Tag:Shannon Sharpe
Posted on: August 6, 2011 12:54 am
Edited on: August 6, 2011 12:59 am
 

Is Hall of Fame voting process a bug or feature?



Posted by Ryan Wilson

This is like trying to identify the ugliest Victoria Secret's Angel, but in the spirit of fairness (and on behalf of ugly people everywhere) we feel compelled to mention that of the four modern players to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday -- Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders and Shannon Sharpe -- Sharpe is probably the least attractive lingerie model of the bunch, metaphorically speaking.

That's not to say he shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame one day -- he should -- just that it's all relative, in both senses of the word. First, you can make a case, without much effort, that Cris Carter or Curtis Martin would have been just as deserving had they been selected instead of Sharpe. And even Sharpe, speaking the day before his induction, admitted that his brother should've ended up in Canton before he did.

“Sterling was supposed to be in the Hall first,” Sharpe said. “I was supposed to introduce him for his speech, for his introduction and then take his bronze bust into the Hall. But now we’re going in together. I’m taking him in with me. … I’ve always wanted to be like him,” said Shannon.

Part of the issue is the fickle, sometimes secretive nature of the voting process. And barring a sudden change in course away from old-school writers debating the merits of each candidate based on things like "grit" and "gut feelings" in favor of a room filled with eggheads, mountains of data and complex algorithms accounting for variables most of us would've never even considered, it's going to be a messy affair.

If you're willing to accept the premise that it's an imperfect system but one that, in general, eventually gets it right, it makes the whole undertaking much less stressful and slightly more reasonable. (At least for the onlooker. We can't imagine what the nominees must go through, leaving the fate of their professional legacy in the hands of faceless voters.)

As for Sharpe's credentials, they're impeccable. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler, four times a unanimous first-team All Pro, he started for two different Super Bowl-winning organizations, and he retired as the NFL's career leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns by a tight end (records later broken by Tony Gonzalez).

So what's the problem?

It's less a problem than a nuanced distinction that gives us pause, even if momentarily. (Not to mention our previous concerns that there were very little differences among the candidacies of Sharpe, Carter and Martin.) In February, after the 2011 Hall of Fame candidates had been announced but before the finalists had been named, ProFootballReference.com wrote about Sharpe's Hall of Fame chances.

They (like us) thought he deserved to be in Canton, but made an intriguing point: Sharpe was a tight end, but at 6-2, 225 -- and given how he was utilized (and that he wasn't considered much of a blocker) -- he was closer to a wide receiver. PFR.com contrasts Sharpe with a player critics of the HOF voting system would point to whenever they wanted to make their point in just two words: "Art Monk."

The details:

PFR lists Sharpe at 6'2, 225 and Monk at 6'3 and 210. While Sharpe looks a lot bigger, and their careers overlapped, some significant changes occurred in the NFL while these guys were playing. In Monk's breakout season, 1984, the average TE was 6'3 or 6'4 and 236 pounds. Ten years later, the average TE was 6'4 and 254 pounds. So Monk was about 25 pounds lighter than the average TE; Sharpe was a little shorter and about 30 pounds lighter than the typical tight end. In Monk's five 1,000 yard seasons, he averaged 13.8 yards per reception; the league average for yards per reception (YPR) for WRs was 15.2 in those seasons. In Sharpe's four big-yardage years he averaged 13.0 YPR while the average WR averaged 13.7 YPR. Both were dependable, reliable possession receivers and had significantly better hands than the typical tight end. Both were much better blockers than your average WR but worse blockers than the average tight end.

If Sharpe is considered as a WR, he's in trouble. He ranked in the top ten just once in receiving yards, a tenth place finish in 1993. Like Monk, he has three Super Bowl rings, but that won't be enough if people compare him to Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss.

But -- and this distinction can't be overstated -- the PFR.com post makes one final, important point: "We shouldn't just think of these guys as tight ends or wide receivers, but as football players. And unlike in baseball, your contribution to your team can't be measured by what designation they put next to your name on the team roster."

It's that consideration that makes it easier for us to reconcile Sharpe's 2011 enshrinement over other just-as-deserving candidates. Football is the ultimate team sport, and contributions irrespective of position should carry more weight than anything else. It's just that sometimes, voters reach those conclusions separately from those of us on the outside looking in. Monk is the most obvious example. He had to wait eight years to get his due, but it finally came in 2008. 

Three years later, and with nowhere near the controversy, it's Sharpe's turn and he's earned it. Sure, we could just as easily be talking about Carter or Martin here, but history suggests they'll eventually end up in Canton, too. This weekend, Shannon is the Laetitia Casta to Deion, Marshall and Richard's Marissa Miller, Gisele Bundchen and Heidi Klum. There are worse fates.

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Posted on: February 5, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 7:48 pm
 

2011 NFL Hall of Fame induction class

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- The 2011 NFL Hall of Fame induction took place on Saturday night in downtown Dallas and Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe, Ed Sabol, Les Richter, Chris Hanburger and Ed Sabol were selected as the seven members of this year's class.

Faulk, the versatile backfield threat for the Rams and Colts, and Sanders, an all-time great kick returns, cornerback and all-out athlete were the only first-time candidates for the Hall who were inducted.

Dent, the Bears all-time sack leader and MVP of Super Bowl XX, was the 27th player for Chicago to be enshrined, the most of any NFL team.

Sabol, the founder of NFL Films and one of the architects of the modern-day NFL image, was considered a controversial figure because of concerns with non-players. Apparently, the clear-cut popularity of the NFL -- amid the possibility of a labor lockout no less -- made up for any of those concerns.

Hanburger, a nine-time Pro Bowler for the Redskins, made the cut after his 28th year of eligibility. Oddly enough, "Hangman" made the cut in a season in which the NFL truly preached player safety, despite being known for some questionable "tackling techniques."

Richter was an eight-time Pro Bowler (consecutively, no less) for the Los Angeles Rams in the 1950's and 60's.

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Posted on: January 9, 2011 12:46 pm
 

NFL Hall of Fame 2011 class finalists announced

Posted by Will Brinson

Marshall Faulk, Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin -- three of the great running backs in NFL history -- were all listed as part of the 17 finalists for the NFL Hall of Fame's 2011 class.

The Hall of Fame announced the list Sunday, via NFL.com, and it includes 15 modern-era players, two senior nominees and five first-timers on the list.

Bettis, Faulk, Martin, Deion Sanders and Willie Roaf were listed as first-time finalists on the Hall of Fame ballot for 2011. It seems unlikely that all three running backs will make it, and Faulk and/or Bettis seem likely to land a spot moreso than Martin, mainly because of team success and off-field behavior.

Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Dermontti Dawson, Richard Dent, Charles Haley, Cortez Kennedy, Andre Reed and Shannon Sharpe made the ballot as nominees who had been listed before.

Chris Hanburger and Les Richter were listed as the senior nominees on the Hall's ballot.

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Posted on: November 28, 2010 12:54 pm
 

Pro Football HOF semifinalists released

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Here’s the list of the 26 official Hall of Fame semifinalists.

Jerome Bettis, RB – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

Tim Brown, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cris Carter, WR – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins

Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers

Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

Terrell Davis, RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos Dermontti Dawson, C – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers

Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner – 1979-1997 San Francisco 49ers

Richard Dent, DE – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles

Chris Doleman, DE/LB – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers

Marshall Faulk, RB – 1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams

Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers

Ray Guy, P – 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Charles Haley, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys Lester Hayes, CB – 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Cortez Kennedy, DT – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

Curtis Martin, RB – 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets Art Modell, Owner – 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens

Andre Reed, WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

Willie Roaf, T – 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs

Ed Sabol, Contributor – 1964-1995 NFL Films

Deion Sanders, CB/KR/PR – 1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens

Shannon Sharpe, TE – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League

Aeneas Williams, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams

George Young, Contributor – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League

A couple notes:

- The five first-year eligible players are Bettis, Faulk, Martin, Roaf and Sanders.

- This is the first time DeBartolo and Sabol have made it to the semifinals.

- Usually, there are 25 semifinalists, but there was a tie for the final spot. So, 26 it is.

- The list will be whittled to 15 finalists and will be announced next January.

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Posted on: July 7, 2010 1:23 pm
 

Is Purple Drank becoming an NFL trend?

How many of us who don’t live in Texas knew much about Purple Drank before the New Year began? It’s hard to speak for everyone in the other 49 states, but for me, I can tell you my knowledge was very limited. Yet, it’s apparently been around Texas (and other parts of the southern hip hop community) for decades. Three 6 Mafia spoke about on the 2000 single, “Sippin on Some Syrup.” Rapper Lil’ Wayne has glorified the codeine syrup concoction, and slowly, it’s begun to creep into the NFL.

First, late San Diego safety Terrence Kiel was arrested for possession with intent to distribute in 2006 – he later pled guilty to felony and misdemeanor drug charges. Green Bay defensive end Johnny Jolly was arrested in 2008 for possession, and on Monday, it was the turn of former Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell to feel the handcuffs around his wrist because of the illegal beverage.

According to Shannon Sharpe, who spoke with USA Today’s Jon Saraceno , the codeine-infused drink is becoming a trend. Greg Aiello, NFL spokesman, told Saraceno it’s "something we're aware of and monitoring, (but) we don't see evidence of a particular problem among NFL players."

It’s an interesting story, just for the details of what affect consuming large quantities of the drink can have on your health. To paraphrase, it ain’t real good.


--Josh Katzowitz

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