Monday, August 22, 2022

Tim McDonald—Often Overlooked.

 By John Turney 
We don't know that post-season honors like being voted All-Pro or All-NFC or to the Pro Bowl matter much anymore with Hall of Fame voters. However, to the extent that they still carry some weight, it is worth noting that Tim McDonald was honored in eight seasons—1989-96 with the highest honor being All-Pro in 1989 and 1992. He was First- or Second-team All-Pro six times and went to six Pro Bowls and was First- or Second-team All-NFC eight times.

McDonald totaled 1,115 tackles and picked off 40 passes as a strong safety and scored five defensive touchdowns. His interception total is higher than LeRoy Butler, Brian Dawkins, Troy Polamalu, Ken Easley, Cliff Harris, John Lynch, and Steve Atwater—Hall of Famers all. 

Apparently, interceptions are very important to the Hall of Fame committee, more so than in the past in our view, so for his position of strong safety forty interceptions is a pretty good number and as mentioned more than many recent Hall of Fame inductees. Maybe it bodes well for McDonald and his chance at being at least discussed for the Hall of Fame. 

Some opponents think he's qualified. Chris Carter stated, "If you compare Tim to the players who they’ve been putting into the Hall recently, he compares favorably."

Ronnie Lott adds this about McDonald, "What made Tim a great player, first of all, is that he had incredible instincts about the game. He had an understanding of what to anticipate on every play. I believe that preparation is 90% of why people get into the Hall of Fame. You get into the Hall of Fame not because of your talent, but because you’re prepared to do something better than everyone else. Tim was that guy."

"When we were scouting film, Tim was always greatly prepared." states Steve Jordan, "You never found him out of place. He was always where he was supposed to be, no matter what defense they were in. He showed his versatility by being able to cover and come down into the box and be an enforcer against the run. He was tough and could bring the wood."

Tight end Wesley Walls is also effusive, "He was like a linebacker in the running game and he was like a cornerback in the passing game. That in itself defines a great safety – someone who can tackle, someone who can cover and be physical. Tim epitomized that. He was one of the best red zone defenders I’ve ever seen. He was just so physical and had the speed and agility to handle an athletic tight end or a receiver or a running back out of the backfield. He probably got lost in the shadow of Ronnie Lott, coming in right after he left, but he was one of the best safeties ever to play football.”

According to Proscout, Inc. an independent scouting service, any player with 5-or-more "blue" seasons (their highest rating) is worthy of induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. According to PSI, Tim McDonald registered seven blue seasons (1988, 89, 90, 91, 93, 96, 98), three red (1992, 94, 95) during his 13-year career. Red is the next-highest category after blue.

In comparison, McDonald’s total of 10 blue and red seasons are one less than Troy Polamalu (7 blue, 4 red), even with LeRoy Butler (8 blue, 2 red), more than Steve Atwater (2 blue, 6 red) and John Lynch (3 blue, 3 red). 

Are McDonald's stats, post-season honors, testimonials, and his Super Bowl ring enough for him to make the Hall of Fame semi-final list of 25 or even the Final 15? That remains to be seen. But it seems like he checks enough of the boxes to be considered, inducted even. 

We'll see.

Career stats—
source for tackles—NFL gamebooks

1 comment:

  1. From Brian wolf

    Great call John ... McDonald was very skilled and overlooked. Probably should have had another ring with the Niners but the Cowboys and Packers matched up with them well ...

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