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Archive for the ‘Pro Football Hall of Fame’


Selection of Jack Butler Brings Out the Best and Worst in the Pro Football Hall of Fame 25

Posted on February 04, 2012 by Dean Hybl

Though he retired in 1959, it took until 2012 for Jack Butler to get serious consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Let me start this post by saying that after watching his gleeful interview during the NFL Network Hall of Fame show I am pleased that 84-year-old Jack Butler is able to enjoy his moment as a new member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

However, in my opinion it is the selection of Butler that best illustrates what is wrong with the selection process for the Hall of Fame.

If given the chance to ask one question to the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee it simply would be: “Why is an 84-year-old who last played in the NFL in 1959 being selected to the Hall of Fame in 2012?”

I’m not really sure whether Butler deserves to be in the Hall of Fame or not, but I am sure that the Hall of Fame selectors did a bad job in handling this selection.

Because, given that Butler had never previously even been a Hall of Fame finalist, the voters either were woefully negligent in not considering him before now or they caved in to a recent campaign by fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers to get Butler into the Hall of Fame.

Either way, the true loser in this scenario is the integrity of the Hall of Fame.

This marks the third straight year that a senior candidate that had never previously been a Hall of Fame finalist suddenly found himself not just as a finalist, but as one of those chosen to enter the Hall of Fame. Read the rest of this entry →

Will the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee Make it Two in a Row? 23

Posted on February 03, 2012 by Dean Hybl

Will 2012 finally be the year that Cris Carter earns Hall of Fame selection?

There are few things in sports that frustrate me more than the selection process for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Thanks to a combination of egos, inconsistency and often personal, geographic or team biases, there are many deserving former NFL stars who have never made it into Canton while others of lesser quality have a plaque of their own.

In the three years I have written this blog I have spent a significant amount of time each year chronicling the inconsistencies and offering my own ideas for who should be in the Hall and how they should be selected.

But last year a very strange thing happened. Instead of picking names out of a hat, it appears that the Hall of Fame selectors actually had a thoughtful and constructive discussion on who belonged in the Hall of Fame. The result was a Hall of Fame class that in my opinion was the most deserving class that the selectors have ever chosen.

So, my question entering their annual meeting coming up on Saturday is “Can they do it again?”

Sadly, I still am enough of a skeptic to believe that last year was just an example of the blind squirrel theory and with candidates like Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders among those eligible it wasn’t overly difficult for the voters to get it right.

In fact, you could argue that the Hall of Fame voters have already put themselves in a negative situation for 2012 because unlike last year when it was very hard to argue that there were players just as deserving left out in order to enshrine the class of 2011, regardless of who enters as the class of 2012 for almost all of the finalists there is at least one player not on the list who you could easily argue is as deserving as the player who made the list of finalists. Read the rest of this entry →

Lee Roy Selmon Towered Over Tampa Bay Football 14

Posted on September 05, 2011 by Dean Hybl

The towering Selmon often overpowered defenseless quarterbacks.

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the NFL in 1976 with their creamsicle colored uniforms and comical play on the field, they needed someone with credibility to signal to the rest of the league that while they might dress funny and make a lot of bad plays, they were a football team and they were out there trying to create a winner. That someone was the first player ever drafted by the Buccaneers, defensive lineman Lee Roy Selmon.

His death over the weekend following a stroke begs the recollection of the beginning of professional football in Tampa when the Buccaneers went from being a laughing stock to forging a level of respectability by winning two division titles and reaching the playoffs three times in a four year stretch.

For anyone (like me) who grew up on NFL Films, the early years of the Buccaneers can be summed up with two images from the vaults of video past. The first is of whimsical head coach John McKay expressing that he was in favor of his teams’ execution and the second of the 6-foot-3, 256 pound Selmon looking significantly larger than his listed size as he smothers an opposing quarterback.

The best of the three Selmon brothers (Lucious and Dewey were the others), Selmon excelled on and off the field as the University of Oklahoma won consecutive national titles in 1974 and 1975. He won the Outland and Lombardi Trophies and was also an Academic All-American.

After playing for one of the most successful programs in college football, he joined an NFL team that was destined to set a record for futility.

As the first draft pick in the 1976 NFL Draft, Selmon became the first draft pick of the Buccaneers. His brother, Dewey, was selected in the second round and would spend five years in Tampa. Read the rest of this entry →

Randy Moss Was Great, But Could He Have Been Even Better? 3

Posted on August 01, 2011 by Dean Hybl

When he was at his best, Randy Moss was as good as any receiver in NFL history.

In a hectic week that included a lot of surprises, perhaps one of the biggest is that wide receiver Randy Moss has decided to retire after 13 seasons, rather than join what would have been his fourth team in the last year.

Anyone who saw Moss toward the end of last season may have thought he was already retired, but just within the last couple weeks his agent, Joel Segal, said that Moss was in great shape and ready to prove that he could still be an NFL star.

Even at the age of 34, there was no reason to doubt that if he was completely dedicated that Moss couldn’t regain the prowess that made him the NFL’s most dominant receiver at two different stretches during his NFL career.

It is interesting that while his contemporaries at receiver like Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco have always craved the spotlight and don’t seem interested in giving it up anytime soon, Moss has never been an overly vocal player and now, assuming that the reports are accurate, is quietly retreating into the shadows.

Just looking at his career statistics, 954 receptions (8th all-time),  14,858 receiving yards (5th), 153 touchdowns (2nd), it is obvious that he is one of the finest receivers of all-time.

Yet, knowing that there were occasions throughout his career that he wasn’t giving it everything he had on every play, you can’t help but wonder how much better he could have been.

Given his unbelievable physical tools, what might Moss have accomplished had he possessed the work ethic of all-time greats like Raymond Berry or Jerry Rice?

I believe the answer is that we would be talking about Moss, instead of Rice, as the greatest receiver of all-time. Read the rest of this entry →

10 Best NFL Players Who Won the Heisman Trophy 15

Posted on July 21, 2011 by A.J. Foss

Cam Newton will try to join a small group of former Heisman Trophy winners who have been successful in the NFL.

2010 Heisman Trophy Winner Cam Newton is set to begin his career as a NFL quarterback with the Carolina Panthers.

Newton will have fight the Heisman “curse” in which former Heisman Trophy winners do not have productive NFL careers.

However, there have been a number of Heisman winners that not only had successful careers in the NFL, but some ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Here are now the 10 Best NFL Players who won the Heisman Trophy:
10. Jim Plunkett-For the first half of his career, Plunkett was a bust as he struggled with the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers following his Heisman win at Stanford in 1970.

Plunkett joined the Oakland Raiders in 1978 to become its backup quarterback and in 1980 became the starter when incumbent Dan Pastorini broke his leg and led the Raiders to a Super Bowl title and was the game’s MVP with a 13-of-21 performance for 261 yards and three touchdowns.

Plunkett remained with the Raiders for six more seasons and led the Raiders to another Super Bowl title in 1983.

9. Paul Hornung-“The Golden Boy” won the Heisman in 1956 despite his Notre Dame Fighting Irish winning only two games, then became a vital part in the Green Bay Packers’ dynasty of the 1960s with his versatility as a halfback, receiver, and kicker.

In his nine NFL seasons, Hornung accounted for a total of 760 points and led the league in scoring from 1959-61, including a then-record 176 points in 1960 and the NFL MVP in 1961.

Hornung helped the Packers to four NFL championships despite missing the 1963 season for betting on NFL games.

8. Eddie George-The 1995 Heisman winner Ohio State became one of the toughest and best running backs during his time in the NFL.

George played nine seasons in the NFL, all but one with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, and never missed a game to injury during his time with the Titans.

In his eight seasons with the Titans, George rushed for over 1,000 yards in each season except 2001 where he rushed for 942 yards, and was named to four straight Pro Bowls form 1997 to 2000.

George was a part of the Titans’ Super Bowl team in 1999 where he rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns in Tennessee’s 23-16 defeat to the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV. Read the rest of this entry →

John Henry Johnson is Latest Running Back Pioneer to Pass Away 0

Posted on June 04, 2011 by Dean Hybl

John Henry Johnson is one of three Hall of Fame running backs to pass away so far in 2011.

The death on Friday of John Henry Johnson marks the third Hall of Fame running back from the 1950s to pass away so far in 2011. In addition to Johnson, Ollie Matson died on February 19th and Joe Perry passed away on April 25th.

As some of the first African American superstars in the NFL, these three future Hall of Famers were among a group of runners that brought excitement and versatility to the NFL in the 1950s.

Here is a brief look at the careers of these three all-time greats:

Ollie Matson – A decade before Bob Hayes went from Olympic sprinter to NFL superstar, Ollie Matson won silver and bronze medals as a sprinter at the 1952 Olympics and then earned All-Pro honors and co-Rookie of the Year honors as an NFL rookie.

A multiple threat as a running back, receiver and returner, Matson twice led the NFL in all-purpose yards and was a first team All-Pro during each of his first five seasons with the Chicago Cardinals.

Following the 1958 season, he was the centerpiece of one of the first blockbuster trades in NFL history as the Los Angeles Rams traded nine players to acquire Matson. He rushed for 863 yards and had 1,421 yards from scrimmage during his first season in Los Angeles, but the Rams won only 11 games during his four seasons in Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry →

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      Cuba is known for producing great baseball talent and there has arguably been no one from the island better than the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

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