27 January 2014

My 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame Ballot

The 2014 class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be announced this Sunday evening. It seems that for the most part, the Pro Football Hall induction lacks much of the fervor surrounding its baseball counterpart in Cooperstown, but it's also a different process in that the voters get together in a room and hash out amongst themselves who deserves to get in, and then they vote right there. It certainly is not a perfect process, it's actually very flawed, but alas.

That said, here is my hypothetical 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot.

Derrick Brooks, OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1995-2008)
Brooks is one of three guys on the ballot this year that are absolutely locks. Without question one of the greatest outside linebackers ever, as well as a key force in the defenses that turned the Buccaneers from laughing stock into Super Bowl champions, Brooks was an 11-time Pro Bowler during his 14 year career and is on the 2000s All-Decade Team.

Eddie DeBartolo, Owner (San Francisco 49ers, 1977-2000)
I think it is time that Eddie D. gets into Canton. Yes, we all know about the Edwin Edwards corruption case that led to DeBartolo getting a two-year probation and being forced to cede control of his beloved 49ers to his sister. But that does not detract from the fact that DeBartolo was one of the greatest owners in the history of the league, presiding over the winningest teams of the 1980s and 90s as well as five Super Bowl champions in 15 years. He was beloved by his players and if he was not a part of the franchise, there would not be Bill Walsh.

Marvin Harrison, WR, Indianapolis Colts (1996-2008)
The receiver logjam continues this year with Harrison's first year on the ballot where he joins Tim Brown and Andre Reed in the mix. I think Brown is more likely to get in this year, but I think Harrison should go in before him. After all, he has the superior stats. And it's not fair to downplay his candidacy because he played with Peyton Manning, while Brown did not play with very good quarterbacks until the end of his career. Let's not forget that Jerry Rice had three MVP's throwing to him during the course of his career. Harrison is third all-time in receptions, seventh in receiving yards, fifth all-time in receiving touchdowns and is on the 2000s All-Decade Team.

Walter Jones, T, Seattle Seahawks (1997-2009)
Jones is the second slam dunk Hall of Famer on the ballot in his first year on the ballot as you cannot conceivably come up with a reason that Jones should not be in the Hall. In a bit of a golden age for franchise left tackles, Jones may have been the cream of the crop. A member of the 2000s All-Decade Team, Jones was a nine-time Pro Bowler during his 12 years in the league as well as a four-time All-Pro first team tackle.

Michael Strahan, DE, New York Giants (1993-2007)
It took some by surprise that Strahan did not get in the Hall last year in his inaugural year on the ballot, but it will be insane if Strahan does not get in this year. Strahan was more than just an excellent pass rusher, he was also a very good run defender at the left defensive end spot, not the typical spot for your top pass rusher. He sits fifth all-time in sacks and set the single-season record in 2002, even though the record-setting sack against the Packers was garbage and not really a sack (I was there). Strahan made seven Pro Bowls, was an All-Pro five times and was a key leader for two Super Bowl teams.

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