Strahan, Brooks, Jones, Guy, Tim Brown make my Hall of Fame ballot
My Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot includes Michael Strahan, Derrick Brooks, Walter Jones, Ray Guy and Tim Brown. Let me explain why.
Hall of Fame cases: The receiver trio (Marvin Harrison, Andre Reed and Tim Brown) | Charles Haley | Jerome Bettis | Eddie DeBartolo | Aeneas Williams | Kevin Greene | Tony Dungy | John Lynch | Morten Andersen | Will Shields
On Saturday, 46 Hall of Fame voters will enter a conference room somewhere in New York City, and they won't leave until they emerge with the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. The election will take hours, because each of the finalists will be presented by a media member who extols his virtues and the reason why that particular man should be inducted in with the next class. Then, the debates will begin, and they will rage for hours. Eventually, a Hall of Fame class will be elected, and all will rejoice.
Until then, we're left to ponder the possibilities. On this page during the past few weeks, we've debated most of those who have a chance to land a spot in Canton this year. Now that we're at the end of the debate, we've come up with our own ballot of those who we feel deserve to be enshrined (a quick FYI: I am not a Hall of Fame voter, and neither is anybody else on the current CBSSports.com roster).
Here are the five former players for whom I would vote.
Michael Strahan, DE: No matter what Warren Sapp might think, Strahan is deserving of a Hall of Fame induction (and, perhaps, should have gone in before Sapp). He twice led the league in sacks, including an NFL record 22.5 in 2001 (maybe you think it's a Favreian sham, but that's the record). His 141.5 career sacks ranks fifth all-time. Holding the vote in New York might help the man who's spent his entire career in a Giants uniform, and, in my eyes, he's a better candidate than fellow pass rushers Charles Haley and Kevin Greene.
Derrick Brooks, LB: There are three finalists with ties to the Buccaneers of the 1990s and 2000s -- Brooks, coach Tony Dungy and safety John Lynch -- and Brooks would be the only one for whom I'd vote. Brooks is an 11-time Pro Bowler who spent his entire 14-year career in Tampa Bay. He was a tackling machine -- from 1996-2000, he recorded at least 130 tackles per season -- and he was fantastic in coverage. His 25 career picks is only one off of what Lynch recorded, and his six interceptions returned for a touchdown ranks 16th in NFL history. Simply put, Brooks is one of the best outside linebackers of all time.
Walter Jones, LT: If anybody seems like a lock, it'd be Jones, who made nine Pro Bowls and six All-Pro teams during his 12-year career. As the Tacoma News Tribune, points out, "he’s credited with having only nine holding penalties in his career, and giving up just 23 sacks in more than 5,700 pass plays." That, of course, is massively impressive. Once upon a time, Mike Holmgren called Jones the best offensive player he'd ever coached. And yes, Holmgren also coached Joe Montana, Brett Favre and Jerry Rice.
Ray Guy, P: It says something that Guy has been eligible for the HOF since 1992 and never got the call. Now, he's a senior member, and the voters will again have the chance to put him in to Canton. This time, Guy should make it. It's somewhat ridiculous that the only specialist in the HOF is kicker Jan Stenerud, but Guy was so good in his 14-year career with the Raiders and changed the way people thought about (and used) punters, there's really no good reason why the three-time Super Bowl champion shouldn't be enshrined. For Guy, the eighth time should be the charm.
Tim Brown, WR: You have to continue to break up the logjam at wide receiver, because some of the most elite receivers of all time, as they get HOF eligible, will continue to filter into the voter meetings. Last year, Cris Carter was elected, and this year, on my ballot, it'd be Brown's turn. Here's why I like him over Harrison. He's only eight career catches behind Harrison on the all-time list, and he's actually outgained Harrison by 354 receiving yards. Yes, Harrison is way ahead in career touchdowns (128 to 100), but here's where Brown is more valuable. He was an outstanding kick returner, and Harrison didn't have that kind of versatility on his resume. That'd be enough for me to cast my vote for Brown.
Below is a video about Andre Reed talking about his candidacy.
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