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Pro Football Hall of Fame Voters Have To Make Tough Choices 1

Posted on February 02, 2013 by Dean Hybl
Both Michael Strahan and Bill Parcells could be part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

Both Michael Strahan and Bill Parcells could be part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

Selecting which candidates will gain admission into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is never easy, but with a number of deserving first time eligible players joining a crowded list of holdover candidates, whittling down the field will be especially challenging this time around.

Making their debut among the Hall of Fame finalists are four players that all seem destined to one-day receive a bust in the Hall of Fame: Michael Strahan, Warren Sapp, Larry Allen and Jonathan Ogden. Given the greatness they each exhibited during their careers, the question isn’t if they will get into the Hall, but when.

Joining these four newcomers among the 15 modern candidates are 11 former players, coaches and owners who all are making a return engagement among the HOF finalists and who all have compelling resumes that seem warranted of getting them into the Hall.

The selection committee will have the tough challenge of narrowing the list from 15 to more than five players who will be part of the Class of 2013.

In addition, the committee will separately decide if former defensive stars Dave Robinson and Curley Culp will receive football immortality this year.

As I have chronicled in previous HOF columns over the years, the selection committee is today paying for their past indiscretions.

The reason for the huge glut of deserving candidates is that the committee spent a prolonged period in the early part of the millennium making a mockery of the selection process.

Between 1995 and 2005 the voters chose the fully allowed compliment of five modern candidates only one time. The situation culminated in 2005 when only two modern era candidates were selected.

Interestingly enough, since 2006 24 players who were eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2005 have been inducted to the HOF. I would love to find out from the HOF voters exactly what those players did after 2005 to increase their worthiness for selection.

Of the four new candidates, you could very easily make a case for each one to receive entry in their first year of eligibility.

All four players earned at least one Super Bowl ring and were regular participants in the Pro Bowl.

Predicting what the HOF voters will do is never very easy, but given their past history of making deserving candidates wait at least one year before making it into the Hall, it seems doubtful that first year candidates will serve as a majority in the Class of 2013.

Because of his media stature, I would not be surprised if former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan finds his way into the HOF in his initial year on the ballot. Read the rest of this entry →

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 →

John Mackey Was Leader On and Off the Field 0

Posted on July 07, 2011 by Dean Hybl

John Mackey was the first tight end capable of providing a deep receiving threat.

At a time when the current NFL players are battling with the league for a fair share of billions of dollars of revenue, we have learned of the death of one of the players who cleared the path for the benefits the players today enjoy.

Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey, who served as president of the NFL Players Association following the AFL-NFL merger, passed away Wednesday at the age of 69.

The second tight end inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Mackey was a key target for quarterbacks Johnny Unitas and Earl Morrall and helped the Colts to five playoff appearances and victory in Super Bowl V.

After playing collegiately at Syracuse, Mackey was a second round draft pick of the Baltimore Colts and earned Pro Bowl honors as a rookie in 1963 by catching 35 passes for 726 yards and seven touchdowns.

Before Mackey, tight ends were typically known as blockers first and then primarily as possession receivers. However, the 6-foot-2, 225 pounder had surprising speed for his size and served as a deep target.

In 1965 he caught 40 passes for 814 yards (20.4 ypc) and seven touchdowns. The following season he had 50 receptions and a career-high 829 receiving yards. Read the rest of this entry →

Who Would Have Thought? Pro Football Hall of Fame Voters Get It Right 2

Posted on February 05, 2011 by Dean Hybl

After being eligible for nine years, Richard Dent finally was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For the last two years I have been a very vocal critic of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. I have articulated in numerous articles that I think for much of the last decade they have been inconsistent in their selections often picking small classes when there were plenty of deserving candidates and then when they do select players for the Hall of Fame often choosing borderline candidates when more deserving people were waiting in the wings.

We will see in the coming years if it is a seed change or a one-time blind squirrel kind of thing, but I must give the voters credit for doing a tremendous job in selecting the Hall of Fame class of 2011.

In an article I wrote last night, I outlined the six people I thought deserved to be inducted in 2011. Shockingly, all six were inducted with veteran’s committee choice Les Richter making the seventh member of the class.

With the exception of Deion Sanders and Shannon Sharpe, the class of 2011 doesn’t include any players on the short list for best ever at their position, but all seven were solid NFL veterans who are deserving selections for the Hall of Fame.

While there are still a number of tremendous candidates who have been waiting for far too long like Jerry Kramer, Ray Guy, Roger Craig, Chuck Howley and Cliff Branch, at least the class of 2011 doesn’t include some of the head scratching choices of recent years. Read the rest of this entry →

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