So here’s the entirely imaginary deal…The Hall of Fame Ballot is 17 players. The largest an incoming class can be is 7 players, which means I need to cull 10 names to get to a final list. First up, cutting the names I’d think are just plain not happening…
Probably not for a while (if ever)….
Marshall Goldberg – Back – 1939-1943, 1946-48 Chicago Cardinals. Upside – 2 time Pro-Bowler, 1 time All-Pro. Downside – Never had over 500 yards rushing in any season, fewer than 2,000 career rushing yards. Only played 8 seasons. Why I say no – He led his college team to back to back national championships, and he IS in the college football hall of fame, but a great college career does not a pro football HOFer make. I know he missed two years serving his country in WWII, but this is not about service to one’s country, it’s about earning a bust through excellence on the field.
Paul Tagliabue – Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League, No. NO. Never gonna vote for you.
Ray Guy – Punter – 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. Upside – 7 time Pro-Bowler, and 9 time All-Pro. Has an award for best college punter named after him. 3 Super Bowl rings, 14 year career Downside – HE’S a PUNTER! And retract that plus on the 14 year career, as Jeff Feagles is in his 20th season and I don’t think he’s a hall of famer either.
Russ Grimm – Guard – 1981-1991 Washington Redskins Upside – 4 time Pro-Bowler, 5 time All Pro. 3 Super Bowl rings. Downside – in his ten year career only started every game 4 times, even though he becomes a starter after his rookie season. Sorry Russ, you won’t be getting a bust in Canton, but you have those 3 rings to console yourself with.
Andre Tippett – Linebacker – 1982-1993 New England Patriots Upside – 5 time Pro-Bowler, 5 time All-Pro, 100 career sacks(23rd all time) Downside – Only 1 pick in 11 seasons? Plus he’s only the third best linebacker on the ballot, Sorry guy.
So there’s 5 gone, 12 left. That means that at least 5 guys have to go. I think that all 12 of these remaining men are HOF caliber, it’s just a matter of who gets in this year, and who has to wait. Here’s the guys I think have to wait.
There’s always next year….
Darrell Green – Cornerback – 1983-2002 Washington Redskins. Upside – 19 year career, 7 time pro-bowler, 4 time All-Pro, 54 career interceptions (tied for 18th all time, its also one more than Deion Sanders), started 258 (258 starts is 5th most all time) of his 295 career games. Has a Super Bowl ring. Downside – None, except Emmitt Thomas is on the ballot, and he had more picks in fewer games…Darrell is a shoo-in next year.
Randy Gradishar – Linebacker – 1974-1983 Denver Broncos. Upside – 7 time Pro-Bowler and 8 time All-Pro. Won one AFC championship. Downside – No rings, played most of his career before the NFL recognized sacks as a stat, so I have no way of knowing what he built his reputation on.
Randall McDaniel – Guard – 1988-1999 Minnesota Vikings, 2000-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Upside – 14 year career, starting 220 of 222 career games. 12 time Pro-Bowler, 11 time All-Pro. Downside – No Super Bowl rings, much less appearences, He was a great player, but he’s gonna have to wait his until next year.
Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins Upside – 7 time Pro Bowler and 4 time All-Pro. 951 catches (5th all time), 87 touchdowns (10th all time), 13698 rec. yards (8th all time). Downside –Had four chances to win a Super Bowl and couldn’t, also sucked around the league for two years to long. If Cris Carter and Art Monk aren’t on the ballot to compare him to, maybe he gets in this year, but as it stands, maybe next year.
Gary Zimmerman – Tackle – 1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings, 1993-97 Denver Broncos Upside – 7 time Pro-Bowler, 9 time All-Pro. Started all 184 games he played. Has a ring with Denver. Downside – A crowded HOF class?
So now there’s only 7 names left. I’ve tipped my hand a little, but this next section are the guys that I never saw play in person, but who should be voted into the HOF.
I think they’ve earned it…
Fred Dean – Defensive End – 1975-1981 San Diego Chargers, 1981-85 San Francisco 49ers Upside – 4 time Pro-Bowler, 4 time All-Pro. Has 2 Super Bowl rings. His career high is 17.5 sacks. Downside – Played most of his career in the era when the sack was not a recorded stat, although his 4 all-pro selections indicate he got to the QB with regularity. His career was only 10 years.
Emmitt Thomas – Cornerback – 1966-1978 Kansas City Chiefs Upside – 5 time pro-bowler, 6 times All-Pro, 58 interceptions (9th all time) Played 13 years and has a super bowl ring. Downside – Yeah he’s Hall worthy. And Arthur Blank should just make him Atlanta’s Head Coach.
Bob Kuechenberg – Guard – 1970-1984 Miami Dolphins Upside – 6 time Pro-Bowler, 5 time All-Pro, 2 Super Bowl rings, and was part of 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins. Started 176 out of 196 career games, and played for 14 years. Downside – Umm, Can you think of any?
This next section are the remaining 4 players, all of whom I had the pleasure of watching on my television. Maybe my selections have been biased by my age, but these guys are among the best I’ve ever seen.
Fuck yeah, he’s a Hall of Famer…
Derrick Thomas – Linebacker – 1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs –Upside – 9 time pro-bowler, 8 time All-Pro, Forced 45 fumbles, an NFL record, 126.5 sacks (11th all time), Played his entire career with one team. Downside – Not even one Super Bowl appearance. Forgot to wear a seatbelt, so, uh, there’s really no rush to induct. Writing that sentence makes me feel like a piece of shit, Apologies to Gradishar, but Derrick is the best linebacker in this class.
Cris Carter – Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins. Upside – 8 time Pro-Bowl selection, 4 time All-Pro selection, 130 career receiving touchdowns (2nd all-time), almost 14,000 receiving yards(6th all-time), 1101 career receptions (2nd all time). Downside – No rings.
Richard Dent – Defensive End – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles Upside –4 time Pro-Bowl, 5 time All-Pro. 137.5 career sacks (5th all time) and a Super Bowl ring. Downside – Didn’t have the good grace to leave when he should have, and sucked around the league for 3 years too long.
Art ‘Fuckin’ Monk – Wide Receiver – 1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles. Upside – 3 time pro-bowler, 3 time All-Pro. 12, 721 career receiving yards (12th all time), 940 career receptions (7th all time), Has a Super Bowl ring. Played 15 years. Downside – only 68 TD catches (but still 31st all time) But seriously, how have you assholes not voted this guy in yet?
Having actually gone through this process I have some sympathy for the HOF voters. How do you choose between two guys when you never saw either play? Is being biased by your personal experiences OK? It doesn’t mean that I accept Art Monk’s continual snubbing, but I think I’m closer to understanding why there’s arguments about who SHOULD’VE been voted in every year.