Paul Tagliabue Should Not Even Be Considered For The Hall of Fame

James WilliamsonSenior Writer IDecember 1, 2009

The semi-finalist list for the Hall of Fame class of 2010 was announced, and I was puzzled at the inclusion of a few names, but one really stood out in particular.

The former commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, who was in charge of the NFL from 1989 to 2006 was a nominee.


Paul Tagliabue did his job as a commissioner. Some could argue that his work at commissioner was not as effective or he was a questionable commissioner.

Regardless of those opinions, Tagliabue did do a lot of good for the NFL in many ways.

For example: In 1996, Jacksonville and Carolina were awarded expansion teams that we know as the Jaguars and the Panthers.

Back in the old days, when a city got a new team, they had to build that team from scratch.  Some of the worst teams of all time were expansion teams including my own Dallas Cowboys.

The expansion Buccaneers lost their first 26 games to start their history. A record that still stands today. The Saints were another example of an expansion team that severely struggled at all ends.

However, Commissioner Tagliabue wanted to give the two new teams a chance to survive in the NFL so that teams going up against them would not say that they were a sure-win.

They received high selections in the draft with bonus picks and expansion drafts. The addition of free agency really helped out, and by both teams’ second year they were in the Conference Championship game.

Also, no player strikes happened during Tagliabue’s tenure as commissioner. He made sure to cancel the NFL games after 9/11 to show respect for those families in grief. He was a good guy who did his job as commissioner.

However, why is he a Hall of Fame commissioner?

My father, who I have mentioned often in my past work, gave his two cents like this: “Keep the suits out. The Hall of Fame is for the players and coaches.”

And my dad is right. Everyone who loves their team wants to see their great players have bronze statues of their heads in the most sacred room in football.

As a Cowboys writer and fan, I can cite many Cowboys who have been uprightly denied entrance to Canton. Almost every fan voice here could tell you that the Hall of Fame has missed one of their guys.

Jersey Al Bracco could bring up Jerry Kramer. Chris Farmer could mention Marshall Goldberg. Jason Zasky could mention L.C. Greenwood.

Should I go on?

I don’t think any “contributor” should be elected in over a player. In fact, I don’t think a coach should go in over a player. There needs to be a separate way that can put these men in the Hall of Fame, but without taking a spot of a player.

When I went to Canton, and I saw Tex Schramm of the Cowboys in the Hall of Fame, I wanted to throw his bust out and put Cliff Harris in there instead.

When I see the two Rooneys in there, I think of two very old men that may have built a team, but I immediately think of some Steelers like Dermontti Dawson, who hasn’t been inducted into Canton yet.

The most boring speech I ever heard from a Hall of Famer came from Ralph Wilson last year. If I’m a Bills fan, I’m upset about this. What has Wilson done worth mentioning to a fan?

Yeah, he may have helped with some TV deals, but why watch the Bills on TV if they have no talent around them.

I kept thinking, ‘Andre Reed should be up there’

It is hard enough for players to get in those five modern-era spots for the Hall of Fame. Why make it harder by taking those spots away to give to feeble old men who probably will need diapers in a couple of years.

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