Are Jason Kelce or Fletcher Cox Hall of Famers?

Philadelphia Eagles C Jason Kelce
Philadelphia Eagles C Jason Kelce
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - Welcome back to Walkthrough's summer series of Pro Football Hall of Fame debates! This week, we're discussing center Jason Kelce and other members of the Philadelphia Eagles team that won Super Bowl LII. If Hall of Fame arguments are your bag, check out last week's installment on Kansas City Chiefs/Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill!

Before we assume that Jason Kelce is a slam dunk for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, let's consider the cases of some centers who are currently not enshrined and may never be:

Jeff Saturday: Peyton Manning's center during his Indianapolis Colts peak. Two-time All-Pro. Six-time Pro Bowler. Saturday was responsible for adjusting the protections when Manning called plays at the line of scrimmage, making him instrumental to his quarterback's/team's success.

Tom Nalen: John Elway's center when the Denver Broncos won Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII. Two-time All-Pro. Six-time Pro Bowler. Anchor of an offensive line that made Alex Gibbs' zone-blocking scheme the NFL standard and helped Terrell Davis rush for over 2,000 yards. Both the Shanahan coaching tree and the "running backs don't matter" movement can trace their origins to Nalen's Broncos offensive lines.

Mark Stepnoski: Center for the Troy Aikman/Emmitt Smith Dallas Cowboys who won Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII. Five-time Pro Bowler for the Cowboys and Titans. Anchor for one of the greatest offensive lines of the modern era.

Kent Hull: Jim Kelly's center through four AFC Championships for the Buffalo Bills. Two-time All-Pro. Three-time Pro Bowler. The first NFL center to operate frequently out of a no-huddle offense in neutral situations, making him an innovator of how the modern position is played.

Jay Hilgenberg: Center for Mike Ditka's Super Bowl Shuffle Chicago Bears. Two-time All-Pro. Seven-time Pro Bowler.

Bart Oates: Center for two Bill Parcells-led New York Giants Super Bowl champions and another with George Seifert and Steve Young in San Francisco. Five-time Pro Bowler.

Olin Kreutz: Center for Lovie Smith's Chicago Bears teams, whose offenses would have circled the drain without strong blocking. One-time All-Pro. Six-time Pro Bowler.

Jeff Van Note: Starting center for the Atlanta Falcons for 16 years in the 1970s and '80s. Six-time Pro Bowler.

Forrest Blue: Three-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler for the San Francisco 49ers of the early 1970s. The best center in the NFL from the merger until Jim Langer and Mike Webster established themselves.

Not only are none of these centers in the PFHoF, but most have never even reached the semi-finalist category. You would think Saturday or Nalen at least would have clawed onto the top 25, but neither has.

As a final illustration of how absurdly high the bar is set for centers: Mick Tingelhoff was a five-time All-Pro who started for four NFC Champion Minnesota Vikings teams. Tingelhoff was passed over for 37 years until the Seniors Committee inducted him in 2015. Tingelhoff's sin was that he played poorly against a Kansas City Chiefs defense full of Hall of Famers in Super Bowl IV, which was all it took for the old-school committees of the 1980s and 1990s to bury a guy.

Not all of the centers above are legit Hall of Fame candidates, though I would cape pretty hard for Nalen. Also, Kelce probably has a better case than all of them. Kelce's a four-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler. Because those accolades don't precisely line up, Kelce can lay claim to seven different "all-star" seasons, and also to the title of Best Center of his Era.

Kelce also helped the Eagles win Super Bowl LII, and neither his nor that team's legacy is tied to a Hall of Fame quarterback or coach. You surely noticed that most of the famous centers in the list above were introduced as "Peyton's center" or "Aikman's center," or they were tied to Ditka or Parcells. Tingelhoff was Fran Tarkenton's center on Bud Grant's not-quite champions. You can see how that can diminish a center's legacy, not just by making him look like a wingman but by placing him behind several ring-bearing teammates in the Hall of Fame priority queue.

Kelce's career starts in the Andy Reid era and spans the Chip Kelly and Doug Pederson tenures before landing in the Nick Sirianni present. He anchored playoff-caliber lines for Carson Wentz, Jalen Hurts, and two different iterations of Nick Foles, for Eagles teams with wildly different offensive philosophies. He's also a much more colorful character than most centers, meaning he will likely stay in the public eye after retirement. Kelce Mummer-strutting up the Ben Franklin Parkway during the Eagles Super Bowl parade is one of the most iconic images in the history of Philly sports. He will be Hall of Fame priority numero uno for the Philly contingent of the committee when he becomes eligible.

Kelce has an extremely strong Pro Football Hall of Fame case. But it bears mentioning that Pittsburgh Steelers great Dermontti Dawson—a six-time All-Pro, the greatest center of the 1990s, the reason why guys like Stepnoski and Nalen have scant All-Pro selections, and the top-ranked center on the Pro Football Reference Hall of Fame monitor—spent three years as a semifinalist and three more as a finalist before enshrinement. So be sure to slow any "first ballot" rolls. Kelce will face tough competition once he becomes eligible. He may be forced to wait until his brother arrives on the ballot and the committee decides (to the Hall brass' delight) that a Kelce Brothers class would both be fair and engage national fan interest.

Let's examine a few other Eagles from the Super Bowl LII roster:

Is Jason Peters a Hall of Famer?

Jason Peters, Kelce's linemate on that 2017 Eagles team, may be among that tough competition Kelce will face when he reaches the ballot. Peters is currently a free agent but could end up playing one more season, meaning he and Kelce could retire in the same year. Even if Peters retires tomorrow, he's an extremely unlikely first-ballot selection, especially since he would then hit the ballot at the exact same time as Andrew Whitworth.

Peters was a two-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler. The Hall of Fame monitor places him on the same tier as Orlando Pace and Tony Boselli. AFL great Jim Tyrer and Joe Thomas are the only tackles above Peters on the monitor who are not in the PFHoF, and Thomas will soon waltz in on the first ballot. Peters is in great company. And he will get support from both the Philly and Buffalo voting blocs.

Now, the problems with Peters' candidacy:

  • The Philly voter/voters (there are typically one or two Philly-based at-large selectors), as mentioned earlier, will prioritize Kelce.
     
  • Whitworth's case may not be as superficially strong as Peters' (two All-Pros, four Pro Bowl berths), but Whitworth has a well-earned iron-man reputation. He will also get attention from both the Los Angeles and Cincinnati blocs, with Cincy voters arguing (with merit) that Whitworth should have earned more early-career accolades.
     
  • Peters was injured for most of the Eagles' Super Bowl LII run, so his "contribution to a champion" argument is not as strong as Whitworth's, Kelce's, or those of others who may be seeking enshrinement in five to seven years.
     
  • Peters developed a bit of a reputation in his final seasons in Philly as a perpetually gimpy and dissatisfied vet who might not make it out of the second quarter. That's another thing that will get held against him in direct comparison to Whitworth and Kelce, the two players most likely to split Peters' ticket and trap him on a semifinalist/finalist treadmill.

All of that said, Peters will probably reach the Hall of Fame. Whether it takes three years as a finalist or 13 will likely be determined by the testimonials of defenders he faced (my gut is that they will be glowing, especially from the early 2010s) and of the coaches who relied upon him.

Is Fletcher Cox a Hall of Famer?

Cox's first problem is Aaron Donald, of course: it's hard to start a Pro Football Hall of Fame argument with "second-best player at his position in his conference during his peak."

Cox's second problem may be Cameron Heyward, a three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler who is building a late-career Hall of Fame resume just as Cox is in steep decline. Heyward isn't mentioned as a PFHoF candidate often outside of Steelers fan circles, but he could mount a serious case if, say, he helps the Steelers remain competitive through the post-Roethlisberger transition.

Cox has other problems. There's Ndamukong Suh, whose candidacy is going to be complicated. Suh has all the pieces of a Hall of Fame portfolio, but they don't fit together properly. He's exactly the type of player who reaches the finalist stage and spurs intense debates which last for years. Suh could clog the gears for years for defensive tackles (with Donald waved through on a VIP pass), making things harder for someone like Cox.

And then there is Kevin Williams, with his five All-Pro selections and "Williams Wall" fame, slowly moving along in the semifinalist queue. If Williams is on the slow freight track, Cox might end up on the siding? And before you answer with "Cox has a ring:" that's more of an added value than a trump card for a defensive lineman.

Finally, there's Kelce. Regional presenters find it difficult to make multiple cases at the same time. The committee as a whole is unlikely to choose multiple players from the same franchise unless it's a Brady/Gronk level situation. Cox may bypass Peters in the Eagles queue, but Kelce passed both of them over the last two years or so.

Cox's Hall of Fame case is rather weak. My guess is he will struggle to crack the finalist list unless something unexpected happens during his final NFL seasons. That's yet another sobering reminder of just how high the bar to the PFHoF is set.

Is Malcolm Jenkins a Hall of Famer?

Let's wrap with a player I admire very personally, both for his on-field and off-field contributions.

Jenkins has some elements of a Pro Football Hall of Fame portfolio. He earned Super Bowl rings for two different organizations. He's a three-time Pro Bowler. He received the NFLPA's community service award in 2016, which helps frame his social activism as a football activity and not an off-the-field (and therefore, off-limits to the selection committee) activity.

That's very thin soup, unfortunately, and Jenkins will have a hard time garnering attention on nominee lists likely to include Eric Weddle and Kam Chancellor. (Earl Thomas will already be enshrined when all of this goes down.)

Jenkins may well also emerge as a polarizing, outspoken sociopolitical voice by the time he reaches the nominee list, and his activism was just football-related enough to seep into conversations about his impact on the game. Many Hall of Fame voters may agree with Jenkins, but others will not. The Hall itself, based on its geographic location and financial straits, would probably prefer future classes to be as apolitical as possible. But Jenkins' portfolio may be too far south of borderline for politics to play any sort of role. If Jenkins earned more Pro Bowl berths, earned a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award ,or helped guide the Saints to more success in his final seasons, he could probably have squeezed his case into the finalist stage. As it stands, he's the sort of player whose candidacy stalls at the semifinalist stage at best.

Jenkins has the opportunity to do much more for society over the next decade than don a gold jacket and make the Super Bowl Radio Row rounds telling tall pigskin tales. I'm sure he will seize it.

Comments

85 comments, Last at 18 Jun 2022, 3:47pm

1 https://www.pro-football…

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/hof/hofm_C.htm

Kelce's longevity isn't great, and he occupies the same era as Maurkice Pouncey and Alex Mack, who has similar paper claims. There's no one lower on the HOF monitor who is in, and a few above who are not.

Still, no center with 4+ AP1s has not been inducted, and Kelce has 4. Another Pro Bowl or two would do his claim a big benefit, though. He may have to wait for Saturday, and maybe Pouncey. Mack did yeoman's work in a boring role for boring teams, so I suspect he has no chance. He spent his career in his own secret world.

Cox has a surprisingly solid on-paper case.
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/hof/hofm_DT.htm

I can't help but think he's reverse-Jason-Kelce, though. That argument Kelce gets over Mack? Geno Atkins and Ndamukong Suh get it over Cox here -- higher profile names and more APs.

He may eventually get in, but there are guys who will get in ahead of him that he will have to wait for.

Peters, I think, will get in. He's a well-known figure, and his highlights of trucking guys 15 yards downfield are awfully sexy for a lineman, and the fear backers had of him will help his historical reputation. The only guy better than him who's not in committed a murder-suicide which is keeping him out. So long as Peters refrains from that, he's in.

2 Joel Bitonio and almost HOF guards

As an appreciator of offensive line play that list of centers still waiting for the hall is pretty depressing. It may just be that I'm not as familiar with other positions waiting lists, but that's brutal.  Alex Mack was a great player on several teams, but any HOF case for him has a hard time putting him above guys coming down the line behind him. 

 

There are some interesting OG discussions to be had around the league as well. Here in Cleveland Joel Bitonio is a common focus of future Browns HOF debates- the argument being that he's been one of the best 5 guards in the league for close to a decade with the all-pros and pro bowls to prove it (1 and 4, but with 3 more 2nd team all pros- not counted in the PFR HOF monitor). With a few more likely on the way.

 

The problem is "one of the best for a long time" as an offensive lineman doesn't get a lot of buzz. Especially when he'll be placed up against the likes of Yanda and Martin in the HOF guard queue. And even though I would argue that he's a better, more consistent player than a guy like Quentin Nelson, he'll never win that contest against a deserving first round pick and highlight factory who may be the only offensive lineman the casual fan knows by name. 

I think Bitonio has a shot if he plays at this level for another 5+ years, but he probably needs several more all pros- and a ring couldn't hurt. 

I feel like guard is one of those positions where every town has their guy, and the near-but-not-clear HOF players get lost in the shuffle between the no-doubters and the local joe schmo. Plus the guards who are good enough to have a case have hard time making the semi/finals over the sexier wrs/qbs/de/etc. Who are good enough to have a case.

4 Great work!

Love these HOF discussions by the way, they're the perfect off season discussion- actual debates with differences of opinion. If I had to open up small talk with a football fan at a sports bar, I'm definitely opening with some Hall talk.

35 The interesting wrinkle for…

The interesting wrinkle for Bitonio is this:

Joe Thomas will be a HOFer.
Alex Mack has a chance.

But it's really hard to look at the 2014 and 2015 Browns and argue that line had three HOFers on its left side.

Mind you, Bitonio is a long way away at the moment. He's not even the second-best active guard.

43 Browns 2014 Line

I mean they had the best offensive line in football and single handley dragged a browns team headed by Mike Pettine, Brian Hoyer, and Johnny Manziel to 7-9. Plus Mack was hurt for the better part of 2015. That team really didn't have anything going for them outside of that left side. And I disagree about the level of Bitonio's play but his candidacy is a long shot.

13   Kelce's longevity isn't…

 

Kelce's longevity isn't great, and he occupies the same era as Maurkice Pouncey and Alex Mack, 

Kelce's going to finish with 2 more years played than Pouncey so I'm not sure I get the argument. And Mack and Pouncey both have name advantages over Kelce - they were first-round picks, so when they played well they instantly got recognition.

It took years for people to even recognize Kelce. He was a 6th round pick. People figured he was a liability straight off. The credit kept going to other linemen, even as they left Philly and the interior line performance never changed.

Mack did yeoman's work in a boring role for boring teams, so I suspect he has no chance. He spent his career in his own secret world.

I'm guessin' you forget that Mack was the starting center for the Falcons Super Bowl loss, and in fact you could say he's a huge portion of the reason they lost (that was him getting tossed around by Flowers on the 12-yard sack that is Kyle Shanahan's play that he "most regrets"). Granted it's not exactly his fault, he was playing on a broken leg.

25 Absolutely - but it's hard…

Absolutely - but it's hard to avoid the image of Kelce blocking two guys with one arm each to give Nick Foles time to complete a 20 yard pass in comparison with Mack flopping on the ground next to his QB. Anyone who claims centers aren't important and somehow thinks Nick Foles went superhuman just needs to watch Kelce being all "YOU! SHALL NOT! PASS!" that game.

Really, the best argument for Kelce would probably be a blown up image of Nick Foles's friggin' pristine jersey from Super Bowl LII and All-22 shots showing the giant fields of green in front of him.

28 "Mack did yeoman's work in a…

"Mack did yeoman's work in a boring role for boring teams, so I suspect he has no chance. He spent his career in his own secret world."

 

I have seen what you did there, and I approve.

36 Kelce and Peters are 'No…

Kelce and Peters are 'No Doubt' HOF lineman, and I'm not even an OL-stan. Kelce was underrated for years because he was a 6th round pick unlike a say, Mack/Pouncey/Dwight Stephenson.

Just not first-ballot guys. But they have BOTH the peak and the longevity quotients.

Peters [and Kelce] will get massive recognition from the players they blocked and coaches who tried - and failed - to scheme against them. 

Kelce is better than Pouncey and on Saturday's level for sure, at a minimum. Both Jeff and Jason should be in.

41 The only reason I'd say…

The only reason I'd say Kelce should be "very early" (there's no such thing as a first ballot center) is because unlike most centers he has reams of highlight-reel stuff. In extremely important situations.

It's not so easy to argue for the center when you've got Manning or Elway back there throwing TDs. But Kelce's highlights are of Nick Foles sitting back there spotless while Kelce's holding off 2 guys at the same time. Or shoving a guy to open a hole and then trucking 10 yards downfield to block a second guy too. And then finish it off with fiery locker room speeches, too.

It's just a much easier sell. "Yeah but Manning" and "yeah but Elway" makes sense. "Yeah but Foles" is just hilarious.

3 The Cox queue

Wouldn't JJ Watt also be in Cox's way? How is JJ otherwise-categorized then?

5 JJ

In reply to by BigRichie

I think JJ Watt is more considered a DE rather than a DT and would therefore be considered to be in a separate queue than Cox. Although it's a good point that there are several good DE hall cases coming that could siphon votes from guys like Cox.

75 Watt's been a 3-4 DE his…

In reply to by FXL3

Watt's been a 3-4 DE his entire career, which makes the demands of his position more similar to DT than to EDGE. Whether the committee will treat him as an IDL or an EDGE, I don't know. Aaron Donald is pretty clearly an IDL, even though he's played DE since the Rams switched to a 3-4 defense.

6 It has no bearing on his…

It has no bearing on his Hall resume, but I still think Suh's most incredible achievement is finishing 4th in the Heisman voting as a pure interior DL. 

7 Peters will make it either…

Peters will make it either way. Kelce deserves it, but it will also help that there aren't many guys from that team the Hall can recognize. After Peters and Kelce, you have to look real hard for serious candidates.

8 As a fellow Eagles fan...

...of similar age to you (Mike Tanier), I'm disappointed you didn't mention Bart Oates' time with the USFL Philadelphia Stars!  From what I found, it appears Oates was the AP 1st Team all-USFL at center in 1984.  He competed with also mentioned above Kent Hull for USFL honors before that league folded and both players went on to become NFL standouts.

I personally don't believe Oates had a PFHOF-worthy career, but I do think players' USFL accomplishments should carry some weight in Hall of Fame debates, considering many USFL players later went to the NFL and became excellent players in that league.  That's especially true with players who have solid to strong PFHOF cases based purely on their NFL careers, but also excelled in the USFL before and/or after they played in the USFL.

As for Kelce, Peters, and Cox, Peters was talked about as a future Hall of Famer often enough by broadcasters the last few years of his career that I think he has a solid shot of induction.  Kelce was probably hurt by being a 6th round draft pick, playing for teams that generally had good offensive lines, which meant it took longer for his individual contributions to be recognized and receive acclaim.  The fact he's played well later in his career and has gained greater recognition (and has some personality) will probably help his case, and I think he'll eventually get in.  Cox has had a fine career, but probably needed one, maybe two, additional truly standout seasons.  He has a chance, but I think he'll be a guy that falls a little short.

9 The outfit

Jason Kelce may or may not be a Hall Of Famer; but that outfit is clearly a Hall Of Fame outfit.

10 Of all of these absolutely…

Of all of these absolutely egregious ommissions, Williams probably tops the list. Perhaps Tanier can share why the Hall has decided he's unworthy. 

Nalen also sure as hell deserves it. The Hall certainly should recognize the fact that the Broncos could get away with replaceable cogs at running back for reasons besides Alex Gibb's sprinkling pixie dust. Tom Nalen is a big part of that reason; something his coaches have not been shy to emphasize. 

Frankly, I think Kelce and Peters both deserve it. I think the fact that centers have been short changed for years is a stinging rebuke on the Hall's voters. Just because the typical fan doesn't give a damn about linemen doesn't mean the Hall shouldn't either. Its malfeasance in the worst way. 

 

12 I think it's the lack of…

I think it's the lack of stats basicly. If a guy racks up stats votes will pay attention and notice great play. Being on a good team helps. Especially for Olines, even if your great , it's hard to look good if the rest of the line is giving up sacks and your QB is terrible, and your ability to open holes for RB on your own is limited, esp if the RBs arn't that good and your facing stacked boxes.   Coaching also matters of course as they need to put players in a position to succeeded. 

People can see if they look, but without stats, there isn't anything to draw attention.  I wonder if the advanced stats will help in this regard, although I'm not sure enough are publicly available yet.   

I feel like the voters often end up going off the black ink, and it seems like a player gets a reputation at a position and then just gets a bunch of pro bowls and APs til they clearly fall off from age. Someone can sneak in if there is an obvious down year, but if feels like guy gets locked into a postion and then just gets a bunch of awards by default unless the case is pretty clear cut. 

14 This is why I am very leery…

This is why I am very leery of people making claims about past players who were so dominant, "Just look at all those all pros and probowls". There were no charting stats and obvious voting agendas at work. Plus, its just so much easier to go with the default logic, "team X is really good thus it must have all pros on all of those positions we have no measurements for". Its understandable, but totally lazy.

Advanced stats have flaws, but at least they do provide some insights in a world that was totally lacking any kind of objective measurement. They aren't free, that's true, but voters can certainly access them and should when needing to decide who is going to make an all pro team.

 

54 Smaller leagues

Beyond that AP1s/AP2s and even pro bowls were easier to rack up when the league was far smaller, I have much more confidence in the set of guys getting awards in the 2010s than the 1960s 

62 Pro Bowls are easier to rack…

In reply to by HitchikersPie

Pro Bowls are easier to rack up now than in the past. While the number of teams and players has increased, the number of Pro Bowl spots has increased at a faster rate.

It used to be something like 85 players in a 28 team league. Now it's like 130 players in a 32 team league.

15 Just because the typical fan…

Just because the typical fan doesn't give a damn about linemen doesn't mean the Hall shouldn't either. Its malfeasance in the worst way. 

To be fair, safeties were ignored for years similarly, until the floodgates basically opened. Center's even harder because of the total lack of stats, but maybe things will change? Who knows.

The absolute worst part is that the only "stats" that people do use for interior OL are Pro Bowls and All Pros, and we already know that low-round picks have a huge advantage there due to name recognition. You cannot say "oh, Kelce only has 5 Pro Bowls and Mack has 7." No. Mack was a first-round pick, and had huge name recognition - he definitely got some of those coasting on laurels. Saturday, Nalen, and Kelce were all high-round or UDFA picks, and all of them took at least 4 years to get any recognition, whereas Mack and Pouncey both were lauded basically straight off.

17 Not to mention the good team…

Not to mention the good team bias. I would argue if Joe Thomas had literally the same career but was a 2nd or 3rd round pick, he would not make the hall of fame.

It would be simply...the Browns suck and Joe Thomas wasn't expected to be good so how good could he possibly be? And even if we are wrong, no one cares about a bad team so we won't get called out for it.

I honestly think a chunk of the all pro/pro bowls for the non stats linemen is coming from the lazy thinking...team X is good and deserves Y number of probowlers. Lets fill them with various linemen. 

21 I'm not sure I agree with…

I'm not sure I agree with Thomas. All Pro vs Pro Bowl is actually usually a good delineator - Pro Bowls can be screwed up horribly (Mitch Trubisky, Pro Bowl QB!) but All Pros are rarely given out to undeserving candidates. Wrong candidates, sure. Totally undeserving, not so much.

46 Pro Bowl alternates…

Pro Bowl alternates sometimes involve digging very deep.

When Trubisky was picked as a Pro Bowl alternate for the 2018 season, all 3 of the original NFC QB selections skipped the game & needed to be replaced, and at least 1 more QB was offered an alternate spot and turned it down (Matt Ryan). And Trubisky actually did finish 7th in the NFC in DYAR (passing+rushing) that year, which means he did have a plausible case for deserving to be one of the 7+ NFC QBs who were offered a spot on the Pro Bowl roster.

The basic problem is not distinguishing original Pro Bowl selections from alternates, especially as it's become more common for QBs to opt out. This is one place where PFR does a surprisingly poor job at recording football history & making it easily available, though they do at least indicate alternates on each year's Pro Bowl page if not on the searches & player pages.

48 It's a wash in the end

Trubisky was 3rd in QBR that year and hasn't come close since. We aren't talking about him being close for a reason. The guys we talk about have done it a lot more. 

It doesn't matter that Larry Fitzgerald had a couple, he's literally still a HOFr.

49 Damnit, I put an asterisk…

Damnit, I put an asterisk beside that in my first draft trying to point out it was a joke: in fact, if you go to that year, Dak Prescott is the one that's complete and utter bullcrap. But from a storyline standpoint Trubisky works better. :)

59 I mean, Mahomes, Brees,…

I mean, Mahomes, Brees, Rivers, Goff, Brady, and Rodgers all had good seasons in 2018, and they were the 6 quarterbacks originally selected to the Pro Bowl. You could make a case for some others (DYAR favored Ryan & Roethlisberger over Rodgers & Brady), but all 6 selections were up there (all in the top 9 in total DYAR).

And that's pretty typical for Pro Bowl voting (though there are occasional exceptions, especially at positions which have less attention & statistics). Things get shakier when they have to dig down for alternates, whether it's a mediocre QB having a decent year (like Trubisky) or a good QB having a mediocre year (like Prescott). And even when there isn't a mistake, giving awards to the 10th best quarterback can inflate the resumes of pretty good QBs with long careers (like Eli Manning, who has 2 original Pro Bowl selections plus 2 as an alternate).

61 Things get shakier when they…

Things get shakier when they have to dig down for alternates, 

It's actually worse than you think: the way the "Pro Bowl" designation works is that if you're an "original" selection, you get to count as a Pro Bowl player whether you actually play or not. But if you're an alternate you only get to count as a Pro Bowl player if you actually play. If you turn it down, you don't count. So you don't even know where Trubisky or Prescott landed on the Pro Bowl voting list - they could've been 13th, or 16th, or literally gotten the fewest votes of anyone in the league. Counting alternates as Pro Bowlers is just nonsense, but everyone does (PFR kinda-sorta labels them as alternates but becomes quickly unreliable about a decade ago and prior to 2008 there's nothing).

That's really the point that I was trying to make - All Pro selections are in general pretty reliable, but because of the bizarre pseudo-Pro Bowl thing, counting Pro Bowls is really silly, especially recently when the number of Pro Bowl players has exploded.

82 It's actually worse than you…

It's actually worse than you think

Nah, I thunk it.

Seems like we're mostly in agreement on the informativeness of Pro Bowl original selections & Pro Bowl replacements. I just think that we do have enough data on original Pro Bowl selections for them to be worth looking at. Wikipedia is pretty thorough since the 1999 season. Before that alternates were much rarer, and fewer players from that era are still under HoF consideration.

23 Kelce kinda took over the…

Kelce kinda took over the pro bowl slot from Travis Fredrick(who has 5 PB, 1 AP1, 2xAP2 and plays for Dallas). It's hard to decide when player A has declined an playber B has passed them wo stats unless it starts passing the casual eye test. 

26 First-round pick Travis…

First-round pick Travis Frederick, mind you.

Really any high-round center who actually makes All Pros and Pro Bowls should be seriously looked at. It takes massive effort to get noticed at that position when you're starting out at a disadvantage.

And then add Kelce not having a Hall of Fame QB (not even a borderline Hall QB!) behind him. It's honestly a no-brainer.

44 Honestly, I'm surprised the…

Honestly, I'm surprised the voters haven't used this to burnish their Football Guy credentials. "Sure, you fans get excited about the glory boys who score TDs and get sacks, but we know games are really won on the lines, so watch us enshrine a guard and a run-stuffing NT with no QBs for the ninth consecutive year."

24 In 2004, Jeff Saturday and…

In 2004, Jeff Saturday and Kevin Williams had a war which no HoF voter ever cared about.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/200411080clt.htm

(Saturday and Williams are the highest probability retired centers and defensive tackles who are not in the HoF)

 

29 Of all of these absolutely…

Of all of these absolutely egregious ommissions, Williams probably tops the list. Perhaps Tanier can share why the Hall has decided he's unworthy. 

 

That's not how the hall works -- there is a quota at each level. If you think 70 guys are worthy and there are 25 slots, then by definition 45 worthy guys aren't even making the semifinals, let alone getting into the hall.

31 OK, I'd love to know how the…

OK, I'd love to know how the Hall thinks that Fred Taylor, a guy who made literally one Pro Bowl in his entire career, somehow needs more discussion about whether they're worthy of the Hall than a guy who made the Pro Bowl half of his career and was named 1st team All Pro nearly half as well.

I mean, I'd add Steve Tasker as well, but the Hall's got some sort of wacko special teams fetish going on recently. Can't wait until we get to "but look at this long snapper!"

I get the quota argument but some of the guys who they do think are worthy are clearly not, and it's just silly.

33 Pat summarized my thoughts…

Pat summarized my thoughts well. If Williams isn't making the cut because of limited slots; that would be one thing. But seeing who they are selecting ahead of Williams makes 0 sense. 

I think the easiest explanation. The Hall is plagued by the same biases that fantasy football fans have when it comes to the NFL. Dude who scores tds must be 1e10000 better than any center. 

38 I'd like to believe that in…

I'd like to believe that in Williams's case specifically, maybe it's what Mike is claiming might be an issue for Peters/Cox - the Minnesota-area contingent is just pushing hard on Jared Allen, and no one's pushing Williams, maybe?

The difficulty is that in a few years it's going to get very very very difficult to get guys on. Thankfully with Brady sticking around that pushing things off a bit, but there's still a lot of very/overwhelmingly strong candidates coming along. Gotta get him up there fast, guys.

11 I am not quite sure what to…

I am not quite sure what to think of Fletcher Cox. He's definitely noteworthy, but there were quite a lot of "not Aaron Donald" great defensive tackles around that period. In addition to Suh, Gerald McCoy was really good. So was Geno Atkins for a period. Then there's guys like Kyle Williams and Kawaan Short, guys who ranked high at pff but who are low on career because they weren't high draft picks and dtackle lacks traditional counting stats to attract attention.

 

18 He's definitely noteworthy,…

He's definitely noteworthy, but there were quite a lot of "not Aaron Donald" 

I've used this same argument to say that no QBs over the past 20 years should get in other than Manning, Brady, Rodgers, and Brees. Didn't seem to hold too much water with people.

The issue with Cox is that he's declining fast and he wasn't getting the accolades he deserved early on. Cox not getting a Pro Bowl nod in '14 was comical, although the problem was just that the NFC was very DT heavy and Cox had less stats than the other guys did (even though he was doing more damage). He was definitely Hall track in '18, but without getting those early career accolades he's probably borderline.

20 So my counter is, if you…

So my counter is, if you aren't some absolute all timer; you can still make the Hall; you just need to compensate with longevity. I realize this can get complicated because some of the all timers also have hugely long careers. I think there is a point where you say, a dominant all timer has done enough at time period X and the comparison becomes, did this not so transcendant but still amazing player do enough with longevity to match the all timer at period X. 

37 I mean, Bill Belichick…

I mean, Bill Belichick himself said Fletcher Cox was the best defender they faced all season a couple of years ago, you can look up the press conference highlights. 

There's never going to be clip of him saying that about McCoy or other lower-tier defenders. 

2nd best DT over a long period of time should get you in, it just might take a while. But I wouldn't disagree with anyone who says he's borderline.

52 I've used this same argument…

I've used this same argument to say that no QBs over the past 20 years should get in other than Manning, Brady, Rodgers, and Brees. Didn't seem to hold too much water with people.

That argument is actually part of the reason I made the google sheet I went into deep detail on in the Tyreek Hill article (comment 135 and onward). Since Montana, Marino, Elway, Moon, Young, Kelly, and Aikman had significant career overlaps and then Favre took over for Montana (though they still had 4 years of overlap) for the end of some of those other careers. So you had 5 or 6 HoF QBs playing together for 8 or 9 years. I wanted to see, and help myself visualize what it might take for Rivers, Roethlisberger, Ryan, or Wilson to make it and how absurd discussion of Eli and Stafford are since we had precedent for having a quarter of the league with a HoF QB as a starter (8 in 94 in a 28 team league with Montana (KC), Marino (MIA), Elway (DEN), Moon (MIN), Young (SF), Kelly (BUF), Aikman(DAL), Favre(GB). Sure not all of them were still playing like HoF then but it's clear the Hall is OK with a lot of HoF QB playing at the same time.

Of course if all 8 of those 94 starters should have been in the HoF and if anyone outside of Manning, Brady, Rodgers and Brees should make it is another argument. Should the standard be that you have to be viewed as one of the X best at your position while you are playing. That isn't so easy to quantify either. You can argue that Rivers was as good or better than several or all of Manning, Brady, Brees, Rogers in 08, 09, 10, 13, 17, and 18. So what's your window? Is he only out because of lack of post season?

Quick repeat of the other thread on the sheet. It is intended to be filtered and sheets gets pissy about merged cells and how you apply filters so I just triplicated names. First row is just the average of the ordinal ranks in in DYAR/DVOA which is a proxy for perception of how good that QB was, how his peers and opponents make rate him, etc. I'm sure there are better proxies but see the other thread for more details. 2nd row is the stars and crosses and MVP's (in gold). 3rd row is the playoff record, SB wins in "gold" SB losses in "light gold". If you look at the "weaker" of the Montana, Marino, Elway, Moon, Young, Kelly, Aikman group and then look at the Manning, Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Rivers, Big Ben, Ryan, Wilson group, even with Manning and Brady destroying the curve you can see cases for Rivers, Big Ben, Ryan, and Wilson. Not saying they are open and shut, but they are there if Kelly, Aikman, and Moon (though Moon is more than just the NFL) made it.

Anyway I gotta stop with the QB's the other thread has it all.

 

I would love to be able to do this for other positions because it helps me see things better but the metrics aren't as easy to come by (and the DYAR/DVOA proxy measure breaks down even more for non QBs) and of course the QB position has an "easier" time of getting players in vs some other positions so I'd have to figure those trends out. This article points out just how stupidly high the HoF bar is for Centers. As you point out it's not all that low for a DL either.

But I do really love these discussions as all my posting clearly attests to.

For the record and to get back on specific topic, it's dumb that Williams isn't in absolutely should be. Kelce better make it but we all know it's going to be a long wait for him. I'd have to dig into Cox specifically more to solidify my opinion but I don't believe the existence of Donald is any kind of argument to hold against Cox. It might slow him down, but again amazing talent being born around the same time and overlapping has not stopped multiple players at the same position from getting in. It does weaken the strength of resumes for the player who might have been the 2nd best ever at the position because they played at the same time as the first, but HoF players still shine through enough. I've found it easier to demonstrate that with QBs but I think it will apply to other positions even given that QBs are likely to get more leeway.

58 Ah fair enough. I guess I…

Ah fair enough. I guess I had misremembered the reason for your argument when it hit me that some of the data I was using for something else I could also use for this HoF stuff pretty quickly. I just remembered the argument not the point it was illustrating. I still would have done what I did anyway, but I did draw inspiration for what turns out to be the wrong reasons.

So yeah it's a good point in how vastly different positions are weighted.

Of course I'm not sure that's actually a problem given the differences in positional value. We all know QBs in the modern game have a greater impact on the results than any other position. So I'm not sure it's wrong for a QB to only need to be a top 5 or 6 QB for 7 or 8 years and never really go below above average for any significant time for at least a 15 year career to make it. It's still a significant bar even if it's not the bar that a DT or G or C needs to clear. My assumption was that QBs were going to have an easier time at the expense of running backs. If QBs continue to make it harder at the expense of under represented positions then yeah it might be a real problem.

I really wonder how the league embracing running backs being fungible is going to impact who gets in at that position going forward. 2021 had what Fred Taylor as the only RB in the semi finals. Peterson will get in when he's eligible. Then what Gore and McCoy and I don't think either of those are automatics anymore. You've got what Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor playing right now who might be considered and if Henry doesn't come back and show more he's just another Chris Johnson stat wise and doesn't make it.

So yeah my thought was that while there are a lot of RBs in since they were more important to the way the game used to be played that is going to really die off and the QBs are going to take all those slots and that we could potentially go 5 - 10 years without there being a single HoF running taking a snap in the league going forward.

But yes if Rivers or Big Ben continues to keep Williams out, or stops arguments for Cox making it then we do have a problem even with the outsized value of QBs. They've already turned MVP into a QB award but they shouldn't make every other position completely irrelevant.

 

Edit: Yes I realize I'm duplicated the PFR HoF monitor in some ways and I could just add some visualizations to the data they use for that. In fact some of the stuff I'm playing with I intend to submit to them as potential tweaks as I think there might be some things that could produce a better fit for what the committee has done.

63   Of course I'm not sure…

 

Of course I'm not sure that's actually a problem given the differences in positional value.

But if we factor in positional value, no kicker or punter would ever make the Hall of Fame, and in fact, you'd probably have to go down far on the QB list before you hit any non-QB. Personally I'd prefer if quarterbacks were just shoved off into their own category. Say 1 every 3 years or something (and extending eligibility, I guess). 

Because the issue isn't just "so many QBs get in." There's no debate about when they go in, they go to the front of the line. The last QBs to go into the Hall of Fame were:

Manning (1st ballot)
Warner (3rd ballot)
Aikman (1st ballot)
Marino (1st ballot)
Young (1st ballot)
Elway (1st ballot)
Kelly (1st ballot)
Montana (1st ballot)

So of the last 8 QBs, the only one who the committee didn't practically hand a Golden Ticket to on retirement was Warner, who has a career so unique he got a friggin' movie made about it. (If you go before that you end up with Anderson, but that was a totally different era when the Hall of Fame actually said "no" in finalist decisions).

That's partly why I think it's ridiculous we think Rivers, Roethlisberger, Ryan are "borderline." It's easy to talk about them as borderline now because they're not up for debate. I'd bet when it is time, they're ushered right in.

65 I admit, it's hard to come…

I admit, it's hard to come up with a QB who is clearly deserving but not a blindingly obvious first ballot type. I suppose this where whoever of Ben, Rivers and Matt Ryan gets in comes in. It's amusing that they all have slightly difference aspects of their cases that make it hard to say X > Y. 

Ben: Ringz! He was durable, so his counting stats are good, rate stats less good. Little "black ink: outside pro bowls. 

Ryan: 2016 basicly where he got MVP, OPOY, AP1 and played in the super bowl. above average but never great outside that

Rivers: Most pro bowls and some MVP and OPoY votes. Best rate stats also. 

My inclination would be "no" on all 3, but that's probably partly influence by the amount of great QB play now. (We got Rodgers, Bree's and Brady comming up). It's hard to think of a mondern QB with non-borderling but not but not all time great case. Bree's is the closest but he should still be first ballot I think. 

66  It's hard to think of a…

 It's hard to think of a mondern QB with non-borderling but not but not all time great case. 

That guy was Steve Young.

He often wasn't even the best QB on his own team, and had basically bombed out of two teams (He was middling in the USFL even before Tampa) before Walsh rebuilt him.

He was clearly going into the Hall, but he had nothing resembling a GOAT claim.

67  I was hoping for a…

 I was hoping for a contemporary to the modern QB environment (he retired a year after Peyton was drafted). He was still a first ballot though.

Kurt Warner is the most recent QB who actually had wait I think also. He was kinda a weak HOF pick though. (according to PFR HOF monitor Ben, Rivers and Ryan all have noticeably better cases)

68 Steve Young is more akin to…

Steve Young is more akin to Warner - middling for a long time then Holy Cow, so in the end you don't get the "all time epic" accolades because you didn't do it from the start so your time at "epic" level is short. Except Young had 3 championships so, whoosh, in he goes.

I think people talk about Rivers, Roethlisberger, and Ryan as if they're "borderline" and yet I feel like at least Rivers and Roethlisberger will waltz right in. Ryan's not done yet so tough to say. I think all the "borderline" discussion is just silly - that "bar" for Hall of Fame level just isn't that high for QBs (sorry, Jim Kelly).

And to throw gas on the fire I think Eli's going to be a pain in the neck for Hall voters for several years before finally getting in (thus exposing just how low the bar is). 25 years is a looong time.

70 Young has three rings the…

Young has three rings the way Garoppolo has two. No one considers rings you won by keeping the bench nailed down.

The Eli-Roethlisberger-Rivers argument will be fascinating, and may result in all in or all logjammed. A lot depends on Rivers' narrative. Eli and Rivers have their trade for each other, and Rivers also has his entanglement with Brees. 

It sort of goes like this:

  1. Roethlisberger has two rings, a ton of counting stats, and is the best QB in the history of a blueblood franchise.
  2. But for much of his career arc, Rivers was considered to be better than Roethlisberger.
  3. Rivers was also acquired by and retained by SD in preference over two other QBs in this list (Eli and Brees).
  4. But those QBs won titles at their new franchise.
  5. Eli was also preferred over another HOF QB (Warner).

Rivers case leans heavily on #2. Ben was seen as on Hall track early, and Rivers was bolstered by the perception that he was better than Roethlisberger, so of course he was Hall track as well. Except he started great and then watched the franchise fester around him. The net result was Roethlisberger's rate and counting stats caught up to or surpassed Rivers', and his playoff numbers were better, rings aside. So now it's not clear at all that Rivers actually was better.

It does Rivers no good to lean on his comps to Eli, whose claim isn't really based on raw regular season stats, or god forbid on Brees. Although it's hilarious to imagine Rivers in New Orleans.

Eli will always be frustrating for sabermetricians, because his claim is based on entirely different premises. His raw numbers are good enough to not be excluded out of hand, but that's all they do. Eli's claim is fundamentally similar to that of the guy just below him on the Hall list, another NY QB who famously slew the dragon.

73 No one considers rings you…

No one considers rings you won by keeping the bench nailed down.

Hey, they're listed on the PFHoF's page for him! And honestly I guarantee in the argument the fact that he was a backup to a Hall of Fame QB on 2 Super Bowl winning teams was absolutely brought up. (To be clear I should've indicated that was sarcasm more).

The Eli-Roethlisberger-Rivers argument will be fascinating,

It should be fascinating. It won't be. Again - quarterbacks waltz in. Every Hall quarterback for the past 24 years has been a first-year finalist and all but 1 has been a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

78 that "bar" for Hall of Fame…

that "bar" for Hall of Fame level just isn't that high for QBs (sorry, Jim Kelly).

Clearly the HoF was heavily about the post season for QBs. Eli and Rivers will tell us if that is still the case. If Rivers doesn't get in and Big Ben does, it matters but not quite as much as it did. If Eli gets in post season might matter even more for a QB than it used to.

So, if you discount the post season then I agree about ripping on Jim Kelly. If you don't, and weight it like how the committee seems to then you have to ask, how many other QBs have gone to 4 Super Bowls in a row? That is Kelly's case, that is almost the entirety of Kelly's case. Eli Manning is closer to Kelly as far as cases go and while he has 2 wins vs 4 losses I am quite sure the 4 in a row mattered.

For some data on how it seems to matter. The PFR HoF monitor gives extra weight to super bowl losses for QBs. It gives a bigger bonus for wins, but their study to figure out what type of players get voted for found that SB Wins and SB Losses matter for QBs getting in. They give QBs a 2.5 multiplier for winning a League Championship/SB while other players only get a 2x multiplier. A Super Bowl loss gets a 1.25x multiplier for a QB (and nothing for other players, though I think that is something the monitor isn't doing right) so a SB loss is about as valuable for a QB as a Pro Bowl (1.5x multiplier) is for anyone. QBs also get a 7.5 point penalty if they never won a championship in their career so the only reason Big Ben (100.28) is ahead of Rivers (98.06) on the HoFm is because Rivers never won a championship. If Rivers had he would have 10 more points (remove the 7.5 penalty and add 2.5 for the win). That's how much the committee seems to love winning for a QB. Also those bonuses only apply if the QB started the game. So Young's HoF monitor score of 111.65 does not get any credit for the 88 and 89 wins that Montana started.

As you mention in a later post QBs being their own category is probably a better solution because they already are facing a different bar than other positions. Well if you believe what PFR found. My own research has turned up the same thing so I do believe they just get talked about and viewed differently. Kelly may not get in if he only losses 3 Super Bowls. But it was 4 in a row and rightly or wrongly the committee, and many casual fans, link QBs and SBs. That bias the committee seems to have is not coming from no where, which is why you find it in fans too. The SB is so heavily mythologized that if you go to 4 in a row, and again for the SB it's the QB not the team for many fans, then you are a Hall of Famer. If going to 4 SB in a row is a low bar, then so be it.

Things are changing and the new bar may be, win a SB as a QB or you can't get in, we got too much flak for Moon. So if Rivers and Ryan don't make it you know that's part of the bar for a QB. That adds a fair bit of random luck to QBs if that does happen (and I could see it happening). Other positions are influenced by the post season too, but QBs already require it, how much is still the question.

The fact that MVPs get so much weight and the MVP is now a QB award is a potential issue too. It's one that can be worked around but based on current procedures as I understand them, that is going to be part of the issue with QBs being first ballot.

Steve Young is more akin to Warner - middling for a long time then Holy Cow

He's not though. Warner was 1 year on the bench, MVP, "only top 6", MVP. Then was pretty much bad for 5 years. Then he was middling for the final 3 but took a 2nd team (and the garbage org that is the Cardinals at that) to the SB. He's a pretty unique case and as you mentioned is the only modern QB who had to wait because he was so unique. His early career peak was not long enough. His bad years were bad. But it's really hard to keep 2 MVPs out of the Hall. It's hard to keep 3 SB for a QB out of the Hall.

Young was Josh Allen, then Aaron Rodgers. He began as a back-up to Steve DeBerg in Tampa and those mid 80's Tampa teams were modern day Detroit. So so bad. In 85 (his NFL rookie year) he was -268 DYAR and -30.7% DVOA in 5 starts. That's rookie Josh Allen bad (-534, -35.9%). He got 14 starts in 86 after a DeBerg injury and was merely bad at -22 DYAR and -12.0% DVOA. Again very much like 2nd year Josh Allen (-21, -11.8%).

He was also still just 24 when he joined the NFL. 1 year in the USFL really isn't a big deal. Russel Wilson was 24 for his first NFL season too. It was the half a decade as a very good back-up in SF that was the weird part of Youngs career.

After TB he gets the "Aaron Rodgers" treatment, though without modern free agency so even less chance of moving to another team or taking over for the Hall of Famer (and entering the GOAT conversation) starter. Teams didn't quite have complete control of players at that time, but it was still a lot harder to move.

From 87 - 91 he's backing up Joe Montana. Montana got injured or rested enough that Young started 3 games a year from 87 - 89 and he was not bad.

  • 87 Young in 3 starts (72 att): 326 DYAR and 54.0% DVOA.
    Montana in 13 starts (374 att): 988 DYAR and 29.3% DVOA.
    There is a data point that in his first season in SF he was "better than Montana", the guy who was already getting GOAT talk with Unitas and others. Young wasn't better of course, sample size matters. But Young being "bad" out the gate in SF is clearly wrong. Also that wiped out all his career negative DYAR from TB and he would keep getting positive DYAR until his final season.
  • 88 Young in 3 starts (117 att): 54 DYAR and -16.1% DVOA.
    Montana in 13 starts (433 att): 640 DYAR and 12.2% DVOA.
    So Young was not nearly as good but 88 was also more true injury replacement coming into games late etc. Montana being down that year also says some things.
  • 89 Young in 3 starts (105 att): 407 DYAR and 48.3% DVOA.
    Montana in 13 starts (421 att): 1381 DYAR and 39.0% DVOA. league leader with both.
    There was talk that SF had the 2 best QBs in the league on the same team. Of course the SF offense of the late 80's was a huge advantage. Montana won the MVP that season.
  • 90 Young in 1 start (68 att): 113 DYAR and 14.7% DVOA
    Montana in 15 starts (547 att): 1098 DYAR and 20.5% DVOA
    So that's very small sample size with only 1 start and just a few other attempts in other games but also very similar stats and Montana was the back to back MVP after that season so putting up the same type of stats as the MVP in a very small sample size still feels like a very good thing.
  • 91 Young in 10 starts (292 att): 857 DYAR and 34.2% DVOA
    Steve Bono in 6 starts (249 att): 556 DYAR and 23.9% DVOA
    Montana missed the whole season with the elbow injury. Young put up better rate stats better than anything but Montana's 89 MVP season during his first season going into the year as the starter in SF. Bono who got significant time did very well but not as well as Young. Lots of arguments can be made about the system just like for TD in Denver with this year.
  • 92 Young in 16 starts (432 att): 1609 DYAR and 45.1% DVOA
    Montana 0 starts (22 att): 68 DYAR and 36.6% DVOA
    Bono 0 starts (60 att): 121 DYAR and 19.7% DVOA
    Young wins the MVP. Montana was in KC in 93 and Young continued to tear up the league for 6 more seasons.

We've got 2 out of 4 years where a back-up Steve Young is outperforming the starter in DYAR and DVOA (24.7, and 9.3 better). In the other 2 it was 1 big drop off (28.3) and 1 small drop off (5.8). Back-ups have some advantages (lack of film, lack of game planning against, etc) and back then with fewer limits on practice time could get more prep work too. Even with that, to say Young was not showing brilliant play from the start in SF is just flat out wrong. Young, as the primary starter also outperformed his back-ups in both seasons. So while that system helped it wasn't all just the system. Montana putting up 34.2% DVOA at age 37 in KC and then 10.8% DVOA at age 38 says a bit about him as a QB too and when Young is doing as well or better than him on the SF teams it says something about Young. Keep in mind those 300 - 400 DYAR back-up seasons is adding as much or more value in 3 starts as guys like Matt Ryan, Tua, Hurts, and Wentz did in full seasons in 2021. Those are huge DYAR numbers for a guy who didn't hit 199 passes.

Give Tampa Bay a competent front office and leave Young there and his career arc may continue just like Josh Allen's has in Buffalo. Allen is not currently on a HoF trajectory, but certainly could be if things keep going well for 10 more seasons. Steve Young, bad QB getting lucky to go to good system, is just a lazy narrative.

Young played under restricted player movement rules, he bet on himself with the USFL season and as soon as he got away from garbage franchises he exploded. That explosion was contained playing behind not just a Hall of Famer but someone who at the time was being brought up in GOAT conversations (I think he still is, but of course Brady and Manning have warped that conversation too).

 

Young didn't get wooshed in for 3 championships he got woooshed in for 2 league MVPs and being considered the best QB in the league for like 5 - 6 years when he finally got a chance to start for a real team at age 31. The 2 bench warmer championships don't hurt him, as I went into, the committee clearly loves QBs who play in the SB. But PFR found that an MVP counts for a bit more than 4 times as much as winning the SB even for QBs who get all that extra credit. My own work doesn't weight them quite that high, but they matter a ton for the Hall of Fame.

 

Edit: Young was also a more valuable rusher/scrambler than Montana ever was, getting more total rushing DYAR even as the limited back-up than Montana had. For rushing DYAR Young was
10th (37 DYAR) in 85
2nd (124) in 86
4th (84) in 87
5th (46) in 88
15th (26) in 89
6th (72) in 90 (1 start that year)
1st (186) in 91
2nd (135) in 92
1st (152) in 93
1st (137)  in 94
2nd (97) in 95
2nd (115) in 96
8th (49) in 97
2nd (174) in 98 (@37 years old)
30th (8) in 99 and had positive DVOA in final
Sure rushing for QBs was not nearly as much of a thing back that, but he was putting up better than Josh Allen values back then. It was a true weapon that his teams used to their advantage.

I find it weird that people try and find ways to keep discounting Young, or claim he was just a product of a system. Of course the system helped him, but the system didn't make him, the talent was still evident even when stuck in purgatory in TB (people tend to forget just how damn bad those teams were because they sometimes won 2 - 4 games. But they also got to play against the 80's Packers and Lions for 4 of their games and the Lions were an anti-dynasty of their own at the time.

81 Thank you, I've commented on…

Thank you, I've commented on Moon and the CFL in the other thread. I always forget about Kelly in the USFL. So that's a bonus, sure because it is the Pro Football Hall of fame, not the NFL Hall of Fame. I still argue the majority of his case is the 4 consecutive SBs.

79 I don't really think there…

I don't really think there are that many QBs in the Hall. 29 in total in the history of the league for the most important and famous position on the field. QBs also face a RINGZ test that is not really applied to other positions (though this benefited candidates like Aikman, it has shut out or delayed the induction of others). Plus since QBs typically play a lot longer, especially in the modern era, it is tougher for them to win the "best of their era" arguments. Rogers is viewed as overlapping with Brady and Manning, but if all three of them played RB or DT their primes probably wouldn't have overlapped at all and they would be judged in separate eras. 

72 He was clearly going into…

He was clearly going into the Hall, but he had nothing resembling a GOAT claim.

I disagree. A lot of people in his era thought he was the GOAT, and he still has a very strong case today.

74 Au Contraire

On the contrary, if you look at peak as opposed to career, he has a fabulous GOAT claim.  No one has won more passing titles, no one has won more consecutive passing titles, and I believe his era adjusted a/nya is the highest of all time at 126.  He also took over GOAT candidate Montana’s team, and had a higher winning percentage and a higher passer rating than Montana did.  I would say all that resembles a claim.

76 Young had a great peak,…

In reply to by Raiderfan

Young had a great peak, basically inheriting the team Montana built.

Much in the way Seifert had an amazing record having inherited Walsh's team.

85 I suppose no one's going to…

I suppose no one's going to read this at this late date, but I thought it was interesting, and germane:

Fletcher Cox currently has the 4th-most AV of all 2012 draftees.

But (assuming health), in 2022 he will very likely be passed on that list by... Ryan Tannehill. Who will also likely pass Luke Kuechly this year, and if not then certainly in 2023 if he plays.

I cannot fathom Ryan Tannehill sniffing the Hall, barring some kind of nigh-unprecedented post-age 35 ascendance (Rich Gannon shows it's possible, I guess?). But I cannot fathom Kuechly not getting in.

Goes to show how QB is just on a different level, in terms of value - and how, like you say, the position really needs a separate track or something for HoF voting, because the 10th-best QB in the League is as "valuable" as a top-3 guy at basically any other position.

As for Cox himself, I have no strong opinion. I'd probably vote for him, but I tilt "big Hall" - I don't see him as clearly better than, like, Haloti Ngata or Ndamukong Suh (probably in the same bucket with like Gerald McCoy and Geno Atkins). But I'm willing to be persuaded - and I'm mostly sure I would vote for the first two (Ngata especially) so that's not necessarily a slight.

 

16 Marshawn

As a Seattle local, we love Marshawn Lynch.  I wonder if Mr. Tanier has looked at his Hall of Fame candidacy, and what he thinks about it?  If not, he's a very good (and probably controversial) guy to talk about.

27 Gore will be a real problem…

In reply to by robbbbbb

Gore will be a real problem for Lynch, because Gore has a better peak and better longevity. Lynch strikes me as a Ricky Watters type -- closer than you'd think, but not quite.

Gore will be an interesting case. He's basically a poor man's Curtis Martin.

HOFm really likes Gore for reasons I can't quite fathom. There's a chance Lynch gets in on personality. That worked for Bettis and Hornung.

30 The biggest advantage Lynch…

The biggest advantage Lynch has over Watters is a fanbase that loves and supports him.  Watters didn't exactly make himself beloved at any of his stops, so he's less likely to have someone pounding the table for him in the room.

50 The best case for Lynch is…

The best case for Lynch is his postseason numbers. He is eighth all-time with 970 rushing yards in the playoffs. Everyone above him is in the HOF. Among the top 15, only Lynch, Chuck Foreman, Roger Craig, Earnest Byner, and Eddie George are not in the HOF. I'm surprised that Foreman and Craig aren't in. George is a Hall of Very Good guy. Byner has no shot. 

34 IMO the case for Marshawn is…

In reply to by robbbbbb

IMO the case for Marshawn is basically a referendum on John Riggins, as the broad strokes of their careers are pretty similar. 

32 Peters is easily in.

Jackie Slater got in with less...of everything (despite playing more games too). 

And Jimbo Covert is in with 7(!) less PBs.

The only guarantee in front of him is Joe Thomas.

40 Looking at the monitor, a…

Looking at the monitor, a few jumped out at me as names I hadn't considered.

Cameron Jordan and Khalil Mack have decent Hall cases if they retired today.

The other one is Shane Lechler, who I think has the best position-adjusted case among guys not currently in. (HOF score / average HOFer score) By accolades, Lechler is the best punter in NFL history, better than the position award's namesake.

45 OL scheme

Some OLs truly have highlight reels.  However, IMO the OL more than any other unit must function AS a unit.  Case in point is the Pats with Brady under center:  Logan Mankins has a good shot at HOF, with one AP1 and 5 AP2's with NWE, but after that are there any who even make it to the semifinals?  Looking just at the AP teams, Matt Light was 1st team in 2007 - a lot of Pats were 1st or 2nd team that year - and 4 players each made AP2 once:  Dan Koppen in 2007, Sebastian Vollmer in 2010, Marcus Cannon in 2016 and Joe Thuney in 2019.  Like Peyton, almost no QB has been better at making the OL look good than TB12.  Still, that's pretty slim OL All-Pro pickings for a team with 9 SB appearances in 19 years.  Maybe it's Scarnecchia that belongs in the Hall (though even the greatest of position coaches are a lo-o-ong shot).

47 Of guys who were never HC,…

In reply to by SandyRiver

Of guys who were never HC, Scarnecchia and Toub deserve consideration.

Of guys who were never good HCs, Buddy Ryan and the Phillipses. LeBeau would be on that list, but they got him in as a player.

51 I have a slightly different…

In reply to by SandyRiver

I have a slightly different take. In terms of just raw sack percentage or pressure percentage, Brady is very good, but not otherworldly like Manning or Brees. No doubt he helps his line a lot, but I think they have a symbiotic relationship that mutually benefits one another. Having watched so many NE games over the years, they do a great job of holding the fort and mainting the pocket integrity and Brady takes advantage of it by moving in the pocket and not getting spooked by some pushback. In other words, Brady doesn't require a pristine pocket to work with so hes not going to make his line look bad, but the line also affords him just enough breathing room to operate. Its really a perfect pairing.  

NE has also been a highly efficient run offense for years throughout Brady's run. This stands in contrast to other top echelong QBs who have seen their ground games fall to pathetic at times. And this has remained consistent despite a revolving door at running back and the offensive line.

I dont say this to take a shot at Brady. Not my point at all. Instead its to highlight the job Scar has done with this o line. They experience so much turnover and yet remain largely competent every year. Sure, some players are really good; but as you mentioned, as a unit - they are exemplary.

55 Some more context

So I don't have stathead but instead recreated their era adjusted stats in excel so there may be a small discrepancy between the data I'm about to present, but among the 50 passers with the most yards in history here are the top 10 by era adjusted sack% (and their INT%+)

 

1. Marino 124.2 (108.0)
2. Peyton 123.3 (105.0)
3. Brodie 123.0 (90.1)
4. Brees 118.6 (107.1)
5. Snead 118.2 (92.7)
6. Hart 114.7 (103.9)
7. Brady 113.3 (115.1)
8. Fouts 112.9 (102.2)
9. Eli 112.8 (95.5)
10. Everett 111.8 (98.9)

Brady is among the very best in league history at avoiding sacks and within these peers is *significantly* better at avoiding interceptions (ranking 4th all time in INT%+), and is the only QB to be top 10 at both. Furthermore his Sck%+ is heavily weighted by his '01 season of 86, meanwhile every other year of his career he has been 103 or better, and in 15/20 years 110 or better. If we were to exclude this massive outlier from his numbers he would leapfrog over Hart, and he did all this while still being one of the most interception averse QBs in NFL history.

The only other QB who can keep both sack and interception rates as low is Mahomes, who has to this point about 20% the career dropbacks of Brady.

Furthermore we know QBs have the strongest control over their sack%, indeed two of Brady's best years by Sack%+ have come after leaving New England for Tampa, which should give further credence that Brady isn't merely a product of his line or his OL coach (great though Scar may be).

 

It seems reasonable to suggest that while all these QBs have incredible pocket movement, some of them have sacrificed sacks for interceptions (and equally the career leaders in int% have sacrificed some picks for sacks), meanwhile Brady is the only one with a significant sample size to avoid both. Furthermore I'd argue that Brady is far closer to both Brees and Peyton than you seem to suggest with his pocket movement from a statistical standpoint alone, without getting into the eye test which has Brady's skill in the pocket as self evidently elite by a myriad of sources.

56 Interesting. I do the RAP…

In reply to by HitchikersPie

Interesting. I do the RAP articles and Brady has usually been somewhere in the top 15 every season whereas Brees and Manning ranked 1st almost every season, other than the one's they overlapped together on. That's kind of what I am basing it upon. 

Also just to be extra clear. I in no way saying Brady is a product of his o line. I just think his o lines have been mostly very good, including in Tampa. That he helps them is unquestionable. Both statements can be true at the same time. 

60 RAP Articles

Apologies, what did you mean by RAP articles, I'd be very interested to read but can't recall seeing the acronym before.

 

At least by sack% here's his leaguewide rank (sck%+):

'01: 26/31 (86)
'02: 13/35 (111)
'03: 16/33 (105)
'04: 7/34 (110)
'05: 6/36 (113)
'06: 9/32 (110)
'07: 6/34 (117)
'09: 2/32 (125)
'10: 8/32 (110)
'11: 11/34 (110)
'12: 5/35 (119)
'13: 14/38 (103)
'14: 4/34 (122)
'15: 18/36 (103)
'16: 3/31 (123)
'17: 13/34 (105)
'18: 4/33 (123) 
'19: 5/33 (117)
'20: 3/36 (123)
'21: 1/33 (124*)

*liable to change slightly after '22 season.

He's got 8 top 5 seasons, 13 top 10 seasons, and in particular '15 undersells his ability given he had the quickest average time to throw in the league that year, but the patriots set a then record for most offensive line combinations, and their OL play was utterly woeful.

Again, I think what the data shows is that Brady is probably the best QB in history at balancing sack and interception avoidance, and this is all without looking at his artistry in the pocket, his small movement is truly something to behold 

A better way to demonstrate this might be with Matt Cassel, who came in for Brady and put in a 83 Sck%+ season ranking good for 30/34 sandwiched between Brady's '07 and '09 years, and that was on an OL filled with pro bowlers (Light, Mankins, Koppen) but Brady was still also clearly elevating. Or with Tampa Bay, Jameis ranking 22/33 qualifiers and Brady immediately coming in ranking 3rd and 1st, all while playing in an incredibly turnover-worthy-play averse manner per PFF.

69 Brady is (as always) a weird…

Brady is (as always) a weird case. His OLines were generally above average but his receivers were generally worse than his contemporaries of the same level. Generally, NE's overall talent level seemed to fall while he was there, which isn't surprise considering they were usuallys  starting in the mid to late 20s, and Belichick being an all time great coach but maybe average to slighly above(at best) as an executive. Support talent his how he turned back the clock in TB however, like the kung-fu "drop the weights" thing. 

53 Manning and his o lines

In reply to by SandyRiver

Touching on this topic in a separate post.

Manning helped his line in the sense that he made their objective statistics look good - ie low amounts of sacks and pressures. But I don't think they were ever actually good. 

Tarik Glenn was great and maybe deserves some fringe hall of fame love. Saturday was very good at the type of scheme the Colts ran. I think he's overrated and I'd rather have a bunch of other centers ahead of him, but he was a legitimately good player. And at times; they've had some good players like Ryan Lilja, Ryan Clady when he's healthy, and Louis Vasques. 

But they've also had a lot of bad players in there too that required Manning to at least do part of their jobs for them. Ie - he audibled into a play that allowed his line to survive. Its no wonder that most of the linemen that left Indy either amounted to nothing or were out of the league entirely. I can't remember a string of linemen the colts let go that other teams desperately threw cash to acquire. 

But then this result isn't really an accident. The Colts preferred paying the skill players and the pass rushers at the expense of the rest of the roster. I guess you could read that as you reap what you sow, but its also in some ways the path you are forced into.