(Photo by SB Nation)
Well, they are in folks, The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 has been named, and no one could be less impressed.
The supposedly credible football writers only proved how unworthy of the vote they were by showing that five dogs, six orangutans, eight lizards, four gerbils, and three squirrels together could have voted for a better outcome.
As the worst result since the OJ Simpson Murder Trial verdict, the writers disgraced themselves by selecting a kicker over players that noticeably caught passes, blocked nemeses, and smashed opponents into the ground regularly.
Instead of Terrell Owens, the writers chose Morten Andersen.
Instead of Alan Faneca, the writers chose Morten Andersen.
Instead of Brian Dawkins, the writers chose Morten Andersen.
Instead of John Lynch, the writers chose Morten Andersen.
Instead of Joe Jacoby…actually, we can make an exception to that.
But even if Andersen’s claim to the Hall of Fame was him being the all-time points leader, it is insulting to induct a ten-snaps-per-game player over ones whose weekly snap counts likely exceeded his by four to six times. Owens, Faneca, Dawkins, Lynch, and, of all people, Jacoby, probably played at least fifty snaps per game, and all averaged career span of 14.4 seasons. Based on those measurements, their average snaps per season would exceed Anderson’s by 4.9 times.
Sure, everyone will not agree on all picks because of varying viewpoints and each voter will have his or her own list of requirements. But based on the annual results, especially the ones over the last two years, and prior ones, the actions of the voters show that they do no work or even know what they are doing.
We all know that Owens deserves his due in Canton, and that does not need to be discussed. With Brett Favre, Eric Dickerson, and Fran Tarkenton being bad teammates, he legitimately fits the standard, especially with precedents set by Dickerson and Tarkenton, and another set by Favre as Favre is literally the NFL’s all-time leader in interceptions and fumbles.
The writers induct high-stat, no-winning running backs as if forced to do so at gunpoint. They have no problem enshrining LaDainian Tomlinson on the first ballot when he has been linked to selfishness and team ruination in the past.
Last year, Jacoby made the final ten over Faneca when Faneca had more than doubled Jacoby’s number of Pro Bowl selections and tripled his number of First-Team All-Pro selections despite having two fewer Super Bowl rings (a team accomplishment). Let us not forget that Bruce Matthews was an interior lineman for the majority of his career and thus was surprisingly a first-ballot Hall of Famer. With one Super Bowl loss but one more First-Team All-Pro selection versus the champion Faneca, Faneca should not have to wait at least three years, even if Matthews has five more Pro Bowls than him.
You would think that people who claim to obsess about composing the history of the game would remember this. They even forgot that Jimmy Johnson was the biggest reason Jerry Jones was successful, yet he is out while Jones and a man with fewer rings and, like Johnson, has playoff appearances with two teams, Tony Dungy, are in. Let us not forget about how much they obsess over the quarterback as they make the quarterback the team as if he played in all three phases.
For example, when the San Francisco 49ers have the NFL’s worst run defense and need to make personnel changes, the only subject matter that comes to mind is Colin Kaepernick. When Julian Edelman catches nine passes for 109 yards and one touchdown, but Malcolm Butler intercepts Russell Wilson as the New England Patriots’ game-winning play, Tom Brady is the game’s MVP despite throwing two interceptions. When the Cincinnati Bengals’ pass rush only has 33.0 sacks, the problem is Andy Dalton.
Consequently, this quarterback-biased culture leads to Super Bowl arguments, again, team-based arguments, to define other individual players. Plus, when the quarterback obsession also likely had a role in creating teammate-quality arguments, especially for statistically slighted players, a new ritual developed to the point where it was applied to statistically visible players; but only if they “walk with their pants hanging down.”
Boy, emulating those Pudge Rodriguez voters has really come in handy for the football writers.
Plus, there are thirty-two local writers, and when most of them work in cities where teams keep firing and hiring coaches and executives, they will have so few sources outside their cities to advise them on positions they are inept at evaluating. Besides, if you were a coach and were likely slandered by one of these writers, why pick up the phone when any of them call you?
In the past, I have recommended that the writers be replaced by former scouts or executives who are now in the media take part instead of the writers. Such people include Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks, and Michael Lombardi. Unlike the writers, they know about the game and evaluate players the same way writers evaluate writers for the Dick McCann Memorial Award, judging them by their craft.
The former personnel evaluators will have to agree to commit to the task, however, and hopefully determining Hall of Famers will not be hard for them considering that all three men have participated in eras where the newly eligible and unfairly slighted have played.
If not, we might as well give the votes to the five dogs, six orangutans, eight lizards, four gerbils, and three squirrels. The outcome might be horrendous because these creatures rarely see the game, but the way they determine the induction would be funny.
If your voters claim intellectual superiority in a process that they act stupid in, the Hall of Fame and its selection methods become a joke. When your current ways are comical, and we are not laughing, you must change your ways for us to respect you again. When you not only failed to learn from your mistakes but regress in progress, your judgment is not only worth none of our faith but your status no longer even belongs to our species.