- CLUTCH Summary: The NFL Hall of Fame isn’t the easiest place to end up, but even with that being the case, there are some guys who aren’t in it who need to be.
- There are different levels of guys who make the NFL Hall of Fame. Not all of them need to be obvious.
- These guys are all deserving of a spot, one way or another, for not only their all-time level of play, but the impact they had on the game.
There are a great amount of players that are deserving of the NFL Hall of Fame. Some players are fighting to get in while on a ballot. Others that are selected in after some time and much digression from the fans. However, there are some that aren’t given a chance even after being deserving for so long.
In fact, there are plenty both past and present that are eligible and are still not in. Some waited so long that they were never able to attend because of them passing away before their induction like Ken Stabler. And with this group of players, let’s hope that that will never be the case.
Here’s a list of guys for the Hall of the Fame in a an appropriate team made to honor them.
Quarterback: Ken Anderson
This quarterback went to the Pro Bowl four times, was selected to an All-Pro team, and won an MVP award in 1981. He was a great driving force for the Cincinnati Bengals franchise for all 16 years of his career.
Anderson led the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance and provided them a showing of what a franchise quarterback was supposed to be for many years. He was never able to provide as strong of statistics as he showed in his MVP season. Anderson was in an era before the pass happy action that would come in the early-to-mid 80’s. But he has the accolades to back up his resume, as well as his strong play for a snakebitten Bengals team.
Running Back: Roger Craig
The fact that Craig isn’t in the NFL Hall of Fame is puzzling for any fan of the San Francisco 49ers. Especially with what he was able to accomplish as one of the versatile backs in the league’s history.
He retired top 20 in all-time on the rushing yards list (13th), all-time in receptions (19th), and all-time in yards from scrimmage (12th). He was the first running back in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season. Only one other back has done that in Marshall Faulk (who is in the Hall of Fame).
Craig is someone that redefined the running back position turned the 49ers into a dynasty. He has every right in being in enshrined with his three Super Bowl rings and 1988 Offensive Player of the Year Award. He has the resume of a Hall of Fame back. Craig could make it in as a senior candidate sometime soon. But that’s just a slap in the face to what he accomplished during his time in the league.
Wide Receivers: Drew Pearson, Henry Ellard, Torry Holt, and Sterling Sharpe
There are no tight ends on this list because the amount of receivers that aren’t in is just ridiculous.
Pearson was a driving force for the Dallas Cowboys in the 70’s when they were in a constant battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers for league supremacy. He was a constant playmaker that provided the team with a spark on the receiving end. And in doing so, he gave the Cowboys their first Super win along with three All-Pro seasons.
Ellard was one of the best receivers for the longest time in the league during his time. And better yet, he did it without a single franchise quarterback to help him out. At the time of his retirement he ranked sixth all-time in receptions (814) and third all-time in receiving yards (13,777).
Holt was one of the best targets during the 2000’s as he was one of the main features on the Greatest Show on Turf receiving unit in the early decade. He had six straight seasons of at least 1,300 receiving yards, including two that went for over 1,600.
And Sharpe would be able to join his brother, Shannon, in the Hall of Fame and finally get the recognition he deserves. With five NFL Pro Bowl seasons and three All-Pro selections as well as a receiving triple crown in just seven seasons of play, you would expect him to be inducted. But alas, he joins the rest of this receiving group as someone that’s still deserving but not in yet.
O-Line: Alan Faneca, Steve Hutchinson, Tony Boselli, George Kunz, Matt Birk
The offensive line gets no love from the Hall of Fame. Which is abhorrent when looking at the offensive line constructed here. It consists of 35 Pro Bowls, 15 All-Pro selections, and two Super Bowl championships.
All of these guys exemplify what it means to be an elite offensive lineman, and what it means to be one of the best of all time.
D-Line: Dwight Freeney, Richard Seymour, Kevin Williams, Neil Smith
Freeney is one of the best pass rushers of the modern era and currently ranks 18th all-time in sacks. He was a critical piece for the Colts during their many Super Bowl runs, and made the spin move into an art form in getting to the quarterback.
Seymour was someone that sacrificed statistics while playing under Belichick as he played all over the defensive line. From playing on the edge to moving to the inside, he did everything to helping the Patriots winning their first three Super Bowls and earning seven Pro Bowls.
Williams played his entire career on the interior of the defensive line. He began his career strong with 22 sacks in his first two seasons and becoming one of the best run defenders on the defensive line. He earned six Pro Bowls and five All-Pro seasons to his credit.
Neil Smith played all of his career in the AFC West division, and coming away with being with one of the biggest contributors to both the Chiefs and Broncos. He finished his time with Kansas City being second on the franchise’s sack leader board and bringing Denver their first two Super Bowls.
Linebackers: London Fletcher, Zach Thomas, and Sam Mills
This group is the most underappreciated trio of linebackers in league history.
Fletcher has more tackles than Derrick Brooks, more forced fumbles than Brian Urlacher, and more interceptions than Junior Seau. He holds the record for most consecutive starts at linebacker and played in 250 consecutive games. And he remained consistent and came away with a Super Bowl for the Rams.
Thomas was another forgotten linebacker during the era of Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher as he remained productive with seven Pro Bowls and five All-Pro seasons. He was a household name in South Beach alongside Jason Taylor.
Mills is another undersized linebackers in this group of underappreciated guys. Standing at just 5’9″ he provided strong numbers for the Saints and Panthers after having played some time in the USFL until he was 27. He unfortunately passed away back in 2005, and it would only be right to put in one of the best pound for pound linebackers in the Hall.
Cornerbacks: Lemar Parrish and Eric Allen
Parrish was a cornerback with a nose for the end zone with his remarkable return ability and ball hawking ways. He came away with eight Pro Bowl seasons and recorded 47 interceptions as well as 13 total touchdowns during his 13 years in the league where he ranks fifth all-time in non-offensive touchdowns as well.
Allen put together some of the best seasons that a cornerback would dream to have. He had six seasons in which he intercepted at least five passes and was someone that could take an interception back for a touchdown at anytime. He came away with eight interceptions returned for touchdowns (as many as Deion Sanders), including a season where he returned four for a touchdown (an NFL record).
Safeties: John Lynch and Troy Polamalu
Lynch is currently worrying more about the 49ers’ team success as their general manager than getting into the Hall right now. But the impact he provided to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden years cannot go unnoticed as it gave him nine Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl. He was one of the hardest hitting safeties and gave both the Bucs and Broncos an impact with his strong presence over the middle.
It’s baffling to see Polamalu not going into the NFL Hall of Fame with Ed Reed as they were the two most dominant safeties all throughout their time together in the league and retiring together. But it’s likely that they will be inducting him in for the 2020 class. The things the Samoan-born safety did on the field wasn’t seen before with his unorthodox style and knowing where the ball was going to go. And it’s what helped the Steelers become such a powerhouse throughout his time with the team.
Special Teams: Steve Tasker
There can’t be a Hall of Fame class without some special teams thrown in there. Now, of course, Tasker isn’t a kicker or a punter, and a lot of this is due to the fact that Adam Vinatieri just won’t retire yet. And Phil Dawson is retired but still ineligible. So we’re going to go with the next best option for special teams, and it’s a guy that revolutionized the special teams game for everyone.
Tasker was someone that excelled at being a gunner and getting to the return man or blocking kicks. He used his small stature to get passed blockers and provide big hits to the opposing returners despite only weighing 180 and standing at 5’9″. His play at gunner was so impressive that he earned seven Pro Bowls and five All-Pro selections for his work at gunner. His impact isn’t going completely unnoticed as he’s been a finalist for the Hall of Fame since 2011. However, no other progress has been made.
Guess we’ll see if something changes for him next year. The same for the rest of this NFL Hall of Fame-less squad.