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CNNSI: MMQB: Are Cowboys or 49ers underrepresented in Canton?


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Are Cowboys or 49ers underrepresented in Canton?


As one of the 39 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I've learned never to be surprised about the intensity of debate over Hall selections, in season or out. In fact, there is no offseason for Hall of Fame discussion. Last week, when Dan Patrick brought up on his national radio show the claims of former Dallas wide receiver Drew Pearson -- who says there's a anti-Cowboys bias in Hall voting -- it dominated two days of the show. Maybe three. I stopped listening.

Amazing. It's the middle of May, as far away from Hall of Fame voting season (and football season) as you can get, and the intensity of interest is equal to what it sounds like a day or two after the voting.

So I thought, for the record, I'd look at the best teams of the past 45 years -- since the American Football League began playing -- and try to make some sort of judgments about which teams, if any, seem underrepresented in the Hall of Fame. What constitutes a "best team?'' There are many ways to figure that, obviously, but I narrowed the list to 13 using these criteria:

1. No team after 1999 can qualify. We don't sit in judgment of players until five years after they retire, so it'd be fruitless, obviously, to put the Patriots in here simply because they've won three of the past four Super Bowls. They don't have anyone eligible yet from those teams.

2. A team has to have either three conference championship game appearances -- or, in pre-1970 football, when there were two leagues, three appearances in league championship games or at least two Super Bowl victories with one continuous thread. For instance, I use the Denver Broncos of 1986-98, because that was the Elway era. We could argue about the criteria all day. I thought about using two Super Bowl appearances as the standard, but then teams such as the Bengals started slipping in there. No disrespect intended to the Bengals, but I don't consider them one of the best football teams of my lifetime.

3. If a team doesn't qualify under these circumstances, it can still make the list... by having four or more Hall of Famers. No team made it, though the mid-'70s Redskins came close.

I need to say one thing about Hall selections. They are probably weighted too much toward players who were on winning teams. I've thought this since I became a member of the board 14 years ago. I'm not saying only winners should be in. I'm simply suggesting we examine examine the debate about which teams might be underrepresented, and which teams might have too many players in the Hall.

For a player to qualify with the team I've listed, he had to spend at least half his career there during that era. Marcus Allen is not part of the 1967-'83 Raiders team, even though he was a big factor in Oakland's last Super Bowl team of that era, because he only spent two years with the franchise. I made some judgments about coaches and owners too. Art Rooney doesn't count with the '70s Steelers; he was elected to the Hall in 1964. Dan Rooney does count; he was elected in 2000. Mike Ditka doesn't count on the mid-'80s Bears; he's in the Hall more for his playing career than for coaching.

Here's the scoreboard I've drawn up; following it are some conclusions.

Championship Game Record

Team Era Hall members Conference Super Bowl

Pittsburgh 1972-79 11 4-2 4-0

Green Bay 1960-67 10 4-1 2-0

Oakland 1967-83 9 4-7 3-1

Dallas 1966-82 7 5-7 2-3

Kansas City 1966-71 7 2-0 1-1

Miami 1971-74 7 3-0 2-1

Minnesota 1969-77 7 4-1 0-4

San Francisco 1981-97 4 5-5 5-0

Chicago 1984-91 3 1-2 1-0

Buffalo 1988-93 2 4-1 0-4

Washington 1982-92 2 4-1 3-1

Denver 1986-98 1 5-1 2-3

N.Y. Giants 1986-90 1 2-0 2-0

So who's getting the shaft? No team, hugely. But I think three franchises have a case about having too few guys in the Hall.

The 49ers made it to the NFL's Final Four (i.e. the conference championship game) 10 times in 17 years. Now, they'll have a fifth Hall of Famer from that era when Jerry Rice is elected, but Charles Haley and Roger Craig should get some juice off the numbers you see above. That plus the fact that this franchise is the greatest Super Bowl champion of all time. Five tries, five wins.

The Broncos, who got to the NFL's Final Four six times in 13 years, were certainly John Elway's team. But the Cowboys were 2-3 in Super Bowls, same as Elway's Broncos, and seven Dallas guys from that era made the Hall. These numbers should be a boost to a candidate such as tackle Gary Zimmerman and perhaps safety Steve A****er. Tight end Shannon Sharpe almost certainly will make it, although he's not eligible until 2009.

The Joe Gibbs Redskins' only HOFers are Gibbs and John Riggins. But thanks to their 3-1 Super Bowl mark in 11 years, it's only a matter of time (unless we voters are a bunch of foofs) before Hogs Russ Grimm and Joe Jacoby knock hard on the Hall door. I won't support him, but there's still a lot of love out there for Art Monk, who retired as the leading receiver of all time. :thud:

In my opinion, the best two teams of my lifetime are Pittsburgh of the '70s and Green Bay of the '60s. So I have no problem with them having the most players in the Hall -- though I do understand the feeling of those who think the Steelers, in particular, have too many. The other day, Ed Werder, the fine ESPN reporter, called to talk about this, and he said something that comes up in our discussions a lot. "Maybe the issue isn't whether the Cowboys are underrepresented. Maybe the issue is whether the Steelers are,'' he said. Maybe so. I've thought it's a little over the top that both wide receivers, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, from a stout defensive team that lived by the run until very late in its reign are in. But I can't find much fault with any other black-and-gold person in there.

Now on to the Cowboys question. I believe another player or two from that era (Rayfield Wright or Cliff Harris, probably) eventually will make the Hall. That would be just. If that team gets no one else in, I see no outrageous slight. Though I support Wright without reservation, it's more unjust among offensive linemen that the most decorated center of all time, Mick Tinglehoff of the Vikings, can't get in the Hall; he was all-pro more than any center ever, but he's gained a rap in the voting room as a lightweight who got overpowered by bigger tackles.

You might ask whether it's fair that the Chiefs have as many Hall members as the Cowboys. Good question. This might be a case of a team with some truly great players, such as Bobby Bell and Buck Buchanan, being surrounded by too few other good players to extend their period of greatness in Kansas City.

But I've said this many times: Never, ever, have I heard any Hall voter, in or out of the meeting, say, "Screw the Cowboys. They were overrated.'' Obviously they weren't. I think the Super Bowl record doesn't help marginal candidates like Wright and Harris. Why is it not acceptable to say, "Seven's the right number for that team?'' Why does there have to be a bias? I can't tell you what's in the hearts and minds of the other voters, but I can tell you I don't see it. Never have.

Quote of the Week

"Business must be done. When will we stop vilifying players for just doing business?''

--ESPN analyst Michael Irvin, the former receiver, on his friend Terrell Owens' attempt to renegotiate his contract after one season of a seven-year deal.

Some day, when I see Irvin, who I like a lot, I will explain something very simple about renegotiating NFL contracts: One doesn't re-do a deal after one year of a seven-year contract. That is what's known as laughable.

Factoid That May Interest Only Me

For the first time during my long career of attending concerts, at U2's leadoff show at the Meadowlands last week, I heard a band repeat a song. U2 did Vertigo at the top of the show, then again as an encore.

I don't know what that means. I'm just pointing it out.

A very good show, I thought. Ten or 11 songs from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which was just fine with me because I love the CD. A couple of friends said, "Not enough classic stuff,'' and there can never be enough classic stuff. But if you're going to get 23 or 25 songs, I'm in favor of 40 percent being new.

The papers said Bono's been having back trouble. But he looked plenty energetic Tuesday in East Rutherford.

Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week


Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think my least bold prediction of all time is that Onterrio Smith will never play another snap for the Minnesota Vikings.

2. I think there's a pretty significant NFL meeting coming up Tuesday and Wednesday. It will cover not only the rubber-stamping of the new Vikings owner (Zygmunt Wilf, with Reggie Fowler as the defrocked limited partner) but the latest round of debate among the owners, who are trying to figure out a fair economic system for all 32 teams. When they do, then and only then will they be able to make a fair deal with the players association.

3. I think this HAD to have been the first-ever punter-for-punter trade in NFL history: the shamed Todd Sauerbrun to Denver for Jason Baker, with the Broncs throwing in a seventh-rounder. Mike Shanahan better be ready for some ego.

4. I think one other thing the NFL will discuss this week is that horse-collar tackle thing. And if I'm a defensive player, I'm really ticked off about it. Tell me something: When you're diving to make a tackle, and you grab onto a guy's shoulder pads or something in the neck region, and you jerk the guy down, what's wrong with that? A few injuries have happened, freaky injuries, because of these odd tackles, but you can't ban a tackle because a defender is grabbing onto equipment or a jersey and happens to jerk the guy down awkwardly. This is football. It's violent. It's risky. Dumb rule, if it passes.

5. I think the only reason Nick Saban wants Ricky Williams on his roster is to develop him as a trade factor.

6. I think I'm sick and tired of interleague baseball-bashing. It takes two forms. One: Interleague play disrupts the purity of baseball history. True. It does. But give me a good reason why the Red Sox shouldn't play in Wrigley Field during the regular season once every five or 10 years; see, you can't do it, because there isn't a good reason why the Red Sox shouldn't play the Cubs. Two: No one wants to see Arizona-Detroit; for every Mets-Yanks or Cubs-White Sox matchup, there are two or three Diamondbacks-Tigers. True too. But you have a choice. More Tigers-A's, or some Tigers-Diamondbacks -- and with that Detroit-Arizona series you also know there are four or five interleague series you'll really like. In other words, the who-cares-ness of a boring series should not prevent the exhilaration of some compelling ones. By the way, entering this year's interleague slate, attendance in the short history of interleague games was 13.4 percent higher than the regular games.

7. I think Paul Edinger is the best kicker recently thrown to the curb. Must have been some mental thing with him in Chicago, because the guy's a stud. I'd sign him in a second.

8. I think Tedy Bruschi sure sounded like a guy who wanted to play football this year when a Boston TV station caught up with him the other day.

9. I think I'm a week or two away from making a fool of myself with my 2005 Super Bowl pick. But let me give you one hint: It won't be Seattle-Jacksonville.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. I have never seen a Star Wars movie, and I'm not about to start now.

b. Major congrats to the Montclair (N.J.) High School softball team, which scored two major upsets to advance to the Essex County finals Saturday night before falling to Caldwell High 1-0 in eight innings. Caitlyn Bishop, you're doing one incredible job as Mary Beth King's heir in the circle. This team has accomplished so much more than was expected. Great job this year, girls.

c. You might want to get hopping on those potholes, Boston. I hope I still have axles after driving around town for the weekend.

d. Coffeenerdness: Memo to the southern New England Starbucks Region. That store along I-84 in Manchester, Conn., a regular stop on the Montclair-to-Boston run, is painfully slow. The folks are friendly enough, but it's regularly a 10- to-12-minute stop for a simple latte.

e. This is the kind of year it's been for the old rotisserie team: I've had a spate of pitching injuries (Jason Schmidt most notably), so I had to claim and activate Sidney (Ralph Kramden) Ponson and Jeff (Heaven Knows Why I Ever Thought He'd Give Me a Good Outing) Suppan, both of whom had been going OK prior to last week. Well, they were a combined 0-3 with an ERA of about 900.00 in four starts for the week, and I am totally, absolutely sunk. Serves me right for relying on Sidney Ponson.

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The Joe Gibbs Redskins' only HOFers are Gibbs and John Riggins. But thanks to their 3-1 Super Bowl mark in 11 years, it's only a matter of time (unless we voters are a bunch of foofs) before Hogs Russ Grimm and Joe Jacoby knock hard on the Hall door. I won't support him, but there's still a lot of love out there for Art Monk, who retired as the leading receiver of all time.

Good to hear there's still some love there but.......

:doh: :slap: And that's all I have to say about that.



I lied. :)

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Long article but here is the monk part

"The Joe Gibbs Redskins' only HOFers are Gibbs and John Riggins. But thanks to their 3-1 Super Bowl mark in 11 years, it's only a matter of time (unless we voters are a bunch of foofs) before Hogs Russ Grimm and Joe Jacoby knock hard on the Hall door. I won't support him, but there's still a lot of love out there for Art Monk, who retired as the leading receiver of all time. "
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King's anaysis usually doesn't hold up because he postulates a standard and then ignores the facts held up to his own standard. This is another case. He postulates an interesting measure: comparing championship games and superbowls to # of HOF members. He even puts the stats together, but then fails to do the analysis.

I've made some slight adjustments: assuming Rice, B.Smith and Sharpe will all make it.

That means from the 13 teams listed 74 players make the HOF. Those teams played in 75 championship games, meaning that almost 1.0 players were elected to the HOF per championship game. The comparison that he tried to suggest, but never made shapes up like this:

KC leads all teams with 3.5 HOF's per championship game.

Miami is 2nd with 2.33

Followed by GB with 2.0, PB with 1.833, Minn with 1.4, and Chicago with 1.0.

Everyone else had less than the 1.0 average. So who got screwed? Denver (.333), Washington (.4), the Giants (.5) and San Fran (.5).

Looking at Superbowl victories is there the same pattern? The 13 teams had 27 Sbowl victories, and had 2.74 HOF players per Superbowl win.

The favored teams: The vikes had 7 HOF's with zero wins. The Bills had 3 HOF's with zero wins. KC has 7 with 1 win.

Next comes GB got 5.0 players per Superbowl win. Miami and Dall got 3.5 per win. Oak and Chicago got 3.0 per win. Pburg sat right at the average with 2.75 per win.

Who got screwed? Giants (.5), Denver (.5), Redskins (.666) and San Fran (1.0). Same bunch as before.

I'm not saying that King's theory is either right or wrong (in spite of my use of the word "screwed"). I'm just completing the analysis that he didn't, probably because someone told him there was a donut left in the coffee room. But it certainly provides more evidence, in addition to what we already know, that the Redskins are under represented in the HOF and that Dallas has been treated fairly.

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Why does it seem that Peter King feels the need to make the argument as to why Art Monk should be in the hall, and then says he won't support him. I have never heard exactly why he thinks Art doesn't deserve this.

He later quotes irvin, a scumbag who never met a pile of coke or ho he didn't like, and says that he likes him and I am sure is one of his supporters to get in the Hall. This is a goof who did nothing but bring embarrassment to the game by his conduct. And I do think off the field conduct should be taken into consideration when it comes to the Hall.

This only confuses me more. I'm trying to get this straight in my head. If you do your job with consistency and class, never make a fuss, and just do it at a level that at the time when you retire you are the most prolific to ever play the game. Thats not enough? People who are much lower in a multitude of areas are in. So why not Art Monk?

This is pathetic. It almost seems as though this jerk has made it his personal mission that Art won't get in.

I wrote a letter to SI today. canceling my subscription. I also said that as long as that pompous ignorant ass is on their payroll I want nothing to do with their magazine. If you look at the trend lately they seem to be glorifying everything that is wrong in pro sports today. Articles on every whining,spoiled,me first jerk around. And how misunderstood they are. I'm done with them.

Daniel Snyder needs to get involved here. He says he cares so much about the tradition of the Redskins. Time to put his money where his mouth is.

At the stadium this year, hand out letters to be filled out and sent to the Hall. Promote getting Art in there!! If he can figure out how to increase this franchises worth to over a billion dollars, he should have no problem figuring out how to get one of our greatest in to the Hall of Fame.Where he deserves to be. Where he belongs.

Hail :logo:

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And how many times has it been stated and by how many people that the Pro Bowl is more a popularity contest than an honest measurement of that years performance?

I know that they are instructed to ignore off field conduct. And bluntly, thats wrong. It is scum like irvin that has hurt the Game. This jerk is still pushing his ME first attitude.

I hate the cowgirls. In the 70's it was a great rivalry. I enjoyed hating Tom Landry, Staubach. But there was alot of respect there. Even later, poor Troy boy, I giggled like a little kid when LaVar laid him out. And honestly the only bad thing I can even think of to say about Emmitt is that he was a cowgirl.

I felt sorry for Emmitt , that he had to be on a team with that scumbag and his accomplices. They brought disgrace to that team. It was sad almost. They became too easy to hate.

The hall of Fame should stand for the glory of the Game. And the heroic men who played it.

Hail :logo:

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People tend to remember great teams as a unit rather than certain players. Players who lead great teams or have signature plays (Lynn Swann) seem to be the likeliest candidates for HOF consideration. Part of the problem is that players over the past 10 years or so, thanks to the media and the internet, have gotten WAY more publicity than guys before so they seem to stick in the voter's minds. Sometimes it takes years for people to look back and say this guy or that guy is deserving. Eventually, you will see more guys from the Boys, Niners and hopefully, the Skins make the HOF. Unfortunately, it may not happen in the next 5 years or so unless there is a groundswell of support for a certain player.

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Originally posted by wskin44

King says that they are instructed to not take off the field behavior into account. This is why he can ignore Irvin's disgrace of the game. As for Monk, he says that Monk did not make enough pro-bowls.

It was more than just that. He claims that teams were not scared of him, and were more worried about Gary Clark. It also doesn't help that his records didn't last too long after his retirement.

Do a search of his old columns, and you will see detailed reasons why he doesn't think Monk is a HOFer.

No mention of Darrell Green? Why is it he never gets mentioned in these talks... :(

As for Irvin, I think he's a :pooh: as a person as well, but he was a key person on those Dallas teams. People don't get into HOFs because they are good people, but because they were great players.


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