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The question is not whether Saquon Barkley is the best running back in this draft class. The question is whether any running back, even one as good as Barkley, warrants a top-five draft selection in the NFL in 2018.

25 Jul 2008

The Hall of Fame Index, Part One

by Mike Tanier and Doug Farrar

In late June, the Broncos blog Mile High Report investigated a phenomenon that has stuck in many a Broncos fan's craw for years. The Broncos have been an incredibly successful franchise since the mid-1970s, with six Super Bowl appearances, two championships, and tons of playoff appearances. But the Broncos have just two official representatives in the Hall of Fame: John Elway and Gary Zimmerman. The article calls the low Broncos representation a "snubbing" and a "gross injustice."

A couple of us at Football Outsiders decided to use the Mile High Report as a springboard for a larger Hall of Fame discussion. We wanted to know what the typical ratio of Hall members to franchise accomplishments truly is, and to determine what teams are over- or underrepresented. So we cooked up a method to measure each franchise's Hall of Famer-to-Accomplishment Index, then used the numbers as an excuse to publishing a rambling discussion about the Hall of Fame. It's July, people.

The Method

First, we needed to properly define Hall of Famers (HoFers) and Accomplishments.

For HoFers, we only counted players (not coaches or execs) whose careers lasted significantly past the year 1950, which marked the NFL-AAFC merger. We left the old-timers out because we wanted to focus on players everyone still remembers, and we aren't interested in arguing that there are too few Dayton Triangles in Canton. We wanted to eliminate the "Eric Dickerson-Atlanta Falcons" phenomenon by limiting the number of teams that a player could represent, but we allowed dual representation for many players. That means that Dickerson represents the Rams and Colts, Marcus Allen the Raiders and Chiefs, James Lofton the Packers and Bills (but not the Eagles) and so on. We used a "four years or one Championship" rule of thumb for allowing players to represent a second team, but there were judgment calls. By our counting, the Broncos have three Hall representatives, because Willie Brown counts for both them and the Raiders.

For Accomplishments, we gave teams one point for every year of existence from 1950 through 2002, four more points for playoff berths in that era, five more points for an NFL championship, and two points for either an AFL championship or a Super Bowl loss. The system is imperfect and filled with little biases, but the overall list passes the common sense test. The Cowboys, Browns, Niners, Rams, and Steelers are the most accomplished teams in the study (younger fans, please remember that the Browns were a 1950s powerhouse). The Texans, Panthers, Ravens, Seahawks, and Jaguars rank at the bottom of the list, and we'll save the expansion teams -- Houston, Carolina, Baltimore, and Jacksonville -- for the bottom of Part Two so that the primary discussion can be about those teams that may have legitimate issues with the HoF voters.

Divide HoFers by Accomplishments, multiply by 100 to make the numbers pretty, and you have a HoFer Index. The higher the ratio, the kinder voters have been to your franchise. Quick, easy, and ready for discussion.

To aid in the discourse, we've linked every player's name to their page at the Hall of Fame site (for HoFers) or their page at pro-football-reference.com (for hopefuls). Never heard of Gerry Philbin, Jim Hart or Curley Culp? Click and learn!

St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals

Accomplishment Score: 73
Hall of Famers: 7
Index: 9.6

Mike: The Cardinals have the highest Index in our study, though many of their early HoFers played on great 1940s teams that didn't make the cut due to method restrictions.

Doug: It's tough to argue that the Cardinals are underrepresented; this is a franchise known above all for underachieving, especially since the move to Arizona. I was more interested in going back and seeing if there were any players from the Coryell era in the mid-1970s, when they battled the Cowboys and Redskins in the NFC East. Dan Dierdorf, Roger Wehrli and Jackie Smith are all good choices -- are there any others? Jim Hart was a good quarterback who threw a lot. Does he go in the bin with the other quarterbacks who just amassed a lot of stats over time?

Mike: I think three players from that era is more than fair. We're only talking about a handful of playoff appearances, and Don Coryell's legacy also lives on with Charlie Joiner, Dan Fouts, and Kellen Winslow. Hart falls into a huge vat with Ken Stabler, Ken Anderson, John Hadl, Roman Gabriel, Archie Manning and others: Very good quarterbacks from the late '60s and '70s who are well known but were clearly a notch below the true greats of the era. If you want, you can put them in order: Stabler and Anderson go above Hart; Gabriel and Hadl are about on par with him. Hart doesn't sound like a HoFer to me.

One recent Cardinals player who could sneak in is Aeneas Williams: Eight Pro Bowls, three-time All Pro, a Super Bowl appearance with the Rams. He may be another Wehrli who has to wait his turn because he isn't a huge name, but he was a great player. Anyone else?

Doug: Williams shouldn't have to sneak in, but you're right about the huge name factor. Nobody else springs to mind on this end.

Atlanta Falcons

Accomplishment Score: 75
Hall of Famers: 0
Index: 0.0

Doug: The silence is deafening. Jeff Van Note, for sure. Five Pro Bowls, eighteen seasons, missed a total of four games in his entire career. Warrick Dunn as a two-team guy if you agree that he should be in. William Andrews had a wonderful stretch that was too soon forgotten, but injuries cut him short. Can a team with a franchise history of over 40 years really have only one sure Hall of Famer?

Mike: Van Note and Claude Humphrey would be the obvious choices. I think Van Note should be in; for some reason, the voters haven't been kind to 1970s centers with long careers. Morten Andersen will probably get in. Andrews isn't a HoFer, nor is Jamal Anderson. I am guessing Prime Time will feel very lonely, and he will have to hang out with the Cowboys busts for company.

Doug: Is Warrick Dunn a HoFer in your book?

Mike: A close call. Being the greatest guy in the world will help his cause. But at what point in his career was he a truly great player?

Doug: I keep going back to the Bill James concept of Peak vs. Career Value, and in Dunn's case, he's got both covered. His overall rushing and receiving numbers combined put him pretty high up on the career list – he currently ranks 20th in career yards from scrimmage, and he's been used in platoons and committees most of his career. He had that surge in productivity with the Falcons from 2004-06, and while he was the beneficiary of Alex Gibbs' blocking schemes and the fact that defenses facing Michael Vick were always on edge, he still put up the numbers. With Dunn, I think you have to add Peak and Career together because of the way he's been used through his career, but the numbers will tell the story.

Buffalo Bills

Accomplishment Score: 140
Hall of Famers: 6
Index: 4.3

Mike: The Bills total seems pretty low, though the Hall is still getting around to putting in the players from their Super Bowl run. Bruce Smith is going in. I am proudly pro-Andre Reed, though I seem to be in a dwindling minority. I understand the arguments against Reed; he was a system guy, his numbers looked better at retirement than they do now, he made seven Pro Bowls because most of the great receivers were in the NFC. I think people have forgotten how he was perceived when he played. There are a lot of guys, like Kent Hull and Cornelius Bennett, who would have much bigger reputations if Scott Norwood made that field goal.

Doug: No argument with Reed here. Ruben Brown made nine Pro Bowls. He'll get some love when he's eligible.

Mike: Brown may have resurrected his reputation with the Bears. When he left Buffalo, he was an out-of-shape guy who had lost his motivation. He's also known as a guy who won some Pro Bowl berths by default: big name, marginal competition. He'll have a hard time getting in.

Chicago Bears

Accomplishment Score: 138
Hall of Famers: 12
Index: 8.7

Doug: As the preeminent old-school franchise, it's tough to argue that this team is undermanned in the Hall from a historical perspective. Are there any remaining players from the '80s, perhaps, who should be in? Dave Duerson?

Mike: I love Duerson, Gary Fencik, and Wilber Marshall as players, but not as Hall candidates. Richard Dent is getting a lot of support from voters. I am interested in seeing how his candidacy goes: It will tell us something about the regard in which the career sack leaderboard is held.

When I see all the old Bears and Cardinals (and Lions, in a moment) who made the Hall of Fame, I can't shake the impression that the bar is being set higher nowadays. Let's face it: It was easier to be a first-team All-Pro in a 12-team league than in a 32-team league.

Cincinnati Bengals

Accomplishment Score: 75
Hall of Famers: 2
Index: 2.7

Mike: A low index. The Bengals don't have a long accomplishment list, but their two Super Bowl appearances were in the 1980s, and many of their playoff seasons were in the 1970s and 1980s. Is there a lost Hall of Famer somewhere? Ken Anderson is the only obvious candidate.

Doug: You know what's weird about Anderson? The argument that he just dinked and dunked is applied to him in a pejorative manner because he played in the long-ball era of Terry Bradshaw and Joe Namath. If he started his career ten years later and played the same way, who knows? Maybe he'd already be in. Lemar Parrish had some impressive numbers as a defensive back and kick returner in the 1970s. Nobody else stands out. I always liked Isaac Curtis, but the numbers aren't there.

Mike: Statistics work against Anderson to some degree. We use the term a few times in the course of this article: stat compiler. It's often used as an insult, a suggestion that the guy didn't bother winning games and just threw 10-yard passes on third-and-15 to make his numbers look good. I know that's not what you or I mean, but I hear it used as a casual write-off for guys who never won a Super Bowl but battled hard (and put up nice numbers) for year after year.

Doug: David Lewin wrote about Anderson's candidacy in 2006, and I agree that the omission is tough to justify. I just think there's a pre-Joe Montana bias against guys who didn't air it out all the time, which is especially unfair in Anderson's case. If not for Bill Walsh's work with Anderson, and development of that offense over time, there might not have been a Joe Montana.

Cleveland Browns

Accomplishment Score: 190
Hall of Famers: 15
Index: 7.9

Mike: The Browns high Index is a little misleading. If we count all of the championship teams from the AAFC (which miss our cut), the Browns would actually have a low ratio. All told, their HoF total looks just right: lots of old-timers to match their old-time accomplishments. Thoughts?

Doug: I agree. I took a look back at the Schottenheimer era (40-23 in the regular season from 1985 through 1988), and aside from the already inducted Ozzie Newsome, there aren't any sure things. Bernie Kosar and Clay Matthews make interesting arguments, that's all.

Mike: Matthews, a linebacker who played for 20 years, probably would make the HoF playing for better teams or in a higher-profile situation. Since we aren't talking about coaches, we don't have to argue about Schottenheimer, which will keep this feature under 3,000,000 words.

Dallas Cowboys

Accomplishment Score: 212
Hall of Famers: 9
Index: 4.2

Doug: Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin are already in, and their numbers will be shooting through the roof in the next few years, of course (insert cheap Emmitt Smith induction speech joke here). Is Charles Haley a worthy name? Who from that awesome offensive line gets in?

Mike: The Cowboys are the most Accomplished team on our list, and there are tons of guys in the pipeline. Haley could well get in; he certainly has the postseason resume. Larry Allen goes in five years from now. Emmitt, and Prime Time, of course. And there are plenty of old Cowboys who deserve consideration, like Bullet Bob Hayes and Drew Pearson. Both of those guys are great wide receivers of their eras, both have the numbers and their share of postseason accomplishments.

Wow, am I really talking up Cowboys for the Hall of Fame? I might not be able to sit at the lunch table anymore.

Denver Broncos

Accomplishment Score: 131
Hall of Famers: 3
Index: 2.3

Mike: According to this method, the Broncos have every reason to feel screwed by the Hall of Fame. This is a team with two titles and six Super Bowl appearances, plus nearly 50 years of history, but their HoF membership ranks down with the recent expansion teams. Their accomplishment score ranks with the Lions and Chiefs, two teams with 19 combined Hall of Famers. Doug, let's put four or five Broncos in the Hall to even the scales a bit.

Doug: Verily. We will first take the Wayback Machine to the early days of the AFL, where we'll meet Lionel Taylor, the league's all-time best receiver not named Alworth or Maynard. Led the AFL in receptions every year from 1960 to 1963, and again in 1965. He did this all on terrible teams with no complementary targets and a string of crappy quarterbacks. Picture Steve Smith topping the NFL in numbers year after year with Tarvaris Jackson throwing to him and you'll get the idea. Next, we'll travel ahead a few seasons and pick up Richard "Tombstone" Jackson, regarded by many historians as the best player not currently in the Hall. Dr. Z. who would know, has said and written that Jackson might have been the best he'd ever seen. Jackson and Terrell Davis both have those short-but-dominant-career sticking points. I'd be interested in your take on Davis.

Mike: I argue long and hard for Terrell Davis every chance I get. Mike Smith and I bickered on this point a few years ago. I know his career was short. It was two years of absolute domination -- rushing titles, scoring titles, best player (Elway included) on a Super Bowl team -- plus two other very good seasons. I don't think anyone suggests that he needed five more years like 1997-98 to make the HoF. So what does he need? Four more 1,100-yard, eight-touchdown, third-guy-on-the list for the AFC Pro Bowl type seasons? Who really cares about seasons like those? But if he had them, he'd have 11,000 yards and seven Pro Bowl berths and ring some magic bells for people.

Doug: You and I have discussed Randy Gradishar. He was the inspiration for this article, in a way. He was the engine that made the Orange Crush defense go. Steve Atwater had a six-year stretch in the early to mid-'90s where he was just a stone killer. Billy Thompson is under the margins, but an interesting player to talk about as a defensive back and return man. Louis Wright was a star for the '70s teams and the early Elway teams.

Do you think that any of the Super Bowl/Alex Gibbs-era linemen besides Gary Zimmerman make the cut?

Mike: Tom Nalen would be a very good choice.

Detroit Lions

Accomplishment Score: 133
Hall of Famers: 11
Index: 8.3

Mike: Like the Cardinals, the Lions are a historic franchise that was pretty darn good in earlier times.

Doug: Not too much to talk about since the Wayne Fontes era. I think we tend to see this franchise through Millen-colored goggles and forget that there were patches of success over the last few decades. The early-70s Lions teams, with Mel Farr and Lem Barney hanging out with Marvin Gaye, were pretty cool. Looking at the 1990s teams, I don't know that there's anyone else besides Barry Sanders who's going to Canton.

Mike: Alex Karras is a Hall of Fame caliber player who isn't in. During a Top 10 taping, I was asked if Webster or Blazing Saddles actually hurt Karras' chances to make the Hall. I guess some people had a hard time taking him seriously after Webster; lots of star football players get bit parts in movies, but Karras spent five years teaching America to love. Heck, Little House on the Prarie (and those flower ads) didn't hurt Merlin Olson. Karras was an outstanding defensive tackle on some great defenses.

Doug: The man said it himself. "Mongo only pawn in game of life."

Mike: That's about it, unless you want to argue about Bubba Baker or somebody. The voters did right by the members of the great 1950s Lions teams. To be honest, I had to look up Lou Creekmur because I know absolutely nothing about him. But he has an excellent dossier.

Doug: I think Karras and Jerry Kramer are two players who people think are already in. I'm not privy to the voting process, but I wonder if certain players are excluded because it's assumed they're already there, as silly as that sounds.

Green Bay Packers

Accomplishment Score: 170
Hall of Famers: 14
Index: 8.2

Doug: This looks pretty in line, with the obvious heavy emphasis on the Lombardi era and a severe dropoff through the pre-Holmgren Era of Crap. Here's a name for you when considering the players as the team was gearing up for its second run of Super Bowls: Sterling Sharpe. Abbreviated career, but he's got quite a few of the Bill James "black type" numbers -- led the league in receptions three times, top 10 in most other categories in multiple years. He seems like one of those bubble guys to me, though his low career ranking probably keeps him out in an airborne era.

Mike: I like Sharpe. I hate picking Hall of Famers off the all-time career leaderboards. Canton is full of guys who were excellent over short careers, from Gale Sayers to Lynn Swann to Lee Roy Selmon. Sharpe was that kind of player from 1989 to 1994.

I know the Packers have a high Index, but it's hard to place a value on what they did in the Lombardi era. And there's some stuff that is left out of our figures, like nearly winning the NFL championship in 1960. There are a few guys from the 1960s teams, like Jerry Kramer, who deserve enshrinement.

Doug: Kramer's definitely a notable snub. Not only a five-time first-team All-Pro as a guard, but he led the NFL in field goal percentage in 1962. Let's see Steve Hutchinson do that!

Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts

Accomplishment Score: 159
Hall of Famers: 9
Index: 5.7

Mike: Most of the Colts HoFers are old-timers, naturally. They'll add at least two modern players to the list: Marvin Harrison in a few years, Peyton Manning five years after he retires (which could be more than a decade from now). Any glaring omissions that you see?

Doug: Not really. They had that nice little ride in the mid-'70s when Ted Marchibroda turned the team around, but is Bert Jones a Hall of Famer? I don't think so. Raymond Chester? Nah. Wouldn't surprise me if Reggie Wayne played Stallworth to Harrison's Swann. Edgerrin James will get some talk down the road, but boy, did he pick the wrong year to leave Indy.

Mike: John Dutton was the best player on those 1970s teams, and he isn't a real HoF candidate. For the record, Harrison is a much better player than either Swann or Stallworth. Let's see what Wayne does, and what the Colts do, in the next five years.

Kansas City Chiefs

Accomplishment Score: 122
Hall of Famers: 7
Index: 5.7

Mike: This number appears to be right down the middle. Do you agree that Derrick Thomas should be in?

Doug: Without question. Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1989, the most sacks in the 1990s, that incredible seven-sack game against Seattle. I remember Gunther Cunningham saying on one of those Top 10 shows that there were other games in which Thomas could have had eight or nine sacks. I watched the guy enough not to doubt it at all. Basically a deserving Pro Bowler his entire career. What, in your opinion, has kept him out?

Mike: To be charitable, I would say "backlog." To be honest, I would say that some voters are very capable of outsmarting themselves. They see a high sack total and say, "I'm not swayed by gaudy numbers. I want to nominate a complete player." Then they remember that Thomas wasn't a great run defender and cast their votes elsewhere. Ten years from now, memories will fade, and Thomas will either grow into a "complete" player or will become a one-dimensional caricature of a sack specialist. That will decide whether he gets in or not. Cris Carter may have suffered the same fate this year, with voters coming up with clever reasons not to vote for him ("Gee, his yards per catch was kinda low, and he never won anything."). Carter's numbers are overwhelming, and he's still in the public eye, so he won't have to wait much longer.

Doug: Getting back to Kansas City, they'll have Will Shields and Willie Roaf as candidates (though New Orleans gets half a Roaf, ha ha ha...) before Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace, and Walter Jones sashay in as complete no-brainers over the next five to ten years. What an amazing era for offensive linemen!

Miami Dolphins

Accomplishment Score: 159
Hall of Famers: 8
Index: 5.0

Mike: The Dolphins list is dominated by guys from the early 1970s, which is logical and fair. I feel like there should be more 1980s Dolphins, but as I look through their rosters, I keep finding guys like Bob Baumhower, who were good but a healthy notch below Hall standards. And I know their counts will go up in six or seven years when Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor become eligible.

Doug: I agree on the '80s/early '90s rosters, with the possible exception of left tackle Richmond Webb, who made seven Pro Bowls. According to the Palm Beach Post, Webb faced Bruce Smith in three different times in Webb's rookie year and didn't allow a sack. Derrick Thomas once, no sacks. Lawrence Taylor once, half a sack. It just kinda went from there. Webb has a good case.

And I love to watch Manny Fernandez blow up double-teams in the early Super Bowls, and the Sabols certainly love him, but he's another "short career" exclusion.

Mike: Now there's a name I don't hear very often in Hall of Fame conversations. You had to really stand out from the crowd to get noticed as a defensive tackle in the 1970s. Fernandez didn't stand out enough.

Coming Tuesday: Part II, starting with the Minnesota Vikings.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 25 Jul 2008

101 comments, Last at 08 Aug 2008, 7:10pm by bachslunch


by langsty (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 1:01pm

prime is gonna be the first and only true falcon to make it in (eric dickerson started 2 games for them in his final season), unless you count favre. personally, the guy i would make a case for is tommy nobis - 2x all pro, 5 pro bowls, made the 60s all-decade team, face of the franchise for a decade plus.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 1:14pm

Really great article guys, and I look forward to Part II.

The most interesting comp for Terrell Davis is, in my mind, Earl Campbell, who had a short but brilliant career if you really look at it.

Sterling Sharpe emphasizes just how hard it will be to sort out all the WRs. Ditto Andre Reed. I like both of them, but they're different statistical profiles. To me, you should incorporate this subjective and nebulous "how much did I fear seeing this guy on the opposing sideline" test. That's why I said yes to Irvin and no to Monk, but I hate it and have a hard time justifying my position to anyone else.

I've spilled a few thousand words this offseason on Titans who might make the Hall, but I'll save that for Part II.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 1:19pm

The Ravens and the old Browns are the same franchise. If you are going to say that the Colts are the same team from Baltimore to Indy, then apply the same standard to the Browns. A name change is meaningless when the management stays the same.

by paperlionjoe (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 1:22pm

hall of fame joke until greatest qb ever enshrined: george plimpton, Det. Lions. Could throw, run, write better thn Bobby Layne, didnt get start b/c politics of tema. plimpton=greatest ever. hof=joke.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 1:22pm

Out of the guys considered I'm for

Richmond Webb
Drew Pearson
Alex Karras
Tom Nalen
Steve Atwater
Richard “Tombstone” Jackson

Would the Hall be any worse having those guys in? I think not.

by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 1:54pm

I'm not sure you're consistent with defining what constitutes a Franchise.

You consider the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts to be one franchise, but then shouldn't you also consider the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens to be one Franchise, and (in Part II) the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans to be one franchise, and the new Cleveland Browns, NOT the Baltimore Ravens, to be the expansion team?

Either you should do this on the basis of "city", or you should actually follow the franchises. You're mixing them.

How are you going to treat Houston? Do you look at the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers/Tennessee Titans, and consider the Houston Texans to be an "expansion", or do you talk about how the city of Houston has been over or under-represented in the HoF, and consider the Titans to be an expansion?

by Ben (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 2:03pm

So you mention Curley Culp in the header but not in the KC section?

My understanding is that he was the key player in the invention of the 3-4 and the Chiefs victory in Superbowl IV, which although less celebrated than the previous year's contest was equally instrumental in setting up the merger.

by C (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 2:04pm

Re: #3, the NFL and Cleveland reached an agreement on Feb 8 1996. According to Wikipedia: "it stipulated that the Browns' name, colors, and history of the franchise were to remain in Cleveland, including past records and the attribution of its Pro Football Hall of Fame players."

So if the NFL thinks that the Ravens and the Cleveland Browns are distinct for Hall of Fame purposes it makes sense for this article to do the same. (Baltimore does not have such an agreement with the NFL about the Colts.)

by Vincent Verhei :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 2:31pm

So you mention Curley Culp in the header but not in the KC section?

Spoiler: Culp's name comes up in the Oilers/Titans section in Part II.

by Temo (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 2:43pm

*Obligatory Cowboys Fan post proclaiming Bob Hayes' credentials for the HoF, and how it should have happened before he died*

by Dennis (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 2:52pm

What's the overall average index? You mention the Brown's 7.9 being high, but it would be nice to see the overall numbers to know how high that is. And what's the range?

The team-by-team comments are great, and a list showing all the teams and their indexes ranked in order would add even more to the piece to give an overall context to it.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 2:55pm

re: 8

If you think the team name and colors are more important than players, coaches, scouts, managers, and owners, thats your perogative, though football must be an awfully boring game for you.

The Browns and the Ravens are the same franchise no matter what that quoted agreement states. Don't believe everything you read!

by Eddo (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 3:11pm

12 (johnnyblazin): But officially, they're not. That's the thing. You could extend your logic to argue that the current Bucs, Bears, and Colts defensive players belong to the same team, considering the system is the same. In the Browns vs. Ravens case, you have to go with the official NFL ruling: they're different franchises.

by TomHat (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 3:21pm

It seems like a lot of guys who you think should be ADDED to the HOF, and very few you think should be subtracted. Kind of strange to see, because on the baseball side of things, the sabermatic guys seem to talk more about guys who dont deserve to be in the hall, and are making it watered down.

It seems to me that for a discussion such as this, you would expect that you would want to take out equally as many players as you would put in, to keep things balanced.

by johonny (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 3:28pm

Glancing at football reference and I notice Sid Luckman it's still the Bears passing leader with 14686 yrds. That's pretty amazing given the evolution of the passing game in the last 58 years.

by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 3:30pm

Randomly, I was arguing about this or something related to it on xbox live last night. Apparently, if Hester retired tomorrow Bears fans are certain he's a lock for the Hall of Fame. They also think Vick was a great quarterback.

Maybe if that opening XLI kick return has won the superbowl for them. But I just don't see it without more of a career to backup the highlights.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 3:32pm

re: 13

What does "system" have to do with it? In that case, a coach from one franchise signed a contract with a different owner to join another franchise. In the Ravens case, nobody had to sign any new contracts, as the ownership and management stayed the same, although there was a bit of re-shuffling as there is for any franchise in any year.

I don't understand what the proliferation of cover-2 tactics has to do with the franchise. Your analogy is not apt!

by ChadW (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 3:32pm

Re: 12

The difference between the Browns move to Baltimore and all other franchise moves is that when the Browns announced they were moving, the NFL immediately said that they would build a new stadium and start up the franchise again. Hence, the agreement to keep all records with the Cleveland Browns name. Because the deal was in place, the NFL was able to treat the Ravens as an expansion team, rather than treating the subsequent instance of the Cleveland Browns as an expansion team.

Because Baltimore (when they lost the Colts), St.Louis (when they lost the Cardinals), etc., did not get an explicit guarantee from the NFL that the NFL would return in short order, a similar agreement was not made with those cities. In their cases, the NFL returned after a much longer time frame.

by mrh (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 3:40pm

Here's a question: should Don Coryell be in the HoF? Against him is a lack of championships, of course. But other than Bill Walsh and maybe Marv Levy, has there been a more influential offensive mind?

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 3:46pm

Re #14
A couple reasons for that.
1. The Pro Football Hall of Fame has generally kept a tight lid on selections, picking only a few players each year.
2. The Football HOF is only about 40 years old. Baseball is about 70 years old.
3. There are more football players-bigger rosters, shorter careers, and since the AFL began, as relatively close to the same number of teams (generally speaking). Combine that with a shorter threshold for greatness (players like Koufax, who were only great for 6 years, are much more common in football), and you have many, many more potential enshrinees.
4. No Frankie Frisch-led Veterans Committee that elected a bunch of his buddies.

There just aren't very many bad selections in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I mean, who's the worst guy in there? Maybe Joe Namath, who was an iconic figure who was a major figure in events that affected the future of the NFL? Art Monk, who was first or second in NFL history in receptions when he retired? Somebody more familiar with older players may come up with names, but it's not like there's a guy you can easily point to as being clearly undeserving.

by Stuart (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 3:51pm


Another reason might be that the baseball folks have all kinds of nifty advanced stats going back a number of years, whereas we only have a decade or so of DVOA/DYAR. Although, I suppose there's nothing to prevent us from inventing a stat like QB rating+ (like OPS+) except that smaller sample sizes might make it less useful.

by CA (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 3:56pm

A great player marginally increases the chance that his team will accumulate "accomplishments," but a team can (and teams frequently do) fail to achieve accomplishments despite the presence of a great player, and a team can (and teams frequently do) produce accomplishments despite the absence of great players. Therefore, team accomplishments, as defined in the article, should have no impact on how we regard individual players, so I say they should have no impact on Hall of Fame selections. I suppose that means I reject the concept of this piece. Furthermore, I suggest that the Accomplishment Score, while irrelevant, is arbitrary in its composition.

by Thok (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 3:59pm

I'm surprised the potential Denver HOF discussion didn't mention Shannon Sharpe. Similarly, Gonzalez is a lock for the Chiefs.

by AlexSmithJoe (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 4:42pm

This is a great topic to be looking into, especially in light of all of the Hall of Fame candidates that retired this offseason. Football lacks the "magic numbers" as benchmarks for Hall of Fame induction that baseball often uses, so it's sometimes tricky to establish where the bar for induction is set.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 4:53pm

re: 18

"NFL was able to treat the Ravens as an expansion team, rather than treating the subsequent instance of the Cleveland Browns as an expansion team."

Yes, but just because the NFL says that the Ravens were an expansion team doesn't make it so. If they were an expansion team they should have liquidated their roster, coaching staff, scouts, management, etc.

Look, the old Browns moved to Baltimore. The current Browns are NOT the same franchise as the old Browns. They are an expansion team. I know the NFL tried to wave a magic wand and pretend like its the same franchise, but it is not. I'm just surprised people who visit this site so readily swallow the BS being handed to them.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 4:54pm

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has been so overly restrictive in inducting worthy players it is ridiculous. I think this is in good part due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of selectors don't watch nearly enough football to have enough knowledge to make informed decisions, and they gravitate to a default position of being conservative, and being way, way, too dependent on evaluating individual performance through the prism of team quality.

From what I read of his column, I likely watch more games than Peter King in detail, even now, when he spends his Sundays in the NBC studio, and definitely watch more games than many other selectors who concentrate on a beat, and there is no way I see enough to even give an informed decision on Pro Bowl selections for most positions. There is no way most of these guys see enough football to make good HOF judgements, and even advanced football stats don't help out much for offensive linemen and defensive players, in the way stats can paint a picture of a baseball player's career.

This issue is really starting to reduce my interest in the HOF. I think a baord of 30 or so retired pro personnel evaluators from NFL teams would do a much, much, better job of selecting Hall of Famers; those guys spent years taking the time to break down film, play by play, and grading guys out. They really know who is worthy, compared to the current guys voting.

by Kenneth (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 5:03pm

If 4 years is all that's needed to count for a second team, then Marshall Faulk should count for the Colts. In which case, they will certainly get 3 players added to the hall (Faulk, Manning, Harrison).

by JMM (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 5:18pm

Please put a summary chart at the bottom of the 2nd article.

Also, has the number of inductees increased as the league expanded?

by azibuck (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 5:24pm

Agree with 22, CA.

You're wrong jonnyblazin. I'm not sure who the book definition of "franchise" would support, but you're making a semantical argument. The history of "the Browns" lies in Cleveland alone, and not in any way to Baltimore. The history of "the Colts" lies in Indianapolis AND Baltimore.
And I root for laundry but I find the game very exciting. Do you really watch for "coaches, scouts, managers, and owners"? That's your prerogative, but how boring must that be for you?
I'm a Cowboys fan, but Hollywood Henderson, "God's Coach", The White House, T.O., and Adam Jones, I don't really care if they abuse drugs or are surly or phony or whatever. I hope the Cowboys win on Sunday, I don't really care who's playing for them. But then, I don't collect autographs, buy NFL apparel, or live in Dallas. When I was 7 I didn't even know who the players were, I liked the stars and the colors, why should it be different now?
And I don't think that makes me an unintelligent fan. First of all, I'm here, at ground zero of football intelligensia, right? And I know the game, but I don't understand why anyone gets attached to certain players. I mean, I work with a guy that named his son Troy, after Aikman. I'm not the messed up one because I root for laundry.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 6:53pm

26/29 (different topics) hear hear! 6 players per year out of 32 teams is nuts. Doubling the entry limit might make sense.

regarding teams and cities, Houston gives us the perfect example--it's Oilers/Titans as one entity, Colts/Colts as one entity, Rams/Rams and Cards/Cards. When it comes to Browns, they stand alone--everyone agreed to this (the old Browns records, names, traditions, colors, etc residing with the new Browns and Baltimore having "no history"), so nobody has a claim otherwise.

Ravens were not an expansion team per se, like a newborn, but more like Athena springing fully-armored from the head of Zeus. (I knew remembering that 30 years ago would come in handy some day). Ravens are not the Browns and wishing it were so does not make it so. In 20 years the cutoff will be more clear--right now we can still remember guys who played both in Cleveland and Balt.

by PaulH (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 7:23pm

Glancing at football reference and I notice Sid Luckman it’s still the Bears passing leader with 14686 yrds. That’s pretty amazing given the evolution of the passing game in the last 58 years.

Amazing? Yes.

Shocking? No.

I think it's just a sign that points to how terrible Bears' quarterbacks have been for decades on end now.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 7:42pm

re: 29

Silly me, appreciating the game for the human element. I'm not fanatical about players (although I'm considering naming my son "Haloti"), but its the players, coaches, scouts, and general managers who give each franchise its character IMO. If the Cowboys didn't have a charismatic team that made multiple championship runs, I doubt you would have been drawn to them in the first place (but I could be wrong).

"The history of “the Browns” lies in Cleveland alone, and not in any way to Baltimore."

I don't understand how the history of the Browns has nothing to do with Baltimore. You can't just pretend like the Browns franchise didn't move to Baltimore. Its part of their history whether you accept it or not.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 8:01pm

none of those guys ij Broncos secgiton deserve to go. lets see J Elway, G Zimmerman, Shannon Sharpe someday thats it. If Hall of Fame want to put in another K maybe Elam can go in.

by kaetab (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 9:16pm

I'd probably make one minor adjustment on the accomplishment scores...the 4 points awarded for a playoff berth between 1950-2002 might be better served by specifying a fewer amount of points, but for each playoff victory. Then teams like the 70's Steelers and 80's Browns get more credit for the multi-level playoff tournament victories then the teams in the single game playoff rounds of the earlier era.

Also, if John Elway is never born, the Kosar Browns add 2 SBs and send several to the HoF.


by TruFalcon (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 11:23pm

How did you go through that falcons paragraph without even mentioning Tommy Nobis?
He's only the best player in franchise history

by Qbert (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 11:29pm

Ken Riley, Bengals DB, is a snub

by steelersfan26554 (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 1:15am

I'd add Tommy Nobis as a possibility for the Falcons and Chuck Howley as a possibility for the Cowboys. Both would have to go in as 'Seniors'nominees.

Also, for the Dolphins, Bob Kuechenberg has been a finalist the last couple times. Next year will be his final shot as a 'modern era' candidate which may give him enough of a push to get through.

by azibuck (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 1:33am

jonnyblazin - I'm not interested in character or characters, I'm drawn to winning. And the first Cowboys game, first NFL game of any team actually, I remember is the 5-0 playoff win over the Lions. I remember two things about it: Dallas won by the odd score of 5-0, and Detroit's QB was the son of Dallas's coach.

I know, he wasn't, but I was six and just figured it had to be.

Nobody said or implied you're silly for appreciating the game for the human element. It's just that players, coaches, etc., come and go, "the team" remains.

You're right about one thing, the move to Baltimore is part of "the Browns'" history. But history will almost certainly judge it as a footnote, if it hasn't already.

The Colts have had Baltimore and Indy. Baltimore has had the Colts and Ravens. But only Cleveland has had the Browns and only the Browns have had Cleveland.

I know the Rams had Cleveland, but it's like saying only the Cowboys have had Dallas even though the Chiefs played there for a short while.

by The Beer Truck (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 3:59am

How long until Mack Strong is eligible?

by MC2 (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 4:04am

I agree with jonnyblazin. If the Ravens were an expansion team, why was there no expansion draft? Just because the NFL decrees something doesn't make it true, especially when it defies logic. Unless, of course, you believe that the Saints actually "hosted" the Giants in Jersey.

by Lance (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 4:24am

Re the Cowboys, remember that Larry Allen's rookie year was 1995, Dallas' last of their Super Bowl run. If you're going to consider possible Dallas OL HoFers, Allen is a sure bet, but he doesn't really represent that team as well as, say, RT Erik Williams (4 PB, 2 1st team AP) or C Mark Stepnowski (5 PB). Another Dallas player who should get consideration is SS Darren Woodson. He has 5 PB and 3 1st team AP, and was the cornerstone of a pretty good defense during the Cowboys' heyday.

by t.d. (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 6:43am

The late 60s/early 70s Cowboys are shamefully underrepresented, but I suspect the 90s Cowboys will end up being overrepresented.

by b roo (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 10:56am

Sit at that lunch table with pride Mike. Amazingly, Dallas has the highest accomplishment score despite not even being a franchise during the first 10 years of your analysis. Bullet Bob not being in the HOF is a tragedy. I'll second the suggestion for Woody. Jackie Smith should have been banned from the HOF for dropping that TD pass against the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

by Zac (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 11:05am

Arguing about how the Browns are listed is stupid. If you think the Browns and Ravens are the same, just pretend the Cleveland Browns section says "Baltimore Ravens" instead. Their accomplishment score is 214. Their ratio is 7.0.
The writers were obviously in a no-win situation when it comes to this. No matter what they did, there'd be some people who'd complain that they didn't do it differently.

by FullMoonOverTulsa (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 11:12am

41 - Larry Allen played in the 1994 NFC Championship in SF when the Niners won. He was a second year player in 1995.

He should get in ahead of Williams or Stepnoski as he was flat out better. Williams was dominant until his car wreck.

by Lance (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 11:42am

#42-- really, t.d.? I agree with your first part, but I'm not convinced the second is going to happen. The HoF locks for Dallas are Smith, Sanders, and Allen. I'd like to argue for other people, but I'm skeptical that they'll get in. How likely is it that Moose, Norton, Novacek, Williams, Woodson, etc. will get in? I think the only other likely possibility is Hayley, and his best years were really with SF before his back started bugging him (I think). Despite their value to that dynasty, I don't think many people perceive them in the same way that they look at players from earlier dynasties.

by Lance (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 12:33pm

#45, Tulsa-- thanks for the correction. And yes. Allen is an all-time great. Question is, since the Dallas OL before Allen was still amazing, does anyone get to go? And of so, who? Step and Williams are my votes, and if I had to choose between then, I don't know who I'd pick. Step was better longer, but Williams at his prime was certainly among the best in the game at the time.

by aelien manning (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 12:45pm

Alex Karras is not getting into the hall of fame because he was suspended with Paul Horning for gambling on NFL games. His offense was further compounded by the fact that he was quietly accused of colluding with mob in game fixing schemes.

by Just Another Falcon Fan (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 1:25pm

The other Falcon who should be considered is Mike Kenn; 17-year career at LT, starting all possible 251 games, 2x first-team All-Pro, 5x Pro Bowl appearances.

No arguments about Nobis, Van Note, or Humphrey either.

by FullMoonOverTulsa (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 1:47pm

Lance - I only see Allen as HoF material. Williams cut his dominance short, or he would be a lock. He was nasty to say the least. Stepnoski was very good, never great, and they didn't miss him much when they had to plug in the likes of Derek Kennard or Ray Donaldson (who was a good player).

Woodson is quite underrated. Even when he was an elite safety, he still contributed mightily on special teams.

It is before my time, but I gather that Lee Roy Jordan and Chuck Howley are the overlooked Cowboys for HoF purposes.

by Mike Tanier :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 2:16pm

Falcons: Tommy Nobis. very good choice. I mentioned Mike Kenn but deleted him. He is a really good player but if you aren't careful, when writing something like this, you mention 5,000 people.

Someone talked about players who "shouldn't" be in the Hall of Fame. There are a handful of guys who I think were borderline choices, but I would never advocate taking someone out of the Hall. There are no bad players in Canton. The worst players in there were at least very, very good, and truly great for a year or two. But if there's a player who was as good or better than 4 or 5 guys who made the Hall, as is the case with Gradishar, Jim Marshall, Tingelhoff and some others, I like to write about it.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 2:17pm

The Browns are the Browns and the Ravens are Ravens. The Browns cant be the Ravens and the Ravens camnt be the Browns.
Browns is 1950 to 1995 and 1999 to now.
Ravens is 1996 to now.

by Lou in Cincy (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 2:22pm

re:36 "Ken Riley, Bengals DB, is a snub"
Agreed. As is Ken Anderson.
Other Bengals from the Who-dey Era?
I nominate James Brooks as an overlooked player. Also Tim Krumrie.
I'd have less to say about it if the Bengals would go all out and build a team HoF as good as the new Reds Hof and Museum.
We just finished Putting Cesar Geronimo and Barry Larkin in there and the celebration was almost as good as going to Cooperstown for Tony Perez's day.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 4:05pm

I thought Geronimi played for Indians?

by whatnow (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 5:49pm

"I always liked Isaac Curtis, but the numbers aren’t there."

Unless you compare his numbers to Lynn Swann's:
Catches Yards Average TDs ProBowls
Swann 336 5462 16.3 51 3
Curtis 416 7101 17.1 53 4
We have to acknowledge that the Hall is not purely an individual award. Team success certainly helps a great deal too.

by MC2 (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 7:04pm

One other guy who could be mentioned for the Falcons is Andre Rison: 5 Pro Bowls, some good numbers (although they mostly came in a pass-happy system), and one of the greatest nicknames of all time.

Not that I think he deserves to get in. But I do think he deserves to be mentioned.

by Doug Farrar :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 7:21pm

Good call on Nobis.

Ken Riley's another good name. He's also indicative of the fact that you can't always go on Pro Bowl appearances when judging real eligibility. He amassed 65 career interceptions and didn't make First-Team All-Pro until his last season (1983). Only member of the top five in picks not inducted. He had a great run in the mid-1970s. Kind of a similar career to Dave Brown (primarily) of the Seahawks with Pro Bowl exclusions, the long career, and the bunches of productivity.

by bigmaq (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 9:26pm

Comparing WRs and QBs from different eras produces the most suspect conclusions. As long as the modern QBs and to a lesser extent are playing a different game than earlier times it is impossible to compare (and a different game from the rest of the position players as well). Take away the zebras protecting Brady and Manning and one has to wonder would they be as dominant in an earlier era. Both have shown a tendency to collapse under physical pressure. They say that Johnny U could not grip a pen to sign autographs after he retired. But, he was the ultimate of cool under "real" pressure. The same goes for WRs from earlier eras vs. today.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 9:43pm

What nickname? Roson go by differnt nickanmes.

He use
Spiderman, Bad Moon, and Brock Middlebrook.

What one you talk about in yoiu post?

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 9:45pm

gettin started ikwh the Sierra Nevada here/ going to other persons house soon

come back in 3 or 4 hrs and talk a litlte football with you people

going to be a fun night

jope the football talk is good tonight

maybe check out the Terry Hlenn thread a little later, dont think I resad it yet.

not really good choice for Raiders bwcasuse Raiders Wrs coprse already very good, but maybe still weakets spot of team. but overall ery good dfeinite playoff team 11-5 for sure with outside chance of 13-3

by MC2 (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 9:59pm

I was actually referring to "Bad Moon" Rison, which is probably my 2nd favorite football nickname ever, behind "Night Train" Lane.

How about you, Raiderjoe? What's your all-time favorite football nickname?

by steelersfan26554 (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 10:09pm

"Coming Tuesday: Part II, starting with the Minnesota Vikings"

Now that should be a pretty lengthy list of possibilities. Off the top of my head:

Jim Marshall
Mick Tinglehoff
Joey Browner
Chris Doleman
Cris Carter
Randall McDaniel
John Randle
Randall McDaniel
John Randle.

That's what, nine?

by steelersfan26554 (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 10:12pm


I guess it's nine if you count McDaniel and Randle twice, like I did. Otherwise, it's seven. That's still a pretty high number.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 07/26/2008 - 10:21pm

Raiders cornerbakc from 1970s teams Skip Thomas was know as Dr. Death. My favrite nickname

by Temo (not verified) :: Sun, 07/27/2008 - 11:01am

I would actually have to call into question the methodology in this whole article. Just because a team wins a lot, (while this may seem paradoxical) does not mean they should have a proportionate number of hall of famers. It is possible to be a really good team for a long time and not have proportionately as many *amazing* players that deserve to be in the HoF. I know that doesn't happen often, but still I find that causal link to be questionable.

by b roo (not verified) :: Sun, 07/27/2008 - 1:40pm

Jack "the Assassin" Tatum is my favorite nickname. Lombardi has been dissing the Raiders in his "Hotel California" blogposts over on his website Raiderjoe, you need to go gve him a few comments. Link in name.

by John (not verified) :: Sun, 07/27/2008 - 2:25pm

RaiderJoe, quit Bronco hating. Atwater, Gradishar, and Nalen deserve to be in the hall. Another Bronco that should be discussed is LB(and Chris Berman's co-host on NFL Primetime)Tom Jackson.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sun, 07/27/2008 - 4:25pm

most people dont even know who Gradihsar is and Atater slightly bteter than average, horrible when on Jets.
Other guy you mention Nalen is good, but is not gerat. not haall of famer anyway.
Tom jackson pretty good maybe should be considered but d

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Sun, 07/27/2008 - 4:49pm

"For the record, Harrison is a much better player than either Swann or Stallworth."

Mike, I'd like to see the documentation for this claim. I might not cavil at "a better player," but "a MUCH better player" seems like an overstatement. I'm sure there's some interesting statistical evidence (hey, maybe even from this site!), but purely impressionistically, I'm not ready to buy it. Just as a thought experiment, put Harrison on the field in the days of bump-and-run and when considerable contact was allowed. How does he do? (Don't we have some evidence on this from some game against a team that plays up around Attleboro or Walpole somewhere?) Now put Swann or Stallworth on the field today. I think they'd be elite receivers--and that's taking into consideration that they're 56 years old!! :)

by Yakuza Rich (not verified) :: Sun, 07/27/2008 - 11:09pm

Charles Haley should definitely be in. I'm torn on Pearson, but Bob Hayes should definitely be in there as well. If you look at his stats versus his peers from his era, they were excellent, he changed the game on defense (teams went to zone) and offense (teams used to take the fastest player and put him at tailback. Chuck Howley should be in there as well. For the 90's Cowboys, their O-Line was often overrated in my mind. Stepnoski was a 250 pound center who could only do so much. Newton was a bench player for years before he made Pro Bowls. Tuinea was a bench player as well, starting in the league as a DE before becoming a LT. Kevin Gogan was a stiff. Erik Williams had the real talent, but was a problem off the field and his career was cut short because of his stupidity. Larry Allen should defiitely get in, but his first year wasn't until '94. The reality is that the O-Line was far better in pass protection than run blocking and a big reason why Dallas routinely won when Aikman was out with injury and couldn't win when Emmitt was out.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sun, 07/27/2008 - 11:21pm


I do what you say to do. Click on my name and you can see what i wrote.

I hope I did thw link right

by Zappa (not verified) :: Sun, 07/27/2008 - 11:30pm

As a Bronco fan, I no longer consider the hall of fame(shame) to have any credibility whatsoever.

I force myself to care only about the Ring of Fame and its members. The Broncos have a long storied history and one of the most loyal fan bases in NFL history. The NFL has shamed itself in the way it has shunned the Broncos.

The one guy you left off the list is Floyd "The Franchise" Little. He was great.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 12:16am

floyd little not even better than Clarence Davis. Davis is best RB who is overlooked from 1970s. Charlie Smith and Mark van Eeghen also good. Davis great blocker who also get good yardge on ground when give chance to run with ball. very good player. if had as many carries as Little, Davis would have more yards

by t.d. (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 12:46am

When I said the 90s Cowboys would be overrepresented, I was really thinking of Aikman, who, while a fine quarterback, hardly rose to the level of greatness in my opinion. I think Williams and Novacek belong (although Novacek isnt getting in), as well as Haley from the defense. That'd give them about six Hall of Famers, which, to me, is somewhat overrepresenting quite how good they were. Darren Woodson will get a look, too, and if Nate Newton were able to rehabilitate his image somehow...

by nmsu (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 10:08am

In regard to Denver:

There was no mention of Floyd Little, who led the NFL in rushing twice and was #6 on the all-time rushing list when he retired.

I will forever consider Harry Carson's election before Gradishar getting a sniff as the ultimate validation of an east coast bias among the media.

Broncos who should get/be in the HOF (ranked in order of worthiness):

Rich Jackson

by I dont get it! (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 11:01am

Atwater ?

Atwater ?

huh? What, Romanowski should get in too?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 12:47pm

I'd say the Broncos and the Redskins are severely underepresented. Positionally, there aren't nearly enough linebackers. If I were to start naming individual players, well, the list of guys who should be in is very long.

My synopsis of Vikings who are possibles....

Tinglehoff: should be in. Is hurt by Super Bowl performances when he was past his prime. In his prime, Butkus said he was the center who played him toughest, and praise doesn't get more authoritative than that.

Marshall: Very, very, good player, but not quite dominant enough, and a HOF caliber guy shouldn't get TOO much credit for longevity and durability, even when those qualities are possessed in ridiculous amounts, as in the case of Marshall.

Browner: Not dominant enough for long enough, in my opinion.

Doleman: Never was committed to being a great player versus the run. No.

Randle: Same as Doleman.

McDaniel: Obviously yes. Yes, Pro Bowl and All Pro selections are flawed measures of performance, but when it gets to the point that there are 12 Pro Bowls and 9 All-Pro selections, even flawed measures of performance can demonstrate worthiness.

Cris Carter: Obviously yes. Any system of evaluation which leaves out a guy who was as dominant as Carter was in the red zone passing game is missing something. Ask defensive coordinators what it means to have a receiver who can just flat out beat dbs on a very short field, time after time.

by Kevin from Philly (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 2:13pm

Raider Joe, I read your posts in this thread. Are you, by any chance, Mister Miyagi from the Karate Kid movies?

by b roo (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 3:13pm

Re: 71
Some of those other Raider fans were tearing him a new one. He seems to have backed off on dissing them and on one post came close to an actual apology. I had never heard of the guy until I came across his blog. Overall, its a pretty good read.

by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 4:36pm

You mentioned all sorts of names that you couldn't include for the sake of brevity. But I still think Terry Metcalf, Elbert Shelley (special teams), Steve Tasker (special teams), Darrell Talley, Jimbo Covert, Jay Hilgenberg, Hershel Walker, Jim Jeffcoat, Herman Moore, Lomas Brown, LeRoy Butler, and Reggie Roby are worth a mention, even if I wouldn't induct any of them.

There are a handful of guys you missed who I think SHOULD be Canton-Bound: Fred Smerlas is the first to come to mind. And Ken Riley (even if he's already mentioned in the comments). Albert Lewis from the Chiefs.

And I'd love to hear some debate on guys like Roy Green, Ottis Anderson, and Chris Hinton.

And add Matt Blair (!) to the list of Vikings who should be discussed in part 2 (which I, too, am anxiously anticipating).

Can't wait to see all the "no" votes for my Iggles: Jaws (sadly, no), Montgomery (no), Carmichael (yes), Bergey (yes), Claude Humphrey (yes, but for what he did in ATL), Jerry Robinson (no), Randall (hell no), Seth Joyner (maybe), Clyde Simmons (yes), Eric Allen (yes), Wes Hopkins (Terrell Davis syndrome), Andre Waters (maybe), Keith Jackson (no), Brian Dawkins (yes).

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 9:17pm

I am not an asian guy.

by John (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 9:50pm

What do you mean "I don't get it" in talking about Atwater. He should be in. The man went to 8 Pro Bowls, was on the 90's All-Decade team, and had one of, if not the best, game for a safety all-time in a SB when Denver beat the Pack.

by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 11:30pm

"...and had one of, if not the best, game for a safety all-time in a SB when Denver beat the Pack."
And one of the worst when the Niners smoked 'em.
That was just brutal to watch.

by nmsu (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 11:56pm

Atwater also forced two fumbles in the '98 AFC Championship game. A game where Denver was down 10-0 to the Jets in the 3rd quarter, (Keyshawn and Vinny are proabably still sore.)

8 Pro Bowls in 11 Years
2 Super Bowl Rings
1990s All decade team
A standout player in championship games & SBs

Bottom line, if Atwater played for the Giants or Bears he would be easily be a HOFer. He's not being shafted to the degree of Gradishar or Little, but he is not getting his due.

by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:19pm

I heard an interesting theory about why the Broncos players get shafted (besides geopolitics), which is that so many of their greats played the middle of the field, where HOFers are few and far between. Safeties and linebackers have a hard time getting in, and Denver's most obviously over-looked guys are a safety and two linebackers.

But for Tombstone Jackson -- there's no excuse. Who hasn't heard of Tombstone Jackson?

To pervert an old, bad argument, it's called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Excellence.

by nmsu (not verified) :: Tue, 07/29/2008 - 9:31pm

I ran into an old Bronco recently and we discussed the HOF issue & the Broncos. He said that Woody Paige, who has been the nominating/media rep for the team has hurt them because he is such an idiot.

by John (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 4:56pm

70. I just had a thought about Pearson last night. If he would have scored that TD in the 81 NFC Championship(The play after The Catch where Eric Wright dragged him down), he would already be in the Hall. He only went to 3 or 4 Pro Bowls in his 11 years, but he has enough big TD's in playoff games to balance that out, and he was elected to the 70's All-Decade team. He deserves his gold jacket someday.

by Bill (not verified) :: Wed, 07/30/2008 - 10:18pm

What a great article...There are several players from the 70s & 80s deserving consideration including Nobis, Gradisher, Marshall, Tingelhoff and D Thomas. As for the Bears, I would recommend Jimbo Covert and Jay Hilgenberg...Payton didn't get all those yards without some blocking. One name not mentioned is Cliff Harris. Like Howley or LeeRoy Jordan, the Dallas defense players like Harris are forgotten. He was on the all 80s team and a terrific player.

by BigCheese (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 1:40am

Here's what I want someone to explain to me: Why is everyone talking about Strahan as not only a sure-fire-HOFer, but a first-ballot HOFer, yet Richard Dent can't get in?

Tell me one thing that puts Strahan above Dent. They both won a Superbowl, but Den't numbers are better than Strahan's in almost any category, not to mention Dent was named teh MVP in one of the most dominant Superbowl team performances ever.

by steelersfan26554 (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 11:20am

RE #89 Strahan was better against the run than Dent.

by broncofan27 (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 4:04pm

This is an interesting debate. I would like to see offensive linemen given points when an Elway or Barry Sanders is elected to the HOF. None of the skill position players would have a chance without quality line play.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 5:35pm

#89: Strahan's numbers as far as "1st team all pro" and pro bowls are notably better than Dent's -- for Strahan (4/7), for Dent (1/4). I'd also wager that Strahan will be named to the 00's All-Decade Team when it's chosen. Dent did not make any such teams.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 5:59pm

#75: Re Broncos: I can most easily get behind Gradishar, Atwater, and Sharpe. Sharpe is pretty much a lock to get in, but note well that no TE has ever been a first-ballot electee, so expect a year or two's delay here. I suspect Gradishar and Atwater will have rough sledding ahead of them. Little's also not an unreasonable choice, though RB and QB are probably the two most heavily represented positions in the HoF, and that won't help him any.

Davis's problem is a very short career that is similar to that of Gale Sayers but with one fewer great season and no KR boost. And it's tough enough for short-career guys to get in the HoF as it is. Given how long Dermontti Dawson has had to wait with by far the gaudiest postseason numbers for a center in the 90s and beyond, that bodes poorly for Nalen, who will look comparable with Matt Birk and Olin Kreutz; I'm hard pressed to see the difference between Nalen, Birk, and Kreutz on this score.

Tombstone Jackson, excellent as he was, has the same short-career problem that will also likely keep out linemen on both sides of the ball such as Tom Sestak, Tony Boselli, and Dick Stanfel. Only Dwight Stephenson has broken through the short-career glass ceiling for linemen so far.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 6:06pm

#80: Problem with Fred Smerlas is that his postseason honors numbers look very similar to those of two Jets contemporaries, Joe Klecko and Mark Gastineau. I suspect they'll all logjam up and go nowhere.

Ken Riley is hurt on a couple of fronts. He has only one 1st team all pro selection and no pro bowls in a very long career. And the large number of INTs actually could hurt him, as one could well wonder if QBs were throwing to his side of the field to avoid Bengals CB teammate Lemar Parrish, who has about half the number of INTs as well as 3 first-team-all-pro selections and 8 pro bowls -- plus Parrish has big KR numbers, which Riley does not have.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Thu, 07/31/2008 - 6:25pm

Re Tommy Nobis. He's on the all 60's team, but his first team all pro/pro bowl numbers are 1/5. And there are a lot of potentially deserving LBs in Seniors limbo besides Nobis, including (with postseason numbers) Isiah Robertson 3/6, Chris Hanburger 3/9, Maxie Baughan 3/9, Les Richter 1/8, Chuck Howley 5/6, Joe Fortunato 3/5, Randy Gradishar 3/7, Bill Forester 4/4, Andy Russell 1/7, Lee Roy Jordan 1/5, Bill Bergey 2/5, and Dave Robinson 3/4. And Robert Brazile at 5/7 is likely to join them after this year. Brazile, Robinson, and Fortunato are also on all decade teams. How to prioritize here? Tough call, I'd say.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Fri, 08/01/2008 - 12:19pm

"Do you think that any of the Super Bowl/Alex Gibbs-era linemen besides Gary Zimmerman make the cut?"

Of course they do. That's the basis of their entire blocking scheme!

by nmsu (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 1:04am

Davis' chances would almost have been better had he never played again after he blew out his knee against the Jets. I think Davis' post season dominance more than neutralizes Sayers special teams play.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 6:31pm

Re: #97 -- Even if he had retired after blowing out his knee in the Jets game, Terrell Davis would still be seen as a very short career player with regard to the HoF. And simply put, short career players have had problems getting into the HoF. Earl Campbell and Gale Sayers have been the only such folks to breeze in thus far.

Simply put, Davis and Sayers have similar career profiles. Both played seven years. Sayers has five great years and two useless ones. Davis has four great years, one OK year, and two useless ones. Sayers was an elite level kick returner. Davis did not return kicks. Looking at this, Sayers has a decided advantage over Davis no matter how you look at it.

Saying that Davis's postseason excellence should mean more than Sayers's KR excellence ignores for starters the fact that Sayers never got a chance to play in the postseason. We don't know what he might have done given the opportunity, and it's not clear why Sayers should be penalized for that. A few borderline HoF-ers have gotten candidacy boosts from postseason excellence (Swann, Hornung, Bradshaw, Aikman) but it's rare. Davis might get that boost too. We'll see.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 7:08pm

The original rambling above omits several eminently worthy players:

Baltimore/Indy: Bob Boyd

Chicago: Joe Fortunato

Dallas: Chuck Howley, Cliff Harris

Denver: Floyd Little

Detroit: Dick Stanfel

Green Bay: Billy Howton, Bobby Dillon, Dave Robinson

Kansas City: Johnny Robinson, Ed Budde, Jim Tyrer, Otis Taylor, Nick Lowery

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Tue, 08/05/2008 - 8:12pm

And also add Leroy Butler (Green Bay) to the list above.

by bachslunch (not verified) :: Fri, 08/08/2008 - 7:10pm

Re #14 and 20: the list of players in the PFHoF I've seen mentioned as weak selections or mistakes is actually very small -- Wayne Millner, Joe Namath, Paul Hornung, Lynn Swann, Fred Dean, and maybe Emmitt Thomas constitute the list, unless you count "Hall of the Very Good" QBs who got a leg up for a lot of SB wins such as Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw. That's a pretty small percentage of all the players in. Agreed with poster #20 as to why there are so few weak PFHoF members.