Saturday, February 6, 2016

Favre Enter Hall of Fame. T.O., T.D, Warner Left Out

For much of the week I have been preparing myself to write a post tonight ripping the NFL for getting it wrong with the Hall of Fame voting. Just the idea of Terrell Owens putting on a yellow jacket would have been enough for me to go bonkers in killing the writers decision. But, you know what? The it right.

The NFL formally announced its eight Hall of Fame finalists who will enter the hallowed Halls in Canton, Ohio this summer. They included: quarterback Brett Favre, receiver Marvin Harrison, offensive tackle Orlando Pace, linebacker Kevin Greene, head coach Tony Dungy, quarterback Ken Stabler, offensive lineman Dick Stanfel, and former 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. 

Before I discuss the guys who didn't make it, let me tackle the guys who did. 

Favre was an automatic. This was going to be remembered as his class. While Favre's career ended ignominiously with the Jets and Vikings, for 16 years he was the Green Bay Packers. His vibrant enthusiasm, the heroic comebacks, the gun-slinger mentality defined Favre's career as he revitalized the Packers franchise, bringing Super Bowl success back to Title Town. I will never forget how much fun it was to see number 4 when he was in his prime. No matter the score, you just knew there was a chance for the Packers to comeback and win the game, because they had Brett Favre under center. He was always good for that late miracle finish. He was truly a national treasure on the football field, and we as fans were lucky to have seen him at his best. 

Marvin Harrison is an interesting choice. Perhaps this is protest vote of Owens, who was the complete opposite of Harrison. Harrison was considered the ultimate teammate by many, a quiet, unassuming fellow who teamed up with Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne to form one of the most dynamic passing offenses of the 2000s. I thought he was deserving to get in eventually, although I will admit, it was surprising he got in on the first ballot. 

As for Kevin Greene and Orlando Pace, both were deserving. Pace was a dominant tackle for the Rams in the last decade, and Greene was one of the most feared pass rusher for both the Steelers and Panthers in his career. 

Regarding Tony Dungy, one can argue that his Hall of Fame candidacy is debatable for some, considering he has only one Super Bowl ring. Dungy had incredible success in Tampa Bay, even though he never won a Super Bowl there. He turned that franchise around from a perennial loser into a perennial winner and contender. Ask anyone who played for Dungy, they loved playing for him.  It is sad in a way that the Buccaneers finally won the big game one year after Dungy left for Indianapolis. With the Colts, Dungy had a steady and calm hand on the operation, as Peyton Manning did the dirty work to get the Colts to a Super Bowl title in 2006. 

Now, regarding the big three that did not get into the Hall of Fame. There had been a lot of talk regarding the candidacy of Terrell Owens, Terrell Davis and Kurt Warner. It sounded pretty good that at least one of them would get into the Hall of Fame this week, but that did not happen. I can't argue with the decision to leave all three of them out. 

Let's take Warner for example. While Warner has a terrific rags to riches story, he only had three really good seasons as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Ironically his three best seasons were years he took the Rams and Cardinals to Super Bowl appearances, and his epic season in 1999 was legendary. However outside of that Warner spent much of his time struggling to even hold onto a starting job, losing out to the likes of Mark Bulger and Matt Leinart. Mark Bulger and Matt Leinart?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? That's not exactly Hall of Fame worthy. 

As for Davis, he too had a lot of success in a very small sampling. His two best seasons were in 1997 (1750 yards rushing) and 1998 (2008 yards rushing). After the 1998 season Davis struggled to stay healthy and never reclaimed his old self, retiring from the game in 2002, barley amassing 1100 yards in his final three seasons. Davis was electrifying for two years, but I don't think that makes him Hall of fame worthy. Davis ran for only 7,607 yards in his career; 3,758 of those yards came in 1997 and 1998 combined.

And then there is T.O. I don't care that Owens is second all time in receiving yards, because when we think of T.O. we don't think of clutch moments, or great plays. Instead we think of a selfish player doing sit-ups in his driveway in Philadelphia while protesting the Eagles and quarterback Donavan McNabb.

Owens made a living hell for every team he played for, wearing out his welcome in San Francisco, Philly and Dallas. His "me-first" personality was bigger than the game at times, and because of that it will keep him off a lot of ballots. 

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