(Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Your Calls for the Hall

We asked readers and fans to make their cases for their favorite Hall of Fame candidates. Let the debate ... continue!

In my 30 seasons covering pro football, I’ve found that nothing stirs the passions of fans—and plain ticks off the masses—the way Pro Football Hall of Fame voting does. During the raging Art Monk debate eight or 10 years ago (at the time, I was not in the pro-Monk camp and didn’t hide my feelings), I got off a train at Washington’s Union Station, and a redcap saw me. He sneered. He shook his head. I think if he’d been out of uniform, he would have asked me to step outside and settle the issue like men. In an airport last spring I was accosted about Charles Haley’s absence from the Hall. “What is wrong with you guys!” the fan said to me.

The 46 Hall of Fame voters are in a whittling-down phase right now. The Hall has a preliminary list of 126 modern-era candidates, and by Nov. 1 we have to vote for 25 from that group. After the list of 25 is finalized, we then vote for our top 15. The 15 finalists and the two Senior Committee nominees (punter Ray Guy and defensive end Claude Humphrey this year) will be debated and put up to a vote for election in New York on Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl.

So I wanted to give readers and passionate fans the chance to make the argument for their candidates. I asked for 250-word nomination essays, and you responded: We received 226 qualifying submissions for 64 of the 126 candidates from Monday through Wednesday, and the editors of The MMQB narrowed that list down to the 10 we liked best. (Well, 11, actually, and you’ll see why.) The winners weren’t necessarily the most obvious candidates or the ones the editors and I support; we chose based on the strength and the quality of the argument.

What I learned from the exercise:

You really want Terrell Davis in. He received the most nominating letters, with 18.

You’re Doug Flutie fans (11 nominations), Derrick Brooks backers (11) and Steve Sabol supporters (10).

You believe special teams should be better represented in the Hall. Morten Andersen, Steve Tasker and Brian Mitchell all had eloquent nominations.

You are quite humorous. As one of Don Coryell’s supporters wrote: “When considering someone for induction into the Hall of Fame, one needs to ask the ultimate question: Does he belong?” Well, uh, I guess we do.

This was such a fun exercise that I believe we’ll do it again next month, when the final 25 nominees come out, and we have to cut to 15. Thanks for your participation—and for contributing to a very difficult process. On the following pages are our selections for the best nominations (and we’ve sprinked in some outtakes from other essays that we particularly liked.) On the last page, you can see the breakdown of who you nominated, and how many nominations each player got.

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57 comments
OK
OK

Reverend Tebow in Canton!!!!!!

Art Shapiro
Art Shapiro

I can't help but think that various Halls of Fame - not just football - are somewhat cheapened by always expecting to put <N> new names in, each year.  And <N> is often the maximum permitted.  As a consequence there are folks in there that I simply don't recall, or at best only vaguely recall.  Now perhaps some of that is from the reality that, say, an excellent left guard will never get the publicity of even a mediocre quarterback.

But I'd still think that HOF candidates should be folks who, thirty years later, would be instantly recognizable to a reasonably serious sports fan. 

mscottf
mscottf

I think that as much as I loved NFL Films growing up; the rousing emotional heartstrings of John Facenda, the Sabols should be held accountable for their contribution to the culture of celebrated head-bashing that has destroyed so many former players' lives.

MartinSwanson
MartinSwanson

The fact that Doug Flutie received that many votes is both troubling because people are trying to include Canadian stats and scary that people actually think that he should be in the HOF.  Warren Moon also played in Canada but then came down here and put up HOF numbers in the NFL.  That's why he got in.  Flutie?  Really?

HPPlantagenet
HPPlantagenet

Randall Cunningham was ahead of his time. If he had arrived ten years later, he'd probably own the league right now. 

RickEger
RickEger

Forget that C.F.L. crap it won't fly.

2001mark
2001mark

Steve Sabol shouldn't even be a question.  The NFL as we know it doesn't hinge on commissioners, it hinges on the creative genius of NFL Films, the true beautiful marketing machine.

As for Flutie, & as a Canadian, I say meh.  Sure he dominated up here, but what/who did he dominate?  CFL is an 8 team league, I just can't vault a dominator from that league up against cast off defensive players, over more deserving game changers like M.Harrison & D.Brooks.

TomStokes
TomStokes

No one .. even non Dallas Cowboy Fans gets how you and all completely ignore Drew Pearson " The Original 88"  "Mr. Clutch" Makes no freaking sense and I am fed up with the BS that you give every year bla bla bla so freaking wrong that you people don't even mention his name much less consider him.. Roger is in the HOF and DREW was on the receiving end of those balls. But your lame ass excuse every year is " Well Drew didn't have enough yards" which is completely bogus excuse. Of course he didn't dummy because the ball was ran more in those days. By comparison ( If you could somehow compare) Drew blow's everyone away. Geez Peter what is your deal .. it's like almost personal between you and Drew.. SMH and really just canceled my SI subscription not even going to support you and/or your lazy tactics around how I choose HOF nominations. Its just plain ass dumb and you're excuse of yardage is old old old news and the further Drew is away the harder it becomes. I know you're a sports writer and not suppose to be bias but my friend the only answer I can come up with is you are a undercover Vikings fan.  

OraPike
OraPike

charles hayley yes and yes.

JaLaBar1964
JaLaBar1964

The problem with the Walter Jones and Tony Boselli nominations is the guy that still isn't in a spot above them.  Sorry if you didn't know there was football in the '80s, but Joe Jacoby is fittingly above them on the list because he was every bit the offensive lineman either of those two were, being one of two anchors of the best offensive line in history.  Especially in the early 80s, Jacoby was a wall on pass protect and a road grader in the run game.  And when the Redskins traded for Jim Lachey, Jake went to the right side and became one of the best right tackles in football.

Let's get Joe Jacoby in the Hall beside Russ Grimm where they belong, then we can worry about his equals that came after.

cypherhat
cypherhat

So glad fans don't get a real vote...

ScottSinclair
ScottSinclair

sickens me to not see one vote for Randy Gradishar, L.C Greenwood, Andy Russell, Drew Pearson, Harvey Martin or Harold Carmichael. I mean some of the names mentioned were downright idiotic. It seems that the NFL and fans seem to forget football existed before the 1990's. Before we vote these "stat" collectors (Tim Brown, Andre Reed, etc) in, we need to get guys like Gradishar, Russell, Louis Wright and Robert Brazile in. Get your heads out of your you know where's voters!

Chuck189
Chuck189

Where's Michael Strahan's name? I'm a die-hard Jets fan but I still watched the "other" NY team and feel he definitely belongs in the Hall, no questions asked.

donald5
donald5

I have to say I'm glad to see Steve Sabol so high on this list.  If you are a fan of football, Ed and Steve were and still are your best history teachers.  They had a way of making any game seem like a clash of the titans

Sludge24
Sludge24

Re: Steve Tasker.  My objection to electing non-kicking special teams players to the HOF is that they weren't good enough to start.  Tasker came into the league as a WR but couldn't make it and was left on special teams.  He is widely considered the best special teams player in history, and deserves a lot of credit for that.  But he almost certainly would not have been the best if Jerry Rice or Ronnie Lott had specialized on special teams; and for that matter there are hordes of non-HOFers who, no doubt, would have challenged Tasker if they had not graduated from special teams to the starting lineup.  Again, full credit to Tasker for being arguably the all-time best at his position.  But when considering him for the HOF, remember that this really means he was the all-time best amongst the C-level players.

MichaelD'Itri
MichaelD'Itri

I only point to one thing...of the top ten rushers in NFL history, who is NOT in the HOF?  JEROME BETTIS, thank you, that's all...end of story...get over it, Steeler haters...

MickPatrick
MickPatrick

I can see a claim for Flutie in the CFL Hall of Fame, but aside from being a novelty act, he had little impact on the NFL.

FourScore7Beers
FourScore7Beers

I'm actually shocked there aren't more votes for Tony Dungy. Sure, way too soon, but the internet tends to have a short memory. 

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

No way in the world is Jerome Bettis a hall of famer

ericwkillian
ericwkillian

People over rate skill position players and under rate lineman.

If you consider where players rank in comparison to the all time best in their position Walter Jones should be at the top of the list. Guys like Terrell Davis, Jerome Bettis and Tim Brown are borderline HOFers and you can make a case for them, but I'm sure even the biggest Davis fan isn't going to argue he is the best or even one of the top 5 all time RBs, Walter Jones is in the argument for best LT of all time.

Shane H
Shane H

Man I was really hoping my entry would get in for Doug Flutie but I am just happy that a few others agreed with me. 


He deserves to be in the hall just as much as any one else on here.

patrickhenry2nd
patrickhenry2nd

@mscottf Other than the fact that A) that wasn't their intent, and B) They had no idea that it was that bad. Talk about revisionism. 

Sabol should be a shoe in. 

Mike26
Mike26

@TomStokes You should blame PK and PK alone.  After all, PK has 28 votes every year and single-handedly keep him out!

Mike26
Mike26

@JaLaBar1964 Boselli didn't play long enough; Jones was a fine player, but lots of fine players don't belong in the Hall.

Press1
Press1

@Chuck189 You could've mentioned him. Did you not get the idea of the post? Write to MMQB about why they belong ... 

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

@Sludge24  You can't put Tasker in the HOF without putting Bill "I was Steve Tasker before Steve Tasker" Bates in the HOF.

Sharon6
Sharon6

@Sludge24 Jim Kelly used to beg for him to be in the game because the defense couldn't cover him during practice, but Levy wouldn't play him because he wanted him ready for special teams play.  There were times when he did play on offense due to injuries to the other players, and sure enough, he always made a huge impact. He was so fast and so quick, the opposing defenses couldn't cover him

RickEger
RickEger

@Sludge24 You think Tasker was a C-level player........it takes a special breed too play the suicide squads. If they made a place for him in the pro bowl it's good enough for me.


ScottWarren
ScottWarren

@Sludge24 Excellent point.  I've never bought the pro-Tasker arguments, but could never articulate why.  Your reasoning is well thought out, and I'll use it from now on.  Thanks.

Sharon6
Sharon6

@MickPatrick The NFL missed out on Flutie. He wouldn't have had the same gaudy stats that he had in the CFL had he played his whole career here, but he would have still been successful. Yeah, he was small by NFL standards, but he knew how to win and winners find a way

ericwkillian
ericwkillian

As others have pointed out it is the "pro football HOF" not the NFL HOF

RickEger
RickEger

@ProfessorGriff Jerome Bettis should have been a 1st. ballot H.O.F.er. He was the number 4 all time leading rusher when he retired. Name another back with over 13,000 yards who isn't in the hall.

RickEger
RickEger

@ericwkillian Jerome Bettis is not borderline I agree about Jones but no need too trash other players just as deserving .

scarbarough
scarbarough

@ericwkillian Walt will almost definitely be voted in this year...I thought about writing something up, but really why bother? The players like Walt aren't controversial, you don't really need to do that same sort of push to get him in as you would for Trasker...

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

@Sarah L @ProfessorGriff 

A Hall Of Fame Running back should have been among the first one or two names called out when discussing the best of his era.  Jerome Bettis was NEVER that.  He wasn't a better back than Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Thurman Thomas, Corey Dillon, Ricky Williams, Marshall Faulk, Ladanian Tomlinson, Edgerrin James, Eddie George...boy I could keep going too, but I'm tired of typing

flippy999
flippy999

@RickEger @ericwkillian The Ravens are World Champs because that's what the NFL calls the team that wins the Super Bowl.  Who is to say the Grey Cup winner could not beat the Super Bowl winner?  It probably would not happen, but you never know.  Not that long ago the thought that an AFL team could beat an NFL team was laughable.  We know how that turned out.  I am not saying the CFL as a league is on par with the NFL.  But a good team is a good team regardless of the league they play in, and once the game starts you never know.  Except we never will know because the two leagues don't play each other.  Honestly it would be just as valid for the CFL champ to call themselves World Champion.  Or the NCAA National Champion. 

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

@Sharon6 @RickEger @ProfessorGriff A Beast? career YPC at 3.9. Only 4 years onver 1200 yards.  Overrated in my opinion. I realize he is 4th all time rushing, but I can name several of his contemporaries who were superior RB's.  Edgerrin James, Ricky Williams, Eddie George, Corey Dillon, Robert Smith...I can keep going.

Plus, do you think of this guy as being on the same level as Walter Payton, Marshall Faulk, Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Ladanian Tomlinson?  I think not

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