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Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019: Semifinalists (1 Viewer)

Yogibear

Footballguy
Well, the lost of 103 preliminary nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019 just got cut to the 25 Semifinalists.  Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Steve Atwater

Champ Bailey

Ronde Barber

Tony Boselli

Isaac Bruce

LeRoy Butler

Don Coryell

Alan Faneca

Tom Flores

Tony Gonzalez

Torry Holt

Steve Hutchinson

Edgerrin James

Jimmy W. Johnson

Ty Law

John Lynch

Clay Matthews Jr.

Kevin Mawae

Karl Mecklenburg

Sam Mills

Ed Reed

Richard Seymour

Zach Thomas

Hines Ward

Darren Woodson

As I look at this list, the 2 main names that stick out are Tony Gonzalez and Ed Reed.  Now, keep in mind that Johnny Robinson is the Senior Finalist, and Pat Bowlen and Gil Brandt are the Contributor Finalists.  Looking at the list, who do you think has the best chance of getting into Canton next year?

 

[scooter]

Footballguy
I'd like to see Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt go in together, but sadly I don't think either one of them will get in this year (and I don't think Holt will ever get in).

From 1995 to 2006, Bruce had 866 receptions and 13,104 receiving yards (both 2nd only to Marvin Harrison) and 77 TDs (behind only Harrison, T.O., and Moss).

But unfortunately those numbers aren't as impressive in today's NFL. The sadly ironic thing is that their success is what led to the modern NFL.

 

rockaction

Footballguy
I was thinking Boselli also, would he be the first Jag? He was also the team’s first pick right? 
Yeah, I think so. He would be the first Jaguar to make it. I'm not sure about the team's first pick, but I seem to remember that.  

Yep, 1995. Number two overall.  

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
IMO Gonzalez and Reed are locks. I think Brandt, Bowlen, and Robinson are all worthy and will make it. I used process of elimination for the other 3 spots for non-senior and non-contributor nominees.

IMO these players/coaches are not HOF worthy:

  • Tom Flores
  • Edgerrin James
  • John Lynch
  • Clay Matthews Jr.
  • Kevin Mawae
  • Sam Mills
  • Richard Seymour
  • Hines Ward
IMO these players are worthy but will have to make it as senior candidates, since they have been eligible long enough that it doesn't seem likely any of them will ever be one of the top 5 non-senior candidates in a given class:

  • Steve Atwater
  • LeRoy Butler
  • Karl Mecklenburg
IMO these players are borderline and may eventually make it, but they are in my third tier:

  • Steve Hutchinson
  • Ty Law
  • Zach Thomas
  • Darren Woodson
IMO these players/coaches are worthy and are in my second tier that just miss the cut:

  • Tony Boselli
  • Isaac Bruce
  • Alan Faneca
  • Torry Holt
  • Jimmy Johnson
That leaves me with this class:

  • Champ Bailey
  • Ronde Barber
  • Don Coryell
  • Tony Gonzalez
  • Ed Reed
  • senior nominee - Johnny Robinson
  • contributor - Pat Bowlen
  • contributor - Gil Brandt
Comments:

  1. It would be at least a little surprising for the class to include 4 DBs among 5 players selected, so I am skeptical that Bailey and Barber will both make it.
  2. It would be great to see Bruce and Holt inducted together, but I don't see that happening in this class.
  3. I view Bruce and Boselli as the first two out, and thus the most deserving to move up.
  4. No way Jimmy Johnson should make it over Coryell IMO. Coryell is long overdue.
 
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Just Win Baby

Footballguy
Why again? Because he was their first pick? He played at a high level off and on for almost 3 years and was otherwise hurt/not available. 

:shrug:
He played for 6 seasons before his career ending injury. He made 5 Pro Bowls and was selected 1st team All Pro 3 times in that span. He’s the only member of the 1990’s NFL All-Decade first team on offense not in the HOF.

 
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Anarchy99

Footballguy
JWB - Just curious why you are so quick to dismiss James. 4 times 1500 rushing yards. 3 times 2000 YFS. One first team All Pro season, 2 second team All Pro seasons. I believe he was also first team All Decade of the 2000’s. Top 15 in rushing yards and Top 20 in TD.

I would probably agree he wouldn’t make it into my HOF,  but I would think he merits more consideration  than being in the no chance / doesn’t deserve it category. 

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
JWB - Just curious why you are so quick to dismiss James. 4 times 1500 rushing yards. 3 times 2000 YFS. One first team All Pro season, 2 second team All Pro seasons. I believe he was also first team All Decade of the 2000’s. Top 15 in rushing yards and Top 20 in TD.

I would probably agree he wouldn’t make it into my HOF,  but I would think he merits more consideration  than being in the no chance / doesn’t deserve it category. 
Here are the RBs inducted into the HOF in the past 20 HOF classes:

  1. 1999 - Eric Dickerson
  2. 2003 - Marcus Allen
  3. 2004 - Barry Sanders
  4. 2007 - Thurman Thomas
  5. 2010 - Emmitt Smith
  6. 2011 - Marshall Faulk
  7. 2012 - Curtis Martin
  8. 2015 - Jerome Bettis
  9. 2017 - Terrell Davis
  10. 2017 - LaDainian Tomlinson
Maybe I should have put him in the borderline category, but IMO James falls a little short of measuring up to that group. I assume some will be quick to jump on Martin and Bettis as having been weak choices and proof that James deserves it, but I don't see it that way.

Unfortunately for him, injuries impacted his 2001-2003 prime seasons and that is what made the difference.

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
How much more deserving is James than Shaun Alexander, who isn't even a semi-finalist?

  • James started 96 games in 7 seasons in IND. He had 2188/9226/64 rushing (4.2 ypc) and 356/2839/11 (8.0 ypr), won OROY, made 4 Pro Bowls, and had 1 1st team All Pro selection
  • Alexander started 96 games in 8 seasons in SEA. He had 2176/9429/100 rushing (4.3 ypc) and 214/1511/12 (7.1 ypr), won MVP and OPOY, made 3 Pro Bowls, and had 1 1st team All Pro selection
James had more YFS and was clearly better in the passing game. Alexander was much better at scoring TDs and set the single season record for rushing TDs, though Tomlinson eclipsed it the next season. James had 1 more Pro Bowl and won OROY, but Alexander won MVP and OPOY.

Now consider that James had Manning at QB and Alexander had Hasselbeck.

 

[scooter]

Footballguy
JWB - Just curious why you are so quick to dismiss James. 4 times 1500 rushing yards. 3 times 2000 YFS. One first team All Pro season, 2 second team All Pro seasons. I believe he was also first team All Decade of the 2000’s. Top 15 in rushing yards and Top 20 in TD.

I would probably agree he wouldn’t make it into my HOF,  but I would think he merits more consideration  than being in the no chance / doesn’t deserve it category. 
I think Edge should get in, but here are the knocks against him:

- took over for Faulk but wasn't quite as good (which shouldn't be a knock against him, but a lot of people are going to look at him and say "If he's really a Hall Of Famer, then he should be as good as the Hall Of Famer that he replaced.").
- Indy's run game was just a product of Peyton Manning spreading the field.
- didn't score enough TDs (which again is due to Manning's passing).

I think he'll get in eventually because he has 12,000 rushing yards and 80 TDs (and everyone ahead of him is in, and today's RBs don't compile big rushing numbers so he'll probably stay at the top of the list for a while).

 

Leroy Hoard

Footballguy
I'd like to see Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt go in together, but sadly I don't think either one of them will get in this year (and I don't think Holt will ever get in).

From 1995 to 2006, Bruce had 866 receptions and 13,104 receiving yards (both 2nd only to Marvin Harrison) and 77 TDs (behind only Harrison, T.O., and Moss).

But unfortunately those numbers aren't as impressive in today's NFL. The sadly ironic thing is that their success is what led to the modern NFL.
The Warner -Faulk-Bruce -Holt offense is the hall of fame.

 

travdogg

Footballguy
I agree with a ton of Just Win Baby's post. I appreciate the thought that went into the tiers of it, and will piggy back off it a bit. The HOF is one of my favorite topics.I have no idea how to judge Gil Brandt, so I'll just address that now, and leave him out. 

Guys who shouldn't ever make it:

Coryell-Very innovative offensive mind, but never won(or even made a Super Bowl) for coaches that is especially a deal breaker. 

Bruce- Classic compiler, had 1 monster season(where he was still didn't lead in catches, yards or TD's) and a bunch of solid seasons. Doesn't help that Holt came in and was almost instantly better.

Matthews- Honestly, his son has a better case, and that isn't much of a case either. Matthews stayed healthy and a position that is tough to. 

Ward- I'd put him and Bruce as equals. Ward didn't have the monster season, but he had more success. 

James- Got exposed badly away from Manning, and they won a ring the second he left. Great fantasy RB though.

Mills- Maybe 3rd best LB on the Saints during his prime. Mills being a nominee just makes me think Pat Swilling is underrated.

Holt- Prefer him to Bruce, as he was more consistent, though his career was shorter. How many Greatest Show on Turf Rams should make it? 

Flores- Might get some mileage from being a minority coach. I thought he was a better coach than Dungy, but that shouldn't matter. Winning 2 SB's with Plunkett is impressive, but he was handed a pretty loaded team, other than QB, his case is pretty similar to George Siefert's.

Johnson- Gets docked for lack of longevity. The Miami run doesn't help either, nor does Switzer(an underrated coach himself) winning with the same team.

Law- Great CB, but never a truly elite one. Good answer to a trivia question about the NFL's shortest name. 3 rings might help his case, but a lot of Patriots have that, including one I think has a better HOF case.

Atwater- Always found him slightly overrated. He had a lot of coverage issues that had to be schemed around(especially on the 2 SB winning teams) but was an elite hitter/tackler who made WR's hear footsteps. 

Lynch- I'd take him over Atwater, but they were similar players. Time will tell if Lynch(like Elway) can make his case even better as an executive.

Guys who should get in eventually:

Barber- Was the 3rd best player on that amazing Bucs D, and had plenty of longevity. Lynch got the headlines, but Barber was the better DB for Tampa.

Boselli- So little longevity. Shouldn't keep him out, but he's going to need a lean year to make it.

Woodson- So underrated. 3 rings should push him over the top. Was so versatile, could man cover RB's and TE's, stuff the run, and play deep.

Mecklenburg- Versatile player who could play inside or outside, stuff the run and sack the QB. Was best player on Broncos 80's SB teams, shame he retired before they could win one.

Seymour- I think he has a better case than Law does. 3 rings, 2 of which he was the best defender on the team. 

Bowlen- Broncos were among the leagues most successful teams for about 30 years on his watch. Almost always in contention. Might get pushed to the top of the list for unfortunate reasons.

Mawae- Thought he was more responsible for the Jets rushing success than Curtis Martin was. Was the best center in the NFL for several years at the turn of the century.

Bailey- Probably won't have to wait long. He almost made the next category.

Guys who should make it this year:

Butler- I know he won't, but he absolutely should. Most underrated player of the 90's. Invented the Lambeau Leap, won a ring, was the 2nd best player on a back to back SB team. 

Hutchinson- All-time great run blocker. Shaun Alexander and Adrian Peterson both owe him a ton. Those guys(especially Peterson) were very good, but any RB could have hit 1,000 yards behind Hutchinson. 

Thomas- Amazed he's not in already. I think he was better than Urlacher, just not as flashy I guess. Dolphins also don't get the same attention the Bears do, and I say this as a Bears fan.

Reed: Best Safety of the last 25 years. Might even be underrated, as he was always a little bit in the shadow of Ray Lewis.

Robinson: The best DB(and arguably best defender period) in the AFL. Incredible he wasn't in 25 years ago. Those Chiefs teams are so underrepresented, as is the AFL in general.

Faneca: How Will Shields got in right away and Faneca has had to wait is a mystery to me. Faneca was better than Shields in every way, including SB rings. 

Gonzalez: He's the headliner to me. Greatest TE in NFL history, and was still playing at a pro bowl level when he retired. He could have added another 3,000 career yards if he'd played until he was no longer a top notch starter, like Witten did. 

 

travdogg

Footballguy
How much more deserving is James than Shaun Alexander, who isn't even a semi-finalist?

  • James started 96 games in 7 seasons in IND. He had 2188/9226/64 rushing (4.2 ypc) and 356/2839/11 (8.0 ypr), won OROY, made 4 Pro Bowls, and had 1 1st team All Pro selection
  • Alexander started 96 games in 8 seasons in SEA. He had 2176/9429/100 rushing (4.3 ypc) and 214/1511/12 (7.1 ypr), won MVP and OPOY, made 3 Pro Bowls, and had 1 1st team All Pro selection
James had more YFS and was clearly better in the passing game. Alexander was much better at scoring TDs and set the single season record for rushing TDs, though Tomlinson eclipsed it the next season. James had 1 more Pro Bowl and won OROY, but Alexander won MVP and OPOY.

Now consider that James had Manning at QB and Alexander had Hasselbeck.
Agreed, and I'll go a step further. I'd take Priest Holmes over either of them.

 

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