Friday, February 2, 2018

Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Predictions

UPDATE: The Class of 2018 is Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, Brian Dawkins, Robert Brazile, Jerry Kramer, Bobby Beathard.

We missed on two of the 8 selections. We had Alan Faneca and Joe Jacoby rather than Brian Urlacher and Randy Moss.

The HOF Selection Committee gave the middle finger to offensive linemen this year.

By John Turney
Tomorrow the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee will meet to select the Class of 2018 for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There is a contributor, two seniors, and 15 modern-era players who will be debated.

Here are our predictions.

Contributor—  Bobby Beathard
The Hype—In eleven seasons as Washington's General Manager(1978-88), they made five playoff appearances and captured two of Super Bowl titles in 1982 and 1987 and many of his decisions impacted the 1991 championship.
He also helped build the Chargers of the early 1990s that went to the Super Bowl after the 1994 season.
The Knock—Can not really think of anything
The Prediction—He will be voted in tomorrow.

Senior Candidates—Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazile
The Hype—Kramer has been deserving for a long time, has been truly snubbed, especially in 1997 when he was a senior candidate and was voted down because a few voters brought out views that perhaps Fuzzy Thurston was the better guard of the two. That won't happen this time.
Brazile was a seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time First-team All-pro. In the late 1970s he was considered a dominant player and in retrospect was a forerunner to the Lawrence Taylor-type weak side rush backer.
The Knock—For Kramer, it would be for an All-time great he was not a Pro Bowler (five) all that often. But that won't keep him out.

For Brazile the knock is his productivity dropped in the early 1980s, he didn't play with the same fire according to observers, including Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman. Additionally, even in the late 1970s the Oiler defenses, while good, was not great. So some may ask why a third Oilers (Elvin Bethea and Curley Culp) would be in the Hall of Fame when, for example, the Orange Crush (which was a far better defense for longer) has none. 
The Prediction—Both will be voted in tomorrow.

Alan Faneca
The Hype—Faneca was a six-time First-team All-Pro and a nine-time Pro Bowler and has a ring. He was a First-team All-Decade selection and was an NFL Alumni NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year twice.
The Knock—None really, seems like a matter of time before he gets in the HOF.
The Prediction—Will be inducted. He has waited longer than Hutchinson and that is the only difference.

Steve Hutchinson
The Hype—Like Faneca a six-time First-team All-Pro and a seven-time Pro Bowler. Also a First-team All-Decade selection and a two-time NFL Alumni NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year. He was never on a Super Bowl-winning team, however.
The Knock—None really, other than he may fall just short of being considered a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Those have been reserved for the John Hannahs and Larry Allens of the NFL. Is Hutch one of those?
The Prediction—Will have to wait for induction

Kevin Mawae
The Hype—A Seven-time All-Pro (four consensus), eight Pro Bowls, and an All-Decade choice.
The Knock—None. There is no super "hype" nor any "knock"
The Prediction—Will have to wait for induction. Just too crowded a field for "vanilla"

Joe Jacoby
The Hype—He was considered the best of "The Hogs" by Joe Gibbs and was a key to their success running the ball in the 1980s and early 1990s. He was a three-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler in his career. He was a Second-team All-Decade selection for the 1980s.
The Knock—One knock I have read, which is totally false, is that when Washington traded for Jim Lachey they moved Jacoby to right tackle because he was the inferior player. According to Gibbs it was because Lachey, a great player in his own right, could not adjust to right tackle, so since Jacoby was more versatile and could excel at right tackle he was moved. Joe Gibbs is willing to tell any Hall of Famer the facts on this one. 
The Prediction—Will be inducted. It is his last chance before being sent to the "swamp" the not-so-affectionate name for the senior pool which is where players go if they don't get induction in the first 25 years from their retirement. Because of the fact that he is qualified the sentiment will be not to banish him into that pool where only one or two players a year get a second chance at induction.

Tony Boselli
The Hype—Boselli was a three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler in seven years. He was a Second-team All-Decade selection for the 1990s and twice won NFL/AFC Lineman of the Year awards from the NFL Alumni/NFLPA. 
The Knock—The question is he worthy of the Gale Sayers/Dwight Stephenson/Terrell Davis/Ken Easley exception to the longevity rule. That is to say, did he do enough in his career, which ended early because of injury, to warrant the Hall of Fame. Sayers and Stephenson were five-time All-Pros. Boselli is more like Davis, who was a controversial pick.

Also, Boselli has years left in the modern era queue before being put into the senior pool, which would happen to Joe Jacoby if he's passed over. A key factor is that no honest broker can say Boselli was better than Jacoby and by the same token no one can say Jacoby was better than Boselli. So, if that is the case then why send Jacoby to the senior pool just to put in the first Jacksonville Jaguar? Boselli can get in next year or even the year after, Jacoby's chances go down dramatically if he is sent to the senior pool. Of course, we could be wrong, Boselli could go in, but we predict the committee will choose Jacoby.
The Prediction—Will have to wait for induction.

The Hype—Too much to write. Has a near-ideal first-ballot Hall of Fame resume
The Knock—Off-the-field altercation is the only thing that is not to be considered as per Hall of Fame bylaws.
The Prediction—Will be inducted.

The Hype—Lots of good stuff, plenty of All-Pros and Pro Bowls, an NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and two NFC Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
The Knock—He's not Ray Lewis. And Hall of Fame voters often vote like ordering from a Chinese menu, one for column A, one from column B., etc. And they are not likely to choose two from the MB column in the same year.
The Prediction—Will have to wait for induction.

The Hype—Had 57 interceptions, in the top 5 of cornerbacks All-time. 
The Knock—The Cowboys pass defenses were usually in the bottom 1/3 of the NFL while he was there, with just three exceptions, six times in nine years they were 20th or lower, usually much lower. Also, there were some dynamic cornerbacks in that era that have not gotten looks like Louis Wright, Albert Lewis, and others. Walls, if one reads the literature of the day was never considered what is now called a "shutdown corner". He was known as a ballhawk.

In fact, many voters would be too young to have seen games that John Madden did in the 1980s. He always seemed to make it a point to explain the reason Walls got some of his interceptions was that he played the same side of the defense as Ed "Too Tall" Jones. Madden would tell viewers that Jones's height and rush changed the trajectory that quarterbacks would release the ball and that would allow Walls the ability to make a play on the ball he otherwise wouldn't if there were a normal left defensive end on the Cowboys.
The Prediction—Will have to wait for induction.

The Hype—Law is a two-time All-Pro and a six-time Pro Bowler and a Second-team All-Decade choice. He was a key player for the three-time Champion Patriots in their early 2000s dynasty. According to Stats, LLC, he had one of the top personal defensive passer ratings of anyone in his era. That is a stat that measures completion percentage, interception percentage, and other stats, to come up with one number. It's the NFL passer rating applied to defensive backs.
The Knock—Not a lot of All-Pros, but enough.
The Prediction—Will have to wait for induction.

The Hype—Two rushing titles, two All-Pro selections, and four Pro Bowls. Known as one of the best pass-blocking running backs of his or any era. A top runner, blocker and receiver out of the backfield.
The Knock—None really, other than there are several backs like him, who had an excellent career but the question remains if they are "compilers". 
The Prediction—Will have to wait for induction.

The Hype—Was a key part of the 2002 Tampa Bay championship and a key player in the Tony Dungy Tampa-2 defense. Selected to nine Pro Bowls, All-Pro twice.
The Knock—Didn't pick off a lot of balls for a safety, even a strong safety. Some will say he was an "in the box" safety as a defense, but the Tampa-2 is a 2-deep defense. Truth is Lynch was more of a hitter than ballhawk, and that's okay, it just should be acknowledged. 
The Prediction—Will have to wait for induction.

The Hype—Played 16 years, was a five-time All-Pro and also nine Pro Bowls. He was a First-team All-Decade for the 2000s. he had 37 interceptions and 26 sacks. Played free safety and later moved to more of a strong safety position later. Played slot corner for the Eagles and other roles (think of current Eagle Malcolm Jenkins's role but twice as good). Could rush, cover, hit, ballhawk. A complete safety.
The Knock—Can not think of anything, other than was never able to get a Super Bowl ring.
The Prediction—He will be voted in tomorrow.

The Hype—Part of the Greatest Show on Turf, has a ring, a one-time All-Pro, and four Pro Bowls.
The Knock—He just does not have the numbers of Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.
The Prediction—Will have to wait for induction.

Terrell Owens
The Hype—Five-time All-Pro, six Pro Bowls, Second-team All-Decade. The numbers are his case and they are great. At the time of his retirement, Owens ranked second in league history in receiving yards (15,934), touchdowns (153), and receptions (1,078). 
The Knock—His disruptiveness has been written about ad nauseam so folks can look all that up on their own. Another knock was his drops. He dropped 7% of his targets in his career (9% in playoffs) and that is far above his contemporaries (Moss 5%, Marvin Harrison 4.4% Calvin Johnson 4.1% to name a few).
The Prediction—Will be inducted

Randy Moss
The Hype—A Four-time All-Pro, six Pro Bowls, First-team All-Decade. Moss ranks second in NFL history with 156 receiving touchdowns, fourth with 15,292 yards and 15th with 982 receptions
The Knock—The "I play when I wanna play" cannot be overlooked. If Moss was the "generational receiver" some call it why only All-Pro four times? He has more talent than likely anyone who ever has played, but given those talents, did he achieve on par with those talents?

If we went in on the first-ballot tomorrow what does that do to the "first-ballot bar"? If someone who left some of their efforts on the field warrants first-ballot induction then the standards are lowered, no?

Here is a chart showing how close the 2nd and 3rd place finished Owens and Moss had to Jerry Rice.

Certainly, no one will be able to match Rice, but shouldn't those who aspire to first-ballot HOF status get a little close? If Rice is All-Pro 11 times and Moss is All-Pro 4 times is that really close? Rice went to 13 Pro Bowls, Moss, and Owens six. Maybe if they were at 8 or 9 it would be in the same ballpark. In terms of stats both Owens and Moss are less than 70% of Rice's yardage total. Less than 80% of his touchdown total. So when folks read "such and such was second in this or third in that" they need to know there is second place and there is second place.

In the 1973 Kentucky Derby Sham was second to Secretariat. And it was close. However, in this case, comparing Rice to Moss and Owens is more like the 1973 Belmont Stakes when Secretariat won and the second- and third-place finishers were barely visible. So, while Moss has a chance to get in tomorrow, a good chance, I think he will have to wait a year but if he does make it, good for him, he certainly thinks he's the best wide receiver of All-time—better than Jerry Rice, even. It would not bother us in the lest, but the Owens fans might raise an eyebrow because they sure think he gave 100% effort all the time whereas Moss didn't. 
The Prediction—Will have to wait for induction.

I was hoping for a cornerback this year, but I think Ty Law makes it next year and there is a possibility that Walls may go in over one of the guards. Like Jacoby, it is Walls's last chance as a modern-era candidate.


  1. Urlacher is 1st Ballot? Must have had some friends in the ballot room. Makes no sense when is direct peer Lewis is selected as first ballot and dwarfs all of his accomplishments. Makes no sense.

    1. Well, I don't know. The average first ballot MLB is a 6-time All-Pro and 10 Pro Bowls. Urlacher was 4 and 8.

      He was close to the numbers, but it cheapens Lewis's accomplishments. If you can do what Urlacher did and still be first ballot, then why honor guys that were All-Pro twice and often and Defensive Player of the Year twice as often?