2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame Preview
Morten Andersen spent his first 13 seasons in The Big Easy. (Saints.com)
The 2014 NFL Hall of Fame ballot is a cast of talent that any franchise would love to have in their pool. Every year this debate boils over until the inductees are announced — which is usually followed by waves of opinions that demand justice. It should boldly be noted that we are at RotoRob.com do not have a vote. At least not yet. But that won’t stop us from offering our opinions about who got snubbed and who should get in.
On the Ballot
Morten Andersen, K: When you debate the best kickers in NFL history, does Andersen’s name always come up? Oh wait, what you don’t have that debate, huh? We told Andersen it was time to wrap things up in 2008, and sure enough, he listened to us! After all, what was left to accomplish? In his final season in 2007 with Atlanta, he had become the NFL’s all-time leading scorer (see video below).
Jerome Bettis, RB: The Bus simply rolled over defenders like they were unlucky or extremely slow squirrels. Bettis rumbled to 13,662 career rushing yards which is currently sixth on the all-time list (to put this in perspective, the closest active competitor is Steven Jackson, nearly 3,000 yards back and in clear decline the last three years). Bettis’ 91 career rushing TDs are 10th all-time (but Adrian Peterson is just five back). Bettis seemed to be too fast for someone his size. Chances are. if you need a two yard gain straight up the middle, Bettis would come to mind.
Derrick Brooks, ILB: Brooks recorded over 1,300 career tackles. He was a relentless lateral force, with closing speed like a running back hitting a hole. Brooks was the maestro of a cover-2 scheme that many have tried to replicate. However, long legged linebackers don’t show up in every draft. We always thought Brooks could have been a tight end or a power hitting right fielder/third baseman or the best defensive shooting guard in NBA history. Yes, he had that kind of athletic ability.
Tim Brown, WR: Let’s see… 1,000 career receptions (fifth all-time), 105 career touchdowns (17th all-time) and 14,934 receiving yards (sixth all-time). Is that the resume for a Hall of Famer? We think so, but the politics of the process might not let Brown in this year.
Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Owner: Personal problems aside, DeBartolo was a kind owner and an architect behind a team that won five Super Bowls. Unless it’s a division foe, we all love a good dynasty and the DeBartolo’s 49ers were perhaps the greatest dynasty in league history.
Tony Dungy, Coach: Dungy was the first African American coach to win a Super Bowl. His defenses were revolutionary and Cover-2 which is now generally referred to as the Tampa-2, was designed to prevent big momentum-shifting plays from happening. When Dungy joined Peyton Manning in Indianapolis a solid contender for years to come was forged.
Kevin Greene, LB: Greene’s 160 career sacks still rank third best all-time. He played for four teams and he recorded at least one season with double digit sacks for all four of those teams. Greene was an emotional leader on many successful squads and a constant match-up problem for the opposition.
Charles Haley, DE: Haley racked up 100 career sacks and five Super Bowls rings. Who else can say that? Success followed him like the tempting scent of garlic in Little Italy. Haley was so feared, you couldn’t say his name fast. You can try, but before you finish, your mouth twists with horror as you remember the sight of him slamming your team’s quarterback into the turf like a pitcher tosses a rosin bag on the mound.
Marvin Harrison, WR: What did Harrison do without Peyton Manning? Harrison scored 128 TDs in his career, and 112 of those were tossed to him by Manning. Harrison will eventually be enshrined based on the sheer amount of times he scored, but we would definitely elect Andre Reed and Brown before Harrison.
Walter Jones, OT: Jones played in nine Pro Bowls, he was a member of the All-Pro team seven times and also a member of the all-decade team (2000-2009). In 180 career games he allowed 23 sacks. Many regard Jones as one of the best offensive tackles ever and as such, he might be the most worthy Hall of Fame candidate in this field.
John Lynch, S: Lynch was a much feared hitter and superb leader. However, Steve Atwater he was not. If you are too young to remember and think Lynch’s play was unmatched, you have no idea.
Andre Reed, WR: It’s not very often a receiver can be called tenacious, but Reed epitomized that reference. In the cold Buffalo winters, he always seemed hot. Reed’s numbers might not initially be jaw dropping but considering he played on run-heavy offense, he made himself a game changer by taking his opportunities on field seriously. Unlike many of his contempories, Reed wasn’t a lippy cancer off the field either.
Will Shields, OG: Shields never missed a game in 14 seasons — all with the Kansas City Chiefs. He made 12 Pro Bowls which is ties him for the most ever with Champ Bailey and Randall McDaniel. Shields was also an eight-time All-Pro and a member of last decade’s all-decade team.
Michael Strahan, DE: Strahan was a sack master. It took him a few seasons to establish himself, but once he did, opponents always had to game plan for him. In 2001, Strahan recorded a NFL single season record 22.5 sacks. His career total of 141.5 sacks rank him fifth on the all-time list. Oh, and he’s done pretty well for himself as a TV star, too.
Aeneas Williams, DB: Williams ranks 20th all-time with 55 career interceptions. He was widely regarded as the best at his position throughout the meat of his career. Williams’ nine pick-sixes rank fourth all-time and he was an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time first team All-Pro.
Senior Committee Players Being Considered
Ray Guy, P: The man made hang time a thing to gauge in the NFL. Guy is the only punter ever selected in the first round of the NFL draft. He was a six-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler. Guy was selected to the 1970s all-decade team.
Claude Humphrey, DE: As we got in our Wayback Machine to investigate Humphrey, we realized that he retired one year before sacks became an official NFL stat (1982). Yet, some people have documented him as having at least 120 career sacks. There is no doubt he was a dominant player and certainly very worthy.
These players didn’t make the cut this year and we offer our quick take on their fate.
Steve Atwater: Snub
Don Coryell: Really? He is not in yet?
Roger Craig: Snub
Terrelle Davis: Snub
Joe Jacoby: Snub
Jimmy Johnson: Snub
Karl Mecklenburg: Not worthy
Paul Tagliabue: Snub
Steve Wisniewski: Snub
George Young: Snub
For more on these semifinalists, listen to last week’s episode of RotoRob Fantasy Football Weekly Podcast.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments section below who would be on your 2014 Hall of Fame ballot.