the first-ballot thing is overblown and irrelevent). It might take 10 years, but yeah, he's got a spot in Canton eventually.

Eddie George? No
Bettis? No
Tiki? No
Dunn? No

Faulk? Yes
Martin? Yes

Shaun Alexander? Probably not.
Westbrook? Too soon to tell.
Tomlinson? Yes.

It seems fairly cut and dry to me.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 12:35pm

If we are to evaluate HOF candidates by what they did on the field to maximize their team's chances of victory, don't ignore the fact that Martin fumbled less than just about anybody. I guarantee you that quality doesn't escape the attention of guys whose careers depend on winning games, coaches. If coaches voted on the HOF, Martin would get in on the first ballot, no doubt.

The biggest knock on Tiki Barber is the fumbling that plauged him until Coughlin coached him up, which causes me to suspect again that Barber has insufficient appreciation for what Coughlin did for his career.

by Doug Farrar :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 1:15pm

I think our only question about Curtis Martin was whether he'll be considered a two-team guy when he goes in. Can't speak for Mike, but I think Martin's more than deserving.

Alexander's an interesting case. I don't know what to think. Decent receiver, horrible blocker, had a real problem with power running, and his numbers went down without Steve Hutchinson (in 2002, when Hutch broke his leg, and after Hutch left for Minnesotain 2006), to the extent that you'd almost want to mention the blocking of that great left side on the bust were he to be voted in. He's more reliant on a line than many backs. In the end, I think he is seen nationwide as a one-trick pony too dependent on external factors to make the cut. And the soft running thing is going to kill him with the old-school voters.

He would not receive my HoF vote if I had one. I'd think about it, and I'd re-crunch the numbers, and I doubt I'd be convinced.

by Harris (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 1:24pm

So Elway had a better arm (a debatable point and I don't care about delivery so long as the ball gets to where it's going) and Tarkenton was at least as elusive. But Cunningham has a better arm than Tarkenton and was more elusive than Elway, while being just as accurate. I saw Elway make some great throws but I never saw him do anything to make me think he could ignore the laws of physics the way Cunningham could. I never saw Elway flip over a defender or get knocked completely horizontal, land on his feet and regain himself in time to throw a touchdown. And, as somebody mentioned above, I never saw Elway hit a 91-yard punt.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 1:50pm

Harris, if you don't care about delivery, you don't make your living by trying to avoid negative plays by an NFL offense. So Elway has better arm strength, better delivery, which are both athletic qualities, and Cunningham had better elusiveness and balance, which are ahtletic qualities. Why is it "nonsense" to say that Elway's athleticism was equal to Cunningham's? Because he had a huge punt once?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 1:57pm

Also, it really isn't debtable as to whether Elway had better arm strength than Cunningham. Cunningham had good arm strength, and could certainly throw the ball deep with a high arc. Elway had an absolute cannon, which allowed him to make the across the field throw on a broken play, 60 yards downfield, on a frozen rope, when the situation demanded it.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 1:59pm

I wasn't trying to be defensive, it's just that I got the impression from some of the comments in the thread that people think Martin is borderline or the RB equivalent of Art Monk. He's better than that, and I think it will be reflected in the voting.

And I'm not just saying that as a Jet fan, it's my honest appraisal of how the Hall works and what criteria they use.

by Dean (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:05pm

RE Alexander: "And the soft running thing is going to kill him with the old-school voters."

I must be old-school. To me, Alexander never met a sideline he didn't like. And yes, I believe that should be held against him.

In regards to Randall's punt, yeah, it went 91 yards, but it went about 50 in the air (which is still pretty good) and another 40 on the roll.

He's another one that no old-school (I really hate that term) voter would ever consider. All flash, no substance. Randall is probably the first football player to really have his image blown out of proportion to his abilities courtesy of Sportscenter.

Even more then the highlight reel plays, when I think of Randall Cunningham, I think of the gold-tipped shoelaces. I think of the guy who left a preseason game at halftime, took a helicopter to Atlantic City, and was hanging out with some celebutard singer, BEFORE HIS TEAMMATES HAD FINISHED PLAYING THE GAME. I think of the Randall lead the charge to get Buddy Ryan fired and ushered in the Rich Kotite era. That team was a player or two away from a Super Bowl ring, and Randall trashed it.

And he, arguably, had the slowest release in NFL history. Certainly the slowest I've ever seen.

Look, after it's all said and done, the guy was a heck of a quarterback. But the woods are full of QBs of his caliber who will never get into the Hall Of Fame.

His image, much like Michael Vick's a generation later, is skewed. Sportscenter kids see the highlight reel plays (the league marketed him every bit as heavily as Reggie Bush, Michael Vick, Peyton Manning, etc. as the "Next Big Thing") - but the highlight reels don't show the bad decision making, holding the ball forever, wretched fundamentals, etc.

The guy wasn't dog meat, but he wasn't a Hall of Famer, either.

by steelersfan26554 (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:12pm

RE#84 People need to wrap their minds around this - Jerome Bettis is going in the Hall of Fame. It might take a few ballots, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he went in first try. But it’s going to happen, so you might want to start getting used to the idea.

Sorry to take your post Devin, but I thought it fit well. ;)

Bettis was the best big/short-yardage back of the last two decades and, yes, it doesn't hurt that his fame/likability factor is pretty high and that he has a ring.

As for who else is eligible that year (Class of 2011), here are the other first-time notables for that year:

Marshall Faulk
Curtis Martin
Willie Roaf
Deion Sanders

I would think Faulk is a no-doubt about it lock. I think they could make Deion "I never made a tackle in my life" Sanders wait a year or two, but I wouldn't be surprised if he goes in on his first try. A good case could be made for Roaf being a first-ballot guy but, since he's a lineman and he didn't get a ring, the odds are he'll have to wait a year or two.

That leaves Bettis vs.Martin. Pretty even resumes, but, for the reasons I mentioned, I think Bettis gets the edge if it comes down to only one of them being able to get in on the first ballot. I think Martin deserves to get in too, but I think I'd draw a line after he and Bettis as far as RBs from that era go. That means no HOF induction for Barber, Davis, Dunn, George, Watters and Corey Dillion.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:14pm

I want to emphasize that I'm not trashing Cunningham. I jut think the hype regarding the supposed trail blazing nature of his athleticism is overblown.

Regarding delivery; the notion that every qb coach in the NFL is wasting his time when he works with a qb on delivery seems a little odd.

by Travis (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:15pm

In regards to Randall’s punt, yeah, it went 91 yards, but it went about 50 in the air (which is still pretty good) and another 40 on the roll.

New York Times, 12/3/1989:

The officials spotted the ball on the 2-yard line, making it fourth down and 33 yards to go for a first down.... The [punt] sailed to the Giants' 39 and bounced to the 7 before an apparently baffled Meggett picked it up and returned it 9 yards.

59 yards in the air, with a 32 yard roll.

by steelersfan26554 (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:17pm


I do wonder if Martin will fall victim to some of the same things that kept Monk out for so long. For the record, I think Monk deserves to be in, too.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:19pm

If you want to gain insight as to what is wrong with the HOF selectors, the fact that they are likely to put more emphasis on Bettis having a Super Bowl ring than Martin having the lowest fumble rate in history pretty much sums it up, and I don't mean that as a rip of Bettis.

by steelersfan26554 (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:22pm

RE #96

Yeah, I'm not saying that I necessarily agree that one guy having a ring and another guy not having one should be used as a tiebreaker, but I'm sure it is in some cases.

by Harris (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:34pm

I suppose it depends on how one defines "athleticism." I consider it to be abilities that would help an athlete in any sport: speed, strength, agility, balance, and vision. It seems, Will, that you define it in this case the a superior ability to perform a particular job. Elway's arm-strength (though he did have better vision) only helps him in baseball and maybe tennis, whereas Cunningham's ability would make him better at almost any game. I'm not saying one is necessarily better than the other -- after all, Elway's skills did win two rings and get him into the HOF. But if the two competed in the decathlon, Cunningham would win hands down. That's why I think he's probably the best athlete to ever play the position, though he is probably not among the best QBs in history.

by Dean (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:39pm

"I think he’s probably the best athlete to ever play the position"

I think Sammy Baugh might take issue with that.

by Doug Farrar :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:41pm

Marshall Faulk had a four-year run from 1998 through 2001 in which he was about as productive as you could realistically expect a player to be. He's a slam-dunk if ever I saw one.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 2:54pm

Oh, I wouldn't be so sure about the outcome of such a decathlon. Elway may well win the 100 meter, javelin, shot put, discus, pole vault, just off the top of my head, so I'd be hesitant to make that conclusion.

by Tracy (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 3:20pm

It's hard to know based on what we saw on the football field who would win a decathlon between Elway and Cunningham. One thing's certain, though: Cunningham's exceptional balance and elusiveness wouldn't help him succeed as a decathlete. And besides, being good at the decathlon doesn't qualify you to play quarterback in the nfl.

Put me in the camp of those who think Elway was the superior athlete, because he was offered the opportunity to play professionally in 2 different sports, and because he's now a scratch golfer. I don't think that either of those things are true of Cunningham.

by Harris (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 3:25pm

I disagree about the 100 meter and I'm not sure why you think Elway would be better at the pole vault. Shot put is a toss up, as is the 800. Cunningham would likely sweep the jumping events (Go ahead and call me a racist; I can't hear you from up here). The 1500 would likely kill them both. I could figure all that out, but this is rapidly becoming something like work.

by MilkmanDanimal (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 3:42pm

I find it simply stunning that FO has yet to come up with advanced statistics to help predict how football players would succeed in other sports. If I don't get a metric to predict whether Alge Crumpler or Lance Briggs is the likely better synchronized swimmer I'm out of here.

by Geronimo (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 3:43pm

Randall Cunningham -- in his Eagles days -- is one of my all-time favorite players.

But I think his case for the Hall is completely unpersuasive.

In fact, off the top of my head, I would say that Jeff Hostetler, Rich Gannon, and Brad Johnson have better cases for enshrinement than RC.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 4:09pm

Pretty funny, milkman.....

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 4:29pm

Were Elway and Cunningham to compete in a modern pentathlon, it would shake out as follows:

Pistol Shooting: Advantage Elway - John's better vision and accuracy allow him to run away with this one.

Epee Fencing: Advantage Cunningham - Raw athleticism and some Erroll Flynn moves allow Cunningham to defeat Elway on the field of honor.

Swimming: Advantage Elway - Cunningham finds himself at a distinct disadvantage in the water, and his doggy-paddle proves ineffective against Elway's speedy back-stroke.

Show Jumping: Advantage Cunningham - He doesn't need a horse to clear the obstacles.

3k Cross-Country Race: Advantage Elway - Cunningham takes an early lead, but Elway overtakes him after Cunningham starts running sideways to evade trees and mud puddles.

I hope this helps in our discussion

by Travis (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 5:16pm

2 historical precedents for Cunningham-Elway:

1. The Superstars competitions on ABC in the 1970's. Worth it if only to watch Joe Frazier swim.

2. "I Challenge You!" After the 1984 season, when it looked like Franco Harris would break Jim Brown's career rushing yardage record, Harris and Brown participated in a made-for-TV competition. Brown (48 at the time) won the basketball and racquetball events, while Harris (34) won the 40-yard dash and receiving (Phil Simms was the QB, with Brown and Harris alternating at WR and CB) competitions.

by CarolinaNick (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 5:41pm

Cunningham should get in, but only if he's inducted as QB Eagles.

by Monkey Business (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 6:43pm

I don't understand how Vinatieri isn't a lock for the HoF at this point? I mean, the guy has been arguably the most clutch kicker in NFL history. He's solely responsible for 4 Super Bowls on two teams. He's had some of the most memorable kicks in NFL history (The Tuck Rule game, Indy's game against Baltimore in 06, against the Rams and Panthers in the SB). At some point, you have to say "We're going to let a kicker in, but you basically have to be the best kicker of all time. You have to be unbelievably clutch, win multiple Super Bowls, and be personally responsible for at least one of them." I mean, you have to set the bar high, but how high is too high? If Vinatieri doesn't get in to the Hall, then they need to say "We're no longer considering kickers and punters for enshrinement."

by Eddo (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 8:26pm

110 (Monkey Business):
Vinatieri is "solely" responsible for four Super Bowl victories? So Belichick's defensive schemes, Brady's cool under pressure, John Kasay's botched kickoff, Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid's poor clock management, Bob Sanders and the Colts' defense playing out of their minds, and Rex Grossman's turnover propensity had no effect on any of those games? Seriously?
Don't forget, Vinatieri missed two field goals against Carolina; had he simply done what a Hall of Famer would do in that game, he would have never had to kick a game winner in the final seconds.

by Daniel (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 9:38pm

I don't think that anyone would necessarily be against a kicker or punter making the Hall of Fame. The question is, who gets left out to let them in? Since the HoF arbitrarily caps the number of players for enshrinement, in order to elect Ray Guy you need to snub another deserving player who played full time. What they need to do is open up the enshrinement to any and all players that receive mention on 80% of the ballots. If that means 15 guys get in one year, great. If only 2 get in the next, so be it. But they have to do something to alleviate the logjam they have created or many deserving players may never have a shot to get in.

by Schuyler (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 10:13pm

I hear people knocking Warner on the grounds that Green and Bulger produced similar results with the same cast.

When exactly did Green or Bulger have a seasons close to '99, '01, or the portion of '00 that he played in? I'll tell you when: It NEVER happened. The closest was maybe Bulger in the year he was splitting starts with Warner, but that was less than half a season of starts to go off of.

Warner himself hasn't able to replicate his level of performance after '01 either, but Bulger and Green darn sure didn't.

by NF (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 10:32pm


One thing about Terrel Davis' decline is that if we knew then what we know now, his injury and decline would be anything but unexpected. After carrying the ball 392 times in the regular season and 78 times in the playoffs, the curse of 370 (390 including playoff carries) got him even worse than it got Corey Dillon, Shaun Alexander, Jamal Anderson, etc.

In fact, a good comparison for how completely Terrel Davis was ruined by over-work is Jamal Anderson, who was the same age (26, two years younger than the peak age for most RBs), and had only 20 more carries in the regular and postseason. Jamal Anderson's only other full season (2000) was definitely below replacement-level in both rushing and receiving, and the only reason he saw as many carries as he did is that he was the only running back the team gave the ball to. I'm barely exaggerating, Chris Chandler was second in carries with 21.

I actually think that if Terrel Davis comes out as having the top rushing DYAR and top-10 DVOA of 1998, and is in the top-4 DYAR for 1996 and 1997, a sabermetric-like argument could be made that the destruction of his career was clearly caused by his over-use in 1998. Also, had he not been overworked, he would have had even greater seasons in 1999 and 2000. We never really saw the real limits of what Terrel Davis could have done.

I know its speculation, and I know that the system undoubtedly improved his numbers but what FO has found about RBs indicates that his decline was anything but a freak occurence, and that if he had stayed healthy, he was very likely to get even better.We should consider the possibly that he was an average HoFer in the making who was in a system that made him appear to be on the path to be one of the greatest of all-time.

by Alaskan Viking (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 1:45am

Re: 49
Where Cunningham's best year is the same as Moss', that's one of the best arguments for Randy's HOF credentials. The following year, Jeff George resurrected his career. Culpepper was once considered an elite NFL QB when he was throwing the ball to Moss, and in 2004 was on pace to break Marino's TD record before Moss got hurt. His injury crept up again in Oakland, where he also became a victim of some of the worst coaching ever, but Collins and Brooks had their better games when he was in the lineup. This last year with Brady showed that he's still the best deep threat in the game and a player a defense has to account for. When I think of a player who dominated at his position over his career, Randy Moss certainly fits that description.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 2:01am

#113: Really?

Kurt Warner, 2000, DVOA: 25.2%
Trent Green, 2000, DVOA: 25.2%

I'm not kidding you. Exactly the same. Warner put up slightly better conventional stats (hence his VOA is higher) but Green faced tougher defenses on average, and so their DVOA ends up the same.

In more conventional stats, Green put up a higher passer rating in the games he played in 2000 than Warner did, entirely due to the fact that Warner had a very high interception percentage in 2000 - 18 interceptions in 347 attempts would put you in the bottom of the league most years. That's under 20 attempts per interception! It was good for third in the league in interceptions, on only two thirds of a season! Green's was a much, much better 5 in 240 attempts, which would put you near the top of the league most years.

Oh, and what about in 2001? Warner's DVOA was 33.2% Man, that's higher, you're right. Wonder how Marc Bulger could ever... wait, his DVOA in 2002 was 34.6%! Prorating Bulger's 2002 attempts to match Warner's attempts in 2001, Bulger in 2002 would've had 4615 yards, compared to Warner's 4706 in 2001.

It's patently ludicrous to say that Bulger and Green never had years comparable to Warner. They did in the same years they played with him.

And Green and Bulger haven't replicated his performance? Really? Green's 2003, 2004 and 2005 are easily as good as Warner's 2000. He doesn't have the same gaudy high yardage stats, but he also doesn't have Warner's ludicrously high interception percentage in 2000 and 2001.

by mrparker (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 3:16am

re 113,
Basically we should all shudder to think of what the greatest show on turf could have been had T. Green not blown out his knee. Afterall, Green never got the chance to throw to two arguably hof level players, while simultaneously having possibly the best all around back in nfl history.

by Dean (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 8:12am

There's been a lot of talk about QBs in this thread, but very little about QBs who are not yet elligible.

Brady and Peyton are obvious, and I think there's a consensus that McNair falls in the "good, but not good enough" category, but what about some of the other guys?

It's too early to say on the young guys (Palmer, Big Ben, etc), and I don't think anybody's dusting off space in Canton for Drew Brees or Jeff Garcia, but what about Donovan McNabb?

I am, admittedly, biased on this one, but I think that he belongs.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 10:03am

Re #118
Yes, you're biased. In my book, I say he's comparable to, but behind, Steve McNair. Both have had a couple elite-type seasons (McNair fares a little better in this regard) and spent a while being somewhat to fairly above average. Both will make fine additions to the FFHoF for their ability to provide rushing touchdowns.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 4:51pm

#119: It really depends. If McNabb retired now, he wouldn't end up in the Hall of Fame. That's pretty safe to say.

But McNair retired at 34, and that's still 3 years in the future for McNabb, and there's no guarantee that McNabb will retire at 34, either - in fact, I'd say it's unlikely. McNair had recurring injury problems (primarily his shoulders, back, and rib area), whereas McNabb's are just "standard athlete injuries" - ankle, sports hernia, and a torn ACL.

I also think saying McNair fares a little better in "elite-type seasons" is debatable. It depends on whether or not you think McNair having an elite season in 2003, when passing games were depressed, is better than McNabb having an elite season in 2004, when passing games were up all around. McNabb's 2004 was certainly better than McNair's 2003 objectively, not accounting for the year.

Like I said, I think the case for McNabb really depends. If he has another 2004-level year and his team wins the Super Bowl, I think he's an eventual lock (not a first-ballot, though, probably). If he has 2 more 2004 level years, I think he's got a good shot even without a ring.

McNabb, with those additions, would be really easy to defend. Especially since most people still buy the "QBs get credit for team victory" thing. McNabb's got a historically low interception percentage, is one of the best run/pass threats in the history of the league, and his team was consistently good for years.

Really, with "Hall of Fame worthiness," I usually like to look at contemporaries. If you can always say "yeah, but player X who played at the same time was better at that", then I think that person will often fall short. I think McNabb, with the additions I mentioned earlier, stacks up well against Manning/Brady - McNabb's much more of a running threat than they are, and his interception percentage is lower than both (far lower if you only use 2002-2007), and McNabb even had that run in 2006 where his yards/completion were just way, way higher than anything Brady or Manning had in their careers (yes, it's true - it's over a yard higher than either, even higher than Brady's last year). So with those three, you've really got three different kinds of quarterbacks, so I think all three could get in. You could easily make an argument that McNabb was a "smart, scrambling big-play quarterback who was unlike anyone else in the game when he played," and that would easily differentiate him from his peers.

With McNair, I don't think he really stands out, which is the problem.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 8:43pm

Re #110: if Nick Lowery, still among the top scorers of all time and (depending on how one looks at it) one of the most accurate place kickers ever can't get a sniff for the HoF, why does Adam Vinateri deserve to get in ahead of him? And does Vinateri belong in before Gary Anderson or Morton Andersen? I'm not so sure.

by Schuyler (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 11:28pm


Compare Green in '00 to Warner in one of his MVP years, you will find that he comes up short.

You are only looking at five starts and he put up significantly worse DVOA than Warner did in either of his MVP seasons.

I'm thoroughly unimpressed by your breakdown since it completely ignores the seasons that I said Bulger and Green never came close to replicating.

Try making some sort of comparison where you include 99 and 01.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 11:46pm

#122: I did make a comparison with 2001. Bulger in 2002. Right up there.

Why didn't I make a comparison to 1999? Because that's the first year the Rams had Faulk, and I think Warner's psycho numbers that year had a lot more to do with the fact that the league had no idea how to deal with Martz utilizing Faulk.

Faulk's yardage from scrimmage declined every year from 1999 until the end of his career. 1999 was quite literally Faulk's peak. It's not really surprising that "QB Rams" had a career year.

by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 08/01/2008 - 9:38am

Re: 123

Faulk's total yardage per game was essentially the same in 1999, 2000, and 2001, but he missed 2 games in each 2000 and 2001.

1999: 151.9 in 16 games
2000: 156.4 in 14 games
2001: 153.4 in 14 games

Trent Green started both of the games Faulk missed in 2000. Warner started the two games Faulk missed in 2001, but Trung Candidate averaged 179 total yards in those games.

by Schuyler (not verified) :: Fri, 08/01/2008 - 2:27pm

According to the best RB seasons ever article Faulk's best year was 2000, which was a relatively down year for "Rams QB", mostly due to Warner's injury.

It also doesn't explain why Warner was able to replicate his success from 99 in 01.

The fact that Warner led the team to two NFC titles and a superbowl win is also significant. The Green/Bulger years have gotten the Rams as far as the divisional round.

Just going off of DYAR and DVOA the fact remains that neither Green nor Bulger ever matched Warner's two MVP seasons. Add to that they never led the league in those categories, which Warner did by large margins.

All of that adds up to that the Rams offense was never as effective with Bulger or Green as it was with Warner, no matter how you slice it.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Fri, 08/01/2008 - 8:01pm

Re: #62 -- what's the rationale for Pat Fischer over a whole slew of other DBs, including Bob Boyd, Abe Woodson, Jack Butler, Bobby Dillon, Jim Patton, Cliff Harris, Lemar Parrish, and Johnny Robinson?

Re: #44 -- Steve Wisniewski indeed has a really good all pro/pro bowl/all decade team profile (4/8/90s), but also a strong reputation as a dirty player. The latter may hurt his HoF chances a good bit.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Fri, 08/01/2008 - 8:10pm

Re: #28 -- Agreed regarding Harold Jackson. People who push for Harold Carmichael, Drew Pearson, and Cliff Branch for the HoF (which I have no problem with) should be aware that Jackson's stats are every bit as good. I think they should all be in.

by nmsu (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 12:51am

curtis martin is the art monk of rbs. He was never great, but will get in because of his longevity and the fact that he played in Boston and New York.

by mediator12 (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 10:53am

Several points being missed here.

1. When comparing players across era's, you miss context issue's like Pro-bowls, All-pro, Free agency, and longevity. The environment is completely different in the FA era and the expansion era.

More teams means more talent distribution, more competition for spots on all-pro, less elite players playing together and staying together like PIT, SF, and DAL.

There is SO much turnover from year to year, around 25% of each teams roster, that just getting chemistry together is difficult. Teams change coaches and schemes like they are going out of style.

The one thing about Football is it is a team sport. Performance is SIGNIFICANTLY affected by those who perform their job around you. PIT was so dominant for many reasons, but it is best compared to having the best players playing together in their era. Would Lynn Swann be in the HOF playing for the Cardinals instead of PIT in the Same Era? Highly unlikely and no one would probably even know his name who was not a long time Cardinals fan. The reason is he did not have dominant players around him to take the emphasis off just him.

2. Hall of fame voting is seriously biased with no easy way to fix it IMHO. Sports writers are some of the least open minded people I have had a conversation. They are serious homers with the objectivity of a parent whose son plays QB on the team they coach.

3. Injuries totally skew the way you look at players. Injuries destroyed Gale Sayers career, John Elway played his entire NFL career WITHOUT an ACL in one of his knees, and a guy most people do not understand in Ricky Williams has had mental issues that will keep him out of the discussion altogether when he could easily have been right here in the discussion.

Therefore, the whole Cunningham was more shaky than Elway argument is skewed by the fact that Elway never had an ACL to use in avoiding players and Cunningham DID. If he did not have an ACL, there would be no discussion about him at all, and he probably would never started in the NFL IMHO. Reading defenses and delivering the ball on time were never his strong points, that is what most NFL QB's have to do if they can not just run when they misread a defense.

4. Terrell Davis did get the kiss of death with so many carries in 2008. The amazing thing is he did so not getting many touches in the 4th quarter of those games! Shanahan actually sat him late in games that season. He could have shattered the yardage record if he played whole games and stayed healthy. DEN had a lot of leads that year and they let Loville And Hebron have the garbage carries.

by MarshallRob (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 12:57pm

Re: #127. I wouldn't mind seeing all those guys in though my order would be Jackson, Carmichael, Branch, and Pearson. Branch's totals aren't as impressive as the two Harolds but what Branch did from 1974 to 1976 is really incredible when you compare him to every other receiver of the time. He was Jerry Rice really for 3 years.

The Hall of Fame has the wrong Seventies receivers in. Jackson, Carmichael and probably Branch were all better than Joiner and Biletnikoff, and all three caught many more balls than Swann.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 1:13am

Re #129,130:

Lynn Swann isn't in the Hall of Fame for his numbers; in fact, they kept him out for more than a decade. He's in because he exemplified athletic grace during his career. Not every catch he made was like the ones from Super Bowl X, but that wasn't an unrepresentative performance. If Swann had played in St. Louis, he still would have been noticed, and the Cardinals certainly would have been a better team.

by John (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 2:58am

126. I didn't say Fischer should be in, I just think he should be discussed, that's all. But, I would take Atwater over any of those DB's that you mentioned.

by Phillys (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 4:58pm

Does this prove that there is an anti-Dallas Cowboys bias in the Hall of Fame. The Cowboys are listed ridiculously low on the list with a 4.2. Can it be that the Cowboys were comprised of teams with many, many, many "very good but not HOF players" instead of "several HOF players and several average players".

Of the Cowboys nine HOFers in this list, who is the ninth - Adderly or Ditka? Can they really be considered Cowboys with only three seasons?

Cliff Harris, Bullet Hayes, Harvey Martin, Drew Pearson, Lee Roy Jordan, Chuck Howley...

by xtimmygx (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 8:44am

Its not fair to ask to compare Bulger/Green to Warner's 99 and 01 seasons because they didn't play those years. However, if you look at the 2000 season where Warner and Green both played significant amount of time, Warner started 11 games and Green started 5 and played in 8 and Green put up better numbers. In 2002 Bulger started 7 games and threw for 1826 yards with a completion pct around 65 and an int% around 2.5. Kurt started 6 games but played in 7 and less yards, similar com% and an int% double that of Bulger. By 2003 Marshall Faulk and isaac bruce were both over 30 and likely on the decline. You can't pick and choose Warner's 2 best seasons out of 4 and not compare what he did in 2001 with the same offense when there is an option to compare his replacements performance in that same season.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 7:19pm

Some other players not mentioned in the original ramble above who are eminently worth consideration:

Los Angeles/St. Louis: Henry Ellard, Harold Jackson, Les Richter

Minnesota: Joey Browner

New England: Ben Coates

New York Giants: Jim Patton

Oakland: Cliff Branch

Philadelphia: Maxie Baughan, Pete Retzlaff

Pittsburgh: Jack Butler

San Diego: Walt Sweeney

Tennessee/Houston Oilers: Robert Brazile

San Francisco: Abe Woodson, Tommy Davis, Billy Wilson

Washington: Gene Brito, Jerry Smith

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 7:21pm

And also add Chris Hanburger (Washington) to the list above.

by Steph (not verified) :: Tue, 08/05/2008 - 10:15am

Though nobody will really speak up for the old school Oilers (Houstonians are bitter that those Oilers are in the TN side of the hall, and Titan fans never saw them play so they don't know what they are talking about), I think a deserving candidate to go along with Curly Culp would be Robert Brazile.

Bum Phillips claimed that Brazile was LT before LT. Dr. Doom may have been the first modern linebacker in size, strength and speed. He was defensive rookie of the year, a 7 time pro bowler, 5 time all pro, 2 time first team all pro, and is the only linebacker from the all-70s team not to make the Hall of Fame.

He was great against both the run and pass and had high tackle numbers despite teams running away from his side of the field.

His numbers compare favorably to Andre Tippett's who just got into the Hall, but unfortunately for Brazile, as I understand it, sack statistics weren't kept by the NFL prior to 1982.

Culp should be in the hall, and Brazile is likely not going to get into the Hall because I believe this is his last year of eligibility and who is going to speak up for him? Not Houstonians and not Titans.

by Joseph (not verified) :: Tue, 08/05/2008 - 5:47pm

Why is it that his sustained excellence over 15 seasons, that a level of play with the New Orleans Saints that puts him 10th on the NFL's all-time sacks list and second all-time in fumbles recovered, that six Pro Bowls and five All-Pro teams and one Super Bowl ring, is not enough to earn enshrinement for the player who arguably is the best in Saints history?
It was hard to not wonder about that over the weekend when Andre Tippett made his speech. Not to hate on Tippett, the former pass-rushing specialist who helped New England reach its first AFC championship game in the 1985 season. His two-year sack total of 35, in 1984-85, remains a league record for linebackers.
But Tippett's 100 career sacks are 28 short of tying City Champ. His 17 fumbles recovered are 11 short of Jackson's total. He missed five games because of injury in 1986; Rickey missed four because of injury in his career.
John DeShazier can be reached at jdeshazier@timespicayune.com
Posted by wbankboy on 08/05/08 at 9:18AM
Let's make a little comparison:
Rickey Jackson - started 225 out of 227 games played
Lawrence Taylor - started 180 out of 184 games played
Rickey Jackson - 128 career sacks
Lawrence Taylor - 132.5 career sacks
Rickey Jackson - played 15 seasons
Lawrence Taylor - played 13 seasons
Rickey Jackson - 40 forced fumbles
Lawrence Taylor - 33 forced fumbles
Rickey Jackson - 29 fumble recoveries
Lawrence Taylor - 10 fumble recoveries
Rickey Jackson - 8 interceptions
Lawrence Taylor - 9 interceptions
Rickey Jackson - 1173 total tackles
Lawrence Taylor - 1088 total tackles
What more needs to be said?

Not to take credit for another's work, I thought I should copy this from nola.com as it is VERY relevant here. I don't believe the poster "wbankboy" is claiming that Jackson is as good as LT, just that--if we are comparing stats--Jackson has them, and in spades. He was the best linebacker in the best ever group (according to ESPN) of LB's--he, Sam Mills, Vaughn Johnson, and Pat Swilling (from L to R). BTW, for you ESPN haters, they were rated #1 by a NFL Network panel also.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 08/05/2008 - 6:46pm

#134: After all, if you look at all of Green's years, he put up more DYAR in 2004 than Warner did in 1999. Warner's 2001 is still better, but it's not like it's heads and shoulders above it.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Tue, 08/05/2008 - 7:14pm

Re #6: Can't see a case for Jack Tatum who has no 1st team all pro selections, no all decade team memberships, and 3 pro bowls when, for example, Lester Hayes is still not in with a 2/5/80s profile. And Joe Klecko's postseason profile is similar to that of Mark Gastineau and Fred Smerlas -- that'll be a tough logjam to break. And why Eric Allen over guys like Deron Cherry, LeRoy Butler, Steve Atwater, Joey Browner, or Aeneas Williams, all of whose careers overlapped his and who have more all pro selections?

Re #8: Why Tom Rathman over Larry Centers or Mike Alstott? Especially since Rathman never once made a pro bowl or was named a 1st team all pro while the other two have such things on their resumes?

Re #10: Am all for Chris Hanburger being in the HoF with 9 pro bowls, but consider that LBs Maxie Baughan (9), Les Richter (8), Robert Brazile (7), Andy Russell (7), and Randy Gradishar (7) aren't in either.

Re #15: Agreed on Ray Guy. Would like to see the good solid stat-laden argument that proves he's the greatest punter ever as some vehemently suggest. I'd like to see an argument that says he's better than, say, Tommy Davis or Jerrell Wilson, for starters.

by nmsu (not verified) :: Wed, 08/06/2008 - 1:48am

Aside from Randy Gradishar, Curly Culp is the most deserving player from the 70s not in the HOF. He re-defined the way defense could be played.

Perhaps the 3-4 would have never caught on without someone like him setting the tone. Think of the potential snowball effect. Players like Lawrence Taylor & Andre Tippett who thrived in the 3-4 may not have had the same impact playing OLB in the traditional 4-3.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Fri, 08/08/2008 - 4:38pm

Re #1: Pat Swilling's "1st team all pro/pro bowl" postseason honors (2/5) are similar to those of Sam Mills (3/5) and Rickey Jackson (2/6). I'm thinking Swilling's teammates are more likely to get in ahead of him, with Jackson's sack and fumble recovery numbers probably giving him an edge. And if Swilling's (107.5) sack numbers suggest he's a favorable comparison to Andre Tippett (100), consider that Swilling played 34 more games -- or about 2 seasons worth more -- than Tippett did. I'm also unsure about the reputation of these three Saints LBs regarding the run and in pass protection. My understanding is that Tippett was considered excellent at both stopping the run and as a pass rusher, and reasonably good in pass protection. Anybody know?

Also, am wondering how one differentiates between Gary Clark, Mark Duper, and Mark Clayton? They were close contemporaries of each other and seem to have reasonably similar stats.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Fri, 08/08/2008 - 4:49pm

Re #4: I'm very much wondering about the validity of citing number of tackles as a meaningful statistic, especially after reading the article below:


Given this, it makes me wonder. And it may explain why there's apparently been a lack of favorable impression when arguing Randy Gradishar's HoF case by citing his number of tackles.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Fri, 08/08/2008 - 6:18pm

Re #15: I doubt that Warren Sapp will be a first-ballot guy -- in fact, he may take a good while to get in. He has some baggage, including a reputation for not always playing hard and having some weak seasons at the back end of his career, and he's got some HoF voters like Dr. Z vocally not in his corner. In Sapp's favor, he has a SB ring, is on the all 90s team, and has a 4/7 "1st team all pro/pro bowl" postseason profile, which is very good for his position.

Re #19: it's not at all out of the realm of possibility that Bryant Young will not only not get in the HoF before Warren Sapp, but may in fact not get in at all. Young has some SB hardware, is on the all 90s team, and has a decent reputation as an all-around player, but his postseason profile is only 1/4, the same as Richard Dent's.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Fri, 08/08/2008 - 6:44pm

Re #27: Hickok's site lists Brian Dawkins with 3 (not 4) 1st team all pro selections (2001, 2002, 2006) to go with 6 pro bowls. John Lynch has 3 also (1999-2001) and that goes with a hefty 9 pro bowls. I'd guess that both will be on any "all 00s" team when it's selected. Those extra pro bowls and a SB ring may push Lynch ahead of the pack.

But note further that the HoF selection folks have historically not been kind to safeties (there's a big backlog of 80s-90s examples such as Steve Atwater, Leroy Butler, Joey Browner, Darren Woodson, and Kenny Easley going nowhere so far), so unless you count Rod Woodson as a safety (which he did play for part of his career), it's conceivable no one at this position may be elected who was active after Ronnie Lott's retirement. Both Lynch and Dawkins will be compared to contemporaries like Rodney Harrison, Bob Sanders, Troy Polamalu, and Ed Reed. This has the makings of a major logjam starting up.

by mm (not verified) :: Fri, 08/08/2008 - 9:27pm

I’m also unsure about the reputation of these three Saints LBs regarding the run and in pass protection. My understanding is that Tippett was considered excellent at both stopping the run and as a pass rusher, and reasonably good in pass protection. Anybody know?

While all the Saints LBs were good against the run and the pass, Swilling was the one most known for rushing the passer. He was the outside linebacker on the QBs' blindside, so he generally lead in sacks (I say without actually looking it up.) Rickey Jackson could be quite good at rushing the passer as well, though he naturally produced less sacks and more incompletions, as QBs would quickly throw the ball away.

All of the LBs were fine in coverage, though Swilling and Jackson were generally moved to End positions to rush the QB on obvious passing situations.

As I said before, I think Swilling was quite good, but not Hall-worthy. Vaughan Johnson, fierce against the run, was also good. But I think the 2 that have clear HOF cases are Jackson an Sam Mills.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Mon, 08/11/2008 - 7:26pm

Re #141: Curley Culp was a 1st team all pro only once, a pro bowler six times, and is not on any all-decade teams. L.C. Greenwood (2/6/70s) and Claude Humphrey (4/6/none) are not in either, and it's unclear to me why Culp should necessarily get a leg up into the HoF over these two DL contemporaries because of some perceived innovation in the way the game is played.

For what it's worth, I don't buy into such an argument in Fred Dean's (2/4/none) case, either.

by SteelerMad (not verified) :: Fri, 08/15/2008 - 6:07pm

I think the means by which the HOF reaches its conclusions on who's in and who's out is a bit whacky and inconsistent. But that being said, I don't think I'll see Dexter Manley in there even though he has HOF worthy numbers. Other guys who I think should get in are Charles Haley and Charles Mann.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Tue, 08/19/2008 - 7:29pm

Re #148, who said "I think the means by which the HOF reaches its conclusions on who’s in and who’s out is a bit whacky and inconsistent."

Not so sure I agree about the wacky part. Pro bowl numbers, 1st team all pro numbers, appearances on all decade teams, and (for those with stats) stats relative to other players at their positions in their era seem to count for a lot. For QBs with "Hall of the Very Good" stats, put them in if they have a number of SB rings or championships. There are some inconsistencies (a few seemingly deserving folks by these standards such as Mick Tingelhoff or Ken Anderson are not in, for example), but these bases seem commonly adhered to.

Re Charles Mann and Dexter Manly: their "1st team all pro/pro bowl" profiles would seem to fall well short of HoF level (0/4 for the former, 1/1 for the latter), and neither is on an all decade team. Consider that Cortez Kennedy is still not in with numbers of 3/7 and is on the all 90s team. As for Charles Haley (who could be seen as a DE or LB), his profile is 2/5, about the same as several other LBs of his time and below DEs sill not in such as Chris Doleman (2/8) -- plus he's not on an all decade team; he still might get elected if compared to Fred Dean (2/4), but Dean can be seen as a borderline choice himself.