Is Tyreek Hill a Hall of Famer?

Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill
Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - Welcome to another series of Football Outsiders Pro Football Hall of Fame debates! We kick off with a discussion of Kansas City Chiefs-turned-Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Come back each Monday for Mike Tanier's musings on other current players and past legends!

Pro Football Hall of Fame voters do not take off-field misconduct into account when selecting new inductees.

Them's the bylaws. If a voter tried to pound the table to keep a player out due to an arrest or allegation, that voter would risk being removed from the committee. Many fans don't even trust the selection committee to choose the right players based on tackles and touchdowns anyway. Nobody wants them to moonlight as moral arbiters. That's a baseball problem, and baseball can keep it.

Oh, and since Terrell Owens and Antonio Brown will both come up later in this feature: "off-field misconduct" is not some pedantic/semantic barricade preventing the voters from discussing things like public feuds with players/coaches or going AWOL on your team in the heat of the playoff race. "Off-field" means "non NFL-related." A wide receiver can't punch his quarterback in the face in the tunnel before the Super Bowl, call the opposing coach from the parking lot and detail the whole game plan, then say, "Neener-neener, none of that matters, I am still a Hall of Famer."

Hill was convicted of domestic assault prior to entering the NFL and was investigated for child abuse in 2019. All of these things matter in the real world, including the sad complexity of the abuse investigation (such investigations are often sad, complex, and inconclusive). But none of those things matter in Hill's Hall of Fame debate. That's worth clearing up before we start in an effort to (hopefully) tidy up the comment thread a bit.

Tyreek Hill, Three-Time All-Pro

Bill James liked to use the "black ink test" when discussing baseball Hall of Famers: the old Macmillan Encyclopedias (and now Baseball Reference, and Pro Football Reference for that matter) bold-faces the statistics of league leaders, so a player page full of "black ink" can form the backbone of a player's argument. Pro Football Hall of Fame debates are less stat-driven, so I like to use the "stars and crosses" test to refer to what many fans do when kicking off their arguments: Tyreek Hill is already a three-time All-Pro (plus-signs or "crosses" on Pro Football Reference) and a six-time Pro Bowler (asterisks or "stars"). Therefore, he's already a Hall of Famer before he even plays a down for the Dolphins, right?

Three-time All-Pros have a high probability of reaching the Hall of Fame. But one of Hill's All-Pro selections and Pro Bowl berths came as a rookie return man in 2016. The committee is unlikely to be fooled or swayed by what's something of a technicality. And keep in mind that the future voter who dings Hill for not being an All-Pro receiver in 2016 isn't doing so because he's a hater, but because (let's say) Trent Williams and Cameron Heyward are on the same ballot and they are stanning hard for their local guy or a player with no stats to fall back upon.

But a two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler who was also one of the NFL's most incandescent stars and big-play machines is a guaranteed Hall of Famer, right? Nope. I just described Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson.

To reset the bar for this discussion: when three-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler Calvin Johnson was on the ballot two years ago, I interviewed several voters before the committee meeting. Most said something like: He'll probably make my final five, but I need to hear the argument. I'm not convinced he deserves to be waved to the front of the line. Megatron was indeed a first-ballot suggestion, but you cannot fault voters for wanting to do due diligence before telling Tony Boselli and Sam Mills' families they would have to wait another year.

Another bar-setter: Steve Smith began his career as an All-Pro return specialist, became an All-Pro receiver (once, with four Pro Bowls), had an amazing 2003 run to what was almost a Super Bowl upset, shared a Comeback Player of the Year award in 2005, became one of the most celebrated tough-guy receivers in history, and is now a popular media personality. Smith could not crack the finalist list in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility.

Hill has certainly accomplished enough to become a semifinalist, even if he retires tomorrow. Assuming an ordinary late career with the Dolphins—more highlights, maybe another Pro Bowl or two, but a slow decline for a variety of obvious reasons—he'll hit the ballot at the same time as contemporaries such as DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, and Mike Evans. Like Steve Smith, Hill could get crowded out in his first year or two on the ballot.

It's worth noting here that Hill ranks just 29th among active players in receiving yards. Hopkins, who is already over 10,000 yards, ranks fifth, Evans eighth, and Adams 15th. All three receivers will move up the list in the seasons to come, but so will Stefon Diggs, Cooper Kupp, and others. Hill has not played as long as the others but usually doesn't catch as many passes either, so he's likely to fall further behind them before catching up. "Black Ink" won't help Hill if he's battling a bunch of contemporaries. He will need something more.

Tyreek Hill's Explosive Plays

Pro Football Hall of Fame voters adore big-play receivers and tend to poo-poo possession guys. That's an oversimplification, and the committee has changed since the days when Art Monk could barely buy a ticket to get in as a customer, but voters take their cues from the coaches and defenders that they interview about wide receiver candidates. Coaches invariably groan about how dangerous the deep threats were; cornerbacks are more likely to begrudgingly admit that guys was just too darn fast than admit they were beaten for eight short receptions per game by a savvy technician.

Tyreek Hill is often called the most explosive player in the NFL. But does that make him the most dangerous big-play threat? One quick-and-dirty way to measure big plays is to, well, count big plays. Hill has 33 receptions of 40-plus yards in his career so far. Hill has also had two 40-plus-yard rushes and many long returns, but we're going to stick with receptions for ease of research's sake. That's a lot of big plays. Let's see how it compares to other active receivers:

Most 40-Plus-Yard Receptions, Active WRs
Receiver Recs
DeSean Jackson 73
A.J. Green 44
T.Y. Hilton 42
Antonio Brown 41
Julio Jones 38
Tyreek Hill 33
Brandin Cooks 32
Larry Fitzgerald 30
Stefon Diggs 26
DeAndre Hopkins 26
Tyler Lockett 26

Let's put a pin in DeSean for a moment. Davante Adams has 23 career catches of 40-plus yards, Mike Evans 20. So we have a neat statistical separator for Hill: outstanding contemporaries who have played more seasons than him have produced far fewer big plays. Hill should have little problem passing Julio, AB, Hilton, and Green (all of whom are nearly finished producing big plays) before he retires.

Let's look at Hill in comparison to some Hall of Famers and near-HoFers. The Pro Football Reference/Stathead play finder only dates back to 1994, so we cannot use it to discover how many 40-plus-yard plays Lynn Swann or Flipper Anderson produced, but we can still get an interesting cross-section of recent greats:

40-Plus-Yard Receptions, Select WRs, 1994-2021
Receiver Recs
Randy Moss 85
Terrell Owens 66
Steve Smith 56
Joey Galloway 53
Marvin Harrison 43
Calvin Johnson 43
Isaac Bruce 42
Andre Johnson 42
Chad Johnson 42
Torry Holt 39
Reggie Wayne 35
Brandon Marshall 32
Anquan Boldin 29
Dez Bryant 28
Hines Ward 24
Julian Edelman 13

That list should add some fuel to Steve Smith's candidacy: he produced far more huge plays than many recent Hall of Famers, as well as perma-finalists Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne. Hines Ward has been stuck in semifinalist purgatory for years, and that list explains why: Ward is remembered more as a tough-guy leader than a big-play machine, but it would help if his portfolio included a few more big plays. Julian Edelman was included because I'm a compulsive troll.

As for Hill, he will likely finish his career with at least 50 receptions of 40-plus yards, plus a bunch of rushes and returns, That won't guarantee anything, but it will bolster his argument as the unique big-play threat of the current era.

Now, please forgive a brief digression.

Is DeSean Jackson a Hall of Famer?

Um, no????

Jackson has produced more 40-plus-yard receptions than Terrell Owens and several other Hall of Famers. He's almost certainly in the all-time top 10 in this category, with deep threats such as James Lofton and Henry Ellard possibly between him and Moss. Lance Allworth might be in there too, but go back much farther in pro football history and nobody is producing 70 career 40-plus receptions because receivers like Paul Warfield or Bullet Bob Hayes just didn't catch that many passes.

Jackson is now over 10,000 career yards, has some signature moments as a return man, and possesses many other secondary characteristics of a Hall of Famer. He lacks anything close to an MVP-caliber season or any contributions to truly great teams. Jackson's career would look different if he had arrived in Philly a few seasons earlier, stayed in Tampa Bay a few years later, was healthy a little more often, etc. As it stands, Jackson belongs in the same category as Joey Galloway or Flipper Anderson, with Henry Ellard and Stanley Morgan a rung above them. Jackson will make a fine Eagles Ring of Honor member.

Is A.J. Green a Hall of Famer?

Green is a seven-time Pro Bowler whose 40-plus-yard reception totals are illuminating. He could still enjoy a significant late-career bump. Otherwise, he'll join a long list of Bengals wide receivers who had strings of excellent seasons for pretty good teams who never stood out enough to become serious Hall of Fame candidates.

Now Back to Tyreek Hill

If there were any sort of official Pro Football Hall of Fame checklist, Hill would already have checked many of the boxes:

  • All-Pro Selections: Two-and-a-half.
  • Significant Contributions to a Super Bowl Team: Yep.
  • Lots of Playoff Highlights: Yep. And no, playoff lowlights aren't likely to be remembered.
  • Signature Moments: Hill has a highlight reel for the ages.
  • 'Best at his position' cred: DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, or someone else might be considered the best wide receiver in the NFL in any given season, but as mentioned earlier, Hill is usually placed in his own category as the most "dangerous" player in the league.

Among the unchecked boxes: league leadership in major categories and bulk stats. Hill doesn't necessarily need much of either of these, but some more 1,000-yard seasons will help him keep pace with his peers.

Hall of Fame portfolios aren't created by checking boxes, but by building a narrative. In that respect, the next stage of Hill's career will be crucial. Right now, Hill's story is intertwined with that of Patrick Mahomes and the rise of the 2018-2021 Chiefs, a team likely to be remembered in the same sense as the Greatest Show on Turf Rams. Will Hill become part of Tua Tagovailoa's story as well? Will the Dolphins become a perennial playoff team known for holding their own in shootouts with the Bills and Bengals? Or are we about to see a lot of off-target bombs, awkward efforts to force-feed Hill short passes, nagging injuries, and headlines about a quarterback and a superstar receiver struggling to "get on the same page?"

In the former case, Hill likely moves toward "first ballot" territory. In the latter, he's more like Bruce or Holt, likely to get shunted onto the semifinalist/finalist treadmill for many years, or stuck in a Steve Smith logjam.

That's what is so tricky about writing about the Pro Football Hall of Fame: you can start with one of the game's biggest gee-whiz, imagination-capturing performers, someone who most folks would classify as a shoo-in, and just by tugging at their case a little, you end up coming away with a "definitely maybe."

Frequently Answered Pro Football Hall of Fame Questions

As we kickoff our Hall of Fame arguments series (which is set to run on Mondays throughout June, subject to change if there is breaking news or I get bored), let's run through some common topics and themes that we covered in last year's series and throughout my long career of writing about NFL history and the PFHoF.

Every fan has a head-canon Pro Football Hall of Fame

Most fans with an opinion on the subject will assert that they want a "small hall," so that induction is "truly an honor," then go on to list about 25 hobby-horse players they think should be in: hometown heroes, famous players from their childhoods, linebackers with tough-guy reputations, Matt Ryan.

The comment thread is a welcome environment for discussing whether you are certain there are too few or too many quarterbacks, whether stats play too large or small a part in induction, whether short-career or long-career players get snubbed too often, and so forth. In the features themselves, I try to focus on the actual procedures and tendencies of the PFHoF and its selection committee.

The bar for the Pro Football Hall of Fame is higher than most fans think

Here's a partial list of some of the nominees who did NOT make the semifinalist cut for the 2022 class: Randall Cunningham, Boomer Esiason, Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb, Tiki Barber, Chad Johnson, Jimmy Smith, Wes Welker, Dallas Clark, Brent Jones, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Olin Kreutz, Nick Mangold, Justin Tuck, Kevin Williams, Tedy Bruschi, Charles Tillman, Willie McGinest, and London Fletcher.

Most of those players—all of them unbelievably famous and accomplished in their eras, some with eye-popping statistics—will never even reach the finalist stage, let alone the actual PFHoF. Think of what that means when talking about contemporary quarterbacks.

Most folks have no idea how the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process works

Fans conflate the PFHoF with baseball's catastrophe, where hundreds of BBWAA cast ballots and then make a cottage industry out of arch, beard-stroking columns on the subject of why they skipped all the best players of a generation. Many of my colleagues, by contrast, have a bad habit of adopting a populist none of them dumb voters know nuttin' approach to the process, which is convenient for riling up the fanbase when Hometown Linebacker gets "snubbed" again.

Many people with strong opinions on the PFHoF don't even know, for example, that voters must pare the 15 finalists down to 10 with an initial vote (after presentations and deliberation) before paring that 10 down to the final five. I might ask a voter "Didja vote for Hometown Linebacker?" only to be told "I couldn't, because he did not make the final 10" or "I planned to, but then the case for Surprise Candidate Defensive Tackle was overwhelming."

The makeup of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, particularly its exclusivity, is defined by the voting process. That process changes slightly every year, and there are some exciting new changes for 2023 that we'll talk about in a later feature. For now, it's important to remember that voters aren't just punching a bunch of holes in a ballot and mailing it from their local brewpub.

Statistics matter in Pro Football Hall of Fame arguments, but not the way you think

Most of the committee isn't anti-stat, though that may have been true 20 or 30 years ago. Many are rather stat-savvy, but most are "stat-skeptical" in a healthy way. The voters know passing rates have gone up across eras. They know "compiler" years when they see them. Most aren't ready to fully embrace new metrics like cornerback charting stats, which is appropriate, because those of us who work with such stats regularly aren't sure how to interpret them just yet.

I have been asked to provide a little analytics for a few Hall of Fame cases over the years, and what the voters have typically asked for is something which illustrates "impact." Someone building a case for a player might ask, for example, for evidence that a 90-catch or 10-sack season had more impact than the stats show: big plays, hurries, first-down receptions, a historically difficult strength of schedule, whatever. The Tyreek Hill 40-plus-yard reception numbers I provided above are an example of the sort of thing a voter might ask for when assembling a player's presentation. Such analysis has never formed the backbone of a PFHoF case, however.

Former players/coaches/execs have ENORMOUS sway on Hall of Fame votes

Committee members interview old players and coaches privately, poll them, chit-chat with them on the 18th hole. Old players sometimes cape hard for teammates or (more influentially) top rivals. Bryant Young's rapid rise to induction was fueled almost entirely by unprecedented support from his peers.

Most fans would probably prefer a PFHoF determined by those who played and coached. Or at least they might think that's what they prefer. One issue with the current level of old-coach influence, IMO, is that a few guys named William have too much power to make or break candidacies. And if you think that replacing reporters with old players would remove egos and politics, then you have never spoken candidly with an old player.

One quick thought here that should be obvious. "Gold Jacket Joe" makes the talk radio rounds and says things like, "Yeah, of course I think these 10 local heroes from your media market should be Hall of Famers!" He then sits in an Indianapolis bar during the combine and rips all 10 players to every sportswriter who says hello to him. The voters quietly defer to other candidates. Then the local fans scream "how dare they snub our heroes when Gold Jacket Joe says they are all Hall of Famers!" This happens frequently. No one is gonna go on Cincinnati radio and say Ken Anderson isn't a Hall of Famer, folks. That same old-timer was talking up Tony Boselli on a Florida station last week.

Voters do their best to solicit private opinions and synthesize them. Not to be self-serving, but it's a job best suited for someone with research chops, sources, a wide perspective, and a functional BS detector. A veteran journalist, in other words.

There is no New York bias

The following players are not Hall of Famers: Tiki Barber, Joe Klecko, Mark Gastineau, Phil Simms, Charlie Conerly, Jessie Armstead, and Mo Lewis. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, and Justin Tuck did not even reach the semifinalist stage in 2022. It took Kevin Mawae three years as a finalist and two as a semifinalist to get in as an eight-time Pro Bowler for three different teams. Eli Manning might be inducted into the PFHoF, but not because of any New York bias.

Frankly, the moment someone says "New York bias" when discussing the Pro Football Hall of Fame, they reveal that they are so uninformed that it nullifies everything else they may be trying to say.

The whole 'Terrell Owens' thing

I wrote thoroughly on this topic a few years ago, with lots of quotes from the voters. Please at least skim it I you are planning an extensive comment-thread debate on T.O.

The whole 'Matt Ryan' thing

I wrote about Ryan last year. Nothing has changed. Obviously, if he leads the Colts to a Super Bowl his situation will change. But of course he won't, because he's on the decline and the Colts are not very good.

The whole 'Eli Manning' thing

Here. It contains many of the talking points I have just discussed.

'Hall of Famer' is becoming a dreary engagement buzzword

Folks love Hall of Fame debates, which is why these articles are written. But there aren't many real debates or discussions these days. There is, however, plenty of trolling. Name-dropping "Hall of Famer Matt Ryan" or "Hall of Famer Matt Stafford" is a great way to engage Falcons/Colts fans or Lions/Rams fans and enrage their rivals in a headline or tweet; the fact that both statements are barely one notch above ludicrous doesn't matter. Similarly, @FantasySportsBookWhatever can tweet something like "If Aaron Donald retired today, is he a HoFer?" knowing that they will get hundreds of retweets (free advertising) by informed folks saying "Yes, WTF is wrong with you?" and randos saying, "Overrated."

I'm not above ginning up fanbases for fun 'n' profit—love ya, Titans fans—but I find the laziness of such takes frustrating. One of the joys of studying PFHoF votes and candidacies in more details is learning why Bryant Young gets shunted ahead of Zach Thomas, understanding why Reggie Wayne and Torry Holt get stuck in neutral for years, truly sizing Steve Smith against Andre Johnson and watching voters wrestle with Devin Hester's candidacy. If some fan wants to talk about "future no-questions-asked first-ballot Hall of Famer Keenan Allen," that's great, go be a fan. When a colleague shrugs and figures that sort of thing will draw attention, I would suggest they respect the subject matter and their audience just a bit more.

Tune in next Monday when I set my fandom aside to talk about some recent Philadelphia Eagles Pro Football Hall of Fame candidates. Also: tune in Thursday for a Walkthrough about something happening in the NFL currently.


142 comments, Last at 13 Jun 2022, 3:42pm

1 I need more

I need to see how much Hill has profited from being Mahomes' go-to guy.  Hill has relied a great deal on his speed.  Certainly that's a valid approach to the game, but he's nowhere near the level of Larry Fitzgerald or Julio Jones as a route-runner/hands guy.  As long as Reggie Wayne is waiting on the outside, I don't see an argument for Hill as a sure-thing Hall of Famer.  

And Miami probably won't help him all that much.  There's no chance their QB play will be anywhere near the level of Mahomes.

16 Well, they probably want…

In reply to by RickD

Well, they probably want more than one HOF from those Chiefs teams.  You got Mahomes and Reid and well, Hill is the next guy who made those teams fun to watch. 

Unless he really collapses without Mahomes or has his career is really shortened by injury, he's a guy who will have a a ring, good highlights and elite enough stats.  First ballot might be tough unless the Phins do really well, but assuming a typical career arc from now on, I'd be ok with the sure thing. Something like 80% sure thing, 10% first ballot, 10% just miss. 

25 Well, they probably want…

Well, they probably want more than one HOF from those Chiefs teams.  You got Mahomes and Reid and well, Hill is the next guy who made those teams fun to watch. 

Kelce is probably in. 6 APs, All-Decade team. Everyone ahead of him at TE is either already in or going to be.

Chris Jones and Tyrann Mathieu have distant cases.

32 It was strange of you to…

It was strange of you to forget Kelce. He is a no doubter. One of the most consistent and prolific receiving TEs ever even if he retired today, and his playoff resume is only matched by Gronk (and only really beaten by a small handful of WRs). 

35 Wasn't really forgetting…

Wasn't really forgetting Kelce.(got long and removed that section, doh!)  Hill was more of a highlight reel guy, but you might be able to argue Kelce was more valuable. (great receiving TE are much less common). Might have a better first ballot argument also.

Really, all the Big 3 of those KC teams should get in without issues. 

46 Kelce

I'd say Kelce is nearly a lock at this point.  Much stronger case than Hill, though some of that is because he's closer to the end of his career.  

18 He was all pro before Mahomes.

In reply to by RickD

And had 1k with captain checkdown Alex Smith.

Not that one has to prove themselves outside of a QB to get in. Irvin didn't become a pro bowler until Aikman was in town.

26   I need to see how much…

In reply to by RickD


I need to see how much Hill has profited from being Mahomes' go-to guy. 

Skip Mahomes, I want to see how much Hill has profited from being on Andy Reid's team. Hill's like, Andy Reid's dream WR. Shuffle plays and formations around so you free up players at the linebacker level for easy, quick completions, and let their quickness tack on miles after the catch. Oh, and just when you think you recognized a play and try to close off the linebacker level, no, the player just blows right by you.

Just not sure McDaniel's going to be able to use him to abuse other teams like Reid did, regardless of the QB.

38 McDaniel'sTotally off…


Totally off-topic: I just realized how amusing it will be when the Dolphins play the Raiders. Sadly, they don't have a regular-season game in 2022, but they do have a preseason game in Miami on August 20. That's going in my calendar.

108 Homer here, but

In reply to by RickD

Hill in 2017 did put up 1200 receiving yards with Alex Smith in 15 games, 13 starts.  This is comical. Look at the Distances on his TDs in 2017. 30 yds, 40, 56, 64, 64, 75, 79, 82. A median TD of 64 yds, avg of 61.3.


2 RE: "Pro Football Hall of…

RE: "Pro Football Hall of Fame voters do not take off-field misconduct into account when selecting new inductees."

Bull shirt. Bob Hayes.

21 terrific example. By…

terrific example. By accolades, he is an easy hall of famer. By humanity, he is, shall we say, less deserving. I think the NFL knew inducting him would be a pr disaster and probably create a vociferous firestorm by just about everyone. And I get it. 

15 I'm not uncomfortable with…

I'm not uncomfortable with Hayes being a borderline Hall member. 

He has a lot of similarities to Cunningham and Bo Jackson, who were physical marvels whose popular legacy is outsized compared to their career production. (Cunningham and Jackson also benefit enormously from being completely broken players in Tecmo Bowl)

Hayes's comp guys are basically a collection of guys who are lower-tier Hall guys, or elite members of the Hall of Very Good.

11Isaac Bruce*, Joe HornAntonio BrownHerman MooreRoddy WhiteMark ClaytonAndre Reed*, John GilliamCalvin Johnson*, Cliff Branch*

CareerAntonio BrownMark ClaytonJoe HornJohn GilliamHerman MooreRoddy WhiteCalvin Johnson*, Chad JohnsonSterling SharpeA.J. Green

A few of those out guys might get in eventually. A few more never will. I think Hayes's legacy (and his 100-m record) put him over, but he's a threshold guy on merit.

52 So, so agreed

Not that Hayes doesn't belong per se, but the idea that his off-field stuff kept him out, just doesn't hold water. Not one drop.

HIs off-field stuff, as in the 'world's fastest human' thing, may be what got Bob Hayes into the Hall.

3 will never even reach the…

will never even reach the finalist stage, let alone the actual PFHoF.

OK, so this I just don't get. Pretty much everything else I agree with, but the Hall of Fame is not like a measuring bar or race or something. It's not like that Strong Man hammer swing thing where you hit it and if it hits the bell, you're Hall of Fame, but they mark "finalist" and "semifinalist" below it or something.

Becoming a finalist and not getting in is extremely rare, with the exception of guys who get propped up a few years before their clock runs out.

The semifinalist level is a more common "peak" for guys to top out at. Once a guy hits the finalist level, either he was only a few years away from dropping off the ballot, he's getting in eventually, or he's Bob Kuechenberg.

Most of the committee isn't anti-stat,

This is the other one that made me chuckle. I mean, if there's a bias for or against statistics in the Hall of Fame, it absolutely ain't against it.

4 Some guys named William

Assuming these are Polian, Parcells, and Belichick, but it did strike me as something worth asking...

To what extent is the opinion of a few coaches/players held in greater sway, I don't think anyone would begrudge voters listening to them, but is there such a conclave and who are good barometers for us to gauge actual HoF likelihood?

6 Homer Time

I'll go first. Richmond Webb feels like a HoFer. Two 1st Team and 2 2nd Team All-Pro, 7 straight Pro Bowls and on the 1990s All-decade (Second) Team. The other three tackles (Zimmerman, Roaf & Boselli) are in. What am I missing? It can't all be "Dan Marino's lightening Release" can it?

27 He was a great tackle that…

In reply to by James-London

He was a great tackle that had to go up against Bruce Smith twice a year and still made the Pro Bowl. That's gotta say something.

7  investigated for child…

 investigated for child abuse in 2019

Investigated is a uselessly low bar.

Given the advent of digitized data collection and machine analysis, in a very real sense all of us are continuously investigated for any number of things.

\Granted, most are us are also being kept out of the Hall by voters...
\\Probably more correlation than causation

10 pled guilty

He did actually plead guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation.  The charges were later expunged, but that's a legal matter.  Voters are free to consider the entire history.  

And that was just the first incident.  In the second incident, somebody broke that kid's arm.  Feel free to believe the bizarre text messages if you wish.  I don't. They seem to me like "Hey, let's use text messages to plant 'evidence' exonerating the guy getting the paychecks."  

Regardless, this is the NFL Hall of Fame.  They're not supposed to consider off-field issues.  As always, we can consider Ray Lewis.


109 re: 2019 investigation

In reply to by RickD

After following the 2019 investigation closely here in KC, I am about 90% sure he did nothing wrong based on the facts in that case. You are free to peruse that rabbit-hole if you wish. We were privy to a lot of private messages and audio that the national media didn't focus on and it generally exonerated him.  As a result of local media reporting the Chiefs cut ties with a beat writer and the local CBS affiliate. This was a few months after Clark Hunt cut Kareem Hunt.  They team clearly thought he was innocent.

112 really?

You believe the text messages in which the gf took the blame on herself and said "I know I did it, not you" or something to that effect?

Sorry, that feels transparently false to me.  

The Chiefs kept Hill because there was no solid case against him, not because they thought he was innocent.

As for Hunt, he was quickly exposed as a fungible RB.  

114 Hunt can't stay healthy, but…

In reply to by RickD

Hunt can't stay healthy, but his numbers have always been pretty good.

\I'm not sure a Pats fan is in any position to criticize regarding believing your desire over the evidence.

132 The text messages

In reply to by RickD

The text messages were in an official document from the lawyers to the NFL investigator. Do you not think the NFL verified those messages? Do you understand what the consequences are for a lawyer to fabricate text messages even to a 3rd party?

11 but voters take their cues…

but voters take their cues from the coaches and defenders that they interview about wide receiver candidates. Coaches invariably groan about how dangerous the deep threats were; cornerbacks are more likely to begrudgingly admit that guys was just too darn fast than admit they were beaten for eight short receptions per game by a savvy technician.

A definite trend for peer-reviews among football players (and to a lesser extent hockey and basketball players) is that they were terrified of a guy who could embarrass them. Guys generally respect physical traits or being able to a boss a guy 1:1, but can accept being beaten repeatedly by timing and precision.

A DE could live with Tom Brady or Payton Manning throwing hot on them a million times, but lived in mortal fear of Mike Vick deking them out of their shorts or just running away from them. 

A DB was terrified of being Moss'd, but could live with Welker generating as many TDs and receptions by running a million slant routes.

No one wanted to be trucked by an Earl Campbell or run away from by a Bo Jackson or have his ankle sprained while catching only air by a Barry Sanders, but could ignore Curtis Martin running for 4.5 yards a million times in a row.

Guys respected physical specimens, but tended to ignore guys who looked like Jane but could play like Tarzan.

Not to be self-serving, but it's a job best suited for someone with research chops, sources, a wide perspective, and a functional BS detector. A veteran journalist, in other words.

Those went extinct in the mid-1990s.

13 Reminds me of Bill Walsh's offensive philosophy

Reminds me of Bill Walsh's offensive philosophy...


~"Guys hate it if someone is running on them for 5 yards a carry, but don't carry if you're completing every pass for 7 yards. I don't care how we're getting the yards as long as we're moving the chains."

19 This is pretty good summary…

This is pretty good summary of a bias that probably exists everywhere but is rarely publicly stated out loud. A good example is with Luka Doncic. Apart from the fact that he's white, his whole game is hard to wrap your mind around because he produces like Lebron James but has the body of a junior frat boy.

He doesn't beat you with the traditional skills toolbox the way Curry or Nash does, but has this brusing post and drive game that seems so odd considering he is neither particularly fast nor possesses an elite leaping ability. And yet, his game has that same visceral physicality so its hard to square in your mind.

All that to say, it takes a complete contradiction for someone like Luka for the athleticism bias not to prevail. 

28 It's weird seeing Curry put…

It's weird seeing Curry put forth as "traditional skills toolbox." 

There are some comps for Doncic. He's basically a cross between Barkley and Magic. (Indeed, his build, his position, and his stats are basically in the middle of those two)

I think Kevin McHale was the quintessential no-athleticism all-star. I'm not sure I ever saw him leave the ground. His wars with Laimbeer were like watching a Y game, but 20% taller.

30 Why is it weird for Curry?…

Why is it weird for Curry? His skillset is shooting and a handle. He absolutely does not overwhelm you physically in any way. 

I was going to say, Doncic's best comp is probably Harden in style and method to the game; though Harden's physicality is more understandable because he looks so strong. Pat Beverely assures us - Doncic may not look strong but the dude is a tank.

56 Why is it weird for Curry?…

Why is it weird for Curry? His skillset is shooting and a handle. He absolutely does not overwhelm you physically in any way.

Not  true at all. He overwhelms defenses physically with speed, quickness, and especially stamina. See

Like dogs and humans evolving as persistence hunters, this is a physical trait, part genetic, part trained. But he's not just marksmanship and sleight-of-hand skill. The linked article explores it in more detail.

59 I am not a biologist. I am…

I am not a biologist. I am mostly thinking about how athleticism is defined in general parlance. In terms of pure speed, Steph doesn't overwhelm you the way Westbrook in his prime could get to the rim in a flash. 

Stamina is usually not associated with athleticism because in theory that can be reached with proper training. Again whether that's true is not my point, its simply how its viewed generally.

To me, everything works off Steph's prodigious shooting. The handle is a great counter punch to his shooting, but he can't physically overwhelm a defender one on one in the traditional way a superstar does. He doesn't shoot over defenders draped on his hip the way KD can. He doesn't bully to the rim the way Doncic does.

If you want to call hand eye coordination, quick slither movements around a screen and a lighting fast release athleticism, fine. I am not qualified to disagree. Just that traditionally, athleticism is associated with guys like Lebron or Dwade or in that vein. These physical freak athletes who leap, muscle, or zoom past their defenders in a dazzyling array of agility and size. Steph just isn't in that mold. 

61 I think you're out on an…

I think you're out on an island re: stamina.

Marathoning is a running specialty in the way 100-m is, and exhibits a genetic predisposition that is at least as strong. Peak stamina may not be any more trainable than peak sprinting speed is.

That aside, Curry was on the vanguard of players who basically don't shoot any 2s and who only shoot increasingly long-range 3s. It's a player type and a shot selection that were basically unknown prior to the 2010s, aside from literally a handful of examples.

Curry has shot more 3s than 2s every year since 2015. Ray Allen and Reggie Miller -- the two closest 3pt-shooting energizer bunny models to Curry, did so a combined 3 times, and all came in the last two years of their careers.

I just don't see Curry as traditional. 

54 Uh-uhh

The young McHale ran the court, he could jump, he had quick feet. Only his skin color suggested 'he's a smart, hard-working nonathlete!'

Larry Bird certainly never thought much of McHale's court smarts.

113 Bird

In reply to by BigRichie

Bird didn't like McHale's lack of commitment.  But keep in mind that standard he held himself to. Bird thought if McHale worked hard enough (i.e., as hard as Bird, Magic, or Jordan), he could be a multiple MVP.

McHale didn't have that level of drive.  But in terms of physical gifts, he was clearly ahead of Bird. 


117 McHale was never going to be…

In reply to by RickD

McHale was never going to be an MVP.

His peak overlapped with Bird's, and Boston was Bird's team. It's rare for a team to have two guys who get serious consideration for MVP in their careers, and it's almost unheard of to have two who are both in the part of their careers when they do.

It almost always occurs when a team brings in an MVP from another team (Wilt, Walton, Barkley), or else the younger guy has to wait for the older guy to age out of it being his team (Kobe w/ Shaq, Magic w/ Kareem). Neither situation was true for McHale.

Hell, for a few years, he had to deal with Walton as well as Bird. McHale was never going to sniff an MVP so long as he was a Celtic.

20 This is pretty good summary…

This is pretty good summary of a bias that probably exists everywhere but is rarely publicly stated out loud. A good example is with Luka Doncic. Apart from the fact that he's white, his whole game is hard to wrap your mind around because he produces like Lebron James but has the body of a junior frat boy.

He doesn't beat you with the traditional skills toolbox the way Curry or Nash does, but has this brusing post and drive game that seems so odd considering he is neither particularly fast nor possesses an elite leaping ability. And yet, his game has that same visceral physicality so its hard to square in your mind.

All that to say, it takes a complete contradiction for someone like Luka for the athleticism bias not to prevail. 

12 Yes! Quite easily actually.

Pro bowler literally every year and all pro every other. 2010s HOF team. Got a ring for that crowd too. 

If Bobby Mitchell, Bob Hayes and Tommy Mcdonald are in...all he has to do is be a starter for a few more years and it's officially solidified. 

Off field stuff is in the past. He'd have to have more and just be doo doo on the field.

AJ has been good but someone might want to explain how Harold Carmichael is in but Green won't be.

And yes people held grudges against TO. Blaming him is still lame. 

14 AJ has been good but someone…

AJ has been good but someone might want to explain how Harold Carmichael is in but Green won't be.

Add 33% to all of Carmichael's counting stats, and then compare that total to AJ Green and tell me if you have the same position.

Green spent his entire career in the modern passing environment. Carmichael played in the dead ball era.

\and Carmichael is basically the floor for receivers in the Hall.
\\Don Hutson's 1942 is hilarious if you era-adjust. It's something like a 3000-yard season.

23 Hell, 33% is probably low…

Hell, 33% is probably low.

The dead-ball era does really weird things for receivers. I mean, everyone really, but with QBs at least you're still collecting all of those (limited) statistics in just one place, so it's not totally crazy.

With receivers the statistics got so small that things start to look nuts, and now usage starts to mess things up: TDs by receivers get overweighted. I mean, it'd be like DK Metcalf or Adam Thielen making the Pro Bowl last year (both were in the top 10 of receiving TDs, but pretty obviously not Pro Bowlers).

Wrapping your head around guys with 30 receptions getting Pro Bowl nods (as receivers) is really, really hard.

24 I think there is a line of…

I think there is a line of demarcation starting in 1978, though it took a few years of realization to reach that point. But as you noted, everything prior to that was just a completely different game. I just don't think you can drop modern players into that style and have it succeed, even with all the better training and skill they have. When the rules are completely different, the type of skill and athleticism is different as well. 

I hate sounding like an old timer claiming the bygone era was much tougher than today's wusses; but its more like the bygone era self selected for a different type of build and skill than today's. 

And it works in both directions. 

90 but its more like the bygone…

but its more like the bygone era self selected for a different type of build and skill than today's. 

The 1970s didn't exactly depress passing yards in general - it primarily depressed WR passing yards. TEs and RBs were still putting up 600-800 yard receiving seasons, and that would've still been an epic receiving year 20 years later (less so now, but obviously the era of the receiving TE is a recent thing).

So yeah, as was noted above, it's not that Carmichael wouldn't be an NFL player now - he just wouldn't be a WR now. He'd be a tight end.

This is also why even the Pro Bowl/All Pro stats are screwed up: because in the 1970s no one really knew what a great receiver was in those years. The guys who ended up getting the accolades were the ones who caught a tiny number of deep passes and scored like 10 TDs, whereas guys who caught lots of shorter passes, racking up yardage didn't get the same accolades.

Plus it's the same effect as "fullback" or "linemen" nowadays - because no one really knew what a great receiver was in those years, guys would get name-recognition or "guy on a winning team" accolades.

125 > I hate sounding like an…

> I hate sounding like an old timer claiming the bygone era was much tougher than today's wusses; but its more like the bygone era self selected for a different type of build and skill than today's. 

Definitely. A friend's dad had a cup of coffee in the NFL back in the 1960s. He pointed out that if you tore your ACL or something, your career was over and you were walking with a limp for the rest of your life. So they favored guys who were "tough" (injury-resistant) rather than just big and strong. 

33 Yet somehow

Green has 3 more pro bowls which has nothing to do with era. Actually easier to make them back then with less teams but yeah just add a random 33%. Which is where Green will be after this year anyway lol

39 Much easier now.They are 32…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Much easier now.

There are 32 teams versus 28 then, but around 130 Pro Bowlers per year now versus 80 then.

Back then, each team had around 3 per year. Now it's 4.

As for yardage, the 1st order approximation was passing yards per team. Used to be around 3,000 yards. Now it's 4,000 yards.

So Green had a much easier time compiling stats and a much easier time getting on Pro Bowl teams than Carmichael did.

63 The irony.

From the guy that dips after being proven wrong and the bad jokes run out. 

For example, you listing roster sizes has nothing to do with anything, as 50 extra spots arent reserved for WRs. When in reality alternates always existed.

Another one, Carmichaels first 5 years there were 26 teams. And during his first guess how many PB WRs there were? Now guess how many there were in Greens first year? Hmmm.

But keep going off on random total statistics like yardage as if I mentioned them. Or just do the signature ignore and move on because ya got no rebuttal.

64 Oh no

In reply to by BigRichie

Thr Rams fan is still mad.

17 Unless his plays…

Unless he plays spectacularly horribly in Miami and is say cut by the team in 2023 and languishes on as a middling third receiver on the Lions; I think his candidacy is a lock; even if it takes him some time.

Mike Tanier suggests that his legacy being intertwined with Mahomes' complicates things. I actually think it's overall a boon for him. Those Chiefs teams were so electric on offense, they are going to get multiple hall of famers by default. Mahomes is going to be a lock. Kelce too. And I think Hill will as well. And as others have noted, he wasn't the second banana receiving threat. He was remembered as the GUY who defenses were afraid of. A ring + some highlight reel plays in tough leverage moments will catapult him. 

Plus his testimonials are likely going to be through the roof. 

22 His tenure is Miamis is…

His tenure is Miamis is going to be a nice acid test for how malleable Tyreke Hill's game is. In a past thread, myself and others suspected that Tyreke's game is the kind that requires a functional passing game with a willing deep threat thrower. Otherwise, his prodigious skills won't be taken full advantage of in the same ways that say Nuk Hopkins or Adams' were/are.

As someone who likes to think about players in metaphorical vacuums; Hill's an interesting thorny case. I prefer players whos games are as close to independent of context as possible. That said, in this case, its kind of moot. Randy Moss is, to me, probably the best non-qb player I have ever seen. And yet, Randy Moss is equivalent to a street free agent on at least half of NFL teams simply because his skillset's don't match + he is a mercenary in the worst way.


31 I'm not sure skillset…

I'm not sure skillset completely mattered with Moss.

Motivation was a huge issue, but he blew up even for guys who didn't love airing it out.

This is college, but it's educational. His QB that year was Chad Pennington.

43 At one point Randy Moss…

At one point Randy Moss claimed that Pennington was the best quarterback he ever played for.  That was probably before he teamed with Brady though.

Honestly, Pennington's arm strength issues hampered the deep out throws.  He was fine on throwing bombs, especially in college.

36 Bias?

I don't think there is an "East Coast bias" or "NY bias" with the Hall voters in the prejudiced sense of the term, but I do wonder about bias in the more scientific sense of the word.  Eastern teams dominated TV for a long time (60's through 80's; with exceptions like Cowboys or Raiders), and Eastern media was the largest set of voters.  The combo meant those voters had many more opportunities to see those players in action and see their excellence.  Smaller market teams, especially in the middle of the country, simply didn't show up as much so their players didn't get the exposure, nor did they have as many voters in the room.  It wasn't prejudice, it was just the way things were...weighted, for lack of a better term.  That even applies to ex-players input as well-they watch TV too.

And yes, I am talking about my beloved Orange Crush defense in general and Louis Wright and Randy Gradishar in particular (and Joe Collier as a coach) :)  Other midwest teams have legit complaints from that time as well.

Thankfully that sort of bias in the data has been less and less important in recent decades since everyone can see every game they wish.  But of course now those players are resigned to the dustbin of ancient history and few current voters have any clear memories of that era at all.

37 It's probably more "big…

In reply to by reddwarf

It's probably more "big market bias" really. And you get more HOF players from teams that are good for a long time for obvious reasons. 
Although it's kinda funny to make that argument and then link to an article arguing Eli could be a hall of famer. 

40 Smaller market teams,…

In reply to by reddwarf

Smaller market teams, especially in the middle of the country, simply didn't show up as much so their players didn't get the exposure, nor did they have as many voters in the room.

Which of course is why there are so goddamned-many Packers in the Hall.

41 I wish someone would define,…

I wish someone would define, "smaller market" because to me, lots and lots of teams in smaller markets are represented well in the Hall. Does small mean Green Bay(which is significantly smaller than the smallest suburb in the Bay Area); or does it mean Pittsburgh or Denver?

45 Keep in mind, this varies by…

Keep in mind, this varies by year.

In 1920, when the NFL was founded, Los Angeles was about the same size as Buffalo, NY, and smaller than Cleveland, Detroit, or Chicago. Ohio was about 70% more populous than California. Denver would have been about the same size as Rochester, NY.

Things have changed a bunch over the history of the NFL.

68 Nitpickery

but Green Bay is larger than most cities in the Bay Area. Yeah, at 107K it's much smaller than San Jose, SF, and even the much smaller Oakland. And it's smaller than the next ten largest cities on Wikipedia's list of Bay Area cities too. But there are lots of cities smaller than Green Bay in the Bay Area, from San Mateo (slightly fewer people than Green Bay) down to some tiny cities and towns that you'd think by population would be more rural Wisconsin than in the Bay Area, and there are something like 25 Bay Area cities with more than 50K people but fewer than Green Bay.

/though for market size purposes the Packers should probably be considered the Wisconsin Packers, not the Green Bay Packers. Which still doesn't make them a large market, mind you.

73 It's probably more "media…

In reply to by CuseFanInSoCal

It's probably more "media exposure" than market size really.  The Packers also seem have a very devoted fanbase (i.e. they get a larger % of the population relative to other teams).  

I suspect we will get a lot of Cowboy edge cases in hall for this reason. 

85 Right, the NFL is probably…

Right, the NFL is probably the sport least dependent upon big market teams being relevant for their bottom line. Peyton Manning and Patrick Mahomes played for what would be considered small-market franchises and become household names. Josh Allen seems to be on that trajectory in terms of fan popularity. Meanwhile, Mike Trout is putting together a HOF career in a huge market and most people couldn't pick him from a lineup.

93 Cali is always been weird bc…

Cali is always been weird bc it's a huge market but has alot of teams so usually one ends up small. But yeah, the NFL promotes their stars, no matter where they are. This is kinda necessary given the low number of games at a time and overall, so they pretty much want everyone to watch all of them. Other sports focus more on drawing in the regional crowds.  The NFL kinda approaches every regular season game like most other sports do early post season rounds. 

106 I've always thought it would…

I've always thought it would be neat to magically have MLB play an NFL type regular season, and see what kind of difference it makes. You'd have a single starting pitcher for each team, like a QB, who was inordinately important (maybe more than a QB even). Perhaps you could even have separate hitters and defensive players, and not have everyone do both. I think it would be really interesting, AND I think I would want to watch every game of my favorite team, like I do with the NFL (and don't currently do with MLB). 

131 Would be neat, although to…

Would be neat, although to much of a coinflip I think. (baseball has a fair bit of in game randomness, although a single starter would help). 

It would be neat if the NFL did something like a 2 game series for the super bowl (basically, you start the second game with the score from the first one, so it acts like an 8 quarter(octet?) game with a week long halftime. ).You never rally get the chess match you get over a series in the NFL, but a 3 game series is probably to long. 

The USFL should try this. lol 

42 No!!!

“I'm not above ginning up fanbases for fun 'n' profit”

Reaaaallllly? Said no Raiders or Patriots fan…ever.

44 "The following players are…

"The following players are not Hall of Famers: Tiki Barber, Joe Klecko, Mark Gastineau, Phil Simms, Charlie Conerly, Jessie Armstead, and Mo Lewis. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, and Justin Tuck did not even reach the semifinalist stage in 2022."  To be fair, the only ones in that list who deserve to be in the Hall are Klecko, and maybe Mangold and Tuck.  I would say Mangold, but I'm a Jets fan, and even I can't say he deserves it more than Olin Kreutz.  Mo Lewis' hit on Bledsoe deserves to be in the Hall, but not him.

69 In the Fitzpatrick thread

I was talking about Mangold. But if you think Olin was better, that just makes the Packers look better. 

I thought more of Mangold but that might be recency bias I admit. 

48 As a homer and a stan

I've watched every snap of Hill's career. Every moment of it has been breathtaking. I desperately want to see him in the Hall.

Just establishing that before I say this:

I've always considered him a HoF-level talent that hadn't quite fully earned the jacket yet.

Of note, I've always talked about our HoF TE, our HoF QB, and our HoF-level WR.

For whatever that's worth.

50 I asked this to you and…

I asked this to you and others. If he puts up some meaningless stat padded years for a 6 and 10 team and ends up with a trio of 800 yd six touchdown seasons, is that the last bit of stuffing required for his Hall of Fame candidacy?

Because the results so far to me suggest he's done enough. maybe he's lacking in the compiled total stats, but that's unnecessary window dressing at this point.

53 maybe he's lacking in the…

maybe he's lacking in the compiled total stats, but that's unnecessary window dressing at this point.

Is it? If he completely bombs out in Miami and Kansas City doesn't miss a beat with him, is it really unnecessary? I'm not so convinced.

58 He needs more than that…

He needs more than that.

Calvin Johnson, who is basically the WR version of Gale Sayers or Tony Boselli, has both better rate and counting stats. He has almost twice as many yards and a 20% higher yards/game, with a peak year that was 33% better than Hill's peak.

Hill probably needs another 2-3 years of at least his current rate to approach Johnson's neighborhood. Frankly, that only makes him a younger Sterling Sharpe. Sharpe is not in the Hall.

If Hill's career ended today, he'd have played about as many games as Tony Boselli and as many starts as Terrell Davis. But he wouldn't have Boselli's towering reputation nor Davis's insane peak plus enormous playoff stats. He's not a Hall guy today.

He might be a Hall guy if he's still Tyreek Hill in three more years.

60 I think by pure numbers…

I think by pure numbers thats true. But then I think this is where testimonials and the overall story arch tilts in his favor. His style is not conducive to putting up raw counting stats. And he's definitely not Calvin Johnson.

I guess I find it rather surprising that we need some additional fluff to his resume, even if it is largely inconsequential fluff, to buttress his case. Basically, he needs to compile some additional 800 yard, 5tds for another 3-4 seasons before we are solidly satisfied with his case.

Also Reply to Pat. I agree, we should put subjective assessments of the fact that he played with Mahomes; though again he did pretty well with Alex Smith too. However, I don't quite see the precedent here where a receiver gets the subjective context astrix and its held against him. Marvin Harrison had two largely inconsequential seasons prior to Manning coming to town. And then proceeded to have a hall of fame career before falling off a cliff and never playing a single snap elsewhere. A cynic might have concluded that much of that production was coming from the friendly Colts offense. 

62 3 more 800 yard seasons is…

3 more 800 yard seasons is your straw-man. I never accepted that as a conditional.

If you add those, Hill becomes a 9000 yard, 63 yard/game guy. At that point, he's a less-prolific DeSean Jackson, who latched onto a HOF QB long enough to get a ring. Or, if you prefer, he's reverse-Wes Welker with less longevity.


65 I mean, the whole point of…

I mean, the whole point of Tanier's article was to suggest that the Hall does not apply some statistical threshold for a hall of fame receiver. Instead, its a mosiac of stats applied in a context based on how the Hall subjectively values that context. It seems what you are doing is using some combination of rate stats and career stats and then using that as the baseline comparison against other receivers to see if he's hall of fame worthy enough.

That's not my argument. Instead, I went along with Tanier's premise because he knows the hall's voting process and thus asked we need fluff and other statistical stuffing to bolster his case even though none of that additional fluff amounts to much in terms of team success and winning. 

And just to be 100% clear. I don't necessarily agree with the Hall's criteria either. I think we'd need to stop and think about how the Hall of fame is weighting peak and longevity. Receiver careers are pretty short and you need to decide if its worth rewarding certain receivers who were once elite but can shift their role once their athleticism has declined vs receivers who were once elite and cannot. 


72 I'm basically applying the…

I'm basically applying the HOF monitor test:

Which is a pretty solid estimator for WRs once you ignore the dead ball era guys. Hill has work to do based on that.

86 And then proceeded to have a…

And then proceeded to have a hall of fame career before falling off a cliff and never playing a single snap elsewhere. A cynic might have concluded that much of that production was coming from the friendly Colts offense. 

You're mixing two things: if Harrison had left Indy midway through his career and bombed elsewhere, would he still be a Hall of Famer? No, probably not. That's not me saying he would have. But he didn't do that, so there's nothing you can do about it. All you can do is just look at what happened.

With Hill, he did leave Kansas City. If he bombs, will he still be a Hall of Famer? Not in my opinion - that'll just be revealing that he was a product of a very friendly system (the years with Smith were still with Reid's offense, mind you).

Again, as has been mentioned plenty elsewhere, if he bombs out right now he's got Sterling Sharpe's career without the injury shortening, so I can't imagine he'd be in.

I honestly don't know what to do about a lot of the late 2000s-2010s receivers. I was torn on Calvin Johnson, with his career being so short, and Brown and Jones make me go "ehhh..." too. I think a lot of it is tough because you're coming off of the 2000s where you had all these guys with around ~200 games started and now you're looking at guys who might not make it to 150. And now people are talking as if Hill's shown enough when he hasn't even hit 100? There's gotta be a point where you say "yeah, need more" to me, at least - Johnson was just at that hairy edge and Hill's definitely before it.

66 Just 'No'

"He MIGHT! be a Hall guy if he's still Tyreek Hill in three more years"???

More than a bit ridiculous, Aaron. Three more Tyreek Hill years in Miami and he's first ballot. You're totally missing the point of Tanier's article and research, that Tyreek is undeniably 'explosive' and 'explosive' receivers have done very, very well in HoF voting.

Simply 1 more Tyreek year in Miami and he's in. A great year with Alex Smith before Mahomes and 1 great year with Tua (still a Bridgewater fan myself) post-Mahomes, that'll do it.

71 1 more Tyreek Hill year and…

In reply to by BigRichie

1 more Tyreek Hill year and he log-jams behind peers with much better numbers, especially if Mahomes keeps cranking out numbers.

Fitzgerald is first-ballot. (Fitzgerald's career is basically twice Hill's) Julio should be. But then, Holt and Wayne have similar numbers and aren't in. Steve Smith isn't even making finalist cuts. God only knows with AB. 

Remember Andre Johnson? Go check his numbers.

Hill's best case is probably winner-sauce. That ring helps in a big way. But he will have to overcome the QB-Made-Him argument that dogs Wayne and Holt and dogged Harrison.


88 Johnson, and Wayne will be…

Johnson, and Wayne will be in, don't even bother making that argument - they made it to finalist in year 1, that's equivalent to saying "Hall of Famer." No one has ever not gotten in with that, it's just dickering as to the order at this point. Holt will be in too, eventually, he's not going to stick at the finalist level for the next 10+ years - not even Bob Kuechenberg hit that. Steve Smith's the only one you can make the argument for.

That's the difficulty with talking about recent guys - it took Isaac Bruce 5 years to get in, Art Monk 7 years, Andre Reed 8 years. There used to be arguments as to whether or not Art Monk was ever going to get in, and in hindsight, it's silly - he got in with 13 years remaining.

Holt, Johnson, and Wayne aren't borderline Hall WRs, they're bog-standard Hall WRs.

91 Tangentially related to this…

Tangentially related to this post. Wayne and Holt are clearly not getting held back for the offenses they played in, especially in Wayne's case where he spent at least half his career as the clear second best receiver on his own team. I love Wayne, he is my second favorite player to root for, but I don't think he was ever considered a top 3 receiver ever. But he will get in.

102 Wayne would've been…

Wayne would've been interesting if he had completely fallen apart after Manning left. But the guy nearly put up 960 yards catching passes from Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky - that ain't falling apart.

Note that with regard to Tyreek Hill, for instance - I'm not saying Hill will fall apart. But plenty of WRs look like they're on a Hall of Fame track at his age. Chad Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas. Guys can collapse fast.

115 gah

Sharpe is close to qualifying for the Terrell Davis exception. But TD won an MVP and a Super Bowl.

People may not remember that Sharpe was considered at the same level as Jerry Rice in the late '80s.  But his career was derailed while Rice continued to have the best WR career ever.  There's no doubt in my mind that Sharpe would be in the Hall if he hadn't gotten injured.

75 I think, like Tanier said,…

I think, like Tanier said, Hill is very borderline right now if he doesn't play again. It will heavily depend on the "special player in a special offensive" arguments. I would could nitpick if he got in and I could nitpick if he didn't get in if he doesn't play another game. Personally based on other resumes (one in particular I have a bias for) of players who aren't in I don't think his current stats and rep get him in.

Given the ring and given the reputation as a deep threat he doesn't need quite as glowing of a statistical resume as other WR. So what does he need? He needs at least one more AP1 OR about 5 more years of good production with at least 2 of those being 1000+ yards. That is what I think he needs to guarantee he gets in.

He's not in now because his resume is not as good as Sterling Sharpe (who only had one more season before injury ended his career than Hill has now) and Sharpe is not in. Sharpe was 3 time AP1 in 7 seasons (all as WR so better than Hill's 2.5 in 6) and Sharpe was a 5 time PB. Sharpe led the league in receptions 3 times, yards 1, and TD's twice. He did all that while playing in the same conference as Jerry Rice (and Cris Carter, Andre Rison, and Michael Irvin among others) and for 4 years was catching passing from Anthony Dilweg (7 games started), Blair Kiel (2 games started), Randy Wright (7 games started), Mike Tomzcak (7 games started), and Don Majkowski(44 games started) one of his AP seasons came in Majkowskis only healthy season. It was only his last 3 seasons where he had Favre (45 games started) throwing and Holmgren coaching, so most of it was with Infante and Majkowski and injury replacement QBs. Favre did start more games as his QB, starting game 4 in 92 after Majkowski got hurt yet again, but it was a close thing.

So yes, right now, based only on stats Hill is not as good as Sterling Sharpe was. His 2017 with Smith is eclipsed by Sharpes 1989 with Majkowski. Hill gets 4 years of Maholmes, Sharpe only gets 3 of Favre. Sharpe got MVP votes and OPoY votes, Hill never has. Sharpe had three 14+ yard/rec seasons Hill has 4 so it's not like Sharpe wasn't a deep threat either. I bring up Sharpe's stats because I know them well and they are comparable even given different usage and eras (late 80's early 90's isn't hugely different but it is different).

Hills reputation is probably stronger than Sharpe's was. Sharpe was feared but he was more of Davante Adams type than the type of weapon Hill is. Sharpe was special but he was not special in the same way that Hill is.

While I want Sharpe in the HoF, I understand why a 7 year career is not enough to make it.

So that is why as I stated up front he needs more real meat to the resume. Even with the super dangerous explosive player special sauce (which I do in fact think is a legit thing that should carry real weight) he doesn't have enough yet to qualify given modern competition for slots. Padding it with mediocre stats for a few more years isn't going to do it. He needs to be peak Tyreek for at least 1 more season, or good Tyreek for at least 3 more, I set the bar at 1000 yards in part to compensate for not having Mahomes throwing to him. His stats can dip and he can still be considered a scary threat that you adjust that for.

Even in the 90's WR needed productive length to their careers with at least some sustained peak to make the Hall, that has not changed. Hill does not have enough sustained production. I don't know if there is a transcendent peak level (ala Davis at running back) that a WR could hit to not need a 10 year career at this point to be considered Hall worthy. With 17 games and higher passing stats in general, 1000 yards and or 8 TD's is probably the floor for what is consider a productive season and you need about 8 of those in your 10 years.

As Tanier has pointed out Hall selection changes a bit from year to year and what Sharpe was measured against in the early 2000's when his candidacy came up is not quite the same, but I can't see it having changed that much.

Edit: Some other things to think about. Sterling Sharpe who I detailed has more career receiving yards than Davante Adams and has 1 year less played than Adams. It's close at 8134 to 8121 but it's still something to keep in mind with Hill. Adams does edge Sharpe on TD's 73-64 and has a lot more receptions at 669 to 595 (games started is Sharpe 112 to 109 for Adams since until the career ender Sharpe never missed a game due to injury). Of course I personally don't think Adams was a better receiver than Sharpe, I view them at similar levels. Which also means that I don't think Adams is currently a HoF player either, he needs a few more seasons of being Adams in LV to make sure he gets in. The bar for WR is pretty damn high and 1 injury could keep you out.  Just more fuel for the Hill needs to keep being Hill argument I already present. You can pick different receivers. My bias and fandom keeps me going back to Packers. With all the very good to great WR they have had from 1980 - today Lofton, Sharpe, and Adams are the only 3 I would even have HoF conversations about and Lofton of course is the only one who made it. Adams probably needs about 4 more seasons in the 2018 - 2021 range to get real consideration. Sharpe probably needed 2 more seasons. Driver, Freeman, Jennings, Nelson all very good, but not even in the conversation.

So I'm not slighting Hill. Injuries end careers all the time though, and the HoF bar is very high bar for WR and getting more and more logjammed every year. Also they aren't just competing against each other as pointed out. Hill should have 4 to 8 years left think of the players that could retire in that time at DL, LB, CB, QB, OL.... 5 players a year is a small Hall with the current league size. It may have been more of a medium hall in the past and was certainly biased even to winning teams that it still is, but in the 32 team era 5 a year is a small hall. I'm OK with that, but it means that even with Hill being a special type of player he is not a Hall of famer yet.

79 Sharpe had an extra year.

21 more games to be exact (Hill edges in y/g despite, ironically the exact same rec/g and td/g, and that's not adding the ground stuff Hills got him in), so after this coming year is a more apt comparison. 

Sharpe should be in because Boselli just got in with the same 7 year, 5 PB, 3 AP1 resume. 

But Tyreeks case isn't total yardz based. Remember he plays in a offense that had to share with Kelce (similar resume + 1 PB but no all pro mentions until Hill got there may or may not be something). And it seems like many people just think he's gonna drop off the face of the earth despite a historic start to career. He's like half way through his career. And w/some similarities to Steve Smith, there might be 10 more years. And Steve Smith was making PBs in year 8 and 11. If Hill only made those, he's up to 8. Some similarities to Emmanuel Sanders who's got 12 years under his belt, PB in year 7 (already surpassed him overall, same with Smith). 

IDK what the odds are but it seems pretty safe placing a bet on him on making the HOF at this pace. The only thing stopping his is a freak injury like Sharpes but in reality the bumps and bruises didn't stop Steve Smith from starting 198/219 games, Sanders 122/172, etc. Teams are going to take a shot on him even when he slows down. Comparisons like Chad Johnsons are a little silly (but hey, he played 11 years, started 135/166) because his 6th PB wasn't til year 9, 5th was in year 7. Hills matched that and he's just now going into year 7.

Tyreek is pretty unique. Steve P has talked about this on the PFF NFL pod in months past (around the time he was traded) but Tyreek is unique. Teams changed the way they played the Chefs for him moreso than Kelce even. He can play pretty much any role. Deep shot, underneath, etc. He isn't limited by QB, playing with captain check down Alex Smith (83rd/83 since '06 in aDOT) and big armed Mahomes. Not an offensive Reid invention with his stellar ST play (drafted despite issues and would've went higher without them).

Projecting him into the HOF seems pretty straightforward barring a tragedy. Already got multiple more TDs than HOFrs Swann and Pearson and, again, he's hasn't even reached the 99 game mark. Most will remember his electric prime. When has a player ever started with 6 PBs, 3 AP1s (and a ring) in their first 6 years, regardless of position? Not even Rice (who was making all pros and PBs late into his career, even after got one after changing teams) started like that. No he didn't return but are we gonna act like that's a bad thing for Tyreek? Seems like people think "whoa that's a lot, surely he's reached the limit and will drastically slow down" when in reality, why would he when you start off blazing? Gonna take longer to cool off actually. Doesn't mean he'll exactly match Rices longevity but sure sounds like a HOF start that's probably not just gonna...go away because...reasons outside a sudden injury/retirement. Legit WRs like him last a while...and I'm not seeing much to bet on him otherwise. Same line of thinking this board parlays into "this is the year Brady and Rodgers fall off because...age!" As if Tyreek is old...already turned 28 this year.

The only answers I can find to the bold is Emmitt Smith. Not putting so much importance on the team aspect, Lawrence Taylor (ring year 10), Aaron Donald (ring year 8), Jim Brown (ring year 8), Barry Sanders (no ring), Joe Thomas (no ring), Patrick Peterson (no ring) and Zack Martin (no ring) are the others if expanded. Donald is active too but not a single soul would dare question him. Same with Martin (if you asked about a G) and P2. Yeah I understand the differences but still, no one is saying Tyreek has to be the GOAT but just "merely" HOF, which is indeed easier lol. No prodigies IN the NFL (not talking college or HS) just disappear into "hall of good."

80 Which is why I said he only…

Which is why I said he only needs one more year like any of his last 4 years (i.e. peak Hill, assuming he plays at least 15 games) and that should seal the deal. If he looks more like the 2017 version (which is possible as Tua and Alex are much better comps for each other than either is for Mahomes) then he might need 3 years of that. If he falls off to some 800 yards 6 TD type level (which I doubt) he'd probably need about 6 years of that to be a lock but would be subject to a lot of questions if that unlikely happened the 1 more peak or 3 more very good just provide easy answers to any questions. 

Basically I was just saying that if he gets in a car accident tomorrow and never plays again I don't think he makes it into the Hall of Fame. The question slothook asked was what does he need to do to be basically a lock so I went into that. Is he one of the safer projections? Absolutely. I was not kidding when I mentioned that his "special sauce" which I know seems dismissive but was just the words that came to mind for his uniqueness merits real consideration. It's worth at least, if not more, than the "black ink" that Sharpe has over him.

So Sharpe was the best HoF comp to Hill that came to mind when looking at a 6 or 7 year careers for a WR. Sharpe didn't make it. As I said give Hill one more year like his last 4 and I think he does. Which is saying that despite lesser traditional stats than Sharpe his impact was greater because I think he would make it with a year like that and a career ending injury at the end of the season like Sharpe. He might still be borderline like Sharpe was, but I think he would fall on the inside instead of the outside and that may be purely because he didn't have anything as bad as Tomzcak/Dillweg/Kiel/Wright for 21 games. That's fine too. I'm OK with playing with a lesser QB for a season and a half and then another 3 and seasons of a middle of the road starter holding you out of the Hall of Fame. If 2 seasons of Smith and 1 of Tagovaioloa with a career ending injury keeps Hill out too, it's OK. That kept Sharpe out and I get why it did.

So again I'm not downplaying what Hill does, and likely will keep doing. I was just trying to provide some evidence to support the answer to the specific question using a guy who also had some good HoF credentials but not enough career to make it in. I think it's pretty clear what he needs to do to get the lock status. Just another year and he's going to be debated because that would be a short career but I think he's pushed over into making it. 2 more years and that puts him at 8 years of being special which seems to be the minimum and he's likely a lock. The rest I've covered. Donald has hit that 8 year mark already and done it at a position with less positional competition so it's a lot easier to call him a lock right now, I mean if he is in a car crash tomorrow the debate on HoF worthiness is already over for Donald, he's in.

I also think Tanier had it right with the 2.5 AP because that first was as a returner. It is certainly a point in his favor and it matters but he wasn't utilized on the offense as much (not uncommon for a rookie so not a knock) so it shouldn't carry quite the same weight as the 2018 and 2020 APs. That's all. It matters, it's a good thing, but when you debate his merits against other WR and then against QBs and RBs and CBs etc, it does matter.

He's an interesting case, but I'm hoping the safest projection of a player for this series as the only argument against him right now is longevity. That's it. The no "black ink" is easily countered as I already mentioned. Heck if you go with yards per touch to include his rushing, and you absolutely should, then he does in fact have some black ink anyway. Easily countered. As you mentioned guys who change defensive/offensive game plans and still kill you anyway deserve credit for that and Hill absolutely does that.

So yeah in 2025 when Hill is brought up again I would be very surprised if he wasn't "he could retire/stop playing tomorrow and be in the HoF".  Interestingly because of the QB bar I don't think you can say that about Mahomes (barring winning like 4 more ringz) until about 2030. Modern QBs need about 13 seasons of greatness now for the HoF. WR only need about 8 though that bar is still going up. So yes I'm being pedantic or nit picky. Tyreek Hill is a HoF caliber player. So is Patrick Mahomes. Tom Brady is a HoF player. So is Aaron Rodgers. The 2 former still need more longevity based on the process as we've seen it. The later 2 do not. They don't need to do anything else. I think that applies to Aaron Donald as well. I agree it's pedantry or picking nits or whatever, but I see a distinction in HoF caliber and HoF player even before they are inducted. I would be fine just saying HoF lock for Brady and Rodgers if anyone wants to counter with more pedantry.


Not related to the rest of the post but just putting it here.
For anyone who wonders what my HoF bar is, because as Tanier pointed out it is different for everyone, I'm small hall but would not be mad at a larger hall. As I've touched on I think just from size of the league it was a larger hall in the past and if it becomes a larger hall in the future I'm alright with that too because I can understand why people would want either size despite my preferences.

To illustrate. I'm still not sure I would have put Terrell Davis in. I'm OK with him being in there because that 3 year peak was a heck of a peak. Personally though I do think longevity matters and since there is luck to injuries, yes luck matters for the HoF just like it matters for everything in life. But TD didn't have enough longevity for a small hall. There are some 60's Packers who I wouldn't have put in either. Eli does not get in to a small hall, I could see the debate for a large hall.

Of course the Hall that put some of those players (and Lynn Swann in) isn't the same hall that will likely be putting Hill and Mahomes in. I think that's part of why Tanier always mentions that even educated fans don't get how the hall works. They don't allow for the fact that the process has changed and that some of the guys who got in 20, 30, whatever years ago might not make it through the current or future process. Some of that is because as the league has grown but the Hall selections haven't the Hall has gotten smaller, which raises the bar. Also there always has to be someone who is least deserving and someone else who was the most deserving snub.

Part of why I would be fine making the Hall bigger going forward is I actually think the modern era, regardless of who does the voting, is way more likely to be fair than things were in the past just because it is so much easier to see a player now. I mean a HoF voter should have access to every game of a players career at this point. Information is just way easier to come by and putting that information into context is easier too. Even the non stats based parts of the selection process are being influenced by this information availability. Players and coaches opinions are being more influenced by modern data. So while I do bag on selections sometimes, and get annoyed that Player A got in before Player N, and I do think there are issues with the process even if the process doesn't change I still think it would produce better results. Part of why I prefer a small Hall is that I think it forces more scrutiny on the selections and makes them better. Since information and evaluation is likely just getting better in general I don't think as much scrutiny will be needed and hence a larger hall, regardless of process, is still more likely to only put in folks who most everyone thinks are deserving and that is a win. There are some players in the Hall where you go "Wait they got in but so and so didn't?" and that will always be the case, but I see that number as dwindling and it's going to be more and more players from the pre every game being available to watch era because the players getting in in the era where you can find every game they played will be fairly easy to show why they made it. That's fine by me.

82 "though I do think longevity matters"

Yeah that's where it may just be padding because I assume you also agree P2 is a HOFr despite being a returner (but not just a returner like Hester). So after year 6 he'd only had two more PB years but how much did they really mean? Ehh.

Three more 2017s for Hill would be quite amazing because he dropped KR and still put up 1446 AP yards in just 15 games, 13 starts. Quite a bar when HOF Tommy McDonalds best year is 1395 (started out returning too). 

100 Sterling Sharpe is part of my head canon

To my mind Sterling Sharpe is a Hall Of Fame -type player.  I like his candidacy a little more than I do some players who are actually in the Hall.  One of his strongest arguments is the two

He's a guy that woulda been helped enormously by sticking around just two more seasons – wow, what a stupid thing to say: he woulda been helped enormously by not getting that neck injury, duh.  What I mean is, even if he'd put up two more just so-so seasons, I think one TD catch in the Packers 1996 Super Bowl win would've changed Sharpe's Hall résumé.  I think he would've been perceived as one of those "inevitable veterans", rather than an almost-was.



119 It's a fair question, and I'm not sure I have an answer

My evaluation of Hill as "a HoF-level talent that isn't quite there yet" is entirely based on perception and "feels". He's never felt quite as dominant as Kelce or as transcendent as Mahomes....and I'll openly admit that some of that is narrative-driven bias; people were starting to talk about Hill with the superlatives he probably deserves in 2018...and all KC-based narratives that year were reserved for Patrick.

He also suffers in that department from playing next to (conservatively) an all-time Top 10 tight end who's visibly and ridiculously dominant on the regular.

So here I am with a perception-based argument that says he's not quite there yet. If you were to counter that with quantifiable things, I could probably be convinced. A couple years of largely meaningless volume-based stat-stuffing would probably help your rebuttal. That tastes kind of bad to say, and if you pointed out afterward how meaningless that stat-stuffing was, I'd agree with you...but I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't help convince me.

All of which is complicated by the fan in me really wanting to see him get in.

It's weird, man. And if your goal is to point out how weird and probably unfair it is, I'm here for that :)

51 But one of Hill's All-Pro…

But one of Hill's All-Pro selections and Pro Bowl berths came as a rookie return man in 2016. The committee is unlikely to be fooled or swayed by what's something of a technicality.

Hill's 2017 season also only led to a returner spot in the Pro Bowl, even though his 75/1183/7 receiving numbers, with Alex Smith at QB, were good for 8th in the NFL in DYAR. That one fooled you, and me (until I looked it up to doublecheck), and maybe it'll sway the HoF committee too.

104 Which kinda shows

How it all shakes out in the end and why caring soooo much at what exact spot is a bit pointless. Like the starters were Brown and Nuk, ok makes sense with more yards and TDs. But the reserves were Keenan (makes sense too) and AJ Green, let's give it to him since he had more rec TDs (but less yards than Tyreek so a good argument can be made here for Hill). Alternates were Jarvis Landry, same thing as Green but even less yards (aka could argue for Hill. Ty Hilton though...less yards AND 1 more game? And that missed game was the last one (where the voting is closed by then, which is a whole nother thing as well) so you can't say he was stat padding (w/Mahomes, all 1183 came with Captain Checkdown). Definitely sus. PFF confirms it too, with Tyreek grading higher that year. Not to disparage Hilton. You can get into the weeds with it and nitpick and find holes in everyones resume when you starting caring that much. 

No one will likely care about some of Patrick Petersons accolades being for returning too. He was great CB too. That just adds to his resume. And it's not like they were Hester where it was all returning. Not that Hester shouldn't be in but they played more than 11 snaps a game. 


70 Don't forget about Brady

If the Brady of the last two years plays two or three years with Hill in Miami, Hill will be a lock, even if he's a disappointment with Tua this season; Brady has all the smarts in the world and will figure out how to maximize Hill's value. (This goes double if Payton ends up in Miami as well.)

116 Brady's not going to Miami

He's under contract with the Bucs and they've made it clear he will play for them or retire.  

And they fired Arians.  Oh, sorry, "promoted" him.  In theory that was done for Brady's benefit.

74 I disagree with you on the…

I disagree with you on the Matt Ryan thing because I read Peter king enough in the day to know how players are selected. Ryan by all accounts is well liked, and he will have the stats to merit consideration. It’s easy to see that room find reasons to include a guy they like than exclude someone just because he didn’t win a super bowl. Now if the room is different in 2030, sobeit. 

Hill has had enough great years as a receiver that as long as he sticks around, even just as a compiler, he will be in the hall. He probably couldn’t retire tomorrow and get the Terrell Davis treatment, but it’s close. 


133 Agree here.  If Ryan can…

Agree here.  If Ryan can have 3 more solid seasons and one decline season he'll retire 3rd on the all-time passing yards list.  Only two QBs since the merger have retired while in the top 5 in career passing yards and not been inducted to the Hall; Jim Hart (3rd at retirement) and John Brodie (4th).  Ryan has an MVP and a Super Bowl over both of those; he has 4 Pro Bowls to Brodie's 2.

Now, if Ryan is really in serious decline he won't catch Manning and Favre, and 5th all time is weaker than 3rd.  But he still has a very reasonable Hall of Fame chance without a Super Bowl win.

EDIT—Brodie was the NFL MVP in 1970. 

135 Only part of this post is…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Only part of this post is directly in response to why Jim Kelly being in doesn't matter for Ryan's case outside of providing an example of how Kelly made it amongst his peers. The post is also directed at earlier comments by others in the thread, not just you.

Basically I am saying that comparing any player to one already in, really doesn't matter and can lead to some slippery slope type arguments as well. I also wanted to do some silly stuff with Stafford so I used that as an excuse. I'm also addressing career stats and issues with those currently and going forward. Then I get around to reasons why neither of those matter and why Ryan has a near HoF resume anyway.

Another note about former players getting in to the Hall, keep in mind the Hall was effectively bigger in the past. For Kelly specifically 13% fewer teams means fewer players means that only 5 players a year (ignoring senior committee) made it a bit easier to get in. A current player with a similar resume to a former player that got in does not mean the current player is as likely to get in. Kelly played in a 28 team league. Ryan in a 32 team league. Given player skill distributions since we only care about the exceptional part of the tail the Hall was probably about 5% easier to get in for Kelly than it will be for Ryan. So the weight of making it to 4 Super Bowls to counter act the better stats, MVPs etc of Kellys peers might have tipped the scale for him. Ryan’s longer time in the top tier of QB’s and better stats but with limited awards and post season success might not tip him in over some of his peers just because it’s a little harder to get in even if Ryan and Kelly look to have equivalent resumes.

I'm not saying that they should do it that way, just trying to illustrate what it seems like the committee does and what might have been enough to tip Kelly over in a slightly larger Hall might not be enough for Ryan in a slightly smaller hall. We know that post season success mattered more in the past for the Hall. It might not carry as much weight now, but it did then and I'll get into an interesting test case for that later too.

Ryan is an interesting case for me and I feel clearly worthy of discussion. His problem with making it might actually be that he moved to the conference where it's harder to get a Pro-Bowl nod and he'll likely need some of those, or another SB, or something like that to help his case because just being top 5 career in the traditional stats at retirement is not going to be enough in the modern era without some changes to the selection process. Though if you accept Philip Rivers as a HoF player (we'll find out in a few years) then Ryan could only need to just bounce back to a top 6 QB for a couple more seasons and seal the deal that way. More on that later.

To get a little silly with using players that are already in with weaker resumes vs the player considered
Let's assume Ryan gets in. Then let's consider Stafford making 3 of the next 6 Pro Bowls. In the NFC that is more likely than you might think. Brady, Rodgers, and then who? Stafford just has to beat out Murray, Prescott, and the new shiny rookie/2nd year player at that point and Brady and Rodgers aren't both likely to go 6 more years. If one of Brady, Rodgers, Prescott makes the Super Bowl and one of Brady, Rodgers, Murray, or Prescott gets injured then he's a replacement easily. So making 3 more pro bowls to tie Ryan at 4 is not really a huge stretch. Heck if his INT% was at his career average last season (or under 2%, something he's done 5 times in his career) he's down around 11 - 14 INTs on the season and maybe makes the pro bowl last year.

So in 6 years you'll have Stafford with career stats at or better than what Ryan will likely have in 3 (remember Stafford is 3 years younger so that will be what they are both at after their age 39 season). Stafford has a better career TD% than Ryans, his career INT% is only 0.3% worse and his yards/game is about 5 higher, so saying that at same age his cumulative stats are likely to be better is not a stretch. He'll also have the ring, he'll likely have the same 4 pro bowls (given the assumptions I already made). He just won't have the 1 AP or the MVP. Those matter a lot.

So we need another assumption. I’ve got a couple to pick from. If Stafford gets to the SB again then you've got the SB losses negating each other and the 1 ring fighting the MVP + AP and he'll have the narrative of "he just had to get out of Detroit!". So you let Matt Ryan in and I can easily see a future where you can argue Matt Stafford HoF QB because well "Matt Ryan got in and Stafford had better stats, same PB, and did better in the playoffs once he left Detroit". This is not true of course, Stafford needs much more than that and Ryan's case is better than just career stats.

Again I am in no way arguing that Stafford should be in any sort of HoF discussion, even with some more awards or ringz. I'm just using a not completely unreasonable potential future for him to argue against relying too heavily on "Well X is in and Y is better than them" or one “retired top X in career stats” because that doesn't always work.

Also outside of 1 year where Ryan had a TD% that was 1.6 higher than any other season and his 2nd best INT% along with his best y/g mark by 1.2 yards and his best comp% by 0.5% Stafford and Ryan do not look that different right now based on just traditional stats. That MVP was Ryan's age 31 season.

We've got a few examples of QB's having their best statistical years at 34 or older like Stafford is. So another option for an assumption about the future. If Stafford has an outlier year like Ryan had it would look something like 5,450 yards, 46 TD, 9 INT season. Do you think that might get an MVP or AP nod? Having it happen only requires the same level of better than anything he's done before rate wise that Ryan had in 2016. Considering Stafford has had a 5000 yard passing season, two different 41 TD seasons and 3 different 10 INT seasons having all of that fall in line during 1 season with the Rams where you've got Donald and Ramsey keeping the defense at least reasonable feels like even less of a jump stat wise than what Ryan did compared to previous seasons.

So if you can envision any of that for Stafford, 1 great stat season OR 3 more PB in the current state of the NFC, OR another SB appearance along with his current career does that make a HoF resume? If you say no Stafford still isn't a hall of famer then comparing to players already in would say that Ryan shouldn't have made it either because on just the total stats, awards, and post season success metrics Stafford and Ryan will look a lot alike at that point.

Then you add in that Ryan without some major accomplishments in Indy is not going to be a first ballot hall of famer by anyone’s standards and it's likely he and Stafford are going to be under discussion at the same time. Heck Ryan has a good chance of being discussed at the same time as Brady and Rodgers, potentially in different years, which is even more likely to shuffle him back in the line until the hypothetical Stafford shows up.

Since Ryan's current resume is not quite HoF worthy playing the projection game for both him and Stafford feels honest. If you have to project a few difficult but not impossible things for Ryan to be a lock then projecting a few more difficult but not impossible things for Stafford to also look like Ryan but given more time to do it, isn't completely nuts.

Now as mentioned I think current Ryan is worth looking at for the HoF, I think there are several very reasonable paths for him to get to in. I don't think current Stafford has any business in the discussion even with positive projections on his career. I’m using him to illustrate my points only.

I agree 1 more PB likely does it for Ryan or a conference championship game appearances (as that likely doesn't happen without other things he needs) or another season or 2 as a top 6 QB by DVOA/DYAR or your favorite statistical profile. The issue as mentioned is he's now in the AFC which is loaded at QB. Since good QBs up your chances of getting to and doing something in the post season, with all it’s subjection to randomness, having more players that can get a team there makes it harder for Ryan to get those accolades even if his play is better than Stafford going forward. Stafford actually has an easier path to matching what Ryan currently has on his resume than Ryan has of getting what he needs to seal his entry. I still think Ryan has a real chance and Stafford only has a fever dreams prayer.

Some more thoughts on Ryan
The case against using Ryan’s career stats is that a guy like Stafford is going to match or beat them. Kirk Cousins has a better TD% and the same INT% and is only 9 yards/game behind Ryan so he could end up with similar career stats too and at only 3 years younger could also end up in the discussion at the same time. Cousins clearly is not a HoF level player but he's already got 3 pro bowls and has the same chances as what I mentioned for Stafford at getting more and with a new coach and GM in Minn he might have a shot at doing something in the post season to add to the resume too. Wilson already has a better resume than Ryan by some standards and again at 3 years younger has more chances to improve it, though he too now faces some of the same challenges as Ryan in the AFC. If it's proved true that Carroll held Wilson back in Seattle then Wilson's chances might be better than Ryan's at doing something to add to the resume too.

The selection process means you compete against your contemporaries not against who is already in there and when you can make several mediocre cases that Ryan isn't much better, outside one major outlier season, than a couple of solid but not great players (Stafford and Cousins) and was behind Rodgers, Brady, Brees, and Manning and possibly others earlier in his career and Prescott, Mahomes, Herbert, and Jackson later in his career it gets trickier. Being more deserving than someone already in the Hall won't really help you get in, but other things about his resume will.

The case for Ryan
Being one of the 70 best players in the league for about 6 years of your 15 year ish career and generally being no worse than league average for the majority of that career is basically what you need to make the Hall of Fame. It's significantly more complicated than that, but it's not completely wrong to think of that way. Given positional values and HoF induction rates by position I think that boils down currently (not previously and potentially not in the future either) to about a top 6 QB (approximately the top 18 – 20% of the starters) for at least 6 seasons and top half of the league for most of your career, or if we want harder numbers, at least 12 years.

That lets you have overlap with other obvious older and younger HoF players at different stages of their careers who might push you out of the very top echelon but you have to stay above league average starter to still get in. Awards and post season success definitely play a part though as they clearly appear to make up for not being a top 5 or 6 QB (depending on the league size) for “long enough”.

Starting points; I calculated the average HoF career length at 12.9 years. That climbs to 13.5 years for all the inductees at all positions since 2000 which feels like a pretty good place to start when talking about modern hall processes and modern QBs. I went to 15 years for QB's because a longer career trend is very much in play with that position, there could still be some 9 - 12 year careers for QBs that make it, but there will also be more 18 - 25 year careers too so 15 years.

As a sanity check that does seem to go along with some of the other career length stats from 2020 which state:

  • Players who make a team’s opening day roster in his rookie season average a six-year career.
  • A player on a team’s roster for at least three games in at least three seasons plays for an average of 7.1 years.
  • First-round draft picks have average careers of 9.3 years.
  • Players who make at least 1 pro bowl average 11.7 years.

So a HoF player averaging 13.5 fits with all that and a HoF QB needing a bit more seems to fit too.

Since QB importance is going up along with their career lengths it might be a little easier for a QB to make it in over another position going forward as well, but I'm going to stand by min 15 year career, top 6 for at least 6 seasons, and above average for 12 as the modern baseline.

How did I get to some of those choices? In 1994, 8 eventual HoF QB’s were starters. Joe Montana, Dan Marino, John Elway, Warren Moon, Steve Young, Jim Kelly, Troy Aikman, Brett Favre, that slides down a bit so that in 2000 it’s just Aikman, Favre, Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady. So if in 2019 you count Brady, Brees, Rodgers, and Mahomes, having 2 to 4 other starters be eventual HoF players is not out of line with the modern league at all. There is precedent for over a quarter of your starting QBs being HoF players.

I think looked at all the Hall of Famers in the DVOA era from Montana onward (and some of his data is missing). That got me an idea of how long those HoF’s could stay in the top 5 (smaller league) or 6 (after it expanded) while playing alongside 3 – 7 other hall of fame QBs.

I’ll go over that data along with some of the recent top 6 QBs using DYAR and DVOA to determine that. Not just because we are on FO, but the DYAR/DVOA ordinal rankings do seem to have a strong correlation to most fans “eye tests”. There can be some debate about the exact ordering but there seems to be very little disagreement about who the top 6 actually are in a given year.  

I’ll also add a couple other select QBs. This will show why Ryan is currently in the discussion for the HoF and Stafford is not and why there could be some debate around Big Ben who is leaning on the postseason portion of his resume and making a case for Rivers too and if River’s gets in it makes it clearer what Ryan needs.

This also helps illustrate how high the bar is for HoF QB and that it’s not really a slight against Ryan if he doesn’t make.

Joe Montana (1979-1994)

  • Career Length: 16 seasons (12 with DVOA data, 10 of those 12 as a qualifiers)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 7 seasons. DVOA 6 seasons. 7 seasons with one or both.
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 10 seasons, DVOA 10 times. (2 missing due to injury, 4 due to no data)
  • Best stat years: DYAR 1st (1983, 1989), DVOA 1st (1989)
  • Awards: Lots of “black ink”, 2 time MVP (3 other years with votes), 3 AP1, 8 PB
  • Post season: 16-7, 4-0 in SB.

No real questions. Great stats, great post seasons. Some injury issues, but yeah it’s Joe Montana we all know he was a leader in the offensive revolution the 78 rules changes allowed. His profile should improve a bit with the addition DVOA data coming soon too.

Dan Marino (1983-1999)

  • Career Length: 17 seasons (16 as a qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 11 seasons. DVOA 11 seasons. 12 seasons with one or both.
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 15 seasons, DVOA 15 seasons
  • Best stat years: DYAR 1st (1984, 1985, 1986, 1997), DVOA 1st (1984, 1996)
  • Awards: Tons of “black ink”, 3 AP1, 1 MVP (2 other years with votes), 9 PB
  • Post season: 8-10, 0-1 in SB.

Much is made about never winning it all, but it was still a QB career unlike anything before it. He’s the original 10 year gap from early to late career with leading the league in DVOA/DYAR too but if you can’t see how that resume strolled into Canton well I can’t help you.

John Elway (1983-1998)

  • Career Length: 16 seasons (16 as a qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 5 times. DVOA 3 times. 5 seasons with one or both.
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 10 seasons. DVOA 10 seasons.
  • Best stat years: DYAR 1st (1993), DVOA 3rd (1998)
  • Awards: Not much “black ink”. 1 MVP (votes in 3 other years), 9 PB
  • Post season: 14-7, 2-3 in SB.

It’s likely the post season success was a big factor. But it’s not like the stats were garbage. 10 seasons above average, 5 years in the top tier. Plenty of awards.

Warren Moon (1984-2000)

  • Career Length: 17 seasons (14 as a qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 4 times. DVOA 3 times. 4 seasons with one or both.
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 10 seasons, DVOA 8 seasons.
  • Best stat years: DYAR 1st (1990), DVOA 2nd (1988)
  • Awards: Little bit of “black ink”. Got MVP votes twice. 9 PB.
  • Post season: 3-7, no SB.

An admittedly weaker resume that doesn’t hit my modern bars for inclusion, but it’s also the Pro Football Hall of fame not just the NFL hall of fame and that plays a part in Moon’s induction too. You can search around here on FO for more details about his resume.

Steve Young (1985-1999)

  • Career Length: 15 seasons (9 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 6 times. DVOA 8 times. Top tier all 8 seasons as a starter in SF. Very impressive DVOA as back-up to Montana for multiple years. Not so great (22nd in both categories in 1 season as starter in TB)
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 8 seasons, DVOA 8 seasons.
  • Best stat years: DYAR 1st (1992, 1994), DVOA 1st (1992, 1994, 1997)
  • Awards: Lots of “black ink”. 2 time MVP (2 more years with votes). 3 AP1, 7 PB.
  • Post season: 8-6, 1-0 SB.

What all QBs on bad teams hope for even if the league doesn’t work the same way anymore. Couple years on a garbage team in TB then got onto a good team. Still had Aaron Rodgers length stint on the bench behind a future hall of famer in Joe Montana which based on the on field results in TB may have helped him. When he got his chance though he was top tier every season as a starter. Again no real question as to why he got in.

Jim Kelly (1986-1996)

  • Career Length: 11 seasons (11 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 2 times. DVOA 3 times. 3 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 8 seasons, DVOA 7 seasons.
  • Best stat years: DYAR 3rd (1991), DVOA 2nd (1990)
  • Awards: Almost no “black ink”. 0 MVP (2 years getting votes), 1 AP1, 5 PB
  • Post season: 9-8, 0-4 SB.

One of the oft cited borderline HoF examples. Stat wise he looks like just an above average QB with 3 years right near the very top. No one will convince me the 4 Super Bowls aren’t the main reason he got in. But again watching the play the Bills were perfecting a different kind of offense and his skill at running it was needed to make it work.

Troy Aikman (1989-2000)

  • Career Length: 12 seasons (11 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 4 times. DVOA 5 times. 5 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 9 seasons, DVOA 7 seasons.
  • Best stat years: DYAR 3rd (1992, 1993), DVOA 1st (1993, 1995)
  • Awards: Almost no “black ink”. 0 MVP (1 year getting votes), 6 PB
  • Post season: 11-4, 3-0 SB.

Also sometimes questioned. But he was pretty much always above average outside his rookie and final year. Had a solid 5 year peak, and leading the league in DVOA twice is impressive. Post season results likely pushed him over the top. As the DVOA titles in 93 and 95 attest he ran a very efficient offense on a very dominant team. Since you can’t judge a performance in a vacuum it was pretty clear that on that team he was damn good.

Brett Favre (1991-2010)

  • Career Length: 20 seasons (20 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 7 times. DVOA 6 times. 8 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 16 seasons, DVOA 14 seasons.
  • Best stat years: DYAR 3rd (1995), DVOA 2nd (1996)
  • Awards: Lots of “black ink,” 3 time MVP (4 other seasons with votes). 3 AP1, 10 PB Post season: 13-11, 1-1 SB.

His peaks (because he did cycle) were never quite to the very top but 8 seasons even if out of 20 in the top 5 (or 6) of all QBs was Montana/Marino/Young territory. The career totals may have played a part but the stats and awards success without that were enough. 16 seasons of average starter or better add up too and of course the “ironman” starts record for a QB. But with his early career overlapping the end of one set of Hall of Famers and his late career overlapping with a different set getting into the top echelon enough and never really being awful is clearly a solid reason for induction.

Kurt Warner (1998-2009)

  • Career Length: 12 seasons (9 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 2 times. DVOA 3 times. 3 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 5 seasons, DVOA 7 seasons.
  • Best stat years: DYAR 1st (1999, 2001), DVOA 1st (1999, 2001)
  • Awards: Lots of “black ink,” 2 MVPs, 2 AP1s, 4 PBs
  • Post season: 9-4, 1-2 SB.

Appropriate that he follows Favre in my list. He is the outlier and is the Terrell Davis of QBs I think. The, really high peak and 3 SB appearances (over 2 different teams) is what carried him in. though he did still hit 7 seasons of at least above average starter. Another example of if you are going to have a short peak make it really high.

Peyton Manning (1998-2015)

  • Career Length: 18 seasons (17 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 15 times. DVOA 13 times. 15 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 16 seasons, DVOA 16 seasons (all but that last season)
  • Best stat years: DYAR 1st (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2013), DVOA 1st (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2013)
  • Awards: Lots of “black ink.” 5 MVPs (5 other years with votes). 7 AP1, 14 PB
  • Post season: 14-13, 2-2 SB.

No blurb needed it’s all insanely good. Anyone who watched him knew they were watching something special.

Tom Brady (2000-2187)

  • Career Length: just getting started at 22 seasons (20 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 15 times. DVOA 13 times. 15 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 19 seasons, DVOA 20 seasons all 20 with one or both in the top 16. Though I suppose we should really get on him about finishing 17th in DVOA in 2019, so awful.
  • Best stat years: DYAR 1st (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2016, 2017), DVOA 1st (2007, 2010, 2012)
  • Awards: Some “black ink.” 3 MVPs (7 other years with votes). 3 AP1, 15 PB
  • Post season: 35-12, 7-3 SB.

He’s absurd, we all know it. But because the irrational Manning vs Brady thread should never die, Manning does still have the lead in DVOA titles and they are tied in DYAR titles. So clearly….

Drew Brees (2001-2020)

  • Career Length: 20 seasons (19 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 13 times. DVOA 12 times. 14 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 17 seasons, DVOA 17 seasons (just the 3 years in SD, 1 that didn’t qualify and then the 2 as a starter)
  • Best stat years: DYAR 1st (2008, 2011, 2013), DVOA 1st (2019)
  • Awards: They ran out of “black ink.” 0 MVPs (4 years with votes). 1 OPoY, 1 AP1, 13 PB
  • Post season: 9-9, 1-0 SB.

He’s just a complier! Yeah no. He’s not a Manning, Brady or Marino outlier but he was nutso and one of the 6 best QBs in the league for damn near his whole career and putting up traditional numbers that no other QB was. Open and shut case.

Eli Manning (2004-2019)

  • Career Length: 16 seasons (15 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 0 times. DVOA 0 times. 0 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 8 seasons, DVOA 7 seasons
  • Best stat years: DYAR 8th (2008, 2011), DVOA 8th (2011)
  • Awards: No “black ink.” 4 PB
  • Post season: 8-4, 2-0 SB.

He was NEVER top 6 in DYAR or DVOA. He was only top 16 in DVOA 7 times and DYAR 8 times in 16 seasons. If he gets in, it is entirely because of 2 great post seasons. Stafford's resume already blows Manning out of the water in everything but SB wins and PBs and Stafford is not a HoF candidate. He was a below average starter more than he was an above average starter and his above average had no peak. If he makes the HoF it tells us everything we need to know about how much they care about post season results. I suppose “telling the story of the NFL” would qualify because the story of why Brady was “only” 7-3 in the Super Bowl is important, but it’s important because of Brady not because of anything Eli did.

Ben Roethlisberger (2005-2021)

  • Career Length: 18 seasons (17 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 5 times. DVOA 4 times. 6 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 14 seasons, DVOA 14 seasons
  • Best stat years: DYAR 1st (2014), DVOA 2nd (2010)
  • Awards: Little bit of “black ink.” 0 MVPs. 1 ORoY, 6 PB
  • Post season: 13-10, 2-1 SB.

The resume is not entirely the post season. 14 seasons as an above average starter. 4 - 6 seasons in the top tier with 1 year hitting the absolute peak. Awards are slim. It’s only a little shy of the number of seasons at the pinnacle and a bit light on awards. Postseaon success will make up for that, because again you aren’t going to convince me that chances for ringz doesn’t play a part.

Rivers (2004-2020)

  • Career Length: 17 seasons (16 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 8 times. DVOA 6 times. 9 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 14 seasons, DVOA 13 seasons
  • Best stat years: DYAR 2nd (2010, 2013, 2017), DVOA 1st (2008, 2009)
  • Awards: Little bit of “black ink.” 0 MVPs (2 years getting votes), 8 PB
  • Post season: 5-7, 0 SB.

An interesting case. He was top tier for around 6-9 seasons and did hit the very top. He was above average for 14. He has a comeback player of the year in 13. No postseason success and awards are light. While I argue that who is in the hall doesn’t necessarily point to who should be, it’s Favre’s statistical resume without the awards or post season success. Actually advanced stats like him more. It’s a bit better stat and award wise than Big Ben, but again Rivers doesn’t have the post season stuff. I think he and Ben should both get in based on the trends I’m mapping though.

Aaron Rodgers (2005-present)

  • Career Length: 17 seasons (14 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 7 times. DVOA 7 times. 8 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 12 seasons, DVOA 13 seasons (only 2015 since he became a starter didn’t make it. Like Brady in 19 he finished 17th that year, even the injury seasons in 2013 and 2017 still made it)
  • Best stat years: DYAR 2nd (2011, 2014, 2020, 2021), DVOA 1st (2011, 2014, 2020, 2021)
  • Awards: Tiny bit “black ink.” 4 MVPs (1 other year getting votes), 4 AP1, 10 PB
  • Post season: 11-10, 1-0 SB.

Like Steve Young the years on the bench might depress the resume a bit, but he’s still hit the top tier marks more than Favre did (same as Rivers and more than Big Ben and any other current contemporaries outside Brady, Manning, and Brees) and the consistency in the top half of the league is on that Manning/Brady level too. Clearly the awards reflect it and yeah it’s an easy HoF profile.

Matt Ryan (2008-present)

  • Career Length: 14 seasons (14 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 6 times. DVOA 5 times. 7 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 12 seasons, DVOA 12 seasons (only 2015 and 2021 are outside)
  • Best stat years: DYAR 1st (2016), DVOA 1st (2016)
  • Awards: Tiny bit “black ink.” 1 MVPs, 1 AP1, 1 ORoY, 4 PB
  • Post season: 4-6, 0-1 SB.

So basically if his career was over now he has been top tier in 5-7 seasons with one of those at the very peak. 12 seasons as an above average starter. Add in the MVP, AP, 4 PB, SB appearance and yeah that is worth talking about the HoF. It's not airtight of course as I've pointed out but it's reasonable to talk about as HoF. He hasn’t been as good as Rodgers who he has to compete with and it’s interesting with Rivers and Big Ben who he might also have to have some competition with. But there is more time, even if it could be tricky. Just needs more awards or more top 6, or some more post season success to seal it I think.

Stafford (2009-present)

  • Career Length: 13 seasons (12 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 3 times. DVOA 1 times. 4 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 9 seasons, DVOA 10 seasons
  • Best stat years: DYAR 5th (2011), DVOA 4th (2019)
  • Awards: Tiny bit “black ink.” 1 PB
  • Post season: 4-3, 1-0 SB.

Bringing him up here because of all the hypothetical stuff earlier. He's not been a top guy much, or at all depending on your standards. But he’s not Eli bad. He has only 1 PB and the SB ring then nothing else on the resume so again why I used him for a hypothetical about career totals. Clearly he isn't in the conversation but could have career stats that are and still not be in the real conversation. He has been above average enough that if he can push the 1 – 4 seasons as a top tier to the 4 – 7 level that the resume will be worth discussion. If he plays stat wise at those levels then the awards will likely fill out too, and given the team he is on it could lead to a better post season resume as well.

Wilson (2012-present)

  • Career Length: 10 seasons (10 as qualifier)
  • Top Tier QB: DYAR 2 times. DVOA 2 times. 3 seasons with 1 or both
  • Top Half QB: DYAR 10 seasons, DVOA 10 seasons
  • Best stat years: DYAR 3rd (2015), DVOA 3rd (2015)
  • Awards: 1 spot of “black ink.” 0 OPoY (votes in 3 years), 9 PB
  • Post season: 9-7, 1-1 SB.

Above average every season, better ordinal rankings than anything Stafford has done. None of the major awards but gotten consideration. It’s on the edge. Has the post season stuff to bolster the lack of truly being in the top tier enough. As mentioned there is a plenty of history with even more than 5 HoF QBs playing at the same time so there is nothing unfair about having to compete with Rodgers, Brady, and Brees at the same time. Kelly, Young, Aikman, Moon, Elway, Marino, and Montana all managed to pull off multiple top tier finishes against each other and had Favre sneaking in at the end like Mahomes, Allen, Jackson, and Prescott are doing now. So if Carrol was holding him back like I suspect then the new home in Denver should clear up that slight ding on an otherwise very promising resume right away. It’s only slightly weaker than what Ryan has, and Wilson has 4 seasons to potentially match or best that.

Resume conclusions
I didn’t do anyone else because really you need 10 years at QB to be worth considering and a lot can happen. I’ve mentioned a few younger guys that have very clear trajectories, but you never know. So I didn’t put in the time.

So Rivers and Roethlisberger are done. Their cases are made. I think some people think Ben is a shoe in and Rivers is out, but I don't think either case is clear cut. Again the HoF is pretty high bar with the current system. I included all the HoF from the DVOA era to help illustrate what the bar really is. Rivers was clearly one of the 6 best QBs in the league for over half his career while Ben was for only a 1/3rd of his. Rivers got MVP consideration for 2 seasons and OPoY for 3. Ben never did. Ben got ORoY. But really Ben's case is the light Elway's case was against his peers just kind of in the opposite order for the wins. A better than average QB with a handful of seasons at the very top and good post season success.  River’s is kind of the Marino light version of the modern crew but still good enough. Both of their cases are the “light” versions in part because Manning and Brady do not have a parallel in that mid 80’s to late 90’s group. Which is also part of the reason I think both Ben and Rivers make it. They were still clearly some of the best players in the league for multiple years and did things that their peers and even previous players didn’t.

Ryan is building a case closer to Rivers in terms of being a top performer but he managed to snag a few of the better accolades.


136 That's a really nice…

That's a really nice breakdown. Thanks for doing it!   Wilson, Rivers, Ben., Ryan and Stafford I consider to be the interesting cases. All kinda float on the border and it's hard to see all getting in or all not, but how you split them is difficult.

Eli getting in over Coughlin would be a travesty. lol

Wilson probably has the best chance just do to being younger. A couple more good years or postseasons and he gets in pretty easy, but if he is just above average for another 5-6 years and doesn't rack up much postseason success it gets interesting. 

Ryan would probably be next and a couple more good seasons could make his case pretty easily. I feel like he could use more pro bowls but that may be difficult in the AFC. He was in a SB at least. 

137 Ringz are already sketchy

But CCG winz? That was Mikes argument last year as well. Man, do people really care about that? Why not just CCG appearances? And how do we treat getting a bye (that's changed recently!) but losing in the divisional but still going 0-1 so that a WC team can go 1-1 and that looks better. I can't imagine valuing 4 losses in the last week of the post season over an actual Bert Bell, OPOTY, MVP (more votes for Ryan in '16 than Kellys entire career) and OROTY just because Ryans RB whiffed on a block in the SB

Basically I am saying that comparing any player to one already in, really doesn't matter and can lead to some slippery slope type arguments as well.

That's literally the HOF though? I certainly matters to some degree otherwise it's just even more arbitrary and subjective. Sure there will always be some subjectivity but it sets a decent bar. I'm not sure who else the slope is allowing in that shouldn't. 

But it's a little weird to talk about "career stats and issues with those" but also want more of them from Tyreek (since you want another 2017, which is actually a decently high bar!).

His problem with making it might actually be that he moved to the conference where it's harder to get a Pro-Bowl nod and he'll likely need some of those, or another SB, or something like that to help his case because just being top 5 career in the traditional stats at retirement is not going to be enough in the modern era without some changes to the selection process. 

Which is fine. That's his prerogative. In the end it's more or less balanced in terms of conferences in a career but no one says he has to focus on such a thing.  

Let's assume Ryan gets in. Then let's consider Stafford making 3 of the next 6 Pro Bowls.

But I hinged it on five, Kellys number (aka I never said he's in right now). If Ryan gets 5, it'll be hard to say, "well, CCG winzzzz, sorry" and exclude him because it DOES measure him to his contemporaries AND history. PBs are literally for a designated years, not all time. Kelly just sets the bar for how much contemporary work one has to do to be considered. 

Stafford, to this day though, doesn't even have an 2nd team all pro conference award from anybody. No reputable publication has ever considered him even a top 4 QB in a singular year, let alone the best. Stafford just doesn't have the resume. Could he rip off four straight PB noms? Sure, but that's a LOT for a guy entering his age 34 season with only one under his belt. Although he'll surely get some sympathy votes, for winning a SB, this upcoming year as a apology present but that's conjecture. The point is, Stafford is REALLY far from the HOF, outside of raw career totalz (which, indeed, have issues for QBs nowadays). I won't entertain it until he actually gets close to Matt Ryan! He doesn't have the OROTY like him, and that cant change. Doesn't have a Bert Bell. Doesn't even have one MVP or OPOTY vote. He's got a LOT to do to just catch Ryan. Talk to me again in a few years about Strafford. Same for Kirk (no all pro mentions, MVP, OPOTY, OROTY, etc), although he has a couple more PBs but still less than Ryan. I'm not gonna pretend like they're close. MVP/Bert Bell/OPOTY/OROTY matters a good bit. Ryans resume also essentially matches Stablers. Kirk and Stafford aren't close and I won't have it, sorry.

I've argued for and against Ryan, Rivers, Ben, Eli (well I understand the pro Eli arguments, it's just too much weight on 2-8 games of a 117-117 starting record career imo), because they are indeed border. I can't accept any arguments that exclude Brady (none), Rodgers (there was one a year ago or so right here on this board, yep it was nonsense!), or Brees (none really). Russ will be in. Every eligible 9x PB skill player (not just QB) is already in the HOF. The ring (what 9x PB Moon doesn't have), OROTY-3, OPOTY-3, a couple OPOTY-4 and the 2019 all pro mentions just solidify it (and even if you aren't somehow convinced, he will be in the end). History does matter and excluding him because he didn't get any MVP votes...bah humbug, 2019 was great and in my eyes he was the MVP (and reputable, yes reputable, PFFs). 

Each case is unique but focusing back on Ryan, his peak is quite clearly better than Kelly, Rivers, Ben and Eli, right? Hopefully we can agree on that. The only thing people can say against him is the longevity (proxy: PBs). You could say Kelly had a better peak than Rivers, Ben and Eli (unless your obtusely fixated on 1-4 games instead of the span that is 4x bigger than it). But you also could say Rivers and Ben had the longevity that Kelly and Ryan didn't/haven't. But if Ryan matches Kellys "longevity" (era adjusting), I can't really argue against Ryan being in. He's slowing down and he's inching toward the HOF line instead of sprinting. Tyreek is sprinting though. He won't keep it up forever though of course, but he's off to a great start and I don't think a pebble or two is gonna trip him up.

If Ryan gets a PB nod alongside, lets say, Mahomes, and beats out Allen et al next year or something, he surely w/should've had a good year to beat out those (more!) popular guys so...get/let him in, IDC. Apparently he's a nice guy like OP said (and from my POV he hasn't really done anything terrible either), so, whatever.  

And to be clear, this isn't to be mean to Kelly, but it just looks like he's the bar for HOF QBs and I want the criteria to at least be somewhat consistent, even though I know it'll never be perfect. Aikman might be others bar but 1 more PB and 3 more ringz (and/but only 1 SB MVP) will always be more in peoples eyes, even if Kellys peak was better.  

138 I got potentially too…

I got potentially too detailed and I know you do like the very simple put it on the line answers. So I'll happily do that here before giving yet more details.

Part of my point in using Stafford was that even given all the hypotheticals I gave him, he just doesn't have a HoF case. You have to give him an MVP caliber season, 3 or 4 PBs, and like 2 more trips to the Super Bowl to get him. All of that. Even if some of those things are not completely out of the question it's not happening. Even with none of that, his career totals are likely to still look like Ryan's. That was the point. Stafford is not in the HoF discussion. Cousins was another extreme example that could have great career stats too and is even farther from the actual discussion.

The arguments around Ryan basically boil down to needing 1 of the following to make it a lock. 1) 2 more PB, 2) A major award, 3) Another SB run OR a couple of deep playoff runs.  Give him any one of those and with how the selections seem to be made and how he'll be weighed against his competition and you won't really be able to argue another player over him for too long.

That was basically my argument for Hill too. He needs to have another PB OR a few more solid but not spectacular years and it silences pretty much any argument against him when compared to his peers.

Wilson basically just needs time because I believe the Hall is going to care more about longevity for a profile like his that doesn't quite have the stat peaks of some of his peers. If next season he gets a major award, or some more post season success, which to answer your question is getting to the SuperBowl based on what I think the committee has valued in the past, and has a career ending injury then he's also a lock. But if he just gets to 15 years with a continuation of the profile he has that is also likely a lock because it gives him weight against his peers.

Eli has no business in the Hall even with 2 post seasons. Everything else he did just pales compared to what his contemporaries did.


I also get your desire to use past players to establish a baseline. But I don't think it works that way in practice. Though yes I did basically try and establish a baseline myself for who to include in the discussions and why past players made it vs those who didn't. That's how I got my "top 6" QB line. That's how I got to SB appearances being important, though just getting to the post season also seems to carry weight. But the arguments in the room because it's a cut down process are going to be OK why does Matt Ryan deserve to be a finalist over Elgton Jenkins or Eli Manning. Then its why does Matt Ryan deserve to be in the final 15 over Tyreek Hill or Philip Rivers? That was the point about Jim Kelly not mattering for Matt Ryan. Past HoF member are useful for deciding if a player should be in the conversation, but after that they don't really matter for if a player actually gets through the process.


Some more insight into why I make my arguments
It's messy because it was like 25 minutes of work so I wasn't being clean, but I threw some data in a google sheet to help me visualize what made a HoF QB in the DVOA era and what some current players look like as well. It's designed to use the Measure column as a filter, since sheets occasionally bitches about having merged cells when you do a filter I triplicated the player names so it's less finicky about how you create the filter.

Also yes it would be instructive to have non HoF contemporaries in there. I have some of that data, but things were busy enough even when you filter it down to just one measure or just a couple of players and again while I wanted to do this for my own reasons it was still done quickly. I can refine later. Stafford is the only one I left in there to help illustrate what a good, but not great QB looks like. Eli is there because he gets brought up, but he's a poor QB who had success

The first row for each player is their average ordinal ranking of both DYAR and DVOA so a 1.5 was top in one, 2nd in another. I settled on 10 for the conditional formatting midpoint because it seemed like anything above that likely helped your chances of looking HoF. The whole point of that is that combined average ranking does seem to correlate pretty well with public perception of how that QB ranked vs his peers. If you are a 1.5 there is likely debate around who was the best. It's not perfect. Favre being 3rd in 95 say but then there was debate about Scott Mitchell's one hit wonder year, there were Elway, Moon and Aikman backers who would have touted them, and what if Young hadn't been injured? Clearly Favre belongs in that top 3 debate, but....  Also I do think DVOA and DYAR do a very good job of capturing QB play so while it wasn't something a HoF voter would have used for the guys who are in (outside of maybe Manning) it might be going forward.

The next row is just the "stars and crosses" that you can see on PFR. * = Pro Bowl, + = AP1. 'Gold' fill means league MVP.  I suppose with a bit more time I could do a gradient scale based on AP/MVP/OPoTY votes and such because those do in fact matter. But again quick and dirty. It's likely you could slap a number on that. A PB is a 1, an AP is a 2, an MVP is a 3. An MVP vote or OPotY vote is a 1. Something. The voters don't actually do that, but I bet looking at the history you could probably put a weight to those things. As it is the more you see in there the better.

The 3rd row is just 'qb record' in the playoffs. It's mostly there because getting a team to the playoffs does seem to matter. Then it's got the 'gold' and 'light gold' for SB winner or SB loser as I'm pretty convinced that making the playoffs carries weight regardless of how you do and that making the super bowl and winning the super bowl give bumps in merit. I don't think conference championship games appearances give any more merit bump than just making the playoffs. Not saying I agree I just had it out there to help visualize things and seeing it made me go, oh that's why Kelly got in. I did add the color block to Youngs line since he actually did contribute to the team during the regular season (117 attempts @-3.7% DVOA in 88, and 105 attempts @48.3% DVOA in 89). But yes that's weird, having no record in there is kinda the way to show Montana was the QB in the post season.

So what does this visual help tell me? Basically you need to win an argument in 2 out of 3 rows vs your peers. It tells me Moon got in because he had a solid peak as top statistical QB. He had a long run of getting awards which tells you how he was viewed at the time. He did not have post season success but he did get there

Eli sticks out like a sore thumb on the QB rankings, barely even seeing any light green. Sure it's light green because being the 8th best QB in the league is not a bad thing, but that's his peak. Stafford fares better, but all those blanks in awards and the postseason? So if he gets in it's very clear how much the committee likes winning the Super Bowl and you can adjust your expectations for Ryan/Mahomes/Herbert/Insert favorite young QB here.

Roethlisberger becomes pretty clear he'll make it, those QB rankings look better than you might remember, he made the playoffs a lot and hit the pinnacle more than his peers (outside the 2 mega exceptions)

Rivers also has a very good looking ranking and awards line. No peaks, no "gold" but arguments that he was likely the the 2nd or 3rd best QB in the league for 6 seasons?

Wilson is also pretty clear. The full awards line, the gold in the playoffs line. The QB ranking line isn't as glowing. He's always easily be a top half of the league QB, but if you want to compare him to Ryan, there is some pink in that line where he was "only" the 12th best QB by advanced metrics. He doesn't get up into the rarefied "green" levels quite enough. So that's what can be used against him. As mentioned if he's allowed to cook in Denver that probably takes care of itself.


Brady and Manning really stick out too. I mean you basically have the history of the Super Bowl from 1987 - 2021 captured with just those 19 QB's. Brady helps the modern era guys, but I have a feeling if Brady was only as successful in the post season as a Montana, Elway, or Manning, that you might still have it mostly covered as you might get something on there for Rivers, or even another one for Big Ben. You might flip the color for Ryan or Wilson as well.

So yes, Manning, Brady, Brees, Rodgers, and Rivers might dim the qb stats ranking line for the contemporaries but that works for you too. Ryan's still got a good looking line and can use the awards and post season lines to help bolster the argument.

This is the HoF bar you need to look good on all 3 lines and you need to be better in 2 out of 3 vs someone who might be in the voting process as the same time as you. Rivers, Big Ben, Ryan, and Wilson can all do that. Eli can't. I can see why he gets in the conversation, but it's not good enough to get him in before Brees and Rivers start being considered and they both look better than him so that keeps him out of the finalist room. Then you'll eventually get Brady and Rodgers who will go to the front of the line. Then by then you might get Ryan who looks better so we're moving that QB forward. Stafford might make it in the door as well and depending on the PB line and other post season, now he's looking better.

That's another reason I laid it out the way I did. It helps me think about at least the QB peers that could end up being discussed at the same time.

At some point sharing what a McNabb or Flacco looks like and getting Mahomes and other younger players on the chart will help.

So there is even more detail on why I laid things out the way I did and how that all boils down to. Ryan, Rivers, Big Ben, Brady, Rodgers, P. Manning, Wilson YES. Eli and Stafford NO.

139 "his career totals are likely to still look like Ryan's"

That's what we can call a compiler. For Ryan there was some actual merit that the awards noticed, no? There's no need for me to make up hypotheticals to include Stafford or Cousins but I'm also not saying it's impossible. They just have a lot of work to do, unlike Ryan who only needs a little. 

The arguments around Ryan basically boil down to needing 1 of the following to make it a lock. 1) 2 more PB, 2) A major award, 3) Another SB run OR a couple of deep playoff runs.  

See that's where I am more lenient. Just another 1 PB and it should eventually get him in at some point. There will surely be a group in which he could be one of the 5. Kelly got in on first ballot? Whew! Over our own James Lofton who was already waiting longer? MAN, Kelly must've been LOVED by the committee because...CCG winz? My goodness. I assure you he's the only one they tracked that for. No one else cared about Stablers et al (which I noticed you didn't touch on despite a very similar resume to Ryan and he's in, IDK if era can just adjust him in 6 years ago but it won't for Ryan at some point, if he matches Kellys PBs).

If Rivers and Ben are in before Ryan is eligible that could make his path clearer. But at the end of the day Mike is probably viewing it his way because that's what hes seen. Not right on the mark because each voter is different and has their own biases but IDK think many are looking at top X rankings in DVOA that often. Or X DYAR a year. If Aaron Donald puts up 0s for the rest of his multi year career, would that really affect anything? Nah, I don't think so. He's already done a lot (enough) and the rest is padding. The most important part of career is already done with. Kinda like Tyreek. The meat is essentially there. Rounding it to see just what number ballot they'll end up on is essentially what they're looking at in the coming years. Is anyone going to look back at say "well Ryan you got some Stabler Kelly resume requirements but you weren't better than Brees, Rodgers, Manning or Brady a couple years, so sorry."

140 We aren't really in…

We aren't really in disagreement other than how the I think the committee uses players already in. I think players already in are really only a measuring stick as to who should be in the conversation about being a semi finalist and then after that they likely play little part because the process is about the players being considered and you pretty much have to weigh them against their peers because you are eliminating players. So my arguments about Kelly basically apply to Stabler. But I like thinking about and discussing this stuff so I'm going to be verbose again. I'm not really arguing with you, just clarifying my thoughts and processes for you and anyone else interested because while this started as a tangent for me, I might do more with it and I like the feedback.

Stabler stopped playing in 84 so didn't really play in the DVOA era. Since, as I mentioned, I'm using the DVOA/DYAR rankings as a calculable way to get a proxy for how public perception likely ranked QBs at the time I couldn't really include him. I do not have any other easy data to do that with. I suppose I could have checked the average ordinal rankings of the traditional stats (yards, passer rating, TDs, INTs) but I had the DVOA/DYAR stuff easy to hand when I wanted to check my thoughts on how the hall might view QBs.

I think Pro Bowls were the proxy for this in the past, but I believe the modern committee is giving less weight to using PBs as a measure and looking at how other metrics and rating systems view players. So I think PBs are still viewed as more important but are now a lesser award and not both an award and way to measure the relative ranking of a player in a given year. So again that's where I'm bringing in the DYAR/DVOA ranking proxy. It's what I have quick and dirty access to that likely works as a good proxy for how the committee is using the newer data and rankings. As Tanier said many of them are using other tools and measures like that more. I don't know what those are specifically and might not have access to them even if i did. I agree that my specific metric is likely not looked at by anyone. But the relative rankings it produces are likely to give very similar results to what the data they are using does.

It seems like the DYAR/DVOA average ranks do line up with public perception fairly well, at least for anecdotal ranking lists of QBs I dug up for various years from 85 to now, I went with it. When I looked at pro bowl snubs and bad inclusions for QBs the snubbed players were high in the DYAR/DVOA average, the undeserving were lower. It was not a perfect, or rigorous check, but it did feel like a solid sanity check. My perception is that being viewed as one of the very best at your position matters for getting into the Hall (hence why PB was a pretty solid metric in the past as it was an easy way to get that information).

With other metrics becoming readily available and being slowly adopted I calculated that top 5 or 6 for a QB from 1980 onward was likely a good break point which would help with data visualization and give a solid discussion point. You can quibble with the concept or the cutoffs if you like I admitt a lot of this was quick and dirty as this is all tangential to what I'm really looking to do with the data, so it was one of those, I have this data and I think it could answer this question lets see. It also seems important to be viewed as at least above average even in a down year. There seems to be leeway for first and last seasons and some leeway for injuries as long as there aren't too many injury seasons. Since the Hall doesn't have any hard and fast metrics that's all a wishy washy mush of stuff anyway. So that's why I give different weights to how "bright" the ranking line is when visualizing it. It's just an attempt to quantify a process that is currently pretty much all qualitative. Of course Stafford and Eli very quickly sanity check that it works as they were never perceived as great QBs by the majority of fans even with some great traditional stats don't fair all that well in these rankings either.

I agree I'm potentially stricter than the committee might be on qualifications. I know I'm using some mushy data to put more solid rules to a process that does not actually have solid rules. I'm also framing everything in in terms of every season being a last season for a player when I try to figure out what I think it might take. So I'm looking at the data I have compared to other potential candidates and going. OK if they only get one more season what is the minimum they need? OK if they get 2 more seasons what's the minimum they need, etc. So that might be tougher on Ryan than it needs to be.

As mentioned Ryan has a resume that I believe easily gets him in the conversation and likely gets him to semi-finalist fairly easily too, even if he doesn't play another down. 1 PB might still lead to a lot of discussions that keeps slowing him down and there is a chance that 1 isn't enough to get him in, in my mind. So what would he need if he only has 2 more seasons. Well 2 PB and I can't see any real argument to keep him out. If I'm stumping for him 4 pro bowls while competing against Rodgers, Wilson, Brees and then 2 more while competing against what the AFC has now? Throw in the early career consistently viewed as a top tier QB and then the MVP season with MVP vacuums Brady and Rodgers, you can't keep him from moving along for very long, it may still take a few years but you can't stop that. Without the additional stuff I mentioned you might be able to ague against the just 4 PB, not quite enough success in the post season, was top tier a lot but often at the bottom of that tier etc. That's the same thing I did for rankings/post season/etc that I listed as other options of what I thought he might need to make sure he gets in.


Also yes Stafford is very much a stat compiler and as mentioned hes in my data sets and arguments to help show the dangers of relying on that. He was a good sanity check. I suppose I could have included a "Where they rank all time in X category" just for illustration as well.


I also agree that Donald doesn't need to do anything else at this point. I do believe that career length matters because we've got plenty of examples where short careers that were very good don't make it and longer careers that basically had the same peak value as that short career did make it. Donald has clearly played long enough at a high enough level that nothing else matters. It's different by position of course. So how long changes for different players.

What I did for QBs was look what the HoF had used before. The average HoF QB career is 15.2 years. Of course that isn't the average time as a starter as we know of multiple HoF QBs who didn't play for several years of their careers. When only 1 QB is less than 10, Bob Waterfield who played from 45 - 52 so different game it does seem like having some factor for career length matters. Kelly (11), Staubach (11), Warner (12), and Aikman (12) are the only QBs who started their careers in the Super Bowl era who didn't hit at least 14 year careers. That lead me to put even more weight on getting to around that 15.2 year career average and feeling the committee will be tougher on anyone with a shorter career.

That's why Wilson may just need to compile stats for awhile, as dumb as that may sound. Get him to 14 years of playing and there is no mental roadblock to needing to have something really exceptional on the resume. He's got enough peak and enough longevity and was special enough that he's in. Shorter than that and some members starting getting even more nit picky about things.

You're dealing with voter perceptions. That's also why I said I think making the super bowl, matters and making the conference championship doesn't only making the playoffs. It's the perception that a player was at the top of the league long enough that making the super bowl measures because people do remember that, or are easily reminded of it. It doesn't matter that it's just a measure of winning the conference championship. That's also why making the playoffs seems to matter. You had to be on fairly good team, or at least a memorable team, to make the playoffs. So that's just another point in your favor of being something special in the league. That's part of the deal with Kelly. Making 4 SB's in a row is going to boost any player on those Bills teams if they do anything else outside of that window. It's a special thing. Even if no one admits that it will color the perception of the players. It will make them feel like they were better even if other stats point out that, no he was never really better than the 3rd best QB in the league, he was lucky to make any PBs, etc. The feelings when they vote are going to still be positively influenced by the fact everyone knows he went to 4 SB in a row, that's the thing that will override perceptions because the Super Bowl is mythologized heavily. If you are a fan of the sport it's going to influence your perception of players.

Major awards do that for any position. If you get 3 or 4 years in a row of something that is viewed as the pinnacle of the sport you get a lot positive force the Hall. Favre winning 3 MVP in a row probably didn't need to play another down of football after that and would likely made it in. Any arguments against Rodgers were shut down with the 3rd MVP in 2020. Eli gets brought up for 2 Super Bowls despite not being remotely good enough on any other measure.

Actually the only argument I would accept for Eli and the Hall is that they have that "You can't tell the story of the NFL without the players in the Hall." I actually don't mind that being a thing. Despite all the stats I use and love I'm fine if the Hall is not decided by a completely clear cut formula. Tom Brady is a massive part of the story of the NFL and losing 2 Super Bowls to the Giants and Eli Manning is a big part of Tom's story. So if the whole committee feels that is reason enough to include him, because he's a hugely important footnote, then OK. Sorry if I'm repeating myself, but as someone who leans small hall any mention of Eli making it really bothers me, he wasn't that good, he wasn't that important even for those teams winning the Super Bowl. I guess it's a pet peeve.

And with that, I really do think I done with the huge posts on this subject. I enjoy it, but I'm 95% sure I'm past the point of anyone else besides me caring what I think about it. So if there are any other replies that do seem to want or need a reply from me I will be short and specific and stay done with it. Thank you anyone who has read all this.


141 Mostly just wanted to say…

Mostly just wanted to say thanks for writing all that up however. Brady and Peyton kinda bork the curve.  You could split their counting stats and awards in half and each HALF would probably get in comfortably. 

Career lenght is intersting as it's much more important for some postions (QB) than others (WR, RB). 

While I agree that Eli's two super bowls are an important part of the story of the NFL, Eli seems the wrong person to pick to tell them. (either Coughlin or someone on the defense would make waaay more sense, probably Coughlin).


142 There's more info avaiable

But I don't think much has changed. They may use that info throughout the season more for when they vote (OL specifically) but at the end of the year it's more or less the same proxy with standard procedure throughout the years. 

Eli and Stafford were never sanity checks for me personally since we discussed them last year and how far they were. Eli through his retirement and how it almost entirely hinges on the 2 SB runs (2 runs of 4 games aka not good enough to get a bye, hmm maybe that says something?) that are just so noisy and such a small sample size. The whole "can't tell the story without him" is funny because you could include literally everyone depending on how short or long you want it to go. Oh you want a "reasonable" length? Alright good luck telling even that time period without DAVID TYREE. Yeah and we know he's never gonna get even a single ballot vote. So if you want to exclude him you have to move the goalposts AGAIN. I'm out on that silly way of getting in. 

With Stafford it was through the trade of "not THAT much of an upgrade. We got 13 years of evidence for that." Congrats on their ringz but that doesn't get Dilfer in (and oh man is there a lot of similarities between Dilfer and Stafford it's hilarious but draft capital and recency bias follows players FOREVER and influences a lot of opinions). 

For Ryan (because of Terrell Davis, among others), it seems like MVPs mean a LOT. Theyre twice as long Elis two SB runs combined (longer now actually). 

In the end I think Mike has taken his musings from the panel and come to a good proxy of stars and crosses. For most players it'll be reflected at some point. Mitch going to one for being 3rd in QBR is fine. Because it's literally just one. We have years of other evidence of say "lol." That one doesn't change his resume. Nor will Zada being snubbed a couple years back. If youre truly great, you repeat some of the easier stuff (MVPs are obviously very hard). 

For Kelly, I get ringz are probably weighted too much but CCG is a crazy one. The fact you can't count his ringz means he lost em. And they were still awarding as if he make it on first ballot? Yikes. Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and I guess Kelly because why not. 

Oh well, Ryan is already in the convo. BUT the precedent should get him in eventually if he could do a smidge more. First ballot for Ryan is likely have already sailed but the HOF chugs on 5 a year whether the pool is good or not. There will surely be a down year (like this year) where a Kelly+/Stabler resume gets him in. If he reaches it and beats out the ever loved Herbert's and Allen's of the world for a PB nod. 

76 Lance Allworth might be in…

Lance Allworth might be in there too, but go back much farther in pro football history and nobody is producing 70 career 40-plus receptions because receivers like Paul Warfield or Bullet Bob Hayes just didn't catch that many passes

I don't disagree but I do have to wonder about Don Hutson. He did average 16.4 yards/rec on 488 receptions. Jackson got to 73 40+ yard receptions with a 17.6 yards/rec on 632. Hill hit 33 with a 13.8 yards/rec and 479 rec.

So it does feel safe to assumed based on the likely correlated stats that Hutson has more than 33 but less than 73. We know he had at least 10 since in 10 of his 11 seasons his long was over 40 yards. But we also know that at least 45 of those 488 didn't make it since he didn't break 40 yards in 45-644-7 season in 1940 (one of his worst seasons). But the man had a lot of long TD catches and was playing a different game in the 30's and 40's than most other WR. So yeah I don't think he tops 70 either but like with most things pass catcher in the NFL even though he played a different game he still shows up many conversations about the topic. He's kinda the ultimate "blank ink" guy (as the league leader in at least 1 of the major traditional categories for his whole career) and of course 8 time AP checks a lot of the stars and crosses boxes too. The GOAT before Jerry Rice came along and said, yeah I'm taking that.

Anyway it was the only other name that popped into my head for pre-1978 besides those you mentioned. For the curious Warfield and Hayes had fewer receptions than Hutson (427 and 371 vs 488) so while they did have 20.1 and 20.0 yards/rec they are likely behind Hutson on that too. Hayes had 3 of his 11 seasons (though only 28 of the 371 recs) where he didn't have a single 40+ yard rec. Warfield loses 39 of his as potentials.

It's a fun thought experiment, but yeah. Very different NFL from 94 onward when we have the stats.

78 I won't argue Hutson over…

I won't argue Hutson over Baugh for pre substitution overall GOAT but it may be closer than some think. Hutson was just the GOAT receiver for a long time.

As for overall Hutson did have 30 career INT as a DB only 1 fewer than Baugh over the same 1940 - 45 time frame. Baugh had 11 in 43 which really props that total up as 5 was his next best. Hutson had 3 seasons between Baughs best and 2nd best with 8, 7, and 6 INT seasons in 43, 42, and 40. 

So it's not like Hutson was a slouch on the defensive side of the ball and they both played both ways in 43-46 when because of the war the NFL did allow free substitution before making it permanent in 49.

I will give Baughs punting the nod over Hutsons place kicking. Hutson only had 7 career FG makes, though the 172 XP makes is part of why his 825 career points is still top 100 all time on a list dominated by pure kickers. But yeah 5 years leading the league in punting average gives the kicking game to Baugh easily for me.

81 First Team All-Pro

Not sure I agree with using First Team All-Pro as such a key metric. Surely this depends massively on the arbitrary factor of who your contemporaries are? You could be the third or fourth best player at your position in NFL history and still not be first-team All Pro if you happen to coincide with other all-time greats.

83 Maybe in theory.

In reply to by LondonMonarch

But got any real world examples?

Best I think is Brees (1x in 06) and Elway (none, his MVP was not unanimous, but the fact that he was in the convo is something) but they make up for it in other ways. And they aren't top 4 all time either but they're still (going to be) in. 

99 But they all made it in.

In reply to by Raiderfan

HOF isn't strictly top 4/5 at the position where you can get blocked by the ones at the same time and position. I don't really think there's an example for OP.

84 Dupe.

In reply to by LondonMonarch

Usually pro bowls and 2nd teams make up for it (among other awards).

I can't think of any really snubs based solely on 1st team all pros (AP only too; what the crosses are for on PFR even though theres others listed at the bottom).

89 I'm glad there's a 5-year…

I'm glad there's a 5-year waiting period post-retirement for enshrinement. It's really, really, difficult to evaluate a player's career when he hasn't completed his peak production years. Andrew Luck was a HOF bound qb, until he wasn't. Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, and Phillip Rivers all were considered probable HOF players at some point during their careers. Time grants perspective, but for now, I think we can be confident in saying: if his career ended today, he's done enough to be brought to the committee in 5 years as a semi-finalist. He still has time to enhance his resume, and he also has time to destroy it.

92 I am curious if people think…

I am curious if people think Wilson is a hall of famer right now. Or, if he merits the hall of fame if he basically produces his same career for an additional 6 years.

Looking over DVOA, hes had only one season that was MVP worthy and a bunch of other seasons that were either pretty good(around top 10) or semi-average(around 15).

Even the so called postseason magic narrative fails the cognitive dissonance test. If you are going to credit him with a SB win, you also need to severely ding him for losing the SB(again, I hate such narratives and I have never believed in them, but if you do, then this requires you to be logically consistent). 

I think the media largely believes he is a hall of famer. I think he's not at this point and he would need to experience a surge in his numbers(very possible) for me to consider his case solid. 

95 If you review Broncos…

If you review Broncos message boards, you'll find that Wilson is already a first ballot HOF. If you visit Seahawks message boards, you'll learn that he's barely above average. There are maybe a half-dozen active players who I can't imagine being denied for more than 6 years after retirement, and Wilson's not one of them.

94 Rivers is a funny case. He…

Rivers is a funny case. He is from the famous 2004 draft class that produced 3 elite-ish QB. (Rivers, Ben, Eli). What's funny is the number of rings and how good they were is inverses. Basically, if Ben or Eli get in, they pretty much have to look at Rivers. Funny fact.
According to PFR's HOF monitor, the guys right below the "Average HOF QB" are
Matt Ryan,Big Ben, Phillip Rivers.

So it wouldn't be a huge travesty if they got in honestly. (The only above average guys who arn't in are Brady, Rodgers and Bree's and they are all in as soon as they come up). 

Wilson probably doesn't get in if he retired right now. There arn't alot of great QB near him(nearest decent QB are Stafford and Ryan, then Dak), so that may help him a bit. (Mahomes started 5 years later) so he may not have alot of competition when he retires. 

101 "Andrew Luck was a HOF bound qb"

When was that exactly? RG3 won OROTY. Luck somehow came in 2nd ahead of Russ (every eligible 9x PB skill player is already in the HOF btw) despite being below average in everything but sack% (and made the PB somehow, probably a classic case of generational prospect name recognition brushed with "team bad"). 

How can one destroy 6x PB, 3x AP1 and a ring resume though?

103 Honestly, an off field issue…

Honestly, an off field issue that made him retire right now is probably the only way. (Injury would get tragedy points). Possibly if he totally dropped off the table and was shown to be a product of the system but that seems unlikely. Even then, he might make it since he was so electric at his peak. He would have to do alot more to make first ballot, but right now, pretty much any non-total-collapse career path probably gets him in after a few ballots.  

105 Agree

For the most part as long as he keeps playing, almost regardless of level of play (like we're talking negative yards before it starts to get worrisome), he's getting in at some point.

Although I think the return accolades show he's not a Reid invention and you can see those skills on offense and not just scheme.

107 Terrell Davis achieved more…

Terrell Davis achieved more accolades in his first 4 years (3x AP, 2x Offensive PoY, MVP, 2x super bowl winner, Super Bowl MVP) than Hill's achieved over his first 6. At the end of his MVP season he was a clear first ballot lock Hall of Famer. Then he got injured and produced 3 lack-luster seasons before retiring. He eventually got into the HOF, but I've seen people argue forcefully on this board that his inclusion was a mistake.

Suppose Hill gets injured in TC this summer, has 3 years with 30 catches/300 yards, is unavailable because of chronic injuries, pulls some Terrell Ownens/Antonio Brown antics and gets cut before retiring as an unwanted free agent. Or suppose he pulls an Aaron Hernandez and is in prison for homicide 5 years from now. Or suppose he gets shot in the leg during a domestic dispute, gets suspended by the league for a year, never recovers well enough to be the explosive player he once was, but hangs on for a couple of years to collect on his giant contract. In any of these cases, I don't know whether his career stands up to scrutiny at the time he's eligible for the HOF, but all of these scenarios are likely to lead the committee look at his 6 productive years through a different lens.

110 Not 6/6 for PBs.

But still a good first 4 years no doubt. Bit weird to use a HOFr as an example though.

In a likelihood, crazy things generally don't happen. TO drama was always BS. And if we're sitting here thinking he's going to kill someone like Hernandez...yeah I think that proves the lengths people are going to make him NOT look like a HOFr. As long as he's not bumped out by Cedrick Wilson or something the next few years (assuming Waddle is the other starter), I think it's an easy prediction into the HOF and entertaining the rarest of rare possibilities doesn't entice me. Yeah, his new situation might be worse, so adjust accordingly instead of placing GOAT level bars on him. 

But I still dont think Luck was a HOFr at any point. Maybe squinting looking at his first 3 years (even ignoring the sus 1st year PB nod) you can see something but...Hills doubled that and had all pro mentions with a ring on top of it. By the time Luck retired Russ was FIRMLY ahead of him. He's only solidified it since then.

120 The Hernandez thing was more…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

The Hernandez thing was more a way of saying you never know.  I think any reasonable projection of Hills career ends up with him a hall of famer pretty easily. He's not quite at the age were things go sideways either. 

Heck, if Mahomes career ended right now for a non-sympathetic reason he would probably be a borderline HOF.  He had only 4 years as a starter...but they were really darn good years. QB depend a bit more on count stats however, so it would be a really interesting debate. Can't think of a comp, so hard to see how that one plays out. 

124 Sharpe was 2 years older. If…

Sharpe was 2 years older. If you add the last to years of Sharpe's career  as stats  and, say, 2 more pro bowls,  Hill probably makes it. But yeah, hill has one more pro bowl and the power of the one ring. Can't measure highlight reels and narrative but they do have an effect. 

122 The range of possible…

The range of possible outcomes skews towards Hill becoming a HOF player, yes. If he comes anywhere near earning the contract Miami just gave him, it would be hard understand how the HOF committee could justify his exclusion.

With respect to Mahomes, PFR's hall of fame monitor has him already ahead of Jim Kelly, but behind: Jack Kemp, Joe Theisman, Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton. Maybe he gets the Gale Sayers/Terrell Davis treatment if he retires for a sympathetic reason, but probably not if he pulls an Andrew Luck.  And if somebody visited me from the year 2042 and told me that only one of Mahomes/Hill was in the hall of fame, I'd bet on Mahomes being the one who made it.

129 Mahomes has been a starter…

Mahomes has been a starter for 4 years (it just seems like longer, lol). Cam has started about 50 more games. QB tend to have longer careers so there is more emphasis on compilation. Still, I would give Mahomes a 99% chance of making it right now.  Any scenario where he doesn't involves soemthing pretty crazy happening. 

130 If Mahomes retired today, I…

If Mahomes retired today, I think he wouldn't make the hall of Fame.

If he retired because of injury, I think he would get in because he would be a victim of circumstance.

That said, I don't like making someone a hall of famer after just 4 admittedly spectacular years. Practically no other positions, especially ones not touching the ball, would get that same treatment.


123 I know

But I'm not considering super rare things that much. The chances of Hill getting a career ending injury or killing someone instead of just missing a game or two because of a minor injury are beyond silly to realistically talk about and makes the whole article pointless.

Mahomes reminds me of this article a couple years ago. Hill even back was off to a great start and Bill was higher on the younger Mahomes! A couple PBs since for both (all 3) and they probably don't drop off.

I'm not gonna come up with lame ideas like only one of them being in because...reasons. It wasn't just Brady in the Pats dynasty (even if he was the most important).