The Pro Football Hall of Fame released today the names of nominees for its Class of 2013.
The nominees include Steve McNair, Eddie George, Gary Anderson, Bud Adams and longtime Oilers/Titans scout C.O. Brocato.
I'll review the five Titans nominees, along with my take on the most deserving of the other nominees, after the jump.
Steve McNair – Unfortunately for Steve's chances, most of the quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame won some championships. Those who didn't were consistently considered the best of their era and/or had prolific passing numbers. It doesn't help Steve's chances that Phil Simms, who has 2,000 more passing yards and two Super Bowl rings, is also among this year's nominees. So is Drew Bledsoe, who has over 13,000 more passing yards than Steve.
(Note: One of Simms' two rings came in 1990, when he was injured after going 11-3 in the regular season. Jeff Hostettler quarterbacked the team in the playoffs and Super Bowl. Similarly, Bledsoe's only ring was in 2001, when he was injured in the regular season and replaced by some young guy named Tom Brady.)
I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but those who think McNair is deserving of HoF enshrinement need to realize that Steve is only 33rd on the all-time passing list. He should be surpassed on that list by Eli Manning later this season and by Ben Roethlisberger either late this year or early next season. Each of them have already won two Super Bowl rings. There are five other QBs not yet in the HoF, who have more passing yards than Steve and at least one Super Bowl ring apiece – Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Kurt Warner.
When you compare Steve's accomplishments to those of Simms, Bledsoe, Eli, Big Ben, Favre, Peyton, Brees, Brady and Warner, it's not really close.
Eddie George – Eddie has a similar problem as Steve's. Among his fellow nominees this year are three running backs with better stats than his – Jerome Bettis, Ricky Watters and Tiki Barber.
Two years ago, I wrote that Eddie wouldn't make the Hall of Fame, and I compared his numbers to those of his contemporaries, both in and out of Canton. About the only thing that has changed since then is that Eddie has gone from 23rd to 24th on the all-time rushing list. Barring injury, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson all have a good chance to pass Eddie on that list within the next three years, moving him down to 28th place.
Besides fellow nominees Bettis, Watters and Barber, others who have better stats than Eddie but are not in the Hall of Fame are LaDainian Tomlinson and Edgerrin James, who are not yet eligible but should be selected. Others include Fred Taylor, Corey Dillon, Warrick Dunn, Jamal Lewis and Thomas Jones. That's a lot of guys with better stats than Eddie's and some of them won't make it, nor should they. Neither should Eddie.
Gary Anderson – Only two of his 23 NFL seasons were with the Titans, and those were due to injuries by Joe Nedney. Anderson is second on the NFL's all-time scoring list, behind only Morten Andersen, who played 26 years and is also a HoF nominee this year. There is only one kicker in the HoF, Jan Stenerud, so the odds are against another being selected. (Two position players, QB George Blanda and T Lou Groza, also kicked and are in Canton.)
Even in the very unlikely event Anderson is selected for enshrinement, I don't know that it will mean much to Titans fans since nearly all of his career was spent elsewhere. The main thing I'll always remember fondly about Gary is his long field goal to beat the Ratbirds in the 2003 playoffs.
Bud Adams – Of the five Titans nominees, Adams probably has the best chance, though a slim one, of being selected this year. I wrote this about Bud two years ago when he was also a HoF nominee, which is worth a read if you're interested in the contributions he has made to the league. Other nominees in the contributor category this year include former owners Ed DeBartolo and Art Modell and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who have all been finalists before. I imagine there's a chance Bud might garner some votes from those who would like to see him selected while he's still alive, rather than posthumously.
C.O. Brocato – Here's a good read on Brocato from 2007, which helps to explain why he has been so highly regarded for many years. I added my 2¢ here. C.O. has virtually no chance to advance beyond this stage of the process but it's nice to see him recognized again.
Past finalists who are nominees again this year:
Since these guys were finalists before, they should be considered favorites to be so again.
RBs Jerome Bettis, Roger Craig
WRs Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Andre Reed
DE/LBs Charles Haley, Kevin Greene
CB/S Aeneas Williams
Coaches Don Coryell, Bill Parcells
Contributors Ed DeBartolo, Jr., Art Modell, Paul Tagliabue, George Young
My votes (if I was a selector):
The selection committee will select at least four, but not more than seven, people for enshrinement from 15 finalists plus two senior committee nominees, Curley Culp and Dave Robinson. As a senior (old fart) myself, I have seen all of them and their contemporaries for their entire careers. These are the seven people I believe are the most deserving to be enshrined in Canton.
Cris Carter – I don't know why he hasn't already been selected. Maybe it's because he didn't play in a major media market for the majority of his career. Maybe it's because he wasn't a diva/receiver who loved to stir the pot, toot his own horn, and make headlines with his mouth rather than with his play. Carter is fourth in career receiving touchdowns with 130 and eighth on the career receiving yardage list with 13,899. An eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro, Carter has been a HoF finalist five years in a row. Maybe the sixth time will be a charm.
Don Coryell – Depending on your point of view, either Coryell or Sid Gillman is the father of the modern passing game, with most old-timers believing that honor belongs to Coryell. The passing game as we know it today would not be what it is without him. Coryell's Chargers led the league in passing six years in a row and for seven out of eight. Chargers QB Dan Fouts, WR Charlie Joiner and TE Kellen Winslow were all selected for the HoF but the man who made their success possible is strangely not in it. Fouts and HoF coaches John Madden and Joe Gibbs all believe Coryell should have been selected years ago and it's hard to disagree with them.
Curley Culp – Nominated by the seniors committee, Culp played for 14 years and was selected to six Pro Bowls and was named once as a first-team All-Pro. Culp began his career with the Chiefs, where he and fellow DT Buck Buchanan anchored a fierce defense that also included MLB Willie Lanier and OLB Bobby Bell, all Hall of Famers who somewhat overshadowed Culp in his early years. Culp's best years though were with the Oilers as a NT, where he earned four of his six Pro Bowls and his All-Pro selection. The selection committee usually selects someone nominated by the seniors committee, so I believe he'll probably get in.
Jerome Bettis – Sixth on the all-time rushing list, Bettis has more rushing yards than Hall of Fame RBs Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Jim Brown, Marshall Faulk, Marcus Allen, Franco Harris, Thurman Thomas, John Riggins and O.J. Simpson, among others. If 13,662 rushing yards isn't good enough for the HoF, I'm not sure what it will take anymore.
Larry Allen – He played 14 NFL seasons and was selected to the Pro Bowl in each one but his first year, last year, and the 2002 season, when he was injured and played in only five games. Allen was named to six consecutive first-team All-Pro teams, from 1996-2001, earning that honor Bruce Matthews-style at three positions, RG, LT and LG. Ask all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith who was the biggest contributor to his success and he'll probably say it was Larry Allen.
Michael Strahan – A seven-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time first-team All-Pro, Strahan holds the NFL single season sack record, with 22.5, and is fifth on the career sack list with 141.5. A complete player, Strahan led the league twice in sacks but was also known as a strong run defender, which he was required to do as a strong side DE (many of the best pass rushers play on the weak side and aren't as good in run defense.) He spent his entire 15-year career with the Giants and will be a first ballot Hall of Famer if selected this year.
Paul Tagliabue – The NFL commissioner from 1989-2006, Tagliabue "presided over an extended period of labor peace and revenue growth in professional football. During his tenure, the League grew from 28 to 32 teams, secured the largest television contracts in entertainment history, supported the construction of more than 20 NFL team stadiums, and expanded the NFL’s global reach." Former commissioners Bert Bell (1946-1959) and Pete Rozelle (1960-1989) are both in the HoF and I see no reason why Tagliabue won't join them.
Those are my seven selections as the most deserving to be enshrined. My runners up were Tim Brown and Kevin Greene. What do you think? Where do you agree or disagree? Who would you say yea or nay to?