Man, I am not envious of the NFL Hall of Famer voters at all. Coming off the heels of an overstuffed MLB Hall of Fame vote, full of worthy candidates — and a bit of ensuing controversy following the results — this NFL selection will have a lot to choose from. Narrowing down these candidates to five worthy busts for Canton seems nearly impossible.
Brett Favre, Terrell Owens, Steve Atwater, Kurt Warner, Morten Anderson, Tony Dungy, Don Coryell, Terrell Davis, Marvin Harrison, Alan Faneca, Joe Jacoby, Edgerrin James, John Lynch, Kevin Greene and Orlando Pace.
Wow. You can literally make a case for each and every one of those players, and quite honestly, I think each one will see his bust in Canton in due time. Yes, that includes TD.
I have actually discussed TD’s chances of making the Hall previously here at Wayniac Nation when I compared his career to Arian Foster’s — another career that put up Hall of Fame numbers but didn’t seem to go long enough to justify enshrinement (Go ahead, read the article ==> HERE!). But this is TD’s second year of being nominated a finalist, and that means there is enough buzz amongst the masses that TD will get his due. Will it be against this tough class, I’m not so sure, but if he gets that third nod next year, you can consider him a lock.
Speaking of locks, we don’t need to discuss Favre. He is one of the greatest quarterbacks ever both on paper and on the field, he is one of the toughest players ever, he was likable and he looks sharp in them Wrangler jeans.
You would assume that TO is a lock, but we all know that his brash personality rubbed people the wrong way over the years. If you look at the numbers alone, TO is a sure-fire bet. 15,934 yards (second all time) and 153 TDs (third all time) speak volumes. What TO doesn’t have is a Super Bowl ring. Greatness in the NFL — more than any other sport — is defined by what you have won, not necessarily what you have done. TO was on two teams that made regular trips the Super Bowl (Dallas and San Fran) but didn’t help get them to any. He had only made one appearance and lost. It was no fault of his own, but when he had one of the best games of his career and lost, he sounded off against his team… as usual.
Owens is no lock, after all they made Cris Carter wait and all he did was catch touchdowns.
Another wide receiver on the list DID win a Super Bowl. Harrison was a beast and he was Peyton Manning’s number one guy… which is something that could actually hurt him. I can already hear the what would Harrison have been without Manning questions buzzing. 1102 receptions (3rd all time), 14,580 yards (7th all time) and 128 touchdowns (5th all time) seem to make him destined for Canton.
Here’s why he should be a lock. Whenever you can end a sentence “and Jerry Rice didn’t accomplish that,” you should have the red carpet rolled out for you. From 1999 to 2006 — a span of eight seasons — Harrison had more than 1,100 yards receiving and 10-plus touchdowns every year and Jerry Rice didn’t accomplish that.
See. I did it.
I honestly can’t believe Kevin Greene is still not in the Hall of Fame. Of the Top Ten eligible sack leaders of all time (Jason Taylor comes in at No. 6 but isn’t eligible until next season) Greene is the only one not enshrined. His 160 sacks are third only to Bruce Smith and Reggie White, and I think the selection committee has to realize that they over looked him for too long. But again, nothing is certain.
Here’s my theory on offensive lineman. Unless you are a Houston Texan or mid-80s New York Giant — two rosters I know up and down (insert seldom used Bart Oates and Billy Ard reference here), if I know your name you must be good. Anthony Munoz was the first ever to catch my ear and seemingly no one has ever surpassed his greatness. That being said, Faneca, Jacoby and Pace are Canton bound, it’s just a matter of when. Jacoby is the furthest from enshrinement but he was part of the Hogs and they are pretty darn famous. Faneca had like a billion Pro Bowls and Pace was the left tackle in St. Louis during one of the most prolific offensive eras in the NFL.
Speaking of which, how about Mr. Warner? I have always been on the fence about Warner. Is his early career being in the right place at the right time or is he truly a Hall of Famer? There is no denying that the 1999 to 2001 run for Warner — one which garnered two MVP Awards, a Super Bowl MVP Award, a passing title, and two touchdown titles — was unbelievable. But what about the six years that led up to his next relevant season when he took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl? Mediocre is being kind.
Here’s the deal with Warner. He had Hall of Fame seasons, heck he had some of the best seasons ever to be perfectly honest. But he had a lot of ho hum seasons as well. He has also been to three Super Bowls, winning one and nearly winning the two others. Plus, he is very likable and considered an all around good guy with one of the more compelling stories in NFL history. I feel like the voters want to complete his story: From bagging groceries to the Super Bowl to Canton — the Kurt Warner Story.
I’m not sure if that means this year or next, but I see Warner heading to Canton.
Tony Dungy will likely get in this season, but he may have to wait a year. Never mind his NFL career and the fact that he won two Super Bowls (I mean we all admit by now that Gruden simply won with Dungy’s team, right?). This guy is loved by way too many to be ignored. Throw out the nice guys finish last cliche with Dungy, he’s heading to Canton.
I think it will be interesting to see who the five getting their busts into the Football Hall of Fame will be. I think it will be even more interesting to hear the rationale behind cutting down some of these legendary names. I for one can’t wait.