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2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

On Tuesday night, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 25 semifinalists for the 2019 class. First-ballot candidates include three no-brainer picks in Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed, and Champ Bailey. First-time semifinalists include Tom Flores and Zach Thomas.

Back in August, I predicted the 25 semifinalists and got 20 correct.

I still have yet to get an answer for how Don Coryell is eligible as a modern finalist rather than a senior nominee. He last coached in 1986, so his career has been over for more than 25 years. I think this is why Tom Flores got a boost this year. He last coached in 1994, so this is his 20th and final ballot before he goes into the senior pool. Coryell going into the senior pool where he belongs would make it a lot easier for him to get in.

Comments

24 comments, Last at 30 Nov 2018, 4:51pm

1 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by jtr // Nov 21, 2018 - 9:17am

Champ Bailey, Ed Reed, and Tony Gonzalez should be 100% locks. Each of them has a strong argument as the GOAT at their respective positions.

Can't say I really have a very strong opinions as to the other two that should get in. Maybe Coryell and Faneca but I could certainly be convinced otherwise.

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5 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by Raiderjoe // Nov 21, 2018 - 4:21pm

not sure there si strong argument for Bailey as best all tiem cornerback btu he is certainly deserving. not sure he will get inducted on friost ballot. might, might not.

gonzalez and reed certainly are argum,emnts for them as best at their positons. my rankings have gronkowski as above gonzalez btu there is argument,.

reed might be best free s afety ever. haven't finished rankings saafeties

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16 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by bachslunch // Nov 26, 2018 - 6:41pm

Agreed fully about Champ Bailey. He’s HoF worthy, but definitely not the best CB of all time. Certainly not when you take guys like Dick Lane, Deion Sanders, Darrelle Revis, Jim Johnson, Mike Haynes, and Willie Brown into account.

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23 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by amin purshottam // Nov 30, 2018 - 2:29pm

Your kidding right? Gronk is by FAR AND AWAY the greatest TE of all time. if not for injuries, lord knows what kind of stats he would have by now.

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24 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by Richie // Nov 30, 2018 - 4:51pm

Based purely on ability, Gronk is probably the best TE. (As a receiver. I have no ability to judge TE blocking talent.) Of course, guys like Kellen Winslow, Antonio Gates and Shannon Sharpe had a few multi-season runs that were pretty good.

But, Gronk has only played more than 11 games three times. Maybe he can make this year a fourth.

Tony Gonzalez hardly missed any games over his 17-year career. He was basically one of the 3 best TE's in the league for about 16 years straight.

At this point it seems unlikely that Gronk will be able to have an extended career, but it's possible. If injuries take their toll and he only has 1 or 2 more productive seasons, would you rather have 12 injury-riddled seasons of Rob Gronkowski, or 16 very good and healthy seasons of Tony Gonzalez?

And don't forget that Gronk has basically only played with Tom Brady as his QB, while Gonzalez mostly played with Trent Green, Elvis Grbac, Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle and Tyler Thigpen. Then got the luxury of playing with Matt Ryan in his 30's.

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2 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by billprudden // Nov 21, 2018 - 10:20am

The answer, of course, is to trade Champ and a #2 for Clinton Portis...

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3 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by BywaterBrat // Nov 21, 2018 - 12:55pm

Hope Boselli is the 4th and after that I honestly can't meaningfully distinguish between the rest.

I don't like the WRs as HoFers and was too young (36) to really appreciate the Ss would be nice to see an advanced stat breakdown of them as we near voting.

Maybe Seymour or Barber as lynchpins of iconic Ds that lasted a good while but I am not convinced that either was consistently a top 2-3 player at their position.

Maybe all the confusion will lead to one of those Gs getting in.

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6 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by Richie // Nov 21, 2018 - 8:07pm

The "meat" of Ronde Barber's career was the 10-season stretch from 1999-2008.

Over that stretch he had 5 Pro Bowls, second only to Bailey's 8. http://pfref.com/tiny/oX41N Bailey picked up 4 MORE Pro Bowls after 2008. Barber and Bailey both had three first-team All Pro seasons.

Bailey was surely the best CB of the 2000's. Barber, Charles Woodson and Ty Law were probably competing for second place most years. I'd maybe go Woodson ahead of Barber and Barber ahead of Law.

Overall, I would say that Barber probably was consistently a top 2-3 player at his position.

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7 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by BywaterBrat // Nov 22, 2018 - 7:13am

Yea I checked pfr but the knock on Barber was always that he was a Tampa2 CB and didn't play a whole lot of man downfield and certainly didn't follow and shutdown number 1s I always heard. I have no axe to grind here just wondering if any of that is true (and relevant).

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8 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by Mr Shush // Nov 22, 2018 - 9:28am

I'm of the view that it is both true and relevant. That's not a popular position around here, but it's certainly reflected in the contracts he received.

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10 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by Mountain Time ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Nov 22, 2018 - 10:26pm

I would say true and irrelevant.

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14 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by MilkmanDanimal // Nov 26, 2018 - 1:24pm

Ronde Barber as an all-time great is the football-related molehill I'm willing to die on, so allow me to chime in. Barber never had the pure cover skills of a guy like Bailey or even Law, but there's a lot to playing CB outside of pure coverage. Barber has decent INT totals, but, being a Tampa-2 corner, has pretty ridiculous tackle numbers, as playing closer to the line clearly gave him more opportunities. He made the most of those opportunities, as he was a great tackler, and, on top of that, a great blitzer. 28 sacks as a CB? Champ Bailey has three, Ty Law has five. In the regular season, Barber also has one punt return TD, plus eight TDs on fumbles, plus four more on INTs, and 13 non-offensive TDs I think still has him top five in NFL history. Also, there's the one iconic INT for a TD on McNabb in the 2002 NFCCG that put the Bucs into the Super Bowl, so he's even got the "moment" HOF players often need. He's also got a DB-record consecutive starts streak of 215 regular season games, which is really patently ridiculous for any position, let alone a corner playing in a scheme that greatly emphasizes physicality and tackling.

I wouldn't argue that Ronde Barber was an all-time great cover corner, but, as a corner, I'd absolutely argue he's one of the best tacklers and blitzers who happened to always be ready to play, and was smart and intuitive enough he consistently made huge plays that resulted in defensive scores. As a complete defensive player, I don't know how he doesn't get into Canton.

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15 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by Richie // Nov 26, 2018 - 1:39pm

For reference, only 6 players have 30+ interceptions and 20+ sacks in their careers:

Charles Woodson
Ronde Barber
LeRoy Butler
Brian Dawkins (HOF)
Rodney Harrison
Ray Lewis (HOF)

Woodson will surely be in the HOF when he's eligible. Butler might eventually make it some day. Harrison is a soft maybe.

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20 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by tuluse // Nov 26, 2018 - 7:44pm

Yeah, he was a system CB, but he played that system better than anyone else. It's almost not worth it to compare him to other CBs because his job was quite different from theirs.

All for HoF imo

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4 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by David // Nov 21, 2018 - 2:34pm

Dang, that is a lot of safeties...

I have what is a probably irrational opinion that Isaac Bruce is more worthy of consideration than Torry Holt

Hines Ward is exactly as worthy as Jerome Bettis was...

I agree that Bailey, Gonzalez and Reed are all worthy, though I'm not certain any of them are GOAT for their position. I'm also not sure who is better

Law is deserving, not certain about Seymour

I like Barber maybe more than most, not sure he'll get in

Johnson is a definite, I think? I think Coryell should also be in. Unconvinced on Flores

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9 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by Mr Shush // Nov 22, 2018 - 9:43am

I would go for the three first timers and the two guards. Of the rest, I think Law and Coryell also belong, and Lynch, Barber and (especially) Ward don't. I'm indifferent on Holt, Bruce, Seymour and Mawae, and don't know enough about any of the others to have an opinion.

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11 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by tuluse // Nov 23, 2018 - 2:42pm

Yearly grumbling that coaches and executives compete with players for spots and also that they don't let enough in dagnabbit.

I think Edge has the weakest case. Butler is weird that he never got acknowledgement for good but not great seasons you expect from a HoF career. So you have 4 all pros and no pro bowls outside that.

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12 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by justanothersteve // Nov 25, 2018 - 2:28pm

Butler and Atwater are the only position players from the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team not in the NFL Hall of Fame. Both are safeties. Coincidence? I think not.

And complaining that someone was only an All-Pro four times is a pretty weak argument against.

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13 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by tuluse // Nov 25, 2018 - 10:15pm

Wasn't really arguing against him. It's just weird is all.

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17 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by bachslunch // Nov 26, 2018 - 6:45pm

Postseason honors of 4/4/90s is HoF worthy for a safety.

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18 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by bachslunch // Nov 26, 2018 - 6:54pm

Edgerrin James is arguably the second best RB of the 00s after Ladanian Romlinson. He also reached 12K career rushing yards, and every other eligible RB who got to that level is in. Plus, he was a solid receiver.

The other RBs of the period not in are either short career, short peak guys such as Tiki Barber, Jamal Lewis, Shaun Alexander, and Priest Holmes or peakless compilers who didn’t compile enough such as Eddie George, Fred Taylor, Warrick Dunn, and Corey Dillon. James has a better argument than any of them.

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21 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by tuluse // Nov 26, 2018 - 7:45pm

I agree with all off that and I still think he has the weakest case of anyone on this finalist list.

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22 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by bachslunch // Nov 26, 2018 - 10:08pm

For me, that dubious honor would go to Tom Flores, with Clay Matthews close behind. YMMV.

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19 Re: 2019 Hall of Fame Semifinalists Announced

by bachslunch // Nov 26, 2018 - 7:05pm

I think all the Semifinalists are HoF worthy except Hines Ward, Tom Flores, and Clay Matthews. Am on the fence with Jimmy Johnson and Don Coryell.

As to who actually gets in, Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed, and Champ Bailey are the easy guesses. The last two could be anyone, though my hunch would be Tony Boselli and Kevin Mawae. The Senior and Contributor nominees should also get elected.

This is Karl Mecklenburg’s last eligible year. I think he’s deserving, and would love to see him make it in, but not betting the rent on it.

Mike Kenn’s not making the Semis this year officially ends his regular candidacy, as this was also his final eligible year. I guess not electing him is consistent with denying Joe Jacoby last year, though I would have liked to see him get in, as I think he’s got a strong case.

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