John Hannah B/R Exclusive Interview: Patriots HOF Guard For Fanschoice.com

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer INovember 16, 2010

If you're an avid New England Patriots fan, you know that there's more than just two players in the team's history that is worthy of a nomination to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and yet John Hannah is one of just two career Patriots in the Hall of Fame.

I had a chance to speak with the Patriots' Hall-of-Fame guard, who has been pegged by many as one of the top offensive linemen of all time.

In fact, that's exactly where he came in NFL Network's Top 100 players of all-time. He was ranked 24th, the highest-ranked guard on the list and the second-highest offensive linemen behind Anthony Munoz.

One of the problems with that poll, Hannah said, was that he "didn't even know it was being run until after the fact."

He didn't receive one vote by the fans.

He's determined not to let that sort of thing happen again. Hannah's already in the Hall of Fame, but he's determined to get fans involved in a new website by Van Heusen at fanschoice.com, where fans can vote for who they think should be in the Fans Choice Hall of Fame.

"The idea is that you tally those votes, and although their vote does not count in the actual selection process, it's a way of almost lobbying for your favorite. It's like the politicians; they may not vote with you all the time, but if you play the lobbyist and whisper in their ear enough, they may vote your way."

Oftentimes, the best players get overlooked for the Hall of Fame. Getting the fans involved in Fan's Choice is a way to ensure that some of those players can finally get the recognition they deserve.

"There's been a presupposition that if you win a Super Bowl, that you should be in the Hall of Fame. If you look at the number of people (in the Hall of Fame) who came off of those winning Super Bowl teams, there's a lot of them."

Hannah was so excellent at what he did that he was able to avoid that stigma to become the first Patriot inducted into the Hall of Fame.

He mentions players like his former teammates Stanley Morgan and Russ Francis, as well as division rivals like Joe Klecko that never won a Super Bowl but are no less worthy of having their bust immortalized in Canton.

You can call in for some "Smack Talk" which can be played on the website by other fans, so your voice can be heard, figuratively and literally.

Hannah chuckled when I brought this up before quickly saying that he didn't get into that stuff.

One thing he enjoys, though, is watching videos and reading about some of his favorite players. "To be able to go in there and play the video highlights of some of the guys… when I was a kid, my heroes were Jim Brown and Dick Butkus. I couldn't believe that Butkus wasn't in the top four or five (on the Top 100). I wish I would have known that, because I would have voted for him myself."

Hannah joked that younger audiences may not even know half the names he was saying. Fan's Choice is a chance to fix that glaring gap for the younger demographic of football fans.

Think there isn't a punter that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? Think again. What about Ray Guy? Hannah said, "There's not a punter in the Hall of Fame, and if there was ever a punter who could turn the game around, it's Ray Guy. He's the only guy that hit the top of the Astrodome punting the ball."

You might be asking yourself, "What's in it for me?"

There are a ton of other good reasons to vote. There will be prizes that range from signed helmets to discounts on Van Heusen apparel at JC Penney, fans have plenty of chances to reap the benefits of simply clicking the mouse to vote for their favorite players.

One lucky fan will be given the opportunity to announce the Fan's Choice 2011 selections alongside Steve Young in Dallas.

Hannah left with this: "Make sure that everybody reading goes to www.fanschoice.com, that's a good plug, isn't it?"

You wouldn't want to do anything to make "Hog" angry, would you?

Follow Fan's Choice on Facebook at facebook.com/fanschoice and on Twitter @VHFansChoice for updates on the voting as well as all sorts of fun NFL historical facts and interesting information.

For all the NFL and Patriots coverage you can handle, follow @e_frenz on Twitter by clicking the link here.

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