I am not one for conspiracy theories, but it has to be said that when it comes to the NFL Hall of Fame voting process, something stink's in Denmark.
There are a number of high impact, dominant players that were greats of the game during their playing era's. Of those players, ie; Mark Clayton, Andre Reed, Kenny Easley, Drew Pearson, Russ Grimm, and even Terrell Davis, they all remain vacant from the serious conversation amongst voters.
The number of Oakland Raiders who have repeatedly been declined, or ignored, is a little frustrating to think about. Considering that they were dominant prime-time players at their positions, it is hard to think about them continually being snubbed.
I try not to be a homer, but what has gotten my ire is the number of voters who seem to always have a personal agenda, or axe to grind, against individuals and teams.
I am not aware as to whether or not DR. Z or Peter King (Sports illustrated) are still voters, but the two have made it clear that they will not vote for Raider players.
Peter King's hate for all things Al Davis has never been a secret, and Dr. Z stated on one of the NFL network's top 10 programs that, "Kenny Stabler will never reach the HOF as long as I have anything to say about it."
It is criminal for all NFL alumni to be at the mercy of writers who refuse to, or are unable to, be objective to the players or teams that they do not like or get along with.
We hear at HOF voting time statements such as, "Well he wasn't very media friendly" or "Well compared to today's players". My personal favorite is, "He never played in the Superbowl, or on a SB winning team".
If that is going to be the standard then let's publish the standard so everyone knows what that standard is.
The NFL needs to put more emphasis on retired players, HOF players, and coaches from-that-era's voting being more valuable during the process in relation to media members value in their voting.
The NFL emphasizing, and allowing, each city's senior beat writers, who have an impeccable track record of being objective in their reporting, to nominate a player who is worthy of the Hall consideration from the organization in which he or she cover's is a bit much.
It's not unfathomable to think that this is done so as to keep long time retired players from being put in the closet and forgotten.
Griese led a Dolphins team to three Superbowls as a painfully average quarterback. He was carried by the NFL's best rushing attack, and the "no-name" defense. The justification for his being elected is leading the only undefeated (17-0) team in history.
Problem is he only played in two games that season. Two games! His name never comes up in any qreat quarterback discussions, at any time, about any era.
It can not be denied that Lynn Swann made spectacular catches on center stage, but he only played eight seasons, and was injured often during his career. Swann never caught more than 66 passes, or reached 900 yards in a season.
A look into his numbers shows how pedestrian his career was, but he won four Superbowls.
Mark Clayton (Miami) scared the crap out of every team he faced, Andre Reed (Buffalo) was a gamebreaker on every field he dawned, Easley (Seattle) was a vampire in cleats whose career was cut short by kidney failure, and Terrell Davis was a defense destroying machine until his body began to fail him.
These players get little or no consideration, how fair is that?
The Hall is soon to be considering Tim Brown. Will he have to wait as long as Art Monk because someone hates Al and the Raiders? Steve Wisniewski (9 time pro-bowler) is also eligable. What about him?
My real issue is with Raiders such as Ken "Snake" Stabler, Jim Plunkett, Cliff Branch, Ray Guy, Todd Christiansen, and coach Tom Flores. Each of the following has, at times, dominated in the league. They are also frequently celebrated in NFL films and won Superbowl rings.
Why do they get snubbed each year?
In one word, Prejudice!
Whether it's the organization, or Al personally, an individual's choice to punish great players, and prevent them for their possible induction, is pathetic! Maybe players should be the only voters in regards to inducting writer's and media members?
I know my ramblings may be irritating to some, but to those who watched their favorite players gowing up, and wonder why they're not in the hall, it's these invisible standards that your favorite players are being held to.
A Standard of personal preference. Standards that lower the greatness of players in a great league.
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