Most people love hearing about the newest Hall of Fame inductees each year to see if their favorite player from years past will make it in. Hall of Famers are the best of the best, and no one can say otherwise. If they weren't great at what they do, they wouldn't be in the Hall. But most people only talk about a player's chances of making it in after they retired. I tell you, there are Hall of Famers playing every Sunday. They're not in the Hall yet, but give it time. About 5 years after they retire. Not all players make the Hall. But those that do are forever legends.
There are six players who I believe are first-ballot locks for the Hall of Fame. Each one brings different skills to the table, but they were all huge assets to whoever they played for.
There is no doubt in my mind that LT will retire as one of the top 3 rushers of all time. In just seven seasons, he has already eclipsed 10,000 rushing yards and has more than 100 rushing touchdowns. He is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, all-purpose backs in the history of the league. He's a home run threat every time he touches the ball, whether he's running it, catching it, or throwing it. He's already the single season touchdown king. How many more records will have to fall before he's done?
Over the course of his career so far, Peyton Manning has basically become the face of the NFL. Even people who don't watch football know who he is. He has a chance to wind up as the greatest quarterback of all time. His uncanny accuracy, powerful arm, incredible awareness, and work ethic all combine to make him one of the greatest to ever play the game. The Colts became the luckiest team of the century when they decided to select Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf. The rest is history.
If you didn't know about Tom Brady before last season, you do now. After throwing for an NFL-record 50 touchdown passes, Tom Brady seems poised to continue passing for many yards and touchdowns with the great receivers that he has. He has won more Super Bowl that everyone except Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, and those are two pretty good guys to be compared to. Tom Brady might just be the greatest quarterback ever by the time he retires, and if he isn't, he is top 3 material. His insane numbers are not only credited to the fact that he has Randy Moss. Tom Brady's incredible accuracy and timing make him an MVP candidate every year.
I couldn't mention Peyton Manning without talking about his greatest weapon. Marvin Harrison might not be in his prime anymore, but having the NFL single season record for receptions in a nice thing to have on a resume no matter how old you are. Harrison could be a number one receiver on any team. He runs very precise routes, has great hands, and when you throw in the fact that his quarterback is Peyton Manning, he's almost guaranteed a bust in the Hall. Harrison is an asset to any quarterback, and while last year's knee injury might finally best the Iron Man, his career will speak to any doubters.
Randy Moss is simply one of best ever. I wasn't really around to see Jerry Rice play, so Moss is the greatest receiver I have ever had the pleasure of watching on a Sunday. He was the foundation of the two highest scoring offenses ever, and he really hasn't lost much of his talent. He has great speed combined with a big frame and terrific leaping ability. He might not have the best hands, but he makes up for it with the sheer amount of talent he has. Moss is one of the best deep-threats in NFL history, and he will be seen as such when he retires.
Ah, I bet this is interesting for some people. Derrick Brooks isn't an incredibly high profile player, and he doesn't make a lot of ripples in the media. What he does do is crush runningbacks in the open field and drop back into pass coverage very well. Brooks has at least 1,700 career tackles, and he has been the rock of the Buccaneer defense since he came into the league. He doesn't sack the quarterback often, but I guarantee he could if he wanted to. Derrick Brooks is flat out great. No other linebacker has had the same level of production he has had for as long. He has made the Pro Bowl 10 times, and won a Super Bowl as well. Derrick Brooks isn't the most well-known player, but people will know him once he's making his induction speech.
To me, only these players really seem to be first rate Hall of Fame material. While everyone has a different standard for greatness, I think most people will agree that what these players have done can be called great.
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