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Polamalu, Atwater, James Lead 2020 Hall of Fame Class

The Pro Football Hall of Fame had already enshrined 15 new players, coaches, and contributors in recent weeks as part of its expanded Centennial Class of 2020, and those inductees are now joined by five more modern players.

S Steve Atwater

WR Isaac Bruce

LG Steve Hutchinson

RB Edgerrin James

S Troy Polamalu

 

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Comments

56 comments, Last at 07 Feb 2020, 9:57pm

1 Can't comment on Atwater,…

Can't comment on Atwater, but I'm quite surprised James made it. He had a pretty good career but these days I don't know what the Hall of Fame standards for running backs are.

In my mind Corey Dillon was no less of a running back and yet no one wants to even consider him as a Hall of famer.

3 Yeah, James is the only…

Yeah, James is the only questionable one to me. I feel like RBs are judged on a much different curve than every other position, especially defenders without a lot of gaudy sack/INT totals. 

5 James reminds me less of…

James reminds me less of Dillon, and more of Tiki Barber: both were very versatile, great players, but probably not quite dominant enough for quite long enough to get my vote.  However, I would prefer either of those guys to get in over one of the Bettis/Gore/Martin "compiler" types.

7 James had a few incredible…

James had a few incredible seasons and then was a good player for a lot of years at a position that generally has a very short shelf life. I loved watching him, but I can't say that he was feared for the majority of his career. After the first few years he was more of a good component than a dominant player. I think someone like LaDainian Tomlinson is an obvious inclusion, but I'm definitely surprised that James got in, especially with the last murky year in Seattle. Good for him though, was a very good player and often underrated.

16 Martin was a compiler? How…

Martin was a compiler?

How so?

Loook at his scrimmage per game numbers and he pamyed 10.5 seasons. Nto 15 or 16 witj 9 of them being 700 yard seaosns where he was "compiling" to reach soem magic career number

 

 

17 Martin's career yards per…

Martin's career yards per carry is just 4.0, which is worse than the league average.  James is also at 4.0, but that's because of his crappy years with the Cardinals and Seahawks.  With the Colts, James averaged 4.2 yards per carry.

But the main reason I would say Martin was a compiler, and James was not, is that James had at least 3 or 4 great years that were better than any year Martin ever had.  James had 3 years with over 2,000 total yards.  Martin had zero.

If you don't like total yards, how about AV?  Martin's career high in AV was 15.  James had 15 AV or more 5 times, including 3 years with over 20 AV.

To me, Hall of Fame means great, not just pretty good for a long time.  Martin never had any great years, and if you never have any great years, how can you be a great player?

23 If you want to ssay a guy…

If you want to ssay a guy wtih four seasons of ovcer 1450 rushijg yards and has a rushing title was never great,  then we weill agree to disagree. Interestingly but not, Martin's two worsr yards per carry srasons (not coutning final abbreviated injured non-full seasoj) were 1996 abd 1998. 1996 Pares Super Bowl tram and 1998 Jets almost-Super Bowl tema. Parcells gead coacg both seasons. Classic Parcells in both whwre would use RB to grind clock late in games. Never did stat study oj this but woupd think his yards per carry figure hurt in both those yrs due to that situation. Tryijg to remember individual gakes in those srasons where they may have been rushing prpblems. Recall 1998 at Chiefs wi th monsoon. Martin 30 carries for 42 yards. 1996 Pates? Remember Pates offense useless vs Broncos when Shannon Sharpe made comment durinf game on sidelines but dont recal a bad  weather game but do seem to recall just typical Parcells offense that woudl ru  n a lot and grind clock late. 

Martin quality receiver and blitz pick up guy too. Do not personally classify him as compiler. Cna see that term applied to Gore, Bettis amd Marcus Allen. To me, compilimg is when player has several non-great seasons (meaning less than 1000 yds) tbat add to help guy get over some careeer yardage hump and/or guy is not focal point of offense for number of seasobs.

 

Found E. James ti be excellent too for at least five seasons. Unlike Martin, James was often no t the best player on his team's offense. I do like James in HOF, however. 

 

 

26 Yeah, oddly, hsi two worst…

Yeah, oddly, hsi two worst seasons wwre arguably 1996 and 1998 when hsi teams made it to at least the conference title game. Guess the quarterbacks were the best players on those teams. Bledsoe 96, Testaverde 98. But often Martin was star of his tea'ms offense

38 I'm pretty agnostic about…

I'm pretty agnostic about the advanced metrics, in terms of measuring the actual quality of rb performance, in that it much more closely tracks team performance, adjusted to what defenses are choosing to prioritize. The easiest way for a rb to rank high in DYAR and DVOA is to play on a team that scares defenses with the passing game. Lots of non-great rbs can rank very high at the end of a season due to that factor, and lots of great rbs can fall down the list because their team's passing attack is not dynamic.

I'll say this for Martin. The purpose of a football player is to help his team win football games. Martin never put the ball on the ground, and to be a workhorse who never fumbles really helps a team win games, and the really good coaches, like Parcells, understand this. 

 

 

33 I think you could definitely…

I think you could definitely argue that James was the best player on his offense for his first couple years in the league (pre-injury). Peyton wasn't quite Peyton yet, so it was really James or Harrison as offense's best player. Harrison already in HOF and Peyton obviously will be when he becomes available (barring something really crazy happening before then).

44 Well, I agree that Martin…

Well, I agree that Martin was a better player (and a better HOF choice) than Bettis or Gore.  Not sure about Allen.  His raw numbers aren't that great, but he was very versatile (great short yardage runner, great blocker, good receiver).  But it's a little hard for me to judge him, since his best years were at the beginning of his career, which was right before I started to watch NFL games. (I started watching right after the Raiders drafted Bo.)

However, I think there are already too many borderline RBs in the Hall, so I wouldn't vote for any of those guys (except maybe Allen).  To me, it makes sense to induct more RBs who played back in the '60s and '70s, since running the ball was more important back then.  Even in the '80s and '90s, there were lots of good offenses that were based more on running than passing.  But nowadays, having a great passing game is almost required to have a good offense, and if you also have a good running game, that's just a bonus.  So for RBs who played most of their career in the 21st century, I think they have to be better to make the HOF than the RBs who played in an earlier era.

In fact, of RBs currently active, the only one I personally consider to be a "slam dunk" HOFer is Peterson.  Until recently, it looked like Bell and Gurley were on a clear path to being "slam dunk" guys, but they have both fallen off the last couple of years.  There are also a few younger guys who have a chance to be "slam dunk" guys, but it's too soon to tell.  I would put Barkley, Elliott, McCaffrey, Cook, and Kamara in that group.

42 Yards from Scrimmage Grey Ink

Chase Stuart has a pretty interesting metric that might be relevant for this discussion.

 

http://www.footballperspective.com/yards-from-scrimmage-gray-ink-and-walter-payton/

 

Bassed on this Martin is 14th (12th among RBs) and everyone ahead of him is either already in the HoF or will be.

45 That's interesting, but I…

That's interesting, but I think the problem is that it doesn't make any adjustment for the different offensive environments of different eras.  As I said above, running the ball used to be a better strategy, so RBs with lots of rushing yards used to be more valuable than they are now.  On the other hand, most modern RBs are used much more in the passing game than they used to be, so you want to reward modern backs who are good receivers, but it's not fair to punish old school backs for not being good receivers, when that wasn't really part of their job description back then.

To make a long story short, it's very hard to come up with a simple metric that allows for accurate comparisons across different eras. When you try to do so, you usually get some weird results that make it hard to take the metric seriously, and I think that's the case here (e.g. Arian Foster and Jamaal Charles over Earl Campbell; Neal Anderson and Curt Warner over Gale Sayers; Larry Johnson and DeMarco Murray over Marion Motley).

49 Martin

Martin also averaged over 300 yards receiving per season.  So he averaged 1584 yards from scrimmage per season.

When I hear the word "compiler" I think of somebody getting 1000 yards from scrimmage per season for a very long time. Using career length to compensate for a lack of peak.

Eric Dickerson's career was the same length as Martin's, and he finished with 2,000 fewer career yards from scrimmage.  

27 I’m fine with Edgerrin James…

I’m fine with Edgerrin James getting in, and not surprised he did. Unlike most every other RB eligible during the last 20 years not in, he cleared the 12K career rushing yard threshold. Same for Curtis Martin and Jerome Bettis, also in. Same will hold true for Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore. None of them (except Peterson) have big peaks, but like it or not, compiling that much will get you elected. 

You’ve got to have a Gale Sayers/Earl Campbell level peak to get in without the 12K career rushing yards milestone. Or have close to that peak and massive postseason accomplishments like Terrell Davis. But guys like Shaun Alexander, Tiki Barber, Corey Dillon, Priest Holmes, Ottis Anderson, Warrick Dunn, Fred Taylor, Ricky Watters, Jamal Lewis, Steven Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Eddie George, and Ricky Williams are very unlikely to be elected.

2 Gah, the homer in me was…

Gah, the homer in me was hoping they'd put in LeRoy Butler (the first jersey I had as a kid!) before Atwater, but oddly Atwater's selection might at least make it more likely that Butler will get in long-term since I think they both exist on a similar tier at the safety position. Put another way, if they never admit Butler, it would look egregious given that Atwater got in.

Speaking of safeties, I dunno if Polamalu is a true first-ballot HOFer in my mind but he is a HOFer, so it's not a big deal. Very happy to see Steve Hutchinson get in.

4 Troy was not the kind of…

Troy was not the kind of safety I like(prefer Kam Chancellor style myself), but he was a very special player. One that is a clear hall of famer, just not one you'd put on the 100 team without thinking about it.

28 Polamalu was the best first…

Polamalu was the best first-time eligible player this year, and they usually go in first ballot. Same was true of Darrell Green when he first became eligible. No surprise there.

Glad Atwater got in, as he had the least eligibility left from the safety backlog (4 years) and was deserving. Leroy Butler (5 years now left) is next in queue, followed by Darren Woodson (7 years) and John Lynch (9 years). They may all get elected in this order, too, despite Lynch having been a finalist more times. Time will tell.

6 Very happy to see Atwater…

Very happy to see Atwater and Hutchinson get in. I've been beating the drum for those guys (especially Atwater) for quite some time. Polamalu is also deserving, though I'm a little surprised he made it on the first ballot. But that's OK. Maybe 2 safeties going in means some other deserving guys at that position (like Butler, or even Joey Browner) might have a shot one day down the road.

As for Bruce and James, I think they're both pretty borderline. I doubt that I would have voted for either of them, but neither of them feel like an egregious reach, as some other recent inductees have.

8 Agreed completely. This…

Agreed completely.

This class was going to be strange imo.  There were three people I felt strongly should get in (polamalu, Atwater, Hutchinson), and then 9 of the other finalists I thought were very good, possibly sort of Hall of famer but all borderline cases, and a couple I'd never really watched.  TBH, there are other players who I'd have preferred to the finalists, and there are contributors/coaches more important to the history of football than the ones who got in earlier.  For my money I'd rather a hall with Don coryell and Alex Gibbs, than one with Bill cowher and JJ

9 No living owners

I don't think any owner should get in until the owner either has no longer owned a team in five years or is dead. Players can't be nominated until they've been fired for five years. Why is there an exception for owners? The recent owner and other "contributor" nominees seem like a whole lot of mutual fellatio. 

29 Butler, Woodson, and Lynch…

Butler, Woodson, and Lynch are the regularly eligible safeties currently in queue and have 5, 7, and 9 years currently left before the Senior abyss. Atwater getting in now bodes pretty well for all of them.

Joey Browner is now a Senior, and it’ll probably take forever to enshrine him, if he ever makes it. He joins deserving guys like Nolan Cromwell, Jimmy Patton, Ed Meador, and Deron Cherry in that category. One of the few good things about the utter disaster that was the Centennial Seniors class is that several deserving backlog safeties (Bobby Dillon, Cliff Harris, Donnie Shell) got swept off the board and in.

10 disappointing

Not Atwater and Hutcchinson. Polamalu seems to be profiting by his high profile.

I'm not seeing Bruce as a Hall of Famer. There are just too many WRs now. Bruce is getting in because of his career totals. He was never an all-Pro and only made four Pro Bowl rosters. He wasn't even the best WR on the Rams!

James is borderline - not as much of a standout as Marvin Harrison, but I can take him as a borderline candidate. Bruce is just a bad choice.

Grumble - Richard Seymour had more All-Pro teams than James and Bruce combined. If people are downgrading him because he wasn't a sack specialist, I'll just have to roll my eyes.

30 I see Isaac Bruce as one of…

In reply to by RickD

I see Isaac Bruce as one of those deserving second-tier WRs the HoF often forgets about (Billy Howton, Billy Wilson, Del Shofner, Lionel Taylor, Art Powell, Harold Jackson, Cliff Branch, Drew Pearson, Sterling Sharpe, and Henry Ellard among them). They’ve been better about enshrining these guys lately (Andre Reed, Tim Brown) and Bruce getting in bodes reasonably well for Torry Holt, Reggie Wayne, and maybe even Hines Ward. I’m lukewarm about Ward, but fine with the rest making it in.

11 My two cents

With the caveat that I've grown to think the HOF honors in this sport is a fools errand . . .

Atwater and Hutchinson to me are obviously deserving (and my Broncos bias is announced by my screen name). My personal test is: was he one of the top two or three players at his position for a significant length of time, with "significant" being relative to his position. For me, Atwater and Hutchinson meet this test.

Polamalu for me is an interesting case. He was an outstanding player (with even better hair). But I had always considered him the second best safety on his own team. This is not to dis Polamalu, but rather to praise Ryan Clark. Without Ryan Clark, Polamalu's adventurous style could have been detrimental. Pre-emptive counter-argument: I'm not saying Polamalu is not not worthy; I'm only pointing out another example of the team and context dependence of our evaluation of individual worth. And, that I think Ryan Clark is a HOF player.

22 We witnessed two Troy…

In reply to by BroncosGuyAgain

We witnessed two Troy Polamalus in Pittsburgh. One was the defensive mvp caliber player that was freakishly athletic so he was able to make rediculous plays out of nowhere.

The other Troy had lost a step and for about 4 seasons was a liability and a headache because he tried to make the same plays but then was found nowhere.

39 Wow. I knew some people did…

In reply to by BroncosGuyAgain

Wow. I knew some people did not view Polamalu as quite on the same level as Ed Reed and Bryan Dawkins, but I never in a million years expected to read a "Polamalu wasn't as good as Ryan Clark" take. So bravo, sir. 

48 That's not at all what he…

That's not at all what he said. He said that Polamalu was a gambler who needed someone like Clark playing behind him in order to make those amazing plays - and I agree. On the other hand, Clark going to the HoF is a bit ridiculous even for a homer. I will always appreciate him, though, as the guy that Snyder cut so that he could throw money at Adam Archuleta.

Never change, Dan. Never change.

56 In fairness, I did say I…

In fairness, I did say I considered Troy to be the second best safety on his own team, so I did pretty much say what he said I said.  I also said what you said I said, which is that I believe that Ryan Clark, at least in part, made Troy Polamalu possible.  This is not to deny that Troy's immense talent also made Troy Polamalu possible.  Maybe it is better to say that I place a higher value than most others on the things that Clark brought to that defense, most of which took place off network cameras.  Not sure if your "homer" reference was directed toward me, but rest assured, as my screen name makes clear, I am anything but a Steelers homer.

13 Eh, the meatheads who run…

Eh, the meatheads who run the joint have managed to extinguish most of my interest in it. Happy for the player who were selected, of course. As Jack Lambert once said, "There are no cowards in the NFL", and seeing courage, joined to accomplishment, recognized, is always a good thing.

31 Feeling the same way these…

Feeling the same way these days, especially after the horrific stinkfest that was the Special Centennial Class. A good fivesome this time nonetheless. I’d have been fine with any of these finalists being enshrined, actually.

On to more enjoyable pastimes.

14 Feels like these guys all…

Feels like these guys all belong. I would've put Faneca & Zach Thomas in ahead of a few of them. Or they could've really had some fun and gone with 2 guards + 3 safeties.

15 Bruce

I would have picked Holt over Bruce if I had to pick just one WR from those Rams teams. Will be interested to see if that's a "clear the backlog" thing, or if the old prejudice that Holt was only productive because defenses were selling out against Bruce (Holt's rookie year was the only year they were both on the same team where Bruce out-gained him yardage wise, so if defenses were ignoring Holt, they were doing something wrong).

24 Also foudn Big Game Holt…

In reply to by facw

Also foudn Big Game Holt vetter tham Bruce over bulk of careeer but not huge separatiom between them. With Bruce now ij, only matyer id time begore Holt is in. Wouls go si far as to guarantee Holt gwts in within a few years. 

 

 

18 I am a bit surprised at the…

I am a bit surprised at the cold water thrown at Polamalu. Its funny since I thought i was in the extreme minority who found him overrated.

I will say, he was not a traditional safety and required a team to employ one to really take advantage of his skillset. But, it was one hell of a skillset. He basically gave them the ultimate linebacker which has tremendous value.

20 I guess it has become trendy…

I guess it has become trendy to diss Polamalu, as the very best offences (i.e. the Patriots) were, on occasion, able to exploit some of his over-aggressive tendencies. That, in some people’s minds leads to the conclusion that he was overrated. 

I remember a game around 2010 (against the Jets IIRC) when he was a surprise late scratch, and the Vegas spread moved the best part of 3 points in response. I once saw something similar for a late Calvin Johnson scratch, but it is incredibly rare to see such a move for a non-QB. That’s an impact player. 

32 The hall still a joke. . .

They need to figure out their criteria and stick to it. You can't know what a hall of fame career looks like if you can't account for a what a hall of fame season looks like. I'm not saying the below should be the criteria but in the absence of the hall voters putting forward the logic of their choices, these are some of the blunt/obvious tools to use for comparison.

Isaac Bruce:
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 0
YDS top 10: 4 (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 2 (2nd, 7th)
REC TDS top 10: 2 (7th, 10th)
Postseason: 44 rec, 759 yds, 17.3 ypc, 4 td

Harold Carmichael
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 0
YDS top 10: 2 (1st, 3rd)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 1 (9th)
REC TDS top 10: 8 (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th 10th)
Postseason: 29 rec, 465 yds, 16.0 ypc, 6 td

Drew Pearson:
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 3
YDS top 10: 5 (1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th, 10th)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 2 (8th, 10th)
REC TDS top 10: 2 (6th, 8th)
Postseason: 68 rec, 1131 yds, 16.6 ypc, 8 td

Cliff Branch:
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 3
YDS top 10: 4 (1st, 2nd, 4th,10th)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 5 (2nd, 3rd, 8th, 8th, 9th)
REC TDS top 10: 5 (1st, 1st, 3rd, 9th, 10th)
Postseason: 73 rec, 1289 yds, 17.7 ypc, 5 td

34 Prety sure Bruce had a 1st…

Prety sure Bruce had a 1st team all pro yr . Obviously wsdnt Ass. Press.  Argued with guy yeste5day who said obly Ass. Prss mstters. Yes,maybe to averga fan who is onlh goinf to pro foitball reference. Voters astute enough thst Ass. Press is not sole service handing out honors

35 sure, agreed but . . .

That's why I put "AP". I'll agree with you AP not necessarily best All Pro teams put forth, but it is the closest to official, and while AP voting also is a mess, as a reference point for comparison across the same position & especially for receivers of the same time (e.g., Carmichael vs Pearson and Branch) seems pretty clear an indicator point of what Hall is getting wrong, or at least has not figured out how to display logic in their selections vs non selection.

EDIT: P.S. Could easily ignore All Pro selections altogether and just compare top 10/top 5 seasons. That is really where the meat is.

46 I do not support the…

I do not support the thinking of AP as the only 1st team all pro team worth counting. I think it’s worth doing the minimal research further down in the player profile at the PFR site to count up each year any major organization named the player an all-pro.

36 More from the same/similar era as Pearson and Branch . . .

. . . for reference/fun:

Charlie Joyner
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 1
YDS top 10: 3 (3rd, 4th, 6th)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 3 (4th, 4th, 4th)
REC TDS top 10: 3 (5th, 7th, 9th)
Postseason: 35 rec, 652 yds, 18.1 ypc, 5 td

Art Monk
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 1
YDS top 10: 3 (3rd, 4th, 10th)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 0
REC TDS top 10: 1 (9th)
Postseason: 69 rec, 1062 yds, 14.4 ypc, 7 td

John Stallworth
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 1
YDS top 10: 4 (2nd, 2nd, 5th, 10th)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 1 (9th)
REC TDS top 10: 5 (3rd, 4th, 4th, 6th, 8th)
Postseason: 57 rec, 1054 yds, 18.5 ypc, 12 td

Lynn Swann
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 1
YDS top 10: 3 (4th, 7th, 8th)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 1 (4th)
REC TDS top 10: 3 (1st, 2nd, 6th)
Postseason: 48 rec, 907 yds, 18.9 ypc, 9 td

Fred Biletnikoff
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 2
YDS top 10: 5 (3rd, 5th, 6th, 6h, 7th)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 1 (1st)
REC TDS top 10: 8 (2nd, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th)
Postseason: 70 rec, 1167 yds, 16.7 ypc, 10 td

Bob Hayes 
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 2
YDS top 10: 6 (3rd, 4th, 4th, 6th, 7th, 7th)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 6 (1st, 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th) 
REC TDS top 10: 6 (1st, 1st, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 5th)
Postseason: 31 rec, 492 yds, 15.9 ypc, 2 td

Harold Jackson 
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 1
YDS top 10: 5 (1st, 1st, 3rd, 7th, 9th)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 7 (2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th)
REC TDS top 10: 4 (1st, 6th, 9th, 9th)
Postseason: 24 rec, 548 yds, 22.8 ypc, 5 td

Paul Warfield
AP ALL PRO 1st team: 2
YDS top 10: 4 (2nd, 2nd, 5th, 6th)
YDS/CATCH top 10: 10 (2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 6th 9th)
REC TDS top 10: 6 (1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th)
Postseason: 58 rec, 1121 yds, 19.3 ypc, 5 td

51 One needs to be careful with…

One needs to be careful with these kinds of comparisons:

-adjusting for era is usually appropriate. Putting deadball-era 70s WRs next to more wide open post-90s WRs is a dicey proposition.

-great WRs on run-first teams need to be cut some slack for their often less gaudy numbers. Examples include Paul Warfield, Andre Reed, and Michael Irvin. Same’s true to an extent for WRs who mostly played outdoors in cold weather venues vs. WRs who played in domed stadiums and warm weather cities.

53 I don't disagree. Most of…

I don't disagree. Most of the stats above are from players of similar eras who played in largely similar conditions. The main point that the Hall voters lack consistent criteria I think is pretty well illustrated. 

And Bruce of course played on a high-flying offense in a passing era with a domed home field, so all those extra factors you mention even further work to question Bruce's inclusion over Branch and Pearson, older era players with similar best seasons as his.

40 Re: Bruce, Let's not forget…

Re: Bruce,

Let's not forget that he missed the Pro Bowl in 1995 despite being better than any WR in the AFC. His 1995 season would have been Pro Bowl worthy in almost any other season (or conference).

He also had 8 1,000 yard seasons, which is not too shabby. Not a whole lot of guys with that many 1k seasons before the mid 2000s (12 players accomplished the feat before 2010, to be precise).

41 With Isaac Bruce in, you can…

With Isaac Bruce in, you can start to make a case for a lot of receivers. Jimmy Smith, Holt, Welker,
Wayne, Edlemann(if playoffs are your thing), Hines Ward, Anquan Boldin, Santana Moss.

To me that's what happens when let in borderline candidates.

43 I also think it's a little…

I also think it's a little problematic when you start inducting multiple players from the same team/unit, which is obviously relevant to Bruce and James. As the 4th player to be inducted from that Rams offence (and 3rd in James' case - with perhaps more to come), it is fair to question whether either was a true difference-maker (not that they weren't good and consistent - clearly they were. But that shouldn't be the benchmark for the HOF).