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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

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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