Out of the 4 major sports, there is no doubt the Baseball and Pro Football Hall of Fame both are the two most prestigious housing enshirinement memorials. Hockey and Basketball allows virtually anyone to be enshired which takes away the value of getting in. Baseball and in this case Football especially, have two incredibly stringent selection processes. As much as it is painful and exhausting for a lot of players, that selection process that it has lived by for so many years is what creates debate and discussion among fans, media types and former players as well. While I have not seen all the players in this year’s class, I will give my opinion on who I think should be in, of the players coaches and owners of this modern era.
Jerome Bettis: This is a tough one. For one, I truly believe he and Curtis Martin are nearly similar in terms of their numbers. Both were workhorse backs who were never the best at their positions during their tenures in the league. Respectively Martin is 4th and Bettis is 6th in rushing yardage. I have had many debates and stuck by the argument that I did not think Martin was a first ballot Hall of Famer. He was a great back but he was never a dominant back. He was never in that elite class where you would consider him a top 3 player at his position. That is my personal criteria for a Hall of Famer, although it is very hard to measure. In any case, Bettis does have a ring and the numbers. Ultimatey I think he should wait not only because this class is stacked, but because he was never an elite back.
Larry Allen: A stone cold lock. The premier offensive guard of the 90’s. He absoluely mauled defensive lineman. He made 8 consecutive Pro Bowls from 1995 to 2002 and 3 straight from 2004 to 2006 upon his retirement. He passes all criteria in terms of dominance, being a top 3 player at his position and player and facoting in accolades.
Aeneas Williams: I know a lot of people do not remember him, but as a corner, he was as good as there was. Coverage wise, possibly a notch below Deion, but he had great ball skills and was a terrific tackler as well. When he moved to safety, similar to how Rod Woodson’s career path turned out, he excelled as well. A Virtual lock in my opinion.
Tim Brown: I think Tim Brown ruined some of his chances when he accused Bill Callahan of sabotaging the Raiders Super Bowl game in 2002. The numbers are there for sure, but similar to Bettis, was never dominant, never considered a top receiver during his time. I think his return prowess should be factored in as he was at times a 4 down player. I personally think he should be in, but I think he waits another year unfortunately.
Cris Carter: All he did was catch touchdown passes. This one puzzles me so much. He has the yards (9th all time). He has the catches (4th all time) and the touchdowns (4th all time). There are many factors as to why he may not get in again this year; too many receivers who are of similar ilk who were never the best in the league (Thank the Uncomparable Jerry Rice for that). Another reason, which I really hope is not factored in, is Carter was a big drug user during his Eagles days. This should have no factor considering Lawrence Taylor and most recently, Michael Irvin got in on their first tries despite dealing with drug abuve. Carter in my opinion was elite and fitted the mold of the big physical receiver that paved the way for the likes of T.O., Roddy White and other guys who were big and strong and were mismatches. I hope he gets in, but thinks he misses out again.
Warren Sapp: Remove the bankruptcy, remove the domestic violence incident a few years ago during the Super Bowl a few years ago when NFL Network removed him from their coverage and he would be one of the more sure-fire candidates. One of my favorite defensive players and one of the main anchors of the Tampa 2 defense, Sapp was one of the best pass rushers ever out of the defensive tackle spot. He was so quick and athletic and impossible to stop. When you had an interior defensive lineman that could get 13-14 sacks, you had to change the way your schemed and blocked against him. I hope his personal issues do not have an affect, but with voters and different agendas you simply never know. Ultimately with Strahan and Charles Haley it will be tough.
Michael Strahan: I think Strahan misses the cut for no other reason that this Hall of Fame class is stacked with first time eligible players and someone will have to wait unfortunatly. He has all the numbers. We all remember him breaking Mark Gastineau’s sack record, regardless of how it was given to him, still a great feat. I do not see him waiting for very long.
Jonathan Odgen: He is the second sure-fire lock in this list. Like Allen, he passes all the criteria and was a dominant force. He was just as terrific in pass-protection as he was against the run. At his size it truly made little sense how athletic he was. Speed rushers could not get past him, power rusher could not bull rush him. He was a bull and I would be shocked if he was not a first ballot guy.
Bill Parcells: Innovator, team-builder and great from an X’s and O’s standpoint. He won two titles with the Giants and went to one with the Patriots. Parcells was a master of the 3-4 defense and even greater than his impact on his players, was the coaches he tutored who have now become stars in the league (Bill Belichick, Sean Payton and Tom Coughlin). Every team he joined in turmoil, he ended up turning them around into legitamite contenders. He is a sure fire lock and will definitely take the spot of one of the players for this year’s Hall of Fame.
Other players such as Kevin Greene and Charles Haley have good chances but most likely miss out this year. Andre Reed has been snubbed many times and could finally get in this year bumping out Carter and Brown.The owners category is led by Art Modell who owned the Browns/Ravens and Eddie DeBartolo Jr. who owned the 49ers from 1977-2000