Who is next for the NFL Hall of Fame?

by Gary Shelton on August 9, 2016 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Tuesday, 6 a.m.

After the busts are unveiled, when the speeches finally stop, when the gold jackets have been passed out, there is a relief that comes with the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Usually, it's that of business being taken care of.

And so it was with this year's Hall of Fame class. Everyone knows I'm a huge Tony Dungy guy, but Tony won one Super Bowl. If he had to wait, it would have been understandable. The same with Eddie DeBartolo, who had the good sense to hire Bill Walsh and move out of the way. I thought Kevin Greene was a fine player, but he could have gone anytime in the next 10 years, and no one would have blinked. Kenny Stabler was an iconic quarterback, but he's been waiting forever. Bill Stanfel? I guess I should be excited.

The point is, there really was only one guy – Brett Favre – who really made the room shake. And there are those who will

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tell you Favre was overrated. Heck, if Dungy was going to be criticized for winning only one Super Bowl, well, why wasn't Favre?

Again, I have no problems with anyone who survives the cutdown of the voters. It just seems that this election was more about taking care of guys who have been waiting their turn.

And next year?

Who gets in then?

Remember, there are only five players (not counting seniors or contributors), who get in. Just for fun, however, let's rank the top 20 players and their arguments to get into Canton next season.

1. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB: The fifth-leading rusher of all time, Tomlinson looks like a slam-dunk. Tomlinson is the only player in history with eight seasons over 1,000 yards rushing.

2. Kurt Warner, QB: Yes, he had a slump in the middle of is career. But Warner took over two terrible teams (the Rams and the Cardinals) and led them both to the Super Bowl. He'll get in.

3. John Lynch, S: If you're asking why Lynch is rated over Dawkins, it's because I'm biased. I thought Lynch was the better player. He made the final 10 this year.

4. Joe Jacoby, T: Jacoby led the Redskins to three Super Bowl titles. He was the leader of the Hogs, who always excelled in the biggest game.

5. Jason Taylor, DE: Taylor probably has to wait until 2018, but he shouldn't. He had 136 sacks, sixth on the all-time list. Over his career, he scored nine touchdowns.

6. Hines Ward, WR: Another player who may have to spend some time waiting. Ward was a consummate teammate, which is why I would rank him over the flashier Terrell Owens.

7, Kenny Anderson, QB: A possible choice of the Senior Committee. An extremely efficient quarterback who led the early days of the Bengals.

8. Don Coryell, coach: Do you ever hear of a guy being considered for the Hall of Fame and think “isn't he in?” How in the world can the inventor of “Air Coryell” be outside?

9. Terrell Davis, RB: Davis was the player who delivered John Elway's two Super Bowls to him. Yes, the Broncos had other good backs, but none of them were Davis.

10. Allen Faneca, G: He could squeeze in after his years of excellence at the guard position. If so, there will be no arguments from me.

11. Brian Dawkins, S: Dawkins also made nine Pro Bowls while playing for the Eagles. A tough, smart player. He just wasn't Lynch.

12. Donnie Shell, S: Yes, a lot of Steelers are in the Hall. But Shell clearly deserves to be there.

13. Jerry Kramer, G: Everyone knows about Kramer's goal-line block against Dallas. But consider this: Voters have pushed most of the Packers toward the Hall. What does it tell you that Kramer isn't one of them?

14. Terrell Owens, WR: Yes, he has fine statistics. But Owens was a time-bomb in the huddle of most of the teams he played for. Ask the quarterbacks for their votes. Voters will put him in, but they shouldn't.

15. Chuck Howley, LB: Another senior possibility. Had the second-most turnovers of any linebacker.

16. Steve Atwater, S: A good player, but clearly just another safety on this list. Still, he could get in someday.

17. Simeon Rice, DE: No, he'll never get in, because his reputation says he didn't play the run. For the Bucs, however, he did.

18. Morten Anderson, K: Anderson has all the stats. He simply has to overcome the voters though-process of “we're putting this guy in instead of a player.”

19. Donovan McNabb, QB: He was a good, not great, quarterback for the Eagles. Didn't play well when he was traded to Redskins.

20. James Brooks, RB: A very good running back on a very good Bengals team. Just not a Hall of Fame level running back.

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