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Sports Then and Now



Pro Football Hall of Fame Continues to Play Catch-up With Class of 2016 2

Posted on February 06, 2016 by Dean Hybl
There was no surprise in the selection of Brett Favre for the 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

There was no surprise in the selection of Brett Favre for the 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

Between 2000 and 2009, the selection committee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame chose for induction a grand total of 54 former player, coaches and league officials. You might think that number reflects exclusivity and ensuring only the “best of the best” are recognized with the highest honor for the sport. However, in a sport with 32 teams and more than 1,600 players every year, the reality was that the committee left a lot of deserving players waiting in the wings.

Because of that, over the last seven years the committee has been playing catch-up. Where a class of six or seven was once an exception (only nine times between 1970 and 2009), every class since 2010 has included at least six inductees and with the addition of eight new members for 2016, there have now been consecutive classes of eight for the first time since 1967 and 1968. Since 2010, 50 former players, coaches and contributors have been selected for the Hall of Fame.

I applaud the current committee for recognizing the mistakes of the past and continuing to grow the HOF, but even with their larger classes there continues to be questions and confusing decisions.

When Brett Favre finally retired (for the last time) following the 2010 season, there was little doubt that he would be a member of the 2016 Hall of Fame class. The other seven people who will join Favre in Canton this August include a few more surprises.

Perhaps the most disheartening thing about the Class of 2016 is that both of the senior selections, Dick Stanfel and Ken Stabler, are not alive to enjoy their day in the sun. Both died within a month of each other during the summer of 2015.

What is especially frustrating is that both players have been eligible for the HOF for decades and in fact had both previously been finalists.

One of my biggest disappointments with the HOF has always been the high number of former players or coaches who wait sometimes for as many as 50 years after they have retired before they get selected.

You would think that if someone is “Hall of Fame worthy” they would be inducted within a reasonable time after retirement, but unfortunately that hasn’t always been the case.
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Give Tim Tebow Some Time 5

Posted on August 07, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Though he is only in his second NFL training camp, some are already trying to rush to judgment about whether Tim Tebow can become a successful NFL quarterback.

One of the dangers in today’s era of instant communication and immediate gratification is that we want everything to happen right now. We don’t want to wait for a piece of information, an answer or for success. It is in this instant world that Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is helplessly trapped.

After a record setting and highly successful college career at the University of Florida, most NFL experts said that Tebow could eventually develop into a capable NFL quarterback, but it would take time and patience.

Those are two words that don’t often fit into today’s sports world. With players receiving sizable salaries from the minute they enter the league, owners, coaches and fans don’t usually have patience to allow a player to mature and grow, especially at the quarterback position.

It didn’t use to be that way. In fact, the most recent example of what can happen when a team gives a young quarterback time to mature and develop was personified last February when Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to victory in Super Bowl XLV.

Originally selected with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Packers, Rodgers threw only 59 passes in his first three seasons while sitting on the sidelines watching future Hall of Famer Brett Favre.

When he took over in 2008, Rodgers was ready to be a star and in three seasons as a starter has completed 64% of his passes for more than 12,000 yard, 86 touchdowns and 31 interceptions.

In just his third season as a starter, but sixth season in the Green Bay system, Rodgers and the Packers won their first championship in 15 years.

There was a time in NFL history when stories like Rodgers’ were common.

Ken Stabler joined the Oakland Raiders as a second round selection in 1968 after playing for legendary coach Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama.

After spending his first two seasons on the taxi squad, Stabler joined the active roster in 1970 and from 1970-72 saw limited action while George Blanda and Daryle Lamonica saw most of the action at quarterback for the Raiders. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Joe Cronin: Player-Manager
      October 1, 2017 | 8:21 am
      Joe Cronin

      Joe Cronin

      In recognition of the start of the baseball playoffs, we recognize as the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month a man who managed pennant winning teams in Washington and Boston and spent more than decade as a player-manager.

      When the Boston Red Sox acquired Joe Cronin following the 1934 season they didn’t just get an All-Star player, they also got a new manager.

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