2010 Hall of Fame Announcements
Peter King just tweeted that the Final 5 non-senior (regular) candidates are Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, John Randle, Russ Grimm, and Rickey Jackson, and among those, plus the two senior candidates of Lebeau and Little, the ones named on 80% of ballots are in. I gave my brief thoughts on the 25 semifinalists back in November, and my feelings are pretty much unchanged, namely that Rice and Smith are both locks and will make it in, Russ Grimm would be a fine honoree, Rickey Jackson would probably be a fine selectee, and John Randle should have to buy an admission ticket to get it.
I’ve been remiss in not linking to PFR Blog’s fine series analyzing each candidate. See Rice, Smith, Randle, Grimm, Jackson, LeBeau, and Little, which post contains links to all of the ones in the series. Also of interest is the roundtable discussion, though I disagree with too many of the conclusions.
The press conference is ongoing (I’m republishing this post after each paragraph), and the 5 candidates who made the first cut but not the second were Dermontti Dawson, Richard Dent, Cortez Kennedy, Andre Reed, and Shannon Sharpe. IMO, Dawson, Kennedy, and Sharpe would all have been much finer choices than Randle and also finer choices than Rickey Jackson. The first 5 cut, who didn’t make the group of 10, were Roger Craig, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Don Coryell, and Charley Haley. So, good, they whacked the most over-represented positions (RB, WR) first, though I’m surprised Reed finished ahead of both Brown and Carter.
And, the electees are Russ Grimm, Randy [sicRickey] Jackson, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little, John Randle, Jerry Rice, and Emmitt Smith. How very boring to elect all 7. The most disappointing selection is, by far, Floyd Little, who simply wasn’t that good of a player and now serves as a precedent for every single mediocre running back of the past 50 years, up to and including Eddie George, and also adds to the Hall of Fame being grossly overpopulated by running backs.
Slightly longer thoughts on each of the 7 new guys:
Jerry Rice: I got a little bit of pushback from some people on my description of Rice as possibly not in the Hall of Fame if you limit it to only 10 or 15 people, and that he’s among the top 5. Maybe I did underrate him a little bit, but the fact that he’s in the conversation for that indicates just how awesome of a player he was. My favorite cite is Jerry Rice Odd Years and Jerry Rice Even Years would each be a viable candidate for Hall induction in their own rights.
Emmitt Smith: I’m not angry about him being it, but was he really any better than Curtis Martin, just got lucky to be on those great Cowboy teams? I know, excluding him would make everybody think you’re totally nuts, but I don’t think he’s one of the elite backs in NFL history.
Russ Grimm: A fine way to honor the fine Washington Redskins lines of the Joe Gibbs v.1 Era. Undoubtedly a good player, but I noticed guard play even less then than I did now, and I still don’t notice it enough.
Rickey Jackson: I hope to hell the Saints playing tomorrow didn’t have anything to do with his selection. Was he really a better player than Pat Swilling? He had a longer career, by 3 years, and 20 more sacks, and while I didn’t watch that Saints team much, I remember Swilling being better. Maybe I’m underrating Jackson’s play in the 1983-85 era, and maybe I’m overrating Swilling, but I don’t see what made Jackson stand out over somebody like Haley, who had more positional flexibility and better team success.
John Randle: Randle’s selection makes me wish the NFL hadn’t started officially keeping track of sacks, because without sacks he wouldn’t have a ghost of a chance at the Hall of Fame. A one-dimensional pass rusher at DT; I can’t think of a current comparison, just because that’s generally such a terrible idea, plus edge rushing tends to be more productive. With Little, one of the two finalists I was hoping was rejected, and the fact that he made it over Cortez Kennedy, who was a more complete player while still being a fine pass rusher is completely ridiculous. ALL of Randle’s honors were a product of him being focused on sacks and the voters ignoring what really makes a player good; the Hall of Fame isn’t supposed to be, shouldn’t be, that myopic.
Floyd Little: Okay, comparing him to Eddie George, as I did above, is a little of a stretch. Everything I say about him would be a rehash of PFR’s more detailed case about why he’d be well below average for a Hall of Fame running back, which is already the most watered-down position in the Hall.
Dick LeBeau: Deserves it as a combination for his job as a coach/coordinator and as a player, but not solely on his merits as a player. Everybody knows why he got in, though, so I’m not going to complain too much.
Congratulations to all seven of the electees.
UPDATE (2/6 2232 CT): Worth a read: Jim Trotter’s piece on this year’s voting experience. Reed and Dent both in soon, very eh. I miss Dr. Z’s willingness to rip on people and take on overrated candidates like Randle.