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DR Z HOF Ballot 2005

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http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/writers/dr_z/12/29/drz.hof.finalists/index.html

In a little more than a month we'll be sitting down to select six enshrinees for the Hall of Fame Class of 2005. I have just filled out a preliminary ballot to reduce the 25 semifinalists to 15 finalists who will go into the meeting in Jacksonville. Two Seniors candidates are automatic entrants -- Bennie Friedman and Fritz Pollard, both from an era none of us witnessed, and it'll be interesting to see if the Seniors Committee can sell both of these players to a roomful of blank faces.

I can't predict the outcome. Things always happen that surprise and disappoint me. I was pretty upset when the results of the preliminary ballot came in, reducing the original 90 to the 25 semifinalists, and a lot of my guys didn't make it. But these things always bug me. I can give you an idea of how I voted, though, for the 13 modern candidates to make the finals, and then we can argue. By positions:

QUARTERBACKS

The original list had seven names. Four were eliminated, among them Phil Simms and Ken Anderson. Surviving were Dan Marino and Steve Young. I voted for both to move to the final round. If they don't get voted into the Hall, it would be an upset. The last survivor was Ken Stabler. Not only will he not get my vote, but I'll be on my feet as a spokesman for the negative party. Inconsistency is what I've got against the Snake. At times, very surprising inconsistency.

RUNNING BACKS

All three were cut ... Roger Craig, Gerald Riggs, Herschel Walker. I hadn't voted for any of them.

WIDEOUTS

From a hefty group of 11, only two advanced, Michael Irvin and Art Monk. I had voted for Irvin, as well as Henry Ellard, whom I knew didn't stand a chance, but I was in his corner anyway. When it came time for this current vote, I agonized for a while. Irvin certainly is deserving, but there are a bunch of linemen I like better. So I left him off. Ditto Monk, and he will reach the final room, as he always does, and eat up about 20 minutes of debating time. He had great numbers -- as far as passes caught -- and he was a very valuable component to Joe Gibbs' offense, and so forth, but I just like other people better.

TIGHT ENDS

Zero of three advanced. I had voted for Todd Christensen, and also lobbied on his behalf. I really can't understand any negative feeling here. He caught a million balls in an era in which receivers -- and especially tight ends -- got mugged coming off the line. Now they get a free release and go waltzing into open space, catch their 10-yard hook and get hailed as heroes.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

I had voted for four, out of the mob of 15, to move from the prelims to the semi windup -- Leon Gray, Russ Grimm, Kent Hull and Bob Kuechenberg. I figured Gray and Hull were longshots, and they were, so long that they didn't make it. Kooch and Grimm advanced, along with Joe Jacoby and Gary Zimmerman. So by now you can figure out how I'll go on this. Right, Grimm and Kooch, for whom I've been working hard, to no avail, for what seems like at least a decade. But in thinking it through, I threw in a vote for Jacoby as well.

What the hell. Big Joe, fine player, proud warrior, why not?

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

A popular category. Six of the 12 preliminary candidates advanced. I had also voted for six -- Curly Culp (didn't make it), Richard Dent (made it), L.C. Greenwood (made it), Claude Humphrey (made it), Joe Klecko (didn't make it, which hurt deeply because he was one of the most deserving candidates out there) and Chris Doleman (made it, and don't forget that he was omitted entirely at first. It took some lobbying to get him included in the prelims as a write-in).

Two whom I didn't vote for are on this current ballot, Fred Dean and Charles Haley. Trimming this roster was, for me, a very tough task. Finally the three guys who got my vote were Dent, Greenwood and Humphrey. You might argue that L.C. was not in the class of some of the others, but I was for him because he always raised the standard of his performance to meet the higher stakes involved.

LINEBACKERS

Only three of 12 made it, and I didn't do well here at all. My favorite of the whole bunch, Sam Mills, was a flunk. My second favorite, Harry Carson, advanced. This might be the year in which the selectors will be so ashamed for stiffing Carson for all these years, they'll finally let him in. Four more guys got my vote, Kevin Greene (flunk), Clay Matthews (flunk) plus two who made it, Derrick Thomas and Randy Gradishar. I voted to advance Gradishar and Carson. The decision to leave Thomas off was as tough as the Irvin decision. My reasoning was that we're talking about a great sack specialist, rather than a great all around linebacker.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Only two of eight advanced, Lester Hayes and Roger Wehrli. The latter pick was a real surprise, because I didn't think people remembered how good this old Cardinal was. Yeah, I had voted for him, and then I did it again. But although I've been in Lester's corner for years, I figured this year that I had one other vote to give to a DB, and it went to Albert Lewis. My feeling is that he ranks with Mike Haynes and Deion Sanders as the best of this era. Others obviously didn't agree because he didn't advance, which shocked me. How can they be so blind?

PUNTER/KICKER

Nick Lowery (K) and Ray Guy (P) proposed. Guy advanced, without the endorsement of yours truly. I'll trot out the usual arguments. More than half of today's punters have higher lifetime averages. His net was poor because he'd hit the middle of the end zone, rather than the coffin corner (Peter King once did a work-up on his net average, and it stunk). What he's got going for him was that he once hit that freakin' gondola about 15 miles in the air, plus John Madden sings his praises every five minutes. And I guess that's enough for some of the airheads who cast votes.

COACHES

Four proposed, one advances -- Don Coryell, and I'll vote for him again. I believe Jimmy Johnson is a worthy candidate because of his expertise in personnel as well as X's and O's, but I feel that the more recent arrivals have to wait their turn. In the next world I'll be able to get Clark Shaughnessy in. All he did was devise the play-calling and terminology, and a lot of the strategy, used today. In this world, I've given up on his chances.

CONTRIBUTORS

In the case of Eddie DeBartolo, that's a literal designation, because he forked over plenty. But Eddie didn't advance, thank God. Neither did eight of the other 11, none of whom got my vote. Art Modell, Ralph Wilson and George Young are in the semis. I voted to advance George, feeling guilty that I didn't vote for him the first time, but there's a secret part of me that would like to see Modell reach the floor debate, because that will set off fireworks galore. And since they've cut down on the battling in the NBA, my blood lust needs an outlet. The Selection Committee meeting is as good a place as any.

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i like that he's supporting Grimm and Jacoby, who realisitically don't really have a good shot at the HOF, but i just don't get his stigma against Monk.

Monk set new standards for WRs everywhere, a huge class act, set records left and right (since broken mostly, but who cares, this was during HIS era after all!).....so why no love? :mad:

Dr. Z is still an aZZ hole as far as i'm concerned...

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poor Monk, wish there was something to change peoples minds about him. I hope he also becomes more vocal at them, the way our defense was vocal about the pro bowl snubs.

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i actually thought that since the skins didn't do well this year some of the voters would realize how great the players were instead of joe's coaching. i guess not

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This is no surprise. Every football writer for SI hates the Redskins. None of them think Monk deserves to get in. But a guy who ended his career as the all time leading receiver, deserves to be in the HOF.

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I don't see how they can deny Monk. He doesn't have the records now, but at one point he had 3 major NFL receiving records. Most consecutive games with a reception, most receptions in a season and most receptions all time. Throw in a few rings and some Pro Bowl appearances and you have yourself a HOF career.

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I really just dont understand the hang-up on Art Monk....How can a WR that retired as the all-time leader in receptions not get into the HOF?

To hell w/Dr. Z!

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Monk, Jacoby and Grimm all deserve it as well as Ken Stabler from the Oakland Raiders. My god how many other QB's could've done as well as he was and be drunk at the same time.

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So he prefers Irvin who had less TD's less receptions and less yards and played his entire career with 1 soon to be HOF QB and RB? If Monk had that kind of support his entire career he would have put up even better numbers.

In my opinion they pu tway way too much weight on Irvins extra 2 yards per catch considering Monk leads in every other aspect including rushing yards and touchdowns rushing. And everyone should know that Monk was a better blocker. Monk is just paying for Gibbs running the ball in the redzone it seems. No receiver for the Redskins ever had many TD's but Monk still has more than Irvin.

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