The NFL recently announced the finalists for the 2019 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They are Isaac Bruce, Edgerrin James, Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed, Steve Atwater, Champ Bailey, Ty Law, John Lynch, Kevin Mawae, Alan Faneca, Richard Seymour, Tony Boselli, Steve Hutchinson, Tom Flores, and Don Coryell.
This is a very impressive class, to say the least. The selection committee definitely has their hands full of tough decisions to make. This class is not short of talent on defense in the secondary, to say the least.
One of the players who may go overlooked is Isaac Bruce. The shortage of wide receivers in this class unquestionably strengthens his case. The former Los Angeles and St. Louis Rams wide receiver is certainly deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Will the committee see it that way this year though? They should if they really know their stuff. Bruce was one of the most underrated wide receivers to ever play the game of football.
Of course, The Greatest Show on Turf is one of the first things that comes to mind when talking about Bruce.They were arguably the best offense to ever be assembled, residing in St. Louis from 1999-2001 in the Edward Jones Dome. You had Hall of Famer Kurt Warner at quarterback, Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk at running back, and a plethora of wide receivers in Bruce, Torry Holt, Az-Zahir Hakim, and Ricky Proehl. This alone cements his legacy in football forever.
Another accomplishment for Bruce was his involvement in the Rams’ Super Bowl win in 1999. The nickname The Greatest Show on Turf has withstood the test of time. Although they were one of the best offenses ever, they were only truly elite for three seasons before coming apart.
The one and only Super Bowl win in the Rams’ franchise history came in 1999, further helping Bruce make his argument as a Hall of Famer. Having the hardware is nice, but Super Bowl rings usually aren’t considered as a Hall of Fame prerequisite when it comes to wide receivers.
The play Bruce is most remembered for is his touchdown reception in the Super Bowl against the Tennessee Titans. Warner threw a pass down the sideline to Bruce, who came back to the ball and made a couple moves to reach the end zone. That play gave the Rams the lead late in the fourth quarter and ended up being the decisive score in the game.
Bruce also has the individual resume to land him in Canton this year. In 16 seasons, Bruce totaled 1,024 receptions, 15,208 yards, and 91 touchdowns. With those marks, Bruce ranks 13th all-time in receptions, fifth all-time in receiving yards, and 12th all-time in receiving touchdowns.
The only players ahead of Bruce in receiving yards are Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss. All of those guys are either in the Hall of Fame or will be someday. There’s no doubt that Fitzgerald will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Legends of the game are the only guys who stand in front of Bruce when it comes to touchdowns as well. The only guys ahead of him are Rice, Moss, Ownes, Cris Carter, Marvin Harrison, Fitzgerald, Antonio Gates, Gonzalez, Tim Brown, Steve Largent, and Don Hutson.
Looking at those names, all of them have their names etched in Canton or will when their careers come to an end. Thus, his resume speaks for itself when you ask yourself if Bruce is a certified Hall of Famer.
This should be an easy decision for the group of people who decide who makes it into Canton. With the limited amount of offensive players in this class, Bruce should make it in. If it were up to me, the 2019 class would include Bruce, Gonzalez, Reed, James, Law, Hutchinson, and Coryell.
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s official website, there is not a set number of players who make it. It does state that they do like to keep it within four to eight players though. Among the finalists, Bruce easily has one of the strongest cases to be inducted in 2019.