Bills Legend Bruce Smith Questions Legitimacy of Tony Boselli's HOF Selection

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 14, 2022

18 Oct 1998:  Offensive tackle Tony Boselli #71 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in action against defensive end Bruce Smith #78 of the Buffalo Bills during the game at the Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills defeated the Jaguars 17-16.
Rick Stewart

In an Instagram post Monday, legendary pass-rusher Bruce Smith offered his unfiltered thoughts on Tony Boselli's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Smith called Boselli a "formidable opponent" but knocked the left tackle's resume by arguing he didn't have to protect his quarterback's blind side for much of his career like others at his position since former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell is left-handed.

Jamal St. Cyr @JStCyrTV

Bruce Smith took to IG to comment on Tony Boselli’s HOF status. <br><br>Smith said “Tony was a formidable opponent during his brief career, but | find it difficult to compare the totality of his body of work with those of the<br>NFL's greatest Left Tackles.” <a href="https://t.co/AEmuVwOsbK">pic.twitter.com/AEmuVwOsbK</a>

Smith also took some exception to Boselli's supporters using the offensive lineman's performance against Smith in the 1996 playoffs to bolster his HOF case.

"On the one hand, I'm quite flattered to be considered the gold standard by which another player's game can be measured to determine his qualification into the HOF," he said. "But on a more serious level, I and other HOFers believe it sets a horrible precedent to negatively zero in on a standing member of the Hall's play in order to validate the candidacy of a nominee."

Smith certainly saw plenty of talented tackles during his 19 years in the NFL, and the all-time sack leader clearly has added insight into which pass-blockers separated themselves from their peers.

But bringing up Boselli's performance in the 1996 AFC Wild Card Round clearly struck a nerve.

Pete Prisco @PriscoCBS

Bruce Smith got abused by Tony Boselli. Now he’s taking shots? Class act. PS — he didn’t even shake Boselli’s hand after being dominated and wouldn’t comment on that game for years.

Smith is right in that one game shouldn't be enough to catapult a player into the Hall of Fame. However, that does represent a worthwhile metric to consider in the wider scheme of things.

Mike Kaye @mike_e_kaye

On one hand, I agree that the candidacy of Boselli has always kind of been projected as "look at how great he did against Bruce Smith."<br><br>On the other hand, yeah, a guy doing well against fellow Hall of Famers is probably the best credentials you can have for the Hall as an OL. <a href="https://t.co/fBZuq6fX0V">https://t.co/fBZuq6fX0V</a>

Smith's comments also undersell what Boselli achieved in a career cut short by shoulder problems.

The 50-year-old was a five-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro in seven seasons, and he was named a second-team All-Decade player for the 1990s by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Boselli wouldn't be a complete outlier. Terrell Davis had an even smaller window in his prime, with his career derailed by injuries after only four years. That didn't stop him from getting a gold jacket. Calvin Johnson failed to hit a decade of service time, too.

At the end of the day, Smith is ultimately screaming into the void since Boselli was voted into the Hall of Fame in February.