Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Pro Football Hall of Fame

To follow up on Trend's post below about who should be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame have been announced:

Roger Craig
Terrell Davis
Emmitt Smith
Dermotti Dawson
Russ Grimm
Cliff Branch
Tim Brown
Cris Carter
Andre Reed
Jerry Rice
Shannon Sharpe
Richard Dent
Chris Doleman
Charles Haley
Cortez Kennedy
John Randle
Kevin Greene
Rickey Jackson
Lester Hayes
Aeneas Williams
Don Coryell
Art Modell
Paul Tagliabue

Of these, no more than 5 can enter in one year.

I'd basically argue that almost all of these guys are good choices (maybe not Terrell Davis though). It's really hard to get to Canton!!!

The 5 I would choose are Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Shannon Sharpe, Richard Dent, and Russ Grimm. Smith and Rice are obvious. Shannon Sharpe redefined the TE position. Richard Dent was awesome and a key figure on those mid to late 80s Bears teams. Grimm was a dominant offensive linemen on arguably the best OL in the history of the game. Yet none of those guys are in the HOF. Unacceptable.

But I also want to make cases for Cortez Kennedy and Rickey Jackson. This might sound ridiculous, but the NFL places too much emphasis on success. Give baseball credit--in choosing these sorts of career honors, they do a good job separating individual success from team success. This is even more important in football, where you are 1 of 53 players on a team. Kennedy and Jackson were amazing players on bad football teams. They also played in outposts of football (Seattle and New Orleans). Kennedy is one of the best defensive tackles in history. Rickey Jackson's stats compare quite favorably to Lawrence Taylor. But LT played on Super Bowl teams in New York while Jackson was stuck with the Saints. Those guys have to get in the HOF, even if I wouldn't vote for them this year.

Also, non-players need their own category, with 1 or 2 people getting in a year. Coryell, Tagliabue, and Modell are never going to get in competing with players. Plus, as Peter King points out correctly, Ed Sabol, the creator of NFL Films isn't even a finalist. That's just insane and almost as much of a slight as Marvin Miller not getting into the MLB Hall of Fame. NFL Films redefined the game and helped create fans. I used to watch this stuff when I was kid and it was amazing. Absolutely riveting television, even outside the season. This is a slight that needs to be taken care of immediately.