What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
With last week’s announcement of the 15 Football Hall of Fame finalists, we here at Dubsism want to take this opportunity to prove something we’ve long suspected: the readers of Dubsism and Turtle Boy Sports can put together a better Hall of Fame class than can the pointy-heads with the ballots that count.
The reason why we here at Dubsism are doing this is simple. Once you hit the Dubsism home page, one of the first things you see is a badge declaring our support for the on-going Jerry Kramer for the Hall of Fame campaign. Kramer’s exclusion from Canton is so universally agreed upon as one of the most egregious snubs in all of sports that when the anal-probing aliens from Alpha Centuri aren’t plying their trade on the rednecks they abduct, the galactic sports pages they read decry Kramer’s exclusion as one of the great ass-rape jobs of all time.
That’s why on every ballot cast by the Dubsism staff, Jerry Kramer’s name will be at the top until he is finally inducted.
This is also the year the Hall of Fame looks to fix the next biggest injustice in Canton. For all the time in the 1970’s the experts were telling me that Mike Webster was the best center in the NFL, Mick Tingelhoff was better. Read the following two paragraphs and tell me why this guy isn’t enshrined in Canton.
After graduating from the University of Nebraska, Tingelhoff went undrafted by the NFL and signed a free-agent with the Minnesota Vikings He became their starting center during his rookie season and held that spot until he retired in 1978. Tingelhoff was a First Team All-Pro selection for the first of five times in 1964 and began a streak of six straight Pro Bowl appearances. In 1967, he was named First Team All-Pro by the Newspaper Enterprise Association and United Press International and Second Team All-Pro by the Associated Press. In 1969, he was named the NFL’s Top Offensive Lineman of the Year. The next year, Tingelhoff was named First Team All-Pro by both the Pro Football Writer’s of America and Pro Football Weekly, Second Team All-Pro by the Newspaper Enterprise Association, and First Team All-NFC for that season by the Associated Press.
Tingelhoff was one of 11 players to have played in all four Vikings’ Super Bowl appearances in the 1970s, and when he retired Tingelhoff had started in the 2nd most consecutive games (240) in NFL history. He was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2001 and his #53 was retired.
Now that Tingelhoff is on the ballot as a senior finalist, at least one of Canton’s great snubs can be fixed. The trouble is that Tingelhoff gets dumped into the regular ballot, so he’s really going to face an uphill battle to get inducted, because there are too many voters who simply don’t remember a guy whose career ended in 1978. . The other finalists who will be considered separately from the main ballot are as follows:
As for the rest of the ballot, there’s an interesting selection for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2015 class.
*Senior finalist; **Contributor finalists
The trend in recent years is that one or two first-ballot inductees get in each yeat; there were two last year, three in 2013, and two in 2011. 2012v was the exception when no first-time finalists were inducted. This year likely won’t be another 2013, if for no other reason that Junior Seau is a veritble lock. After Bill Belichick said so…
[He’s the] all-time leader in tackling, but more than stats, his love of the game, his passion for the game, and the high level that he played at a very difficult position. I mean, him, Clay Matthews [Jr.], guys to play as long as they did at that position as well as he did is phenomenal. He is so deserving. I hope it happens
Another first-time finalist who is close to being a lock is Orlando Pace. In the past few years, the Hall of Fame has begun to realize the importance of offensive linemen. Along with fellow first-ballot inductees Jonathan Ogden and Walter Jones, Pace exemplified the importance of the left tackle position. This also may be why guard Jerry Kramer and center Mick Tinglehoff have had such trouble getting inducted, but I’ve already had my rant about great offensive linemen.
With that, let’s get to the Dubsism Pro Football Hall of Fame Ballot Challenge. This is where you get a few different ways to voice your opinion. The first is to cast your own ballot.
That’s right, you get the same vote as the Pro Football Writers of America. Simply select one of the contributor finalists, then select five of the other finalists, remembering that there is a maximum number of inductees. Any finalist who is named in 80% of the ballots submitted would qualify for induction. Results will be announced on the Monday after the Super Bowl.
Now, your ballots will remain secret so you can vote as you wish without risk of scorn and derision. But so you can heap the same upon me via the comments section, not only will I share my ballot, but I will offer a short dictate on why I voted that way.
Ron Wolf is on this list because he did something the NFL highly valued, and nobody really thought was possible; he rebuilt a storied franchise in a little town somewhere near the Arctic Circle. The NFL loves keeping the Green Bay franchise where it is; it’s a holdover from the leagues’ Paleozoic era when its homes were in little towns like Green Bay, Decatur, Illinois, and the Hall of Fame’s very home, Canton, Ohio. Granted, revenue sharing helps level the economic playing field, but nobody thought it was possible to lure big-time talent to a frozen wasteland. Wolf proved that if you build it, they will come.
On the other hand, I will never vote for Bill Polian, because his whole career is is marked by the day he guessed right on the Peyton Manning /Ryan Leaf coin flip. If that’s not enough for you, check out the post-season performance of Polian-built teams (the 1986-1993 Buffalo Bills, the 1994-1997 Carolina Panthers, and the 1997-2011 Indianapolis Colts). In other words, if you want a team to get to the second-round of the play-offs, Polian is your guy, as those teams combined post-season record bears out.
If there’s a Contributor vote in the Hall of Almost, Polian’s got my vote.
The Dubsism Pro Football Hall of Fame 2015 Induction Ballot
Obviously, the first five are who I’m electing for enshrinement…
1) Mick Tingelhoff, C
Obviously, I voted for Tinglehoff; in my mind there really isn’t any other way to go. I simply must vote for a guy who was better at his position than every other finalist on this list; he may very well be the greatest ever at his position.
2) Junior Seau, LB
Besides the anointing from St. Belichick, Seau’s status as a first-ballot Hall of Famer is pretty damn obvious; he was selected to 12 Pro Bowls, was First Team All-Pro six times, and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-1990s first team.
3) Orlando Pace, OT
Pace made playing the toughest offensive line position (left tackle) look like child’s play; His footwork was flawless, and he had the quick hands of a middleweight champ. But it was in the run-blocking game where Pace was most dominant. But in either aspect, Pace’s forming the foundation of that Rams’ offensive line is why Marshall Faulk is already in Canton, Kurt Warner is a finalist on this very ballot, and guys like Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce will be on such ballots in the future.
4) Will Shields, OG
Shields played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1993 to 2006, and in that time he played in 231 straight games, which now is only second to Brett Favre. Shields went to 12 straight Pro Bowls between 1995 and 2006, which ties him with Champ Bailey and Randall McDaniel for most Pro Bowls played.
5) Tim Brown, WR
This vote is about avoiding another tragedy. Tim Brown has been a bridesmaid and not a bride long enough. The nine-time Pro Bowler has been a finalist six years in a row. Brown’s career numbers are certainly worthy of Canton; he has the fifth most receptions (1,094), the sixth most receiving yards (14,934) and is tied with Hall of Famer Steve Largent for the seventh most touchdown catches (100) in NFL history. What’s mind-blowing about Brown’s numbers is that you have to remember Brown accomplished all of this catching passes from the likes of Jay Schroeder, Jeff Hostetler, Jeff George, and Donald Hollas.
Now comes the guys who I really would liked to have voted for, and will vote for sometime in the future, but since I’m limited to five…
6) Jerome Bettis, RB
January has to have been been a frustrating time for former Steelers and Rams running back Jerome Bettis. He’s made the final cut for the Hall of Fame finalists for the fifth straight year, and still can’t break through. I just can’t do it this year either. It literally came down to Bettis or Tim Brown. “The Bus” retired as the fifth leading rushing in NFL history, but Bettis has been passed over on the last five Hall of Fame ballots.
7) Charles Haley, DE
This is a guy who has the same problem as Jerome Bettis. Haley is a five-time Pro Bowler who has been a finalist every year since 2010. But the “five at a time” rule Canton has creates a logjam, and it’s even worse at Haley’s position. There’s been a host of defensive lineman lined up at Canton’s front door; since 2010, John Randle, Chris Doleman, Richard Dent, Warren Sapp, and Michael Strahan have all been elected.
8) Morten Andersen, PK
Two positions which have been historically undervalued by the Hall of Fame are offensive linemen and kickers. I never understood this, because nothing in football happens without the five big guys up front, and kickers are always a team’s leading scorer. Try playing a season without a kicker. Morten Andersen was simply the best leg-man in his day; he’s the guy who made the 50-yard field goal seem routine. He’s the guy who made the clutch kick routine, although spending the majority of career with the New Orleans Saints limited his number of game-winning shots. Jan Stenerud is the only kicker in Canton, and Morton Andersen belongs right next to him. Of course, this is all a setup for the Adam Vinatieri conversation we are going to have in a few years.
9) John Lynch, S
Lord knows I’m a sucker for a big-hitting, play-making safety, but to be honest, if I had been allowed a vote on who would be a finalist on this ballot, I would have placed Steve Atwater ahead of John Lynch. Here’s hoping both of them are in the Hall of Fame before we have to start talking about Troy Polamalu.
10) Kurt Warner, QB
The Hall of Fame is in a quarterback drought right now. In a few years, we’ll get Brett Favre. A few years after that will be the Peyton Manning-Tom Brady-Drew Brees era. After that comes the Ben Roethlisberger-Eli Manning years, which might also include…wait for it…Tony Romo. Either way, there’s some serious Alanis Morrisette-level irony in the fact that a league which is completely quarterback-driven hasn’t had a signal-caller inducted into Canton since Troy Aikman and Warren Moon were both enshrined in 2006. Kurt Warner might be the guy who gets in before all those other I just mentioned.
Granted, I get that it’s crazy to discuss the Hall of Fame credentials of a guy who played for three teams from 2002 to 2006 and who went 8-22 as a starter in that time period. But in the same way we wouldn’t appreciate peace if we didn’t have war, it is that span which makes makes Warner’s two MVP seasons and three Super Bowl appearances that much more remarkable. In 1998, the St. Louis Rams went 4-12, and the very next year, Kurt Warner rolls into town in a used Suburban fresh off a job bagging groceries and takes them to a Super Bowl win. Then he leads the Rams back to the Super Bowl in 2001.
Then comes the aforementioned period where Warner leaves the Rams and spends six years splitting the starting QB duties in New York with a rookie named Eli Manning, then moves to Arizona to do the same with the likes of Josh McCown and Matt Leinart. Somehow through that mess, Warner led Arizona to the Super Bowl in 2008. That made Warner the only quarterback to take two different teams to the NFL’s Promised Land. Including this year, the Cardinals have made the play-offs exactly four times since moving to Arizona in 1988, and two of those appearances were led by Warner. Career wise, this makes Warner the NFL’s equivalent of Sandy Koufax. The Dodger lefty is in baseball’s Hall of Fame because he had seven of the most dominant years in the history of pitching. Like Koufax, half of Warner’s career is meaningless, but the half that isn’t is gigantic. The fact that most of the writers who vote on the Hall of Fame are fantasy football players and remember how huge Warner was in his “big” years is exactly why he will get into the Hall of Fame, and it might just be this year.
Then there’s the guys who I just can’t vote for…
11) Jimmy Johnson, Coach
Before you start your response to this, if you’re going to include the “he won two Super Bowls” bit, save your breath. I simply will not accept that argument, if for no other reason than it becomes the underpinning for the argument to induct another coach for whom I would never vote. The “Two Super Bowl wins” argument simply lowers the bar down to Mike Shanahan, who without those two rings would have a very Dungy-esque body of work, meaning a lot of play-off appearance without a lot of play-off wins.
But my big argument against Jimmy Johnson is that his success really came from his partnership with Jerry Jones. There’s a reason why neither of them has had any success without the other; the fact the Cowboys have won exactly two playoff games since 1996 and Jimmy Johnson’s tenure with the Miami Dolphins was little more than mediocrity capped by crushing losses in the playoffs, one of which was a career-ending 62-7 drubbing at the hand of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Had Johnson and Jones just been able to manage their egos for two more years, Johnson would have a large enough body of work and a third Super Bowl ring, all of which would have made it impossible not to vote for him.
12) Don Coryell, Coach
So, if I can’t vote for a coach with two Super Bowl rings, what chance does a guy with none have? He is a finalist because the “Air Coryell” offense he created is the foundation upon which the “fantasy football” era is built; teams that fill the skies with footballs, rack up obscene statistics, completely ignore the running game and any semblance of defense, and don’t win when it matters. The Coryell-led San Diego Chargers of the late 70’s and early 80’s are the perfect example; for more current examples all you have to do is look teams coached by Coryell disciples like Norv Turner and Mike Martz.
13) Terrell Davis, RB
As much as I hate the “system guy,” argument, it really applies to Terrell Davis. There’s a shitload of guys who all rushed for over 1,000 yards a season in the Mike Shanahan offense in Denver, and two of them (Mike Anderson and Olandis Gary) did it while Terrell Davis was still there. Not to mention, Terrell Davis simply doesn’t have the body of work needed for me to vote for him, and certainly not ahead of other backs like Jerome Bettis or Ricky Watters. Sure, he had three or four incredible years, but his career was cut short by injuries. Had that not happened, this is obviously a different story.
14) Kevin Greene, DE/LB
If offensive linemen and kickers are undervalued, the opposite would be edge pass-rushers. Because this a quarterback-driven league, the logic is that a guy who takes out quarterbacks is valuable. The trouble is they really aren’t. Because two of the all-time great defensive players (Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas) were edge pass-rushers, this is a position which has been incredibly over-valued. The proof lies in guys today like Jared Allen, whose legacy will be of bloated contracts, crazy sack numbers, all while playing for teams near the bottom of the league in pass defense. Lets’ be clear here, this doesn’t mean I would never vote for a guy playing that position, but I would have a hard time doing so for a guy was just a one-dimensional pass rusher.
15) Marvin Harrison, WR
If Marvin Harrison gets into the Hall of Fame, then the standard will have been lowered to “guy who played a long time with a Hall of Fame quarterback.” There was nothing special about Marvin Harrison, you could have replaced him with a guy with similar physical characteristics and got similar results. Harrison is on this list because Peyton Manning liked him. If Wes Welker played more of his career with Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, he’d be in this spot once he’s eligible. The fact that Harrison is a finalist for induction makes the snubbing of Tim Brown even more egregious.
16) Tony Dungy, Coach
It’s no secret how I feel about Tony Dungy. I won’t repeat myself. Tony Dungy does not belong in the Hall of Fame, period.