01 February 2015

Breaking down the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame class

(USATSI)
Another Super Bowl eve, another class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This year's class includes eight inductees in running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver/returner Tim Brown, defensive end/linebacker Charles Haley, linebacker Junior Seau and guard Will Shields as well as contributors Bill Polian and Ron Wolf as well as center Mick Tingelhoff, the senior committee inductee. Here's my reaction.

All in all, the selection committee largely got this correct. In fact, I had three of the former players on my ballot in Brown, Haley and Seau. The contributor selections are both absolutely well-deserving as Polian and Wolf had tremendous careers as executives building winners everywhere they went with Polian building winners in Buffalo, Carolina and Indianapolis and Wolf building one of the biggest winners of the 1990s in Green Bay, particularly after his coup of Reggie White in free agency and the legendary trade for Brett Favre. The induction of the senior committee nominee Tingelhoff is also well-deserved in my mind.

The fact that Haley has had to wait this long, as I noted earlier, is a farce and proof of how much politics does play in this induction process. Politics also plays a little bit of Brown's induction in that not because he is not worthy of induction, I think he is and he has had to wait a little longer than he should have due to the receiver logjam, but it seems like there was the notion of that this was his time. Is that necessarily wrong, I am not sure (it may have played a role subliminally in me putting him on my ballot this year) but I do think that Marvin Harrison should have gone in before him.

Everybody knew that Seau was a stone cold lead pipe lock for induction and it certainly was emotional this evening seeing his son represent his late father at the announcement of the induction. But I also thought that Orlando Pace was a pretty strong bet to be inducted this year and thus I am shocked that he was not inducted this year. I was a little surprised that Shields got in before Pace, and in fact that he was inducted this year as we know how hard for guards to be inducted, but I think having Shields in before Pace is a lot more justifiable than putting in Bettis before Pace. Bettis is a Hall of Fame running back but I would like to find somebody that considered Bettis a better football player than Pace was.

That said, Pace should get in next year (keyword: 'should'). In fact, he will probably join his former quarterback Kurt Warner, somebody who I came close to including on my ballot. Harrison would seem to be a sure bet in the next couple of years one would think. The high-profile newcomers to the ballot next year are Brett Favre (an absolute lock) and Terrell Owens, who should spark a fun discussion just like his performance on the Celebrity Apprentice this television season.

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