By John Turney
Maybe it is because players with similar roles are too hard to separate but when Chris Hanburger got in it raised questions as to why players like Dave Robinson (a similar player who got in two years later) and Chuck Howley (a similar player) were not in. Steelers fans raised Andy Russell's name. Isiah Robertson and even Phil Villapiano's names have been mentioned in social media and online entities.
Larry Grantham fits in that mold as well.
We don't have good tackle numbers for Grantham but we have sacks, picks, and run/pass stuffs, plus with work done by TJ Troup we know he has 19 fumble recoveries as well.
He has 38½ sacks (more than most in his peer group), 84½ run/pass stuffs, which is high, 24 picks, in the upper end among peers. He has a ring and was part of good defenses, especially from 1968-70. Look them up, they were excellent.
Granthan was extremely small, 6-1, 210, and could run well but he's a superior athlete like a Bobby Bell, Chuck Howley, Dave Robinson, or even Jack Ham, we won't kid ourselves. But the man could play and made plays. That's what matters. The Hall of Fame is not a player personnel draft it is to award players whose careers rose above the average, to good and very good into the great category.
Since his All-Pros were early in the AFL there is a legitimate question as to the talent level of that league. But AFL pundits will raise the valid truism that the AFL won the last two Super Bowls in 1968 and 1969. But that is not the question, it is how good were the 1960-63 AFL leagues?
That is for the experts to figure out. Until then all we can say is that compared to his peers in the Hall of Fame and those nearing it (Chuck Howley?) his numbers fit, as do his honors (ten post-season honors in his ten years). Then throw in the ring plus the dominant defenses in the late-1960s through 1970.
In 2014 Grantham was voted to the Pro Football Researchers Association Hall of Very Good. Maybe that's where a career like his belongs but with a Hanburger, Robinson, and others in the Hall and others like him getting close maybe Grantham, with the new likely senior slot upcoming, deserves to be more than that.
Think about it.
There will be a more detailed post on Grantham by T.J. Troup in the upcoming days.