Who are the best former and current NFL players that deserve to be included in the NFL Hall of Fame? More specifically, who are the best 90 players that deserve to be considered for induction?
In a little less than one month from now, the NFL will be enshrining the Hall of Fame Class of 2012, which includes Curtis Martin, Dermontti Dawson, Cortez Kennedy, Jack Butler, Willie Roaf and Chris Doleman.
For my filtering processes, we are going to establish a few parameters. First of all, every one of our 90 selections played at least nine years in the league. Why nine years? That kind of longevity in the league speaks to their ability to endure the physical punishment of the NFL and play through pain. There are some exceptional players that didn't last that long, and we have reserved the right to place them on our honorable mention page. They also had to appear in at least four Pro Bowl games, as another filter.
The original assignment called for me to identify the best 50 players not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The further I got into researching this, the more quality players I kept uncovering, to the point that it reached the current stage of 90 players. Why 90, you ask? Why not?
With regards to current NFL players, they will be judged with the same criterion. If they have not played at least nine years, they will be added to the honorable mention page and the four Pro Bowls still applies.
Please note that this presentation is focusing on the past 50 years of the NFL, so if you are itching for a specific player that played prior to the 1960s, that is what the Veteran's Committee in the NFL Hall of Fame is for.
While there is no reason to slight any of these great potential Hall-of-Fame players in regards to where they are ranked here, they are listed in the presentation according to the number of Pro Bowl games they were elected to.
For a list as subjective as this one is, ranking them according to the number of Pro Bowls is far from an ideal system, but there is no fool proof method to employ. Factors that went into making up this list included career stats and where they ranked for their position, being a member of an All-Decade team, Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams, and how dominating they were in their specific era.
With 90 players selected it is clear that the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters will be facing difficult choices for many years to come. All statistics quoted in this article are the courtesy of Pro Football Reference.com and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.com.
If you feel that there is a player that should have made this list but didn't, and you read the above parameters, then by all means feel free to make your case for that player in the comments section.