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Sports Then and Now



Pro Football Hall of Fame Committee Needs To Do Better Job 11

Posted on July 31, 2010 by Dean Hybl

If Floyd Little is deserving of Hall of Fame induction, then why did it take 35 years after his retirement for his name to be called?

This is the first of a series of articles we will post this week that will focus on the Pro Football Hall of Fame in preparation for the 2010 induction ceremony on August 7th.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductions next weekend will again be a special event as seven names will be added to the list of all-time greats.

For some players, such as 2010 inductees Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice, the wait for Hall of Fame selection is limited to only the mandatory five year waiting period. However, for others, including 2010 inductees Floyd Little and Dick LeBeau, the wait for the call from the Hall of Fame can sometimes take decades.

Later this week I will be posting my picks for the 10 players not in the Hall of Fame who are deserving of induction and the 10 players in the Hall that I think don’t really belong. However, in general I think the Hall of Fame committee has done a pretty good job of putting deserving players in the Hall of Fame.

Where I do think the Hall of Fame committee has been very weak is related to how long it often takes them to finally induct someone who we all know immediately is deserving of being in the Hall of Fame. There are far too many cases in NFL history of clearly Hall of Fame deserving players and coaches who have had to wait much longer than justified before being selected and thus not been able to fully enjoy the honor.

While I have long considered Little to be a borderline Hall of Fame candidate (I ranked him as the seventh most deserving running back last year when I picked the top 25 running backs not in the NFL) and I don’t think that LeBeau belongs simply based on his playing career (I ranked him as the 12th best defensive back not in the HOF), if they were going to get into the Hall I have a problem that it took more than 30 years after they became eligible for them to enter the Hall of Fame.

My personal “sniff test” for picking Hall of Famers has always been the following: At the time of their retirement were they considered someone whose Hall of Fame selection seemed inevitable? Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

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      Archie Griffin

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is the only football player ever to capture college football’s top individual award twice.

      As a star running back for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Archie Griffin claimed the Heisman Trophy during his junior season in 1974 and then was able to repeat the honor the following season.

      Griffin joined the Buckeyes for the 1972 season, which happened to be the first in which freshmen were eligible to play varsity football, and made an immediate impact. After fumbling in his only carry of his first game, Griffin more than made up for it in his second game by rushing for 237 yards against North Carolina. By the end of the season, Griffin had rushed for 867 yards.

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