17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

OK, this is where the Hall of Fame talk gets serious, now that we're down to the 17 finalists.

Here's the list: Cris Carter, Dermontti Dawson, Richard Dent, Russ Grimm, Bob Hayes, Claude Humphrey, Cortez Kennedy, Bob Kuechenberg, Randall McDaniel, John Randle, Andre Reed, Shannon Sharpe, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Rod Woodson -- plus, in the contributor category, Bills owner Ralph Wilson and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

I think out of these guys, I feel strongest about Bruce Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Rod Woodson, and Dermontti Dawson. Also, I mean, Bob Hayes was good, but haven't there been enough guys from those 70's Cowboys put in the HOF, and not enough offensive guards like Grimm, Kuechenberg, and McDaniel?

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119 comments, Last at 13 Jan 2009, 4:52pm

1 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Semifinalists who didn't make the cut: Roger Craig, Terrell Davis, Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, Ray Guy, Charles Haley, Lester Hayes, Art Modell, Ken Stabler, and Steve Tasker.

Dawson, McDaniel, Smith, Woodson, and Tagliabue is my first cut list of the guys I most want to see make it, though I recognize Tags is probably facing a very uphill struggle. Really not a fan of Ralph Wilson's candidacy-not sure what he's done other than accept a franchise in Buffalo and not die yet. Art Modell is much more deserving of enshrinement, at least if you can get beyond the whole "pissing off Cleveland" thing.

55 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

"Art Modell is much more deserving of enshrinement, at least if you can get beyond the whole 'pissing off Cleveland' thing."

That is a very gentle way to describe the utter despair he sank that city in to. Belichik was coaching there, doing a great job, til the announcement. The team was coming off a playoff year (in which they lost to the Steelers for a 3rd time), playing well, then lost their last 6ish games since the heart had been ripped out of the city.

Since then, they've had 2 winning seasons, one playoff appearance (another triple loss to the Steelers), and no hope.

What makes it worse than despicable, he claimed he was leaving for a new stadium, *after* the Cleveland area had just given him a complete gift of one.

Torture is of course wrong for any human, but if he gets roughed up pretty bad by Satan during his (and it will be long) time in purgatory, very few people will shed a tear.

Yes, this negative dwarfs any positives he may have done for the NFL (and there were many). Even the league recognizes it - he wasn't allowed to take the team's name and history with him.

(I'm not even slightly a Cleveland fan.)

2 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I'll go with the four guys Aaron mentioned plus Derrick Thomas. How Thomas didn't get in before Andre Tippett is beyond me.

56 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I'm a New Englander and a big Tippett fan, so I'm a little biased, but I would guess Tippet got in before Thomas because (1) Tippett was an all around great player that did many things well, while Thomas was pretty much exclusively a pass rusher (and hence his high sack totals)--or at least, that is the perception, and (2) Tippett played on Patriots teams for much of his career that were so utterly devoid of other talent and had such horrible coaching that his individual accomplishments look that much more impressive than Thomas, who played on some pretty good Chiefs teams.

84 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Tippett played on Patriots teams for much of his career that were so utterly devoid of other talent and had such horrible coaching that his individual accomplishments look that much more impressive than Thomas,

Oh come on. For the firs half of his career Tippett played on OK to good teams. From 1982 to 1988 the Pats never did worse than 8-8, had one Superbowl appearance and made it to the playoffs twice. And Raymond Berry was a very good coach. It was the 1990-92 Pats who were godawful, and the Boston media started the myth of the perennial awful Pats when Parcell came along, maybe to make the Tuna look more impressive, and more likely because the media despised the Sullivan family. In reality the 1960-1990 Pats were a mediocre NFL franchise, but never as lowly as the real dogs like the Saints, Lions, Browns, Bengals or even the Jets (other than 1969 the Jets were pretty awful). The Pats were in an also-ran class with teams like the Eagles, Chargers, and Bills.

3 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

"Also, I mean, Bob Hayes was good, but haven't there been enough guys from those 70's Cowboys put in the HOF"

Shouldn't each candidate be judged on their own merits and not on how many of their teammates have been selected?

31 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Yes, absolutely, but it is worth noting if a candidate has a number of teammates already in the Hall, as it points to 'good guy on a great team', rather than a 'great guy'

I have no opinion on which of these is true for Bob Hayes, but I absolutely feel that Lynn Swann falls into the former category, and should never have been voted into the Hall

54 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Saying that Lynn Swann doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame is like saying that Gayle Sayers doesn't, or that Sandy Koufax doesn't belong in the baseball HOF. Some players are possessed of a certain type of artistry and skill that transcends career numbers, and Swann's career was cut short by his penchant for concussions and other injuries.

89 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Lynn Swann = Sandy Koufax!!!

Wow.

Koufax was the best in the game at his position, the most important position in the game, for a five-year period.

Swann? It's arguable whether he was even the best on his own team at his position.

98 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Koufax benefited notably from spending the latter part of his career in a pitcher's park during a pitcher-friendly era. He certainly was one of the NL's top pitchers during a six-year period from 1961 to 1966, but during this time, he only finished 1st in ERA+ twice, in 1964 and 1966. You'd think the "best in the game at his position" would have done so more often. Specifics:

1961 (123, tied for 4th place)
1962 (141, 4th place)
1963 (159, 2nd place)
1964 (187, 1st place)
1965 (160, 3rd place)
1966 (190, 1st place)

67 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

More importantly, is it really the case that there are loads of "those 70's Cowboys" in the HoF? The list is really Lilly, Renfro, Staubach, Dorsett, R. White, and R. Wright. Plus, I guess Landry and Schramm. But Lilly was really more of a 60's guy, and Dorsett more of an 80's guy. So it's really just four players plus their long-time owner and coach. Four guys-- one of whom was an OL-- on a pretty impressive team. The Cowboys went to the playoffs every year but one (1974) of the 70's, played in seven NFC Championships, and in five Super Bowls, winning two ('71 and '77). Green Bay from the 60's has nine in (plus Lombardi). So do the 70's Steelers (plus Noll and two Rooneys).

Of course, as BlueStarDude notes, Hays played more of his career in the 60's than the 70's (at least, as a dominant player).

Does Hays deserve to be in? Probably But are the 70's Cowboys overrepresented in the HoF? I doubt it.

32 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I don't think it's that clear cut - their numbers are reasonably similar in totals - Carter has 701 more yards, though 43 more TDs. Almost the same number of games (234 to 227). Reed has a higher YPC, Carter obviously has more receptions. Though their careers span similar eras, Reed is a little earlier, so gets slightly more kudos for passing numbers generally increasing over time. Plus Reed was part of a better team (arguably), adding to the 'Fame' part of his credentials.

Personally, I'd put Carter in before Reed, but I don't think it's a completely black-and-white issue

74 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I realize that TDs are not a great metric, but I don't think that I would use "similar in totals" and "43 more TDs" in the same sentence.

That is the same as the difference between me and HoFers Frank Gifford and Mike Ditka. Not to mention John Taylor, Steve Smith, Santana Moss, Johnnie Morton, Donald Driver, and Warren Wells.

Obv, different eras and the active players should be adding to their totals, so it's not really fair. But, I thought it would be amusing to see if there were some good players with that total. The list of guys with 43 receiving TDs is actually more impressive than I thought it would be.

91 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Carter has 1101 receptions, Reed has 951. Carter has 13899 yards, Reed has 13189. Carter has 130 TDs, Reed 87.

These are "reasonably similar" numbers? He's about 15% higher in receptions and 50% higher in TDs!!

Carter led the NFL in TD receptions three times. Reed? Never. Reed was 1st-team all-NFL twice. Reed? Never.

I think you'd really have to be a Bills homer to put Reed ahead of Carter.

I'd be concerned that the Monk selection will open the floodgates to WRs, but there is no question that Cris Carter is the most accomplished WR on the list, and will be until Jerry Rice gets elected unanimously. (Is that next year?)

99 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I don't think Shannon Sharpe gets in this year. Note that no TE has ever been elected to the HoF in their first year of eligibility. In fact, none have been elected any sooner than their 3rd year eligible to be a finalist.

He'll certainly get in, but I don't think it will be in 2009.

5 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Bob Hayes revolutionized football. While offensive linemen also deserve their due, the answer is "no, not enough of the 70's Cowboys are in." Take a look at the same era and tell me how many Steelers (the other dominant team from that era) are in.

100 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Would you please tell us how Bob Hayes "revolutionized football?" The zone defense was not, repeat not, created to stop Hayes -- creation of the zone and umbrella defenses are generally credited to Steve Owen to stop the Cleveland Browns receivers of the 1950s. Any claims that Hayes was the first to bring speed to the WR position are also incorrect (receivers such as Harlon Hill and Ray Renfro were considered speedy WRs to reckon with in the '50s, and '60s star Paul Warfield was a 9.6 sprinter)

6 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I'd like to see Kuech and McDaniel in. No real opinion on Tag or Wilson; that category is kind of weird anyway.

I have no idea how Terrell Davis doesn't get into the Hall ahead of Andre Reed. Reed never led the NFL in any statistical category, broke 1000 yards only four times in around twenty years, and played in Buffalo.

Terrell Davis led the league in four categories in one year, was critical to his team's success throughout his time there, and even after all his injuries, ran for 700 yards and a 4.2 ypc average in -eight games- in 2001. Terrell Davis had an impressive career.

8 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I am willing to accept that TD won't get in, because of his (far to) short career. But even giving Reed a chance over TD is nonsense... PFR would call Reed a compiler, compilers shouldn't be mentioned in HOF discussions!

7 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I have no clue as to wether Grimm was any good or not. But will his (great?)coaching performances help him in?

I mean in the rules of what qualifies a hall of famer, does coaching contributions get factored in?

9 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

There are so many deserving guys who have not been inducted that I have lost a lot of interest in the topic. Let me know when the maximum seven guys a year are inducted for about four or five years straight. The only player finalist I would not enthusiatically support for induction is Randle; he simply did not play the run well enough or honestly enough to be a historically great defensive tackle. If Randle gets inducted while McDaniel is left out, even for one year, it will have been categorically proven that the majority of selectors do not know, to rip off Parcells, whether the ball is blown up or stuffed. There isn't a single GM or coach from that era who would have taken Randle's career before McDaniel's career, if they were drafting for an expansion team.

Regarding old Cowboys, it is atrocious that Chuck Howley is not in. Linebackers have really gotten the shaft from the Hall of Fame.

107 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Will, definitely agree with you that LBs (especially outside LBs) have really gotten the shaft regarding the HoF. Chuck Howley is exhibit A here, but one can make strong cases for Chris Hanburger, Robert Brazile, Randy Gradishar, and Maxie Baughan -- and to an arguably lesser extent Joe Fortunato, Isiah Robertson, Bill Forester, Dave Robinson, Tommy Nobis, Les Richter, and Lee Roy Jordan. That's a criminally large number of players at one position, and those are just the Senior-only eligibles.

10 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

no love for Cris Carter? he was one of the best receivers to ever play. his every-play hustle and ability to go up for the ball were almost unmatched.

14 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I am sorry but Cris Carter was never synonymous with hustle.

Did he ever play special teams?

Carter is great and will be in HOF but hustle does not come to mind when I think
of how he played the game.

I also think it is clear you only watched him later in his career as opposed to when he was at Ohio State and with Philly.

11 Bob Hayes = no brainer

Bob Hayes "good"? He was the one of the best statistical receivers of his era (see below), which is better described as the 60s than the 70s since his productive years are 1965-1971.

His impact on the game is more important than the numbers, but either way, Hayes should be in without a doubt. The only reason he’s not in already is because of drug issues and the stigma associated with that at the time, but there are plenty of drug users since voted into the Hall.

Hayes was top 10 in receiving yards six times, and in the top 5 three times. Compare that to:
Charley Taylor - top 10 six times and top five once.
Bobby Mitchell - top 10 six times and top 5 twice.
Fred Biletnikoff - top 10 five times and top 5 twice.
Paul Warfield - top 10 four times and top 5 three times.
Charlie Joyner played forever but was only top 10 three times and top 5 twice. His career totals benefit greatly from his many post-1978 seasons, something no one else on this list has.

Maynard was nine and six, and Alworth was seven and seven, but theirs are AFL numbers, which shouldn't be directly compared with WRs who played exclusively in the NFL.

*

And Randall McDaniel has to go in. He was voted 1st team AP All-Pro seven times. Other seven-time AP All-Pro guards: Bruce Matthews, John Hannah, and Mike Munchak (all in the Hall). Larry Allen, considered a sure-fire HOFer, was 1st team AP All-Pro six times (though one of those was as a left tackle); no other guard has made more than five of those teams. No guard making more than four AP All-Pro 1st teams and more than five Pro Bowls has been denied entry into the Hall. And McDaniel made 12 Pro Bowls, which is second among guards (tied with Will Shields) only to Matthews.

*

Beyond that I agree that the four you mentioned as feeling strongest about--Bruce Smith, Shannnon Sharpe, Rod Woodson, and Dermontti Dawson--also surely belong.

My seventh vote if I had one might have to go to Derrick Thomas, but I admit that's probably for sentimental reasons: I was still a kid and he was one of my favorite players at the time.

108 Re: Bob Hayes = no brainer

BlueStarDude's here too. Guess I'll repost from where he was before as well.

Whether Bob Hayes is a HoF level player is certainly debatable.

Arguments pro:

1. he had 3 no-brainer HoF-level seasons as a WR (1965-1967) and three others that were varying levels of very good (1968, 1970-1971).

2. his "first team all pro/pro bowl" numbers are 2/3, not exactly earth-shattering, but not unreasonable either for a WR.

3. he was a very good punt returner, in fact excellent for three of the six years he did so on a consistent basis.

Arguments against:

1. his career is not especially lengthy (11 years, with two of them injury shortened). And nearly half of these eleven years are at average or below level performance. Thus his case is entirely peak-based, not longevity based -- and unfortunately, his peak is short.

2. his short career and weaker years keep his career counting numbers relatively low.

3. he rarely played well in the postseason. He only had two big games (the initial conference games in 1967 and 1968) in 12 appearances, otherwise being pretty much neutralized in the other ten. And during the Ice Bowl game against Green Bay, Hayes kept his hands in his pockets while lining up on running plays and out of his pockets while lining up on passing plays the entire day, which apparently helped tip off the type of play to Green Bay, giving them an advantage and likely contributing to Dallas's loss there.

4. he's not on the '60s all-decade team, while non-HoF receivers like Gary Collins, Del Shofner, and Boyd Dowler are.

Any claims that Hayes was the first to bring speed to the WR position are incorrect (receivers such as Harlon Hill and Ray Renfro were considered speedy WRs to reckon with in the '50s, and '60s star Paul Warfield was a 9.6 sprinter). And the zone defense was not created to stop Hayes. Steve Owen is generally credited with inventing both the umbrella and zone defenses in the early 1950s, created specifically to stop the Cleveland Browns.

One criticism of Hayes is that he didn't compensate well once teams figured out how to stop him, that he didn't have the best hands and wasn't especially imaginative running patterns, two things that would have elevated his game and made him a truly great WR. The result was a drop-off in production.

So what one has with Hayes is an on-the-bubble case that could lean either way, depending on how one sees it. I'm glad he was nominated and won't grouse if he gets in. But he's not an elite-level player either, and I can see why his HoF candidacy failed in 2004.

12 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Hsyes was more of a '60s era Cowboy than a '70s era one. His last good year was '71; he played in DAL thru '74 but only caught 44 passes his last three seasons in Dallas (not much, even for that era). He was in SF for 4 games in '75 when the Cowboys again began to dominate the NFC.

Basically, Hayes was Otis Taylor with a gold medal. Look at their records - both played '65-'75. Hayes had more impact as a rookie (Pro Bowl), Otis was a productive wr a little longer (Pro Bowl in '72 when Hayes was mediocre, caught 115 passes '72-'74). Hayes' speed was special; Otis' speed/size/strength was also special (6'3", 215 vs Hayes' 6'0", 187). Hayes had the fame from his track and field days, Otis had the signature TD in SB IV.

As a Chiefs homer, I'd like to see Hayes go in because it strengthens the case for Otis. Realistically, both were great players who probably will never make it - and yeah, there are plenty of Chiefs from the '60s teams who are already in.

(FYI - I didn't see Blue Star Dude's post while writing this)

13 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Derrick Thomas has similar stats to Lawrence Freakin Taylor. The Football HOF is a sham if he doesn't get in.

101 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Derrick Thomas unfortunately had a reputation for being a great pass rusher but not being so accomplished against the run or in pass coverage. The HoF electors seem to like LBs to have more complete skill sets for quick election. It's not unreasonable that Thomas has been waiting a bit, though I think he'll get in eventually.

And comparing the number of sacks Thomas and Taylor had could be misleading, as they only overlapped for 3 seasons and likely wouldn't be considered contemporaries of each other as a result.

17 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I'm a little surprised by the strength support by Shannon Sharpe. Not that he wasn't a good player, but I'm not sure how could his blocking was as a tight end (I could be wrong, but I don't have any feel for it.) If he's really a slot receiver labelled a tight end, then he should line up behind the Jimmy Smith/Rod Smith/Keenan McCardell group of peakless career 10000 yardish receivers.

Of course, if he legitimately was a good blocking tight end as well as a good pass catcher, then he's an obvious Hall of Famer.

25 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I think Shannon Sharpe played TE back when there really weren't any Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates types, so if you played TE, you could block. How do other TEs of the 90s stack up to him? He also had a ridiculous physique, I'm guessing he was no slouch at the line of scrimmage. I might be biased because he's easily the best offensive player at a skill position the Ravens ever had.

34 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Shannon Sharpe wasn't a great blocker, he was only about 235 lbs. He was in the Brent Jones/ Jay Novacek school of blocking by getting in the way as opposed to collapsing the end. I don't have a problem with him as a HOF candidate though, he was simply a dominant, game-changing player as a pass receiver.

19 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I just can't get excited about the hall anymore with Monk in there.

I think everyone on this list is pretty much deserving by that standard.

73 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

How ironic is it that the Art Monk bashing starts right after a discussion about Shannon Sharpe? I realize they played nominally different positions, but Monk played some at TE and was better at it than Sharpe ever was. Monk is better than Sharpe in every receiving category, both cumulative and per-game/per-catch (for you "compilers"), and he was a much better blocker as well. Plus, he didn't spend his career catching passes from Hall of Fame QB's like John Elway. Plus, he played in an era with less passing in general.

People would get over hating Art Monk if they just agreed to think of him as a hybrid WR/TE instead of comparing him to pure WR's like Rice and Irvin.

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

20 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I'm just so happy I don't have to spend another year watching cynically as Art Monk yet again gets shafted. Those were some very bitter years for me, and the fact that the voters finally did the right thing still brings me euphoria.

So congrats once again, Art. This year is a HUGE relief to all of your fans. And whatever the media's insanity before, they will never be able to take this away from you.

22 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

This is an open response, though I would like to hear from you, A. Schatz, if time obliges.

Why is Tagliabue not a lock? Isn't he pretty much considered responsible for popularizing the NFL to the extent that it currently dominates the American sports markets? I read an article in the NYTimes, I believe, that compared the NFL before Tagliabue to the one he left for us when he resigned, and, essentially, every major facet of the current league arose during his tenure. I'm not espousing unfettered love for Tagliabue, but, objectively speaking, it seems to me he belongs in the HoF, no?

Am I missing something? (I certainly may be -- I'm no NFL historian, admittedly).

JPW

23 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I'd be very surprised if Aaron bothers to respond, since, as noted before, FO writers frequently don't read comment threads, but I'll respond, since I strongly support Tagliabue's candidacy and doubt he'll get in. Here's why:
1. Most writers don't understand the business side of the game, and aren't able to understand Tagliabue's contributions from that end.
2. Tagliabue's cautious actions are seen as a sort of conservatism that was unwise, in contrast to the glorious pronouncements of Roger Rex.
3. Tagliabue's main accomplishment could be seen as not screwing up-he inherited a nationally popular game from Rozelle and the NFL was still a nationally popular game. This is much less obvious of an accomplishment than Rozelle's.
4. He's a lawyer by trade. Yes, I think this matters.
5. He was the NFL's lawyer in some of the NFL-player battles. Dr. Z has mentioned this as a reason he would never vote for Tagliabue, and I don't think he's alone. Journalists are union members after all (or at least I assume they still are).
6. One of Tagliabue's main accomplishment is labor peace. But, with the owners voting to end the current labor deal and 2010 shaping up to be an uncapped year, that labor peace looks less likely to last beyond his personal tenure.

45 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Actually, I think Dr. Z opposed Tagliabue because he felt there were more deserving players who should get in before any front office type. To a certain extent I agree. I think Tagliabue deserves enshrinement, but to let him in you have to pass by a deserving player who might not get this close again.

62 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

This is my feeling. Every commissioner is going to have a big impact in football, and as long as the league doesn't fold or decline then he will probably be looked at as a successful commissioner. Why do we need to elect commissioners to the hall (particularly at the expense of a player)? Why can't we just have a part of the Hall of Fame that says "Here are the commissioners of the NFL"?

24 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

NewsToTom, I think you may have inadvertently laid out a case for why Tags shouldn't get in(specifically, #'s 3 & 6).

A few tough calls, but I think I'd go with Carter, Dawson, McDaniel, Smith, Woodson and both Seniors nominees though I'm still kind of on the fence about Hayes. I'd also put in Randle, Sharpe and Thomas at some point and could maybe be persuaded on 'Tez.

Oh, and I agree wholeheartedly with Will Allen that Chuck Howley should be in.

26 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

The NFL was the only of the 4 major professional sports leagues that didn't experience a free agency-related work stoppage in the 1990's. The NHL lost a year and a half, the NBA half a season (almost), and MLB half a season (including the postseason) plus. Oh, yeah, and during Tags's tenure, the NFL successfully made the transition from very limited free agency to very extensive free agency. That's a really impressive job by a commissioner.

I'd also argue that the 2006 labor deal was the result of Tags' personal ability to bridge the gap between the NFL and the large revenue owners and the small revenue owners. The early termination of the deal is, I believe, in large part because Goodell does not have the same personal ability to get the same three parties to agree on a deal the way Tags did. That Tags can't personally fix a widespread underlying problem, and Goodell can't make the same deal Tags could because he doesn't have the same credibility, are not, I believe, reasons we should think less of Tags.

I'd love to know who's giving Tagliabue's case and how he'll try to win over the other selectors.

49 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Tags had the good fortune to be commissioner during a time of general economic prosperity and, more specifically, an explosion in the media businesses that caused the value of sports properties to skyrocket. Not to diminish his skills, but from a pure business perspective I'm not sure that Tags accomplished as much as Stern or even Selig for that matter.

This year, I would not vote for Tagliabue. I think it's too early to really judge some of his accomplishments. His ability to maintain labor peace, for example, might look a lot more impressive in five years if a stoppage occurs under Goodell.

At 68, Tagliabue would seem to have enough healthy years left that there is no need to rush to judgment over his candidacy. Right now I don't believe his legacy rises to the level of, say, Rozelle, Halas, Mara, Rooney. I think voters should be patient in evaluating him.

81 Tags

I think most people from Baltimore would NOT support Tagliabue for the HOF. He was much more interested in pleasing Redskins ownership than accommodating the hundreds of thousands of football-starved Baltimoreans for over a decade. He awarded a team to Jacksonville over Baltimore, despite Baltimore being a viable pro football market and Jacksonville much less so. Look at how he treated Cleveland after the Browns left vs. Baltimore after the Colts left. I can't support someone who denies great football fans the product they deserve just to please a powerful owner.

33 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

How is Charles Haley not in the final, or Doleman? How is Randle not a mortal lock? Same question for Chris Carter (the only criticism I can think of for him is that he was never the beat at his position but Jerry Rice played nearly 20 years so plenty of guys won't be able to make that claim)

And what about those guards?

In other words, why is the hall full of good-not-great quarterbacks? Warren Moon? Really?

NB Screw Tags, that exactly the sort of glad handing that devalues the hall.

103 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

The Hall of the Very Good QBs already in the HoF got there for postseason prowess, either for several SB/NFL Championship wins (Bobby Layne, Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman, Bob Griese) or one historically important one (Joe Namath). Besides, QBs tend to be over-represented in the HoF anyway.

Would you also please present a good specifics-laden case for why Warren Moon is undeserving of the HoF while all the other QBs in are deserving?

109 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

One reason Charles Haley is likely not a finalist is that his postseason honors are no more outstanding than other LBs or DLs of his time. His "AP 1st team all pro/pro bowl/all decade team" numbers are at 2/5/none, similar to a host of contemporary LBs, and in fact not as good as contemporary DE Chris Doleman's 2/8/90s. I'm guessing many people remember Haley being fawned over by announcers like John Madden and think he's a mortal lock or something. And while lots of SB rings can elevate a Hall of the Very Good QB into the HoF, that doesn't seem to hold for defensive players.

Doleman is likely waiting because like John Randle he was an excellent pass rusher but poor against the run. Randle's postseason numbers of 6/7/90s are better than Doleman's, which is why he's likely become a finalist first -- but his poor run play may keep him out for a while.

And it's no crime that Cris Carter wasn't a first ballot choice. Only 4 WRs ever have been (Ray Berry, Paul Warfield, Lance Alworth, and Steve Largent), so Carter has plenty of company.

35 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I'm a Bills fan, and I'm pretty sure Andre Reed doesn't belong there. There's a couple of players from that Bills era that do (Bruce Smith should be a lock if anyone ever was, and I think Thurman Thomas and maybe Kent Hull deserve it), but Reed's not one of them.

36 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Charles Haley and Chris Doleman were both better players than Derrick Thomas. Haley especially.

Rod Woodson was one of the very greatest players in football history... probably top ten. If you're going to take any defensive back and argue him for greatest defensive player ever, Rod Woodson would be your guy. I don't know if they'll put him in on his first opportunity, but obviously he's a lock.

Bruce Smith is obviously a lock.

Shannon Sharpe will certainly go in.

Dermontti Dawson is the guy most likely to get shafted and stay shafted for a while, just by being an offensive lineman... he has a case for best ever at his position, but you know how slow the voters can be on linemen. Dawson's also going to get shafted because there are already 94 Steelers in the Hall of Fame, and Rod Woodson will be #95.

I would imagine Cris Carter will be the next receiver to go in, whenever that happens.

So who's the class going to be? I'll guess... Smith, Woodson, Carter, Thomas, and that's all for this year. I'd vote for Smith, Woodson, Dawson, Haley, Sharpe, and McDaniel.

37 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I definitely echo some of the sentiments here. Rod Woodson definitely deserves admission. Same with Cris Carter and Bruce Smith. And how many All-Decade Teams does Randall McDaniel have to be on to get in? (Guys like Art Monk and Lynn Swann should not be in.) As a Vikings fan, it hurts a bit, but John Randle does not belong in the Hall of Fame. He's just too one-dimensional.

The HOF voters favor quarterbacks, especially in the modern era. Running backs, wide receivers, and defensive players with high sack totals are also favored. These writers are supposed to be some of the most knowledgeable people on the NFL, but they really give the shaft to offensive linemen.

38 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Given that most positions cannot be judged by statistics, it seems like a good place to start is the number of years named all-pro (since the pro bowl is clearly meaningless now).

Randall McDaniel 9
Bruce Smith 8
Dermontti Dawson 6
Shannon Sharpe 6
John Randle 6
Rod Woodson 6
Bob Kuechenberg 5
Bob Hayes 4
Cris Carter 3
Russ Grimm 3
Cortez Kennedy 3
Claude Humphrey 2
Derrick Thomas 2
Richard Dent 1
Andre Reed 1

Regarding commissioners, HOF selection seems completely meaningless. I think we can agree that Tagliabue was widely regarded as the best active NFL commissioner throughout his career as NFL commissioner.

41 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

What is your source for All-Pro accomplishments? Bob Hayes is listed as All-Pro 4 times in his Wikipedia entry. But p-f-r credits him with 2, using 1st team all-NFL Associated Press (I think) as its criteria. Hayes made numerous 2nd team all-NFL or 1st team all-conference lists '65-68 but only two years did he make the all-NFL cut (he did make the NY Daily News all-NFL 1st team in '67 if you want to give him a 3rd year).

The problem with all-pro as a criteria is that it was a lot easier to make all-pro (all NFL) pre-merger than it was from '70 on, and especially compared to now with 32 teams. I think it should be a factor in these discussions but it has limitations just like any other criteria.

40 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Now that Dr. Z is probably not going to be taking part, I assume this ends all chances of Cliff Harris finally making it in, which IMO is a travesty.

Sheez, I'm surprised they aren't trying to let Ray Guy in with Z not on the watch. Maybe he got rid of him at an earlier cut, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him on the list next year.

42 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Cheers for the reply, NewsToTom.

RE: Mike B. in VA-
Wow, I figured most Bills fans would argue that Reed should get the nod at some point. He was the Bills ace receiver during the K-Gun years which produced and unprecedented four consecutive Super Bowl appearances. I've never once reviewed his stats, however.

After combing through this entire thread, it seems that the two players unanimously agreed on as being in this year are Bruce Smith and Rod Woodson. I concur with these choices.

The next tier of players which stand a fair chance of making it this year would, to me, be Dawson, Carter (2nd in career touchdowns until this year), Hayes, Thomas and Randle.

Considering Art Monk is in with 68 (might be 64) touchdowns, I think Carter will be in before long (120+ if I remember correctly).

48 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Oh, lastly, does being voted all-pro mean anything to anyone in here at all? It strikes me as such a flimsy, fan-inflated popularity contest that is lacking in value. Though I've not done much research, it could actually have a high correlation to players who had strong statistical seasons. But stats aren't the only thing that matters, are they?

111 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

AP 1st team all pro selections? I think they are indeed pretty meaningful. They're not voted on by the fans, but by football writers.

Pro bowl choices are less so, in part because the pro bowl "club" for any given year is less exclusive than the 1st team all pro "club," and most especially since the fans were allowed to vote on one-third of the pro bowl which introduces a notably less discriminating voice into the mix.

All decade teams can be useful here as well, though there are a few outlier oddities on them.

But the first two do give a clue as to how the player in question was regarded by reasonably knowledgeable evaluators at the time (recently, at least in 2/3 of the pro bowl vote and the 1st team all pro vote). That's especially helpful given that O-linemen have no real stats for evaluating performance and defensive players have stats (sacks, interceptions) that are easily misinterpreted.

43 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Anyone who says Hayes doesn't have the merit to be in the HoF is either dumb or biased. I don't EVER get passionate about HoF stuff, it usually doesn't matter to me. But the fact that there's this much debate over his actual on-the-field contributions is inane to me.

As for the "there's enough 70's Cowboys" in HoF... your own article from earlier this year stated that the Cowboys are actually a little bit underrepresented in the hall, though not by much. Also, he's more of a 60's Cowboy than a 70's guy.

46 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Anyone who says Hayes doesn't have the merit to be in the HoF is either dumb or biased. I don't EVER get passionate about HoF stuff, it usually doesn't matter to me. But the fact that there's this much debate over his actual on-the-field contributions is inane to me.

Really? He had four great years ('65-68) and two very good ones ('70-71). '69 was marred by injuries so his counting stats were down but he was very good for the games he played. '72-74 he was a replacement level wr. Even in '65-68 he only led the league in one category (receving tds) twice, so he wasn't a dominant wr. He had two very good-great years returning punts too. I think his "actual on-the-field" stats don't make him a slam dunk HoF candidate - he was very much like Terrell Davis - a great player at his peak, but a short peak, not much of a very good phase, and practically no period where he was good after that.

His speed was remarkable and I'm not enough of a historian to challenge that it may have been revolutionary. But since the game moved to a run/defense dominated period at the end of his career, it's not absolutely clear that he changed the game as a whole, as much as he affected the individual contests he played in. But if you're going to make a case on something subjective like speed or impact on the game, there is always going to be some argument.

Personally, I lean toward not selecting him - I'd put him the great but not HoF category. But he's a worthy candidate and if he gets in, I wouldn't get up in arms about it. He's more deserving than at least a couple of wrs in already IMO.

63 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Please read my comment up above. Hayes does stack up statistically with the HoF WRs of his era. In fact, he had more good seasons (relative to his peers, i.e. top 10 and top 5 finishes in yards -- and TDs though I didn't detail that because of how much of an overrated stat it is) than most of them. In addition to his stats, he had a tangible impact on the game.

79 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

He certainly does stack up in yards w/6 top 10 finishes and 4 in the top 5, which pretty much matches my description of 4 great and 2 very good years. He is hurt by not having a "compliling phase" to his career. Whether that is fair or not, that's a fact.

Also, it's not entirely fair to compare him to Mitchell, who had some good years as a running back and whose contribution to the game was integrating the Redskins. Whether that matches Hayes' role in bringing speed to the wr position is subjective; both were important milestones IMO. Charley Taylor also was an rb for basically two years, although not a very good one.

I grant that Hayes stacks up well against the 4 WRs you selct in yards (BTW, my man Otis had 4 top 10 finishes, all 4 in the top 5, and led the merged NFL in rec yds in '71).

Leaving TDs out may be debatable, but Hayes more or less matches all 4 of your comps except Warfield, who had 6 top 10 (5 top 5) to Hayes' 5/3 (Otis: 5/3). So it doesn't really hurt Hayes' case to ignore it - he did lead the league twice though.

Hayes suffers in the receptions category vs. the 4 HoF wrs from that era. Although this may not be as important as yardage totals, it still is important. This is probably a big reason (besides off-field stuff which is not supposed to count) why Hayes isn't in:
Hayes 2/2 (top 10/top 5)
CTaylor 9/4
Mitchell 7/5
Fred B 6/4
Warfield 2/0
Otis T 4/4

What about yards/rec? This is one of Hayes' strong suits - and how Warfield (I think) overcame his low receptions totals:
Hayes 6/3
Warfield 10/8
CTaylor 0/0
Mitchell 2/1
Fred B 1/1
Otis T 4/1

Here's a roll-up of the top 10/top 5 in all 4 categories:
Warfield 22/16
CTaylor 21/7
Mitchell 20/11
Fred B 20/10
Hayes 19/11
Otis 17/12

Granted, this doesn't weight perhaps the most important (yards), but it does give a sense that Hayes might be a smidgen behind the other 4 - and just ahead of Otis. The line right now is drawn just above Hayes, at least if you look at it this way. But your point that he stacks up against the other 4 is well-taken.

95 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Fair enough. I'm stuck from being able to make any further argument because I wasn't alive to watch him play and haven't been able to go back and watch the game tapes. Although Dr. Z's by no means perfect, he is clearly one of the best HoF voters, and I believe he supports Hayes, which would be another thing in his favor--Dr. Z's probably better than scouting players than I am anyway.

50 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Since the committee can only select up to 7, my vote would go to Carter, Dent, Grimm, McDaniel, Smith, Thomas, Woodson

Dawson, Kennedy, Reed and Sharpe should also be in, but not before those 7.

Randle was something of a one trick pony as a pass rusher. Yes, I realize this same argument was made against Derrick Thomas, but the label applies more to Randle than to Thomas.

Hayes, Humphrey, and Kuechenberg were before my time, so I don’t feel like I can comment intelligently on them

I think contributors should be voted in separately, but I’m not sure I’d support Tags or Wilson anyway. I certainly wouldn’t vote for either ahead of those top 7.

52 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I bet that when the meeting and voting takes place, Z will be there, throwing shoes or doing whatever he has to do to make his point heard. He is pretty passionate about this stuff.

The idea of trying to sneak Ray Guy in during his infirmity is funny - that would get him up and about.

53 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

"Art Modell is much more deserving of enshrinement, at least if you can get beyond the whole 'pissing off Cleveland' thing."

And if you can get past the whole 'pissing off the Jews' thing, Hitler should get credit for making the trains run on time. Modell should count himself lucky that he wasn't murdered by a grief-stricken Browns fan and call it a day.

"Take a look at the same era and tell me how many Steelers (the other dominant team from that era) are in."

The Steelers were better. Ergo, they have more players in the Hall. And even if you think that Swann doesn't belong (I lean toward agreement there), giving other teams a free pass on borderline guys isn't going to make things any better - just more equitably unfair.

57 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Now that Tippet got in, the only ones that I feel strongly about are the two Bills on the list. I was a Bills fan when I first started seriously following football, in their heyday of the early 90's, and so I saw a lot of Smith and Reed.

Smith should get in. Unquestionably. I will argue that he was the most dominating DE in the game at that time (and yes, that means that I am definitely in the minority of people that think Bruce Smith was better than Reggie White).

Reed should not get in. He was a very very good reciever, and an integral part of the K-gun offense that helped revolutionize the passing game in the NFL. However, being an integral part of a new offense that was invented by someone else and made to work by a very great QB does not automatically mean you should be in the HoF. Reed was not all that impressive once those things were gone. I suspect that the K-gun was so radical, and Kelly was so good, that you could have taken any above-average or very good WR and inserted them in Reed's place, and they would have put up similar numbers.

61 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

In what way was the K-Gun so radical? It was a great scheme, but I don't think you can say that the Buffalo coaching staff invented it? It seemed to be another variation of Don Coryell's offense that had been used for several decades before the Bills implemented it.

72 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

The K-Gun was one of the first no-huddle offenses predicated on keeping the defense from substituting and making audibles at the line to take advantage of the resulting mismatches. It's essentially the father of the offense the Colts run today.

I just did some checking, and you're right--the Bills didn't invent it. But they were one of the first teams to use it extensively, and rode it to four Superbowls. It was radical in the sense that it actually propelled the NFL to change its substitution rules, because it was judged to be too unfair to defenses.

87 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

The Bengals ran the no-huddle extensively in 1988. And the 49ers did it a bunch too, but Walsh just called it his 2-minute offense. I'm not sure when the NFL changed their substitution rules, but I remember the catalyst was a late game between the Bengals and the Oilers and Jerry Glanville had his Houston defenders fake minor injuries to get the referees to stop the clock and allow for substitutions. It worked, and the Oilers won big. Sam Wyche got him back the next year by running up the score on the Oilers and beating them by 50+ points.

64 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

No love for Lester Hayes? Most of his career was when I was young, so I don't REALLY know a lot about him. He seemed like a famous guy when I was 10. I'm surprised he's not in the HOF already. He made 5 Pro Bowls.

76 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

I've been a Vikings fan for more years than I care to admit, but I just can't support the induction of a defensive tackle like Randle, no matter his sacks, who didn't play the run honestly. It really hurt the Vikings in the playoffs when they faced good teams with good running games.

McDaniel is too obviously deserving for words. People who don't support Carter's induction simply underestimate the value of a receiver who can dominate the red zone, or even the goal-to-go zone, like Carter did. Go ask defensive coordinators how much more difficult it is to play red zone defense when the opposing offense has a receiver who can simply outfight 90% of the defensive backs in the league for the ball. Getting touchdowns instead of field goals is the normal formula for winning games, and the Vikings had a damned good winning percentage in Carter's time, in good part because Carter was outfighting a lot of defensive backs for the ball in the end zone.

Discounting Carter's extraordinary work ethic during the vast majority of his career, as was done above, because he did not exhibit it as a young player with the Eagles or Ohio State, isn't too sensible either. I remember a play in December 2001, a year when the Vikings were going nowhere, in Pittsburgh. A screen pass was thrown to a Vikings running back, I believe Michael Bennett. Carter threw three blocks on the play, two of them more than fifty yards downfield, for a team on it's way to a 5-11 record. Very few players, if any, ever played with more competitive fire than Cris Carter.

77 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Wouldn't any argument against Randle be valid against Warren Sapp too? My view on Randle is that he was the first to play the under tackle position in the modern Tampa-2 style defense that Dungy installed in Minnesota. His job was to play the pass first and to knife through his gap in run defense. I just think that 150 or so sacks as a DT is astonishing and both Randle and his buddy Henry Thomas (1000 tackles + 100 sacks) deserve a place in the hall.

80 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Karl, it's one thing to play pass first, and it's another to play like there is an empty backfield, which is how I would dscribe how Randle played with too much frequency. Kevin Williams plays undertackle in a tampa-two, and I'd take his play over Randle's, and I don't think Williams is yet a Hall of Famer.

Like I said above, if Randle gets in before McDaniel, even by one year, it will now be proven beyond all doubt that the selectors do not have even the slightest clue.

82 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Just to push my Seahawk love, Cortez Kennedy absolutely deserves to be in the HoF. Why? 1992. He was Defensive Player of the Year on a 2-14 team. How often does that happen?

83 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

So I've been thinking it over, and my overall list has Cris Carter, Dermontti Dawson, Richard Dent, Russ Grimm, Bob Hayes, Cortez Kennedy, Randall McDaniel, John Randle, Andre Reed, Shannon Sharpe, Bruce Smith, and Rod Woodson. Of the semifinalists, I think that Roger Craig, Terrell Davis, Ray Guy, Charles Haley, Lester Hayes, and Ken Stabler all should ultimately make it in. That's a lot. But ultimately, if we're talking about a Hall of Fame, these names resonate with me.

I guess I belong to the minority (?) who sees more than just stats when considering the honor. Sure, Terrell Davis had a short career. But while he was playing, he was the talk of the NFL. The was the star RB who helped being two Super Bowls to Denver. (He was more than that-- NFL Offensive Player of the Year twice, and rushed for more than 2,000 yards in a season, etc...) I think that if you're the star WR for an offensively-minded team that goes to the Super Bowl four straight years (!), you should be in the HoF. When you're winning Super Bowls as a part of an OL that has a nickname (!), you need to be strongly considered for the HoF.

Yes, stats matter. Jeff George shouldn't be in the HoF. Jamal Lewis shouldn't, either, even if he was an Offensive PotY and rushed for 2,000 yards. So I guess part of it is more... gut than anything. But in my mind, that's just it. Especially for the players who played as long as I've been "NFL Aware" (since the early 1980's). When I hear a name, with but few exceptions (one that comes to mind now is Shaun Alexander), I have a reaction as to HoF or not. Does that name resonate with 'fame'?

Enough rambling.

85 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Any complaints of by Cowboy fans for lack of HOF representation ar ridiculous. Denver has been to 6 SuberBowls, won two of them and has 1.5 (Elway 1, Zimmerman .5) players in the HOF. They have one of, if not the highest winning percentage in the NFL over the last 30 years.

What a joke that Gradishar is not even on this list!!!

94 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Complaining that Denver really has a lack of representation in the HoF doesn't somehow prove that it's "ridiculous" to comment on Cowboys being in or not being in the HoF. At the start of the thread, Schatz flippantly suggested that there were "enough guys from those 70's Cowboys" in the HoF. Denver's representation has no bearing on whether or not this statement is correct.

But you're right-- obviously. Denver is very under-represented and Gradishar (Defensive PotY in 1978) should be in. I'm guessing that Sharpe will get in at some point (and wear a Denver uniform). I'd also argue for Terrell Davis (MVP, two-time Offensive PotY, two SB rings, and a 2,000-yard season). So there's some hope...

86 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

These kind of arguments are always funny to me. There is no criteria for hof voting. Its essentially a "who is more legendary" contest. When guys get voted in, they don't show a chart of that players career numbers next to his contemporaries, while the crowd goes wild. They let the guy talk while the crowd goes wild. Its not about the best football player as much as its about letting an outsider into an already established club. Its a fraternity. People cant get excited about hearing a guy talk if he whines when hes not in. People cant get excited when they dont know what the guy looks like.

96 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Will Allen,

why did the Vikings coaches not bench John Randle if he wasn't playing his run responsibilities? Do we know for sure what his responsibilities were as far as the coaches were concerned?

I hear these he-never-played-the-run arguments a lot with guys like Randle, Chris Doleman, Richard Dent and Derrick Thomas, and it seems to me that they must have had some extremely indulgent coaches if it's true (and, considering those coaches include Ditka, Denny Green and Schottenheimer, that seems unlikely).

97 Andre Reed

Nobody's stepped up and used the yards-per-catch argument to defend poor Andre yet, so.... I won't either. Actually, the reason for that (as I remember, I haven't looked up stats to justify this) is because the Bills had such a good pass-catching RB in Thomas, plus a good tight end too, so they used Andre mostly for long passes.

Reed isn't the best ever, but boy was it fun watching him catch a long one across the middle on third down.

117 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

So who's going to get in? Here's what I'm thinking:

Bruce Smith and Rod Woodson are as close to locks as we've got this year -- both very likely get in. And at least one of the Seniors will get in, very probably Claude Humphrey and perhaps also Bob Hayes (the test case for no Senior getting elected was last year, when both nominees were awful but Emmitt Thomas got in).

And no TE has ever gotten elected in his first year of eligibility, so I'm guessing the chances for Shannon Sharpe this year are not the best, though I think he gets in soon enough.

Beyond that, it's a crap shoot.

There may be some sympathy for Ralph Wilson as he's 90 and this may be his last shot at election while he's alive -- or not.

There may be some sympathy for Bob Kuechenberg to get him in on his last year of eligibility -- or not, as it didn't help Randy Gradishar last year.

Cris Carter may make it in -- or not if the HoF voters feel shown up by all the whining when he didn't get elected first ballot last year.

There's always a possibility that one or more of Randall McDaniel, Derrick Thomas, Richard Dent, Russ Grimm, Andre Reed, or Paul Tagliabue will be seen as having waited long enough and it's now their turn -- or not.

Dermontti Dawson or Cortez Kennedy could get elected because they are perceived as deserving players denied finalist status long enough, as happened to Elvin Bethea or Joe DeLamielleure when they were first time nominees after long waits -- or not, as players who need to wait their turn for a while longer.

Will the electors see John Randle's sack totals and postseason honors and push him in first ballot -- or will they make him wait because he didn't play the run well? Beats me.

118 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

Please visit:

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=565

The best summary of rating the greatest NFL players I have ever found.

Cris Carter 98
Richard Dent 97
Claude Humphrey 91
Cortez Kennedy 98
Randall McDaniel 103
John Randle 107
Andre Reed 97
Shannon Sharpe 101
Bruce Smith 146
Derrick Thomas 105
Rod Woodson 141

10 of the best who were snubbed from the final 17 finalists:
Ken Anderson 121
Chris Doleman 114
Alex Karras 112
Chris Hanburger 112
Rickey Jackson 110
Isiah Robertson 110
Randall Cunningham 106
Jim Marshall 106
Chuck Howley 105
Jimmy Patton 102

The author of the article mentions that defensive players may be slightly underrated in comparison with there offensive counterparts.

If I had the choice, I would take these 7:
Bruce Smith
Rod Woodson
John Randle
Derrick Thomas
Randall McDaniel
Cortez Kennedy
Richard Dent

119 Re: 17 Finalists for Hall of Fame Named

In looking at the pro-football-reference website's description of how these numbers were drawn up for defensive players, it's got some biases I'm not fond of. Note what the poster of this system says it's based on:

"That is, while stats will figure into it to some extent, a defensive player’s rating will be largely based on how many games he played, how many games he started, how good his team was defensively, and whether he garnered any all-pro or pro bowl honors."

The problem with this system is that it gives someone like Jim Marshall, who played a really long time (including lots of starts) and for some decent teams but didn't distinguish himself with any postseason honors (his "AP 1st team all pro/pro bowl/all decade team" numbers are a paltry 0/2/none in a 20 year career) or perhaps in any other manner a lot more weight than he should have. I just don't see any rationale for Jim Marshall for the HoF given such meager postseason honors. It also hurts someone like Claude Humphrey, who played well and has decent postseason honors (2/6/none) but spent most of his career on horrendous Atlanta Falcon teams.

And by indiscriminately including defensive stats such as sacks and interceptions into the mix, it's giving unfortunate weight to such items. I think the HoF electors, for example, have gotten it right so far by inducting Dan Hampton instead of Richard Dent; Hampton created havoc by caving in the o-line and occupying blockers (but not getting the sack numbers) while Dent reaped the sack number glory. Both have 1/4 postseason profiles, but Hampton is on an all decade team and has several extra non AP 1st team all pro selections via NEA, Pro Football Writers, and Pro Football Weekly, plus several 2nd team AP all pro selections that Dent doesn't have. For another example, interceptions are only one effective way to prevent a pass completion (good coverage, deflecting passes) and sometimes lots of INTs means that the DB in question got thrown on a lot (as opposed to a more accomplished teammate) or took a lot of risks in coverage (which can get you an INT or skid marks on your butt via a TD catch).

The guy posting this rating system also admits it has flaws.

It's interesting, but I'm not sold.