Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Feb 2018

NFL Honors and 2018 Hall of Fame Class Announced

The night before the Super Bowl is a big one when we find out the season's award winners and the latest Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

This year's Hall of Fame class includes three first-ballot players in Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, and Brian Urlacher. Terrell Owens is going in on his third ballot. Brian Dawkins, Bobby Beathard (general manager), and two senior nominees in Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazille complete the eight-man class.

Back in August, I predicted Lewis, Moss and Owens going in, but I had John Lynch and Kevin Mawae making it instead of Dawkins and Urlacher. Owens' wait feels so tiny next to Kramer's, but this gives the 1961 Packers a new record as the first team in NFL history with 12 Hall of Fame players. That does not include a 13th selection in Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi.

The following AP award winners from the NFL Honors include:

  • Most Valuable Player: Tom Brady, Patriots
  • Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley, Rams
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, Rams
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Alvin Kamara, Saints
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year: Marshon Lattimore, Saints
  • Comeback Player of the Year: Keenan Allen, Chargers
  • Assistant Coach of the Year: Pat Shurmur, Vikings
  • Coach of the Year: Sean McVay, Rams

Brady received 40 MVP votes to eight for Gurley and two for Carson Wentz. He'll attempt to become the first player since Kurt Warner (1999 Rams) to win MVP and the Super Bowl in the same season.

Posted by: Scott Kacsmar on 03 Feb 2018

38 comments, Last at 13 Feb 2018, 2:01am by The Ninjalectual


by RickD :: Sat, 02/03/2018 - 10:02pm

The NFL really needs to start inducting people at a higher rate.

by BJR :: Sun, 02/04/2018 - 4:45pm

Next year's list of first time eligibility includes Ed Reed, Tony Gonzalez and Champ Bailey all of whom appear to have first ballot resumes. So the various backlogs won't be being cleared any time soon.

by jtr :: Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:47am

Man, all three of those guys are slam-dunk first ballot guys, aren't they? They're probably each in the top 3 ever to play their respective positions. Tanier's article this morning predicted "Faneca, Tony Gonzalez, Edgerrin James, Ty Law and Lynch" for 2019, so either he made an uncharacteristic sloppy error in missing Reed and Bailey as eligible this year, or he doesn't think nearly as highly of those two as I do. Personally, I'd be fine with making any of Faneca, James, Law, and Lynch wait another year in order to get Bailey and Reed in.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 5:00pm

I was wondering why Edgerrin James was getting HoF consideration, so I looked up his career stats, and I was surprised he's almost identical to Adrian Peterson, over their full careers. Mentally I think of James as being more similar to Clinton Portis, Brian Westbrook, or Chris Johnson, who are all about even in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns, as is HoF'er Earl Campbell.

I also didn't appreciate how far LaDanian Tomlinson is beyond everyone else I've named!

by bachslunch :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 6:27pm

For starters, EJames broke the 12,000 yard career rushing mark, and every RB who has and is eligible is in. In addition, he was a good receiver and reportedly a decent blocker. He’ll wait a bit, but he’s getting in and I think deservedly so.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 6:48pm

So you'd agree Tiki Barber and Warrick Dunn should be HoFers too?

by Eddo :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 7:26pm

Huh? The comment says that James broke the 12,000 rushing yards barrier, and that every RB who has is in the Hall of Fame. Barber had 10,449 yards and Dunn had 10,967 (you could have won money off me regarding Dunn having more rushing yards than Barber).

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 2:01am

Right, my bad for forgetting that HoF voters care about such meaningless milestones. I was looking at combined yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns, and James, Dunn, and Barber are all about equal by those numbers.

by ChrisS :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:52pm

On personality alone Tiki Barber gets in

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 7:29pm

I remember a while back Tanier saying he didn't think Reed would go 1st ballot because safeties rarely get elected period.

But if Dawkins can go 2nd ballot I can't imagine them not electing Reed, who was loved on and off the field and spoken highly of by basically everyone in the NFL from 2002-2012, not getting a first ballot nod.

All three of those guys should be first ballot HOF. Maybe Tanier thinks they won't want Bailey and Reed jump the line over Ty Law and Jon Lynch, but I find that foolish, especially with Reed. Don't think that will happen since Dawkins leap-frogged Lynch in line.

by MC2 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:15am

I think there's almost universal consensus that Bailey was better than Law and that Reed was better than Lynch.

Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if Reed has to wait at least one year. Has a safety ever made it on the first ballot?

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 5:06am

Ronnie Lott was 1st ballot.

I'd guess Rod Woodson and Deion Sanders were as well but their careers were predominantly at CB with safety being in their twilight years.

But there've been so few safeties inducted it's almost a forgettable question. You look at the all-decade teams of the 80s/90s/00s and we've had just Ronnie Lott, Kenny Easley and now Dawkins inducted. Yet all the WRs are in with one exception - Tory Holt.

by jtr :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 9:36am

>I think there's almost universal consensus that Bailey was better than Law and that Reed was better than Lynch.

With Reed and Bailey, we're talking about probably the two best defensive backs of their generation. Reed in particular is quite possibly the GOAT at free safety, and he was a dominant defender who completely changed how opposing offenses could operate. I really would consider it a travesty if he doesn't get in on his first ballot. It would be especially awful to make him wait for Lynch, who wasn't nearly as dominant of a player.

by MC2 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 8:55pm

To be clear, I would definitely vote for Ed Reed on the first ballot. He had possibly the best "nose for the ball" of anyone I've ever seen. If you look up "ball-hawking safety" in the dictionary, you should see Ed Reed's picture.

And I also agree about Lynch. While I'm a huge advocate of putting more safeties in the Hall, Lynch is one I could probably do without. Not only do I think a guy like Atwater is much more deserving, I would put guys like Joey Browner and LeRoy Butler in before John Lynch.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:21am

I think Reed is 1st-ballot. The school that he was more important to those defenses than Lewis is a pretty strong one.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:36pm

Don't agree, though I understand why you think that. I feel it would cheapen the value of getting in, if they increased it.

by rosmith51 :: Sat, 02/03/2018 - 10:06pm

35 Sean McVay
11 Mike Zimmer
2 Doug Marone
1 Bill Belichick
1 Doug Pederson

Pederson getting 1 vote for "Coach of the Year" is a joke. With the injuries that team has overcome... 1 vote?

by RickD :: Sat, 02/03/2018 - 11:43pm

I don't quite get what 'coach of the year' is supposed to mean. Personally I would think it's harder to go from 7 wins to 13 than to go from 4 wins to 11. And that's 13 wins after losing the starting QB.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 02/04/2018 - 1:00pm

I'm fine with any of McVay, Zimmer, or Pederson. They all did amazing jobs with their teams. I think the perception is the Rams offense was such a disaster for several years - to suddenly make it one of the best in the league with a QB that had one of the worst ever rookie seasons - to go with an excellent defense and special teams was something special. The Rams hadn't had a winning record since 2003 or even an 8-8 record since 2006. The Eagles and Vikings have had some recent success, so the perception is there was more to work with.

As far as Zimmer vs Pederson, Zimmer lost his starting QB in the first game and was playing all year with his third string QB while Pederson lost his starting QB 2/3 of the way through the season. Both teams finished with identical records and had some major injuries. Belichick also did an amazing job, but he had more to work with (just having Brady and Gronk gives him a higher baseline to start).

by apk3000 :: Mon, 02/05/2018 - 7:57am

It's pretty much given for any sport, if there's a team everyone thought would be bad, but makes the playoffs instead, that team's head coach wins the coach of the year award.

by Kevin from Philly :: Sat, 02/03/2018 - 10:35pm

Congrats to Dawk!

by MC2 :: Sun, 02/04/2018 - 12:02am

Great choices for induction to the Hall this year.

This might be the first year I can remember where the 5 main inductees are exactly the same ones that I would have chosen.

by MC2 :: Sun, 02/04/2018 - 12:04am

Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Coach of the Year from the same team. I'm guessing that's never happened before.

by Guest789 :: Sun, 02/04/2018 - 2:14am

And Offensive and Defensive rookies from the same team. Hell of a draft class for the Saints.

by bachslunch :: Sun, 02/04/2018 - 10:15am

Congratulations to the eight folks elected to the HoF! No arguments with any of the choices.

Especially nice to see Jerry Kramer finally break through. Long, long time coming.

First cutdowns were: Walls, Jacoby, Lynch, Bruce, James. Then Mawae, Hutchinson, Boselli, Faneca, and Law.

Big logjam issues with the o-linemen. Four of them got to the final 10 but cancelled each other out. Interesting to see how they solve that problem. They solved two small logjam issues of Owens/Moss and Lewis/Urlacher by pushing them all the way through to membership. Dawkins managed to break out of the DB group, the only solo candidate to do this.

Jacoby drops to the Senior pool, and it’s interesting that he did better his first time as finalist, when he got into the final 10. He didn’t manage to get out of the top 15 after that, and was the only o-line finalist who didn’t. His not getting in pretty much ends any chances for guys like Mike Kenn, Lomas Brown, Chris Hinton, and Richmond Webb.

by PaddyPat :: Sun, 02/04/2018 - 12:29pm

I'm not going to argue with the qualifications of those selected, but I was really expecting a couple of linemen to make it. I don't get how Urlacher was a better player than Mawae who played 3 extra years and was 3 moreX first team All-Pro...

by mehllageman56 :: Sun, 02/04/2018 - 5:49pm

As a Jets fan I should agree with you, but I understand it. Mawae wasn't the household name Urlacher was, and Mawae himself argued for Urlacher's selection the other day when he claimed Urlacher was better than Ray Lewis. Two other factors may have played a part: Mawae had a reputation for being a dirty player. I remember him playing through an injury in the 2004 season, and using his cast as a club against opponents. The other possible factor is more depressing: Mawae was a NFLPA President from 2008 to 2012. I would hope that had nothing to do with the voting.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 6:51pm

Off-field actions are by rule supposed to not matter any, I assume you're concerned about the "supposed to" part.

Why would that be held against him by voters, BTW?

by David :: Mon, 02/05/2018 - 6:56am

"I don't get how Urlacher was a better player than Mawae"

One argument certainly depends on how you define "better" (and before I start, I will say that I define it in one way, but I don't know how the HoF voters define it, I don't know how you define it, and I'm not saying which definition is correct)

So, what do we mean by 'better'? One definition looks at was Mawae a better center than Urlacher was a linebacker. The additional All-Pro votes suggest that Mawae was better at doing what he was supposed to do than Urlacher was at what he was supposed to do.

However, another definition looks at which was more important to the game. I don't really recall discussions around how to stop Mawae, or to game plan around Mawae, the way that discussions of the Bears would focus on Urlacher. Linebacker, particularly the role that Urlacher played in the Tampa 2 style defense, mattered more than center.

Both roles are of course important, but it might matter to some people that Urlacher was a more important player to his team, than Mawae was to his teams.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sun, 02/04/2018 - 2:01pm

My HOF ballot would have replaced Urlacher with Hutchinson, but that's not a huge thing. Really solid class with two of the greatest ever in Lewis and Moss, a guy like T.O. who would have been first ballot if he wasn't a giant asshat, another great LB in Urlacher, and it's nice to see a guy like Dawkins, who never got the flash or headlines, still get his recognition. It's a class where I don't think there's really any valid argument against any of those guys.

by the cat in the ... :: Sun, 02/04/2018 - 5:34pm

I don't know of any athlete more beloved by his team's fanbase than Brian Dawkins.

If Philadelphia win the Superbowl on the weekend that Dawkins makes the Hall of Fame, I think the city will spontaneously combust from joy.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 5:04pm

Thank god the smoke will be blown over the Atlantic ocean instead of inland towards me in Colorado!

by Will Allen :: Mon, 02/05/2018 - 5:09am

Apparently, Chuck Howley needs to come out of retirement at age 82, and make 1st team All Pro for the seventh time, to get in. He could throw in another Super Bowl MVP in as well, I guess. Even then, getting Daniel Snyder inducted is probably a higher priority.

by theslothook :: Mon, 02/05/2018 - 4:52pm

If I ever see Dan Snyder in the hall of fame, I may just give up football forever.

by Independent George :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 12:50pm

Is Dan Snyder seriously in the running?

The only way Dan Snyder ever gets in is if he constructs a new building for the HoF. Even then, he'd probably fire the architect and insist on designing it himself and kill half of the inductees when the building collapses.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 2:20pm

A bit of hyperbole on my part, but only a bit.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:36pm

I'm trying to think of anything good for the league that Dan Snyder has done. The only thing I can come up with is that he makes Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell look competent by comparison.

by dryheat :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 5:20pm

If he owns the team another 20 years, he'll get in.