Yesterday is one of the my favorite days of the year. Not so much because of the NBA trade deadline–though that was extremely interesting this year!!!–but because it was the day the NFL announces its Hall of Fame inductees. Especially as I’ve gotten older and remember all the players unless the Veterans Committee names a real old-timer, it’s a lot of fun to see who gets the honor every year. That’s especially true in a year like this one where there were no dominant first year eligible players nor any quarterbacks or other gigantic stars where popularity plays into it. The only first year finalists were Devin Hester, DeMarcus Ware, and Andre Johnson. To me, Ware had the strongest case, but it wasn’t so clear cut that denying him in favor of five other complete studs was unthinkable. What was really interesting this year about it is that the Hall voters decided to clear the decks by inducting five people who had been waiting for a long time–and four for a very long time.
All five made sense to me. Tony Boselli was a complete animal at offensive tackle for the Jaguars, really the only good player they had for most of his injury-shortened career. The Hall had not taken safeties seriously for a very long time, but in the past few years, that huge logjam has cleared starting with Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu, last year with John Lynch and this year with LeRoy Butler. Clear call there. Was very happy to see Sam Mills get in on his last year of eligibility. Too bad he died so young. As for Bryant Young, what a monster he was on the defensive line. Defensive tackles are consistently underrated because they don’t get stats, but to see those great Seahawks offensive lines of the 00s go up against Young with the 49ers was good viewing and I know those offensive linemen have been advocating for Young for years. As for the Veterans Committee pick, I was kind of surprised Cliff Branch wasn’t already in the Hall, but while I was a kid when he was a stud for the Raiders, he seems like a pretty obvious choice to me. I have few thoughts on Dick Vermeil and I don’t see how he is more qualified as a coach than Don Coryell, but OK.
I was surprised it took Richard Seymour five tries to get in given all the Super Bowl titles. It’s interesting that this Patriots team has 6 Super Bowls and probably will not have 6 Hall of Famers out of all of it. Ty Law and Seymour are now in. Brady and Belichick obviously will go in at the first moment. One supposes Gronkowski gets in though his overall numbers aren’t really that impressive. And then………is there another player who was a major factor over a period of years in New England that gets in? Randy Moss of course is in, but he’s really a Viking. But sure, count Moss. That’s 6. I still don’t know who else gets in.
As for next year, one supposes Joe Thomas probably gets in on the first try. James Harrison and Darrelle Revis and Dwight Freeney probably get in at some point. Those are solid guys. I’d have to say DeMarcus Ware has a good shot in year 2. Maybe Reggie Wayne. I still can’t believe Zach Thomas is not in the HOF. That’s the biggest snub at this point, in my view. Patrick Willis, Steve Smith, these are other first rate guys not in there yet. You’d think Jared Allen would get in at some point too, but that hasn’t happened and he doesn’t seem that close.
I’d also like to see the Veterans Committee finally induct Ken Anderson, who really should be in there.
I’d also like to say how much more satisfying the NFL Hall of Fame process is than baseball. It’s not because being decided in a room is a better. It’s that the NFL has a minimum number of entries each year so voters can’t stomp off and just vote for Rick Ankiel or whoever because they don’t like any of the top candidates. Baseball should adopt a rule where at least one player has to get in through the voters each year, if not 2. Force the hands of the reticent to play a useful role.
The one thing that I will say about the NBA trade deadline is that of the big three with the Nets and now Ben Simmons, somehow Kevin Durant is the most stable and normal of all of them. How does that happen?