Well, it’s about time. Nebraska football legend Tommie Frazier, after years and years of waiting, has been inducted into the 2013 class of the College Football Hall of Fame. Frazier has been snubbed time and time again, and his induction has been greeted with relief (and a little exasperation) by Nebraska fans.
We’ve discussed before how Frazier’s snub was due in part to some of the ridiculous rules of the College Football Hall of Fame. But was there a case to be made that Frazier really didn’t belong amongst college football’s elite?
Over his career, Frazier had 342 carries for 1,955 yards and 36 touchdowns. He threw for 3,521 yards and 43 touchdowns. In comparison, Ohio State’s Eddie George (and Frazier’s Heisman nemesis) had 4,302 total yards from scrimmage and 45 touchdowns. Ron Dayne, who will be in Frazier’s Hall of Fame class, had a total of 7,429 yards from scrimmage and 71 touchdowns. So Frazier’s stats, while respectable, certainly did not scream out that he was a Hall of Famer.
So (with apologies to Stephen Colbert), where does Tommie Frazier rank?
From 1992-1995, the years Frazier was at Nebraska, the Cornhuskers were 45-4, with three of those losses coming in Frazier’s freshman year. The Nebraska roster was littered with future NFL stars, particularly on the offensive line. Obviously, Frazier’s talent was a big part of those teams’ success. But at least an argument could be made that Frazier was helped by playing on such a great team. Remember, in 1995, not only did Nebraska go undefeated, it won all but one of its games by more than three touchdowns.
That kind of dominance is a team effort, obviously. So Frazier, talented as he was, certainly benefitted from being surrounded by such a strong supporting cast. As a result, when we look at individual honors like a Hall of Fame, perhaps being on such a dominant team would have to be taken into consideration.
OK, that’s the argument (such as it is) for keeping Frazier out of the Hall of Fame as long as he was. But those arguments really don’t stack up all that well against the weight of evidence in favor of Frazier’s induction. While the supporting cast argument might have a little weight, ultimately there is no denying the fact that Frazier was the starting quarterback for back-to-back national champions, and the offensive leader on the 1995 team that was (at least arguably) the greatest team in the history of college football.
And there is no doubt as to Frazier’s leadership of that team. His superior athletic ability, combined with a fierce sense of competitiveness and desire for excellence from himself and his teammates pushed Nebraska over the line.
When Byron Bennett’s kick sailed wide in the 1993 Orange Bowl, leaving Nebraska two points short of a national title, it was Frazier’s steel-willed determination that helped lead Nebraska to its “Unfinished Business” campaign, winning Tom Osborne’s first national title a year later.
And then, there was “The Run” against Florida. If there was ever one play that epitomized Frazier as a man and Nebraska as a team, it was “The Run.” Frazier, on an option, breaking tackle after tackle, on his way to a 75-yard touchdown to help seal Nebraska’s rout of Steve Spurrier’s Fun-N-Gun Gators. Even if Frazier wasn’t in the Hall of Fame, that play should be.
Frazier ended his career with a 33-3 (!) record as a starter, which might be the ultimate statistic. So congratulations to Frazier (now HoF 2013) on a long-overdue honor.
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