There is a building in Canton, Ohio. The name of this particular building is called the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is a place where every kid that has ever strapped a helmet onto his head has had the dream of having a bronze bust of themselves in this building.
The reason for the Pro Football Hall of Fame is to honor the men that have made professional football what it is today, America's Past Time. (Sorry baseball, you lost that title LONG ago).
Recently, here on Bleacher Report, there have been writers that are calling into question the fact that there are men in the Hall of Fame, that do not deserve to be in there.
Now, my personal opinion is, there are people in there that do not deserve to be in there. However, my opinion does not matter, because I do not get a vote as to whom is in there.
Likewise, there are people that are not currently in the Hall of Fame that I believe should be. But, once again, my opinion does not matter, as I do not get a vote as to whom is in there.
If you have noticed, to this point, I have called the building, the HALL OF FAME. I did not call it the Hall of Stats, I called it, the Hall of Fame.
The reason for that is, simply put, there are many aspects to the game of football that CANNOT be measured. Can you measure heart? Can you measure determination? Can you measure courage? Leadership?
No, no, no, and no.
Yes, it is true that these two men do not have the statistics of someone like Dan Marino or Peyton Manning. But, as I said, that is not what this is about.
Joe Namath was the quarter back of the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. At that point, the NFL had been dominating the AFL, making many people wonder if there was even a reason to have a Super Bowl, simply because the AFL was not as good as the NFL.
At a press conference in the days leading up the the big game, Namath was so sick of hearing how the Colts were simply going to pound the Jets, that Namath made a guarantee that would change the world of sports.
Namath said that not only were the Jets going to win, but that he GUARANTEED that they were going to win.
See, unlike sports today, people didn't guarantee anything back in those days. Had the Colts defeated the Jets, it would have possibly been the end of the AFL. The Colts were favored to win the game by, somewhere between 15-17 points.
And Namath delivered. He led his Jets to the only Super Bowl in the history of the team, and he did it in a way, that made him running off the field, waving his one finger in the air, that is still used today in NFL videos.
Did he have the stats? No, but he changed the game of football by delivering on a guarantee.
Terry Bradshaw was the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers during their days of dominance in the 70's. When Bradshaw was drafted with the first overall pick in the 1970 draft, the Steelers had not even won a playoff game to that point in their existence.
Bradshaw was the first, and one of only two men to ever be able to say that they started four Super Bowls, and won them all. The only other person that can say that, is Joe Montana.
Now, detractors will point to the facts that Bradshaw had the Steel Curtain on the other side of the ball, and that was one of the best defenses to ever play the game. They will then point to the fact that Franco Harris, Mike Webster, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, are all members of the Hall of Fame.
The other side of that coin might be looked at like, would Harris, Webster, Swann and Stallworth all made it to the Hall of Fame, without Terry Bradshaw?
Bradshaw also holds the distinction of being able to say that, in every one of his Super Bowl victories, in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, Bradshaw threw a touch down pass to either give the Steelers the lead, or to put the game away.
Did he have the stats? No, but when the game is on the line, he delivered, EVERYTIME.
To all of the people out there that only want to look at the numbers on the stat sheets, please remember one thing, the NFL was A LOT different in the 70's, than it is today.
Back then, corners were permitted to "bump" the receivers until the ball was in the air, not the five yards that they have today.
Defensive men were allowed to strike the quarter back for TWO FULL STEPS after the ball was out of his hands. Today, the QB's know that once the ball is out of their hands, they won't be touched.
Not only that, back then, you could swing at the head of the quarterback, right in front of the official, and he would not even THINK about throwing his flag. Today, they throw the flag if a defensive player bumps the legs of the quarterback after the ball is thrown.
Please remember, the stats all look wonderful, but the reality is, the game is not played on a piece of paper, it is played on a field. What happens on the field is considerably more important than anything you can read about on Monday morning.
If you don't believe that someone deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, I can respect that. But, you need to respect the fact that the sacrifices that they have made to be there is more than anything most ever came close to doing.