50 Most Glaring Pro Football Hall of Fame Omissions

Vincent Frank@VincentFrankNFLCorrespondent INovember 10, 2011

50 Most Glaring Pro Football Hall of Fame Omissions

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    A lot has been said how the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process is nothing more than a popularity contest, and some of the very best to ever play the game are still on the outside looking in. I have had the honor of speaking to a couple candidates that have not received enough votes to be inducted. Their overwhelming opinion on the issue is that those who refrain from the public eye following their career stand a lesser chance than those who don't.

    It is the idea that television face time plays an important role in the writers' decision to induct a deserving player into the Hall. How many marginal ex-players that are currently on television are in the Hall of Fame? That is the point many attempt to make. 

    No matter where you stand on this debate, I think you can agree that there remain a lot of deserving Hall of Fame candidates that have been left out. Today, I am going to give you my list of the top 50 most glaring omissions.

50. QB Phil Simms

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    Career stats: 33,462 passing yards, 199 touchdowns and a 95-65 record as a starting quarterback

    Honors: Two Pro Bowl selections, two-time Super Bowl winner (one as a starting quarterback)

    Teams: New York Giants 

    The New York Giants had nine winning seasons with Phil Simms on the team. He wasn't the most talented quarterback and only made two Pro Bowl appearances. However, this was during a time when the likes of Joe Montana dominated those postseason honors.

    All Simms did as a member of the Giants was win games, plain and simple. His .594 winning percentage ranks among the franchise's all-time best but will probably be surpassed by Eli Manning when all is said and done.

    Still, a player like Simms who was clutch in big games deserves a Hall of Fame nod.

49. Guard Steve Wisniewski

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    Honors: Eight Pro Bowl selections and two-time First Team All-Pro

    Teams: Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

    How do writers ignore a player that blocked for the likes of Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen while earning eight Pro Bowl selections? "The Wiz" was probably one of the best interior linemen in the modern history of the National Football League. Heck, he even turned Tyrone Wheatley into a decent running back for a three-year span.

    That said, he hasn't even received the attention of the selection committee, never even being as much as a semifinalist for Canton.

    Really sad if you ask me.

48. Safety Darren Woodson

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    Career stats: 1,350 tackles, 23 interceptions and 11 sacks

    Honors: Three-time Super Bowl winner, five Pro Bowl selections and four-time All-Pro selection

    Teams: Dallas Cowboys

    Darren Woodson led the back end of one of the best defenses of the 1990s. He was a team captain and holds Dallas' all-time record in tackles. Woodson was a great cover man who would stick his nose in there with the best of them.

    More than anything, he was extremely stout against the run. This is where he earned his keep, so to speak. Safety is an unheralded position in the NFL, but Woodson deserves a nod from the selection committee and a shot at Canton.

47. WR Herman Moore

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    Career stats: 670 receptions, 9,174 yards and 62 touchdowns

    Honors: Four Pro Bowl selections, three First Team All-Pro selections

    Teams: Detroit Lions and New York Giants

    For a three-year stretch in the mid 1990s, Herman Moore was the best receiver in the entire NFL. Not even Jerry Rice, Cris Carter or Michael Irvin matched his success during that span: from 1995 to 1997, 333 receptions for over 4,000 yards and a total of 31 touchdowns.

    He is the Detroit Lions' all-time leader in receptions, yards and receiving touchdowns. Those records are sure to come crashing down with Calvin Johnson performing the way he is, but you still cannot take that away from Moore. After all, this is a Lions franchise that has been around since 1930, when it was the Portsmouth Spartans.

    I understand that the voters take a long look at winning and the Lions were not a winning team with Moore. However, his success on the field makes him a Hall of Fame player.

46. DT Curley Culp

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    Career stats: 69 sacks (unofficial), 14 forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries

    Honors: One-time AFL All-Star, five Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro selections

    Teams: Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Oilers and Detroit Lions

    Curley Culp was drafted in the second round of the 1968 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos but never played a game for them. He was considered a tweener—someone that was too small for the defensive line and not fast enough for linebacker.

    Well, the Arizona State product proved everyone wrong when he joined the Kansas City Chiefs in 1968. During Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings, Culp was moved to the nose tackle position, which opened up lanes for the rest of the Chiefs defenders to get into the Vikings backfield. This was the first time this position had truly been utilized in the NFL.

    The results were magnificent for the champion Chiefs. They held the Vikings to 58 rushing yards and forced two Fran Tarkenton interceptions.

    While sacks were not an official stat during this time, Culp recorded 69 throughout his career, a huge number for an interior lineman. Sometimes you have to look at the whole sum of a person's play, not just the position he plays. With that in mind, Curley Culp deserves mention as one of the most unheralded players to ever set foot on the gridiron.

45. TE Brent Jones

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    Career stats: 417 receptions, 5,195 yards and 33 touchdowns

    Honors: Four-time Pro Bowl selection

    Teams: San Francisco 49ers

    Brent Jones didn't have the greatest statistics of tight ends not currently in the Hall of Fame. A lot of that had to do with the other weapons that San Francisco's offense had when he was in his prime. Still, Jones was a great safety valve for both Joe Montana and Steve Young. He also blocked extremely well for the likes of Roger Craig and Ricky Watters—more on them later.

    Jones won three Super Bowls as a member of the San Francisco 49ers and caught 60 postseason balls.

44. QB Randall Cunningham

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    Career stats: 29,979 passing yards, 4,928 rushing yards, 242 total touchdowns and an 82-52-1 record as a starter

    Honors: Four-time Pro Bowl selection and one-time All-Pro selection

    Teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys

    Cunningham was Steve Young and Michael Vick before the "mobile" quarterback became popular. He was electric in every possible way and could beat fast defensive players out on the edge when deciding to tuck and run.

    He threw for over 3,000 yards and ran for 500 yards five different times, while being the league's all-time leading rusher for a quarterback upon his retirement. That record was broken earlier this season by fellow Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.

    Because of Cunningham's running style, he did get injured a lot, missing 10 games or more in a season four times. This is one of the reasons his numbers aren't higher.

    Still, I think he belongs in the Hall.

43. RB Cookie Gilchrist

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    Career stats: 4,293 rushing yards, 1,135 receiving yards and 43 career touchdowns

    Honors: Four-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro selection

    Teams: Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins

    Cookie's career had an incredibly odd beginning. He was signed by the Cleveland Browns out of college, something that was against the rules at that time. Apparently the NFL turned a blind eye to the violation, and he was able to attend training camp. However, the Browns would release him before he ever played a game for them.

    Gilchrist then joined the Ontario Rugby Football Union and played there for a couple seasons before playing in the Canadian Football League. It wasn't until 1959, five years removed from college, that he would catch on with the Buffalo Bills and play in the NFL.

    This is one of the reasons why Cookie's stats aren't eye-popping in the grand scheme of things. After all, he ran for less than 5,000 yards in the NFL. Still, he was an electrifying player that led the league in rushing attempts three times, rushing yards twice and rushing touchdowns four times. From 1962 to 1965, Gilchrist made four Pro Bowl teams and was an All-Pro three times.

    He only played in the NFL for six seasons.

42. WR/K Gino Cappelletti

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    Career stats: 292 receptions, 4,589 yards and 42 touchdowns; 176 career field goals

    Honors: Five Pro Bowl selections

    Teams: Boston Patriots

    In doing articles like this throughout the season for Bleacher Report, I have come across Gino's name a few different times in research, which led me to put him on this list. The former Boston Patriots star was a multi-dimensional athlete in the AFL. He caught 30 or more passes seven times, this at a time when the league wasn't anywhere near as pass-happy as it is now.

    He also led the AFL in field goals and attempts three separate times. In his only playoff victory, Cappelletti scored 17 of the Patriots' 26 points and caught four passes for 126 yards against the Buffalo Bills in 1963.

    Despite being selected to five Pro Bowls, he has never even been as much as a semifinalist for the Hall of Fame.

41. Guard Walt Sweeney

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    Honors: Nine Pro Bowl selections and two-time First Team All-Pro

    Teams: San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins

    Walt Sweeney was one of the most versatile offensive linemen to ever play. By the end of his career, Sweeney ended up starting at all five offensive line positions but made his mark as a right guard. He was one of the league's premier pass protectors for more than a decade, keeping opposing defensive linemen off John Hadl for the majority of the star quarterback's career.

    In the end, Sweeney made nine Pro Bowl appearances and was a member of the All-Time AFL Team. He has never even been considered for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame.

40. DT Roger Brown

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    Honors: Six Pro Bowl and two First Team All-Pro selections

    Teams: Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams

    Roger Brown was a member of arguably the greatest defensive line ever assembled. He played alongside Alex Karras and Sam Williams as a member of the Detroit Lions from 1960 to 1966, making the Pro Bowl five times during that span.

    He also played alongside Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen with the Los Angeles Rams. It wasn't the talent around Brown that made him so good; he did that himself. His best performance came against the Green Bay Packers in 1962, when he sacked Bart Starr six times.

    Overall, it has been noted that Brown had over 120 sacks during his career (sacks weren't an official stat at the time).

39. RB Roger Craig

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    Career stats: 8,189 rushing yards, 566 receptions, 4,911 yards and 73 career touchdowns

    Honors: Four Pro Bowl selections and one First Team All-Pro selection

    Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Raiders and Minnesota Vikings

    Name another running back that had over 13,000 total yards from scrimmage and isn't in the Hall of Fame. Well, you won't find one. Roger Craig was a force for the San Francisco 49ers dynasty of the 1980s but usually gets thrown behind the other great players they had during that time.

    That said, Craig is a Hall of Fame player and should be recognized as such.

    In 1985, he became the first running back in the history of the NFL to have 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving. Overall, he combined for over 1,000 total yards seven different times.

    Craig was a finalist for the Hall of Fame in 2010 and will probably make it one day in the near future.

38. DE Charles Haley

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    Career stats: 488 tackles, 153 for loss, 100.5 sacks and 11 forced fumbles

    Honors: Five Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys

    Charles Haley is not in the Hall of Fame because the media didn't like him. Seriously, that has to be the only reason that he has been omitted. The dude was one fearless player on the football field and scared the collective crap out of opposing quarterbacks.

    He compiled double-digit sack seasons six different times and had over 100 sacks overall in a lengthy 14-year career. He is also the only player in NFL history with five Super Bowl titles.

37. WR Henry Ellard

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    Career stats: 814 receptions, 13,777 yards and 65 touchdowns

    Honors: Three Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins and New England Patriots

    When doing research for this article, I had a presupposition that Henry Ellard was in the Hall of Fame. Luckily I made the smart decision to double-check that. As you know by now, he isn't.

    That is a travesty of epic proportions, if you ask me. Ellard was such a good receiver for such a long time that it is hard to imagine him being left out of Canton.

    In 15 seasons with the Rams and Redskins, Ellard had seven 1,000-yard seasons and averaged nearly 17 yards a catch. For some reason he got the reputation for not being a big-game receiver. This shows to an extent in the playoffs, where Ellard averaged less than three catches and just 37 yards in 10 games.

    He was overshadowed in the NFC West by someone named Jerry Rice but was a good receiver in his own right.

36. QB Boomer Esiason

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    Career stats: 37,920 passing yards, 247 touchdowns and a career 80-93 record as a starter

    Honors: Four Pro Bowl selections and one All-Pro selection

    Teams: Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals

    Boomer, as he is known, was one of the most fundamentally sound quarterbacks of his time. He passed for over 3,000 yards seven times. More than that, he led the Bengals to a resurgence and back to the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers in 1988, a game they eventually lost.

    Despite all of his regular season success, Esiason only made the playoffs twice in his 14-year carer. This is a major reason why Hall of Fame voters have ignored him recently.

35. WR Mac Speedie

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    Career stats: 349 receptions, 5,602 yards and 33 touchdowns

    Honors: Two Pro Bowl and three All-Pro selections

    Teams: Cleveland Browns

    Mac Speedie was an elite receiver before there really were any. He led the All-America Football Conference in receptions three times and yards twice. During his seven-year career, Speedie won five league championships as a member of the Browns and was one of the primary reasons for that.

    Speedie is also credited with what many historians have called the greatest catch-and-run in the history of professional football. In a 1947 game, he caught a one-yard pass from Otto Graham and took it 99 yards for a touchdown, breaking multiple tackles in the process.

    Some have concluded that he revolutionized the wide receiver position. Speedie was a Hall of Fame finalist in 1970 and 1972, which means he will probably never make it to Canton. He died at the age of 73 in 1993, exactly 10 years after the executive committee of the NFL decided against inducting him into the Hall one final time.

34. Punter Ray Guy

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    Career stats: 44,493 punt yards, 42.6 average

    Honors: Seven Pro Bowl and three All-Pro selections

    Teams: Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

    I probably could have put Ray Guy higher on this list, but I have a hard time believing that a punter is worthy of that distinction. Still, he is the greatest punter to ever play the game. He was an artist in terms of pinning teams back inside their 10-yard line and popularized the angle punt.

    Guy has been a Hall of Fame finalist seven times and a semifinalist another five times. At some point he will be inducted into Canton.

33. RB Jerome Bettis

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    Career stats: 13,662 rushing yards, 200 receptions, 1,449 receiving yards and 94 touchdowns

    Honors: Six Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers

    When the Los Angeles Rams selected Jerome "The Bus" Bettis with the 10th overall pick in the 1993 draft, many skeptics concluded that was way too high for someone they viewed as a fullback in the NFL.

    Well, they couldn't have been more wrong.

    He became a First Team All-Pro in just his rookie season, rushing for over 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns. However, Bettis' career was short-lived in Los Angeles, and he was traded to the Steelers prior to the 1996 season. This is where his career flourished. Bettis ran for over 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons in Pittsburgh and became the franchise's best running back since Franco Harris.

    His career ended with a Super Bowl championship over the Seattle Seahawks in 2005.

32. OT Mike Kenn

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    Honors: Five-time Pro Bowl and two-time All-Pro selection

    Team: Atlanta Falcons

    Mike Kenn played 17 seasons in the NFL and started a total of 251 games in an unheralded career. Although he didn't stand out along the offensive line, Kenn was a great pass-protecting offensive tackle for the Atlanta Falcons as a myriad of different quarterbacks relied on him to protect their blind side.

    He still holds the Falcons franchise record for starts and games (251) and started the final 112 games of his career.

31. Safety Steve Atwater

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    Career stats: 1,180 tackles and 24 interceptions

    Honors: Eight Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Denver Broncos and New York Jets

    Steve Atwater was one of the hardest-hitting defensive players to ever set foot on the field. He made receivers fearful of going up the middle and laid the bricks to them when they did. On multiple occasions I saw offensive players flinch when running their routes, which caused a lot of turnovers.

    More than that, Atwater was a damn good cover guy for a strong safety. He could drop back into coverage and blitz with the best of them.

30. QB Drew Bledsoe

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    Career stats: 44,611 passing yards, 251 touchdowns and a 98-95 record as a starter

    Honors: Four Pro Bowl selections

    Teams: New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys

    Some people may disagree with my assessment of having Drew Bledsoe on this list, but there is no doubt in my mind that he belongs here. From 1994 to 2000, Bledsoe passed for over 27,000 yards and and 150 touchdowns; both led the league during that span.

    Many will remember Bledsoe for being replaced by Tom Brady during the 2001 season, but he is the quarterback that led New England from the abyss and into the playoffs. Prior to his arrival in Boston, the Patriots had made the playoffs four times in the last 16 years. Bledsoe matched that mark in just his first five seasons with the team.

29. CB Ken Riley

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    Career stats: 65 interceptions and six touchdowns

    Honors: Four All-Pro selections and one First Team All-Pro selection

    Teams: Cincinnati Bengals

    At the time of Ken Riley's retirement from the Cincinnati Bengals in 1983, he was fourth on the league's all-time interceptions list behind three Hall of Fame performers. Despite his playmaking ability and shutdown talents, Riley didn't make a Pro Bowl appearance until his final season with the team.

    For all intents and purposes, Riley was and remains one of the most underrated defensive players in the history of the NFL.

28. WR John Taylor

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    Career stats: 347 receptions, 5,598 yards and 43 touchdowns

    Honors: Two Pro Bowl selections

    Teams: San Francisco 49ers

    John Taylor would have been a No. 1 receiver for pretty much every team in the NFL outside of the San Francisco 49ers. He was a burner that could spread the field opposite Jerry Rice and had extremely soft hands.

    Taylor will be remembered most for his game-winning touchdown catch against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII, his only catch of the game.

27. LB Maxie Baughan

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    Career stats: 18 interceptions and one touchdown

    Honors: Nine Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins

    Maxie Baughan was the starting right-side linebacker for the 1960 NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles, the last title that franchise has won. That season saw him make his first of nine Pro Bowl appearances, the most for any player never inducted into the Hall of Fame.

    He was a physical force up the middle throughout a 15-year career and rarely missed a tackle. On that note, it could be concluded that Baughan, who probably averaged over 100 tackles per season, would be among the leaders of the history of the NFL in that category. However, tackles were not tallied up when he played.

    Despite his success, Baughan was never seriously considered for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

26. OT Jim Tyrer

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    Honors: Nine Pro Bowl and six All-Pro selections

    Teams: Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins

    Jim Tyrer was assigned to protect Len Dawson's blind side for the majority of the Hall of Fame quarterback's career, and he did an amazing job. Over the course of a 15-year career, he made the Pro Bowl nine times, as well as notched six consecutive All-Pro selections. Additionally, he started the first 164 games of his illustrious career.

    One specific game stands out above everything else. Tyrer and fellow offensive lineman Ed Budde opened up lanes for Kansas City running backs to the tune of 156 rushing yards in an upset victory over the Alan Page/Jim Marshall duo of the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.

25. WR/KR Billy 'White Shoes' Johnson

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    Career stats: 337 receptions, 4,211 yards and 27 touchdowns; eight career kick returns for touchdowns

    Honors: Three Pro Bowl selections and one All-Pro selection

    Teams: Houston Oilers, Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins

    "White Shoes" belongs on this list because of his tremendous special teams play. He literally redefined the kick return position and acted as a revolutionary for the likes of Devin Hester moving forward. Additionally, he took part in the first touchdown dance in the history of the NFL. Many people concluded that Johnson was nothing more than flash, but he did back it up on the football field.

    He made the Pro Bowl three times and was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team.

24. Safety Johnny Robinson

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    Career stats: 57 interceptions and 18 touchdowns

    Honors: Seven Pro Bowl and six All-Pro selections

    Teams: Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs

    Johnny Robinson was the first of a new breed of defensive backs in pro football. He dominated opposing receivers up the middle with hard hits and intimidating play, but it wasn't this that made him such a great player.

    Instead, Robinson forced turnovers and scored touchdowns with the best of them. His 18 career defensive touchdowns rank among the all-time league leaders.

    Some people have even concluded that he is the greatest safety to ever play the game.

23. LB Kevin Greene

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    Career stats: 160 sacks and five interceptions

    Honors: Five Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers

    Kevin Greene was one intimidating player. As a San Francisco 49ers fan growing up, I despised the linebacker. But the minute he came to my team, I embraced him a great deal. He was the type of player you hated unless he was on your team.

    Greene is third on the all-time sack list behind Bruce Smith and Reggie White. He recorded double-digit sacks 10 different times, led the league in that category twice and actually tallied 12 sacks in his final season in the league at 38 years old.

    He has been a Hall of Fame semifinalist in each of the last five seasons but hasn't made the final list yet. There is no reason why Kevin Greene isn't in Canton right now!

22. CB Lemar Parrish

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    Career stats: 47 interceptions, 13 touchdowns and 2,709 kick return yards

    Honors: Eight Pro Bowl selections and one All-Pro selection

    Teams: Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills

    You might have already read about Lemar Parrish's teammate, Ken Riley, earlier in this article. The two made a dynamic corner duo for the Cincinnati Bengals for a few years.

    That said, Parrish was the true shutdown corner of the two. Quarterbacks continually threw away from Parrish because receivers couldn't get open. This was during a time when there wasn't a lot of talent at the corner position because scouts had made the decision to switch athletic college defenders to the offensive side of the ball. Still, Parrish stood out above everyone else at this position.

    We talk about "Revis Island" and Nnamdi Asomugha, but Parrish was a trendsetter at the corner position and should be in the Hall.

21. OT Al Wistert

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    Honors: One Pro Bowl selection and four All-Pro selections

    Teams: Philadelphia Eagles

    Al Wistert was one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever play the game. He doesn't get talked about a lot because of the era that he played, 1943 to 1951. He made the All-Pro team eight of the nine years that he played, was a member of two Philadelphia Eagles championship teams and played two ways.

    There isn't a lot written about him, but I will let Wistert speak for himself when it comes to being left out of the Hall of Fame:

    The two things that would really make my career complete is to be inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Eagles Honor Roll.

20. RB Larry Brown

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    Career stats: 5,875 rushing yards, 238 receptions, 2,485 receiving yards and 55 touchdowns

    Honors: Four Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Washington Redskins

    You look at Larry Brown's statistics on the surface and it doesn't appear that he belongs in the Hall of Fame. He only had two 1,000-yard seasons and averaged less than four yards per carry throughout an eight-year career.

    That is just on the surface. 

    Brown added nearly 2,500 receiving yards to his résumé and averaged 1,000 total yards per season in his career. More so, he gained 100 total yards against the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII, a game where the Redskins nearly upset the undefeated Dolphins.

19. WR Sterling Sharpe

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    Career stats: 595 receptions, 8,174 yards and 65 touchdowns

    Honors: Five Pro Bowl and three All-Pro selections

    Teams: Green Bay Packers

    It is sad when you look at how a career like Sterling Sharpe's came to a dramatic end due to an injury. The older of the Sharpe brothers, Sterling lost his prime but left a mark in the history of the NFL forever.

    He gained over 1,000 receiving yards in five of his seven seasons as a member of the Green Bay Packers, leading the league in receptions three times. In Sharpe's final three seasons as a player he led the NFL with 314 receptions for nearly 4,000 yards and 42 touchdowns.

    Sharpe had to retire from the NFL following the 1994 season due to a neck injury he sustained that year.

    It could be pure conjecture, but I believe that Sharpe would have gone down as one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play if he was able to suit up past his 29th birthday.

18. DE Claude Humphrey

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    Career stats: 126.5 sacks (unofficial) and 11 fumble recoveries

    Honors: Six Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles

    I remember my father talking about Claude Humphrey when I grew up. He used to say that the former Falcons and Eagles defensive end was a pure monster that completely destroyed opposing offensive linemen.

    Humphrey has an unofficial total of 126.5 career sacks, but that number would be much higher if translated to the current day. He was in the offensive backfield quicker than the center could snap the ball and had a great recognition of offensive play-calling. In an instant, Humphrey would be past the tackle and in the quarterback's face.

    He was essentially the first situational pass-rusher in the history of the NFL.

17. Guard Ed Budde

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    Honors: Seven Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Kansas City Chiefs

    Ed Budde teamed up with Jim Tyrer to make up the dominating left side of the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line. The duo rarely allowed defensive players to get into the face of Len Dawson and opened up huge holes down the neck of the defense.

    Budde wasn't just a mauler either; he was much more athletic than most people would realize. On multiple occasions, he could be seen blocking 10 or 15 yards downfield.

16. RB Terrell Davis

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    Career stats: 7,607 rushing yards and 65 touchdowns

    Honors: Three Pro Bowl and three All-Pro selections

    Teams: Denver Broncos

    Terrell Davis only had four productive seasons in the NFL, but that really doesn't matter. Those four seasons might be the greatest stretch that a running back has ever had. He ran for over 6,400 yards and 56 touchdowns during that span.

    Better yet, Davis is the primary reason the Denver Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. He ran for over 1,000 yards in just seven postseason games those two seasons, including 300 total yards and four touchdowns in two Super Bowl wins.

    Hall of Fame voters look at the entirety of a player's career, but you cannot blame Davis for not playing long because of injury. Instead, you have to look at the four-year span and induct him into the Hall.

15. ST Steve Tasker

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    Honors: Seven Pro Bowl selections

    Teams: Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills

    Steve Tasker is the greatest special teams player to ever play. He didn't contribute much on the offensive side of the ball, but he dominated kick returners and was a feared hitter in the lost aspect of the game.

    Many people have concluded—and I am inclined to agree—that Tasker should already be in the Hall of Fame because of the fumbles he forced, tackles he made and dominance he showed on special teams.

14. LB Chuck Howley

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    Career stats: 25 interceptions, 18 fumble recoveries and three touchdowns

    Honors: Six Pro Bowl and five All-Pro selections

    Teams: Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys

    Tom Landry had the following to say about Chuck Howley: "I don’t know that I’ve seen anybody better at linebacker than Howley."

    For individuals like many of us who haven't seen Howley play, it is hard to imagine the contribution that he made on the football field for the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did Howley dominate opposing offenses with incredible tackles and solid play against the run, he also stepped up when it counted the most.

    The linebacker was named MVP of Super Bowl V, intercepting two passes in the Cowboys' loss to the Baltimore Colts.

13. LB Robert Brazile

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    Career stats: 13 sacks, 13 interceptions and 14 fumble recoveries

    Honors: Seven Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Houston Oilers

    Robert Brazile was the first pass-rushing outside linebacker from the 3-4 defense. Oilers head coach Bum Phillips made the transition to that defensive scheme when he acquired Brazile in the 1975 NFL draft.

    Brazile had over 1,200 career tackles and played with elite speed and a great knack for the ball. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven years with the Houston Oilers. Despite his success, the linebacker has never even been as much as a semifinalist for Canton.

12. QB Jack Kemp

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    Career stats: 21,218 passing yards, 114 touchdowns and a 65-37-3 record as a starter

    Honors: Seven Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Detroit Lions (drafted, never played), Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills

    Jack Kemp has one of the best winning percentages of any quarterback in the history of the NFL (.619) and led his teams to the playoffs six times, where he struggled a great deal, throwing two touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

    His statistics aren't great, but Kemp was nothing less than a winner on the football field for the better part of his 13-year career.

    Football wasn't the most successful career that Jack Kemp would undertake. Following his football career, Kemp was a nine-term Congressmen in New York from 1971 to 1989, served as the Housing Secretary for George H.W. Bush and was Bob Dole's Republican running mate in the 1996 presidential election.

    He passed away in 2009 without being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

11. RB Ricky Watters

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    Career stats: 10,643 rushing yards, 467 receptions, 4,248 receiving yards and 91 total touchdowns

    Honors: Five Pro Bowl selections

    Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks

    I remember watching Jerome Bettis and Ricky Watters in the same backfield at Notre Dame for three years. That was one of the greatest running back tandems in the history of college football. Just imagine Bettis being the lead blocker for the talented Watters.

    Watters totaled nearly 15,000 yards in his 10-year NFL carer, an average of 1,487 total yards per season. Despite only being with the San Francisco 49ers for three seasons, Watters made a dramatic impact with the heralded franchise. He gained 107 total yards and scored three touchdowns against the San Diego Chargers in the 49ers' 49-26 win in Super Bowl XXIX.

    After moving on from the 49ers, Watters compiled six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks.

10. Safety Cliff Harris

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    Career stats: 29 interceptions, 18 fumble recoveries and one touchdown

    Honors: Six Pro Bowl and three All-Pro selections

    Teams: Dallas Cowboys

    Cliff Harris wasn't even selected in the 1970 NFL draft; instead, he had to work his way onto an extremely talented Dallas Cowboys roster. Harris was the Cowboys' starting safety for the better part of his 10-year career, making five Super Bowl and six Pro Bowl appearances.

    In short, he was one of the first free safeties that played center field and acted as a last line of defense against a big play. Passes defended were not a stat when Harris played, but it is safe to assume that he would have led the NFL in that category in pretty much every season he played. Harris had a nose for the ball and was fast enough to adjust mid play and get to the ball before the receiver did.

    He was selected to the NFL's 1970s All-Decade Team and has a spot in the Cowboys Ring of Honor.

9. DL Alex Karras

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    Career stats: 16 fumble recoveries and four interceptions

    Honors: Four Pro Bowl and three All-Pro selections

    Teams: Detroit Lions

    If it wasn't for a gambling scandal that involved Paul Hornung and Alex Karras, the latter would most definitely be in the Hall of Fame right now. It is somewhat of a double standard considering that Hornung has long since been a member of that heralded group.

    In five of his seasons with the Lions, Karras led the top scoring defense five times and made the Pro Bowl four times. He was a dominating figure along the interior of the Lions defensive line, battering and bruising running backs who dared go up the middle against him. He was strong at the point of contact and extremely hard to move.

    Following his football career, Karras starred in one of my favorite childhood sitcoms, Webster. He was also a professional wrestler.

8. WR Cliff Branch

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    Career stats: 501 receptions, 8,685 receiving yards and 67 touchdowns

    Honors: Four Pro Bowl and three All-Pro selections

    Teams: Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

    Branch only had two 1,000-yard seasons and averaged just 36 receptions a season during his career, but that doesn't tell the whole truth. He averaged over 17 yards a reception and led the league in touchdowns twice. More than that, he was the deep threat for Ken Stabler in the Raiders' glory days.

    In three Super Bowl appearances, Branch caught 14 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns, cementing his legacy as one of the great clutch performers in league history.

    Cliff Branch is the epitome of the popularity contest when it comes to the Hall of Fame selection process. There is no good reason for omission from Canton besides the fact that he left public life following his retirement. After Branch's retirement the late Al Davis attempted to find his replacement in the form of players such as James Jett and Darrius Heyward-Bey with no success.

    Branch had the following to say about the Hall of Fame induction process in an interview with me earlier this year:

    You had a standout NFL career for the Raiders, won three Super Bowl titles and made the Pro Bowl four separate times. Are you upset that the Hall of Fame has not recognized you yet?

    Yeah, yeah I am. I have been nominated a couple times, in 2010 and 2004. How do you go as a top 25 guy and then you don't be in the top 25 anymore? Ray Guy and Kenny Stabler have been there numerous times and they haven't got the call. It is kind of a joke how the Hall of Fame selection committee selects the players. We look at it now, if you are on TV and you are a candidate you are going right in. All those guys that are on ESPN, NFL Network and FOX, if they are Hall of Fame candidates they go right in.

    I couldn't have said it better!

7. QB Ken Anderson

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    Career stats: 32,883 passing yards, 2,220 rushing yards, 217 touchdowns and a 91-81 record as a starter

    Honors: Four Pro Bowl selections and one All-Pro selection

    Teams: Cincinnati Bengals

    Ken Anderson remains the Bengals' franchise leader in completions, attempts, yards, touchdowns and wins. He was the first "star" quarterback of a Cincinnati team that has had a couple in its history.

    On that note, Anderson led the Bengals to their first real success as a franchise. He led them to four playoff appearances and a Super Bowl in a long, illustrious career. Anderson led the NFL in completion percentage three times, passing yards twice and quarterback rating four times. The 1974 season saw him lead the league in eight different passing categories as well.

    It is hard to compare a quarterback of that era to one today. The NFL wasn't a passing league, and interceptions were much more common, so it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to look at TD:INT ratio or other factors we might look at today.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Anderson deserves to be in the Hall; however, he has only been a finalist two times.

6. LB Lee Roy Jordan

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    Career stats: 32 interceptions, 18 fumble recoveries and three touchdowns

    Honors: Five Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Dallas Cowboys

    Lee Roy Jordan was an extremely intense competitor who wouldn't hesitate to attempt to take the head off an opposing offensive player. He was Lawrence Taylor before LT existed. In many ways, some of the great linebackers of today owe their success to Jordan. He revolutionized how the position was played and intimidated opponents.

    In all, Jordan played for five Cowboys Super Bowl teams and led the league in tackles (unofficially) four separate times. In 1971, he had a single-game franchise record of 21 tackles against the Philadelphia Eagles. He still ranks third in interceptions for linebackers with 32, returning three for touchdowns.

    His presence on the Dallas Cowboys defense was more than statistics. Jordan's ability to run laterally completely stopped the run game and forced opponents to open up the field, which didn't work out too well considering the Cowboys' elite secondary play.

    A current comparison to Jordan would be San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis.

5. DE Jim Marshall

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    Honors: Two Pro Bowl selections

    Teams: Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings

    "He's running the wrong way" is probably one of the most famous quotes in the history of the NFL, and it came to define Jim Marshall's career. However, that isn't a fair assessment of what Marshall did in the league.

    He was a member of the "Purple People Eaters" defense that dominated the NFL for so many seasons with the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970s. Probably the least known of the dominating front four that consisted of Carl Eller and Alan Page, Marshall might have been the best player out of the trio.

    He holds a NFL record with 30 career fumble recoveries and is said to have been credited with over 180 sacks in his long career, which is completely unsubstantiated because those stats weren't tallied at the time. Brett Favre just recently broke Marshall's record of 270 consecutive starts, and he made four Super Bowl appearances with the Vikings from 1969 to 1976.

4. CB Lester Hayes

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    Career stats: 39 interceptions, six fumble recoveries and four touchdowns. 

    Honors: Five Pro Bowl selections and one All-Pro selection

    Teams: Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

    Nnamdi Asomugha is not the greatest corner to ever wear a Raiders uniform; that distinction goes to Lester Hayes. No. 37 completely shut down every team's best wide receiver and marginalized one side of the field completely.

    Rarely did opposing quarterbacks throw his way, and when they did, Hayes would make them pay. In fact, if he were playing today, you would be hearing the phrase "Hayes Ocean" bandied about a lot.

    He also set the precedent for other corners to play bump-and-run defense instead of softer coverage. Hayes was physical at the line, tackled with the best of them, blitzed from the edge and wouldn't hesitate to get mixed up in on-field spats.

    He is truly one of the greatest defensive backs to EVER play the game, and his omission from the Hall of Fame is a travesty.

3. WR Cris Carter

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    Career stats: 1,101 receptions, 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns

    Honors: Eight Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections

    Teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins

    Let's go through some stats before I continue.

    Fourth in NFL history with 1,101 receptions

    Eighth in NFL history with 13,899 yards

    Fourth in NFL history with 130 receiving touchdowns.

    Fourth in NFL history with 122 receptions in 1994

    Fourth in NFL history with 122 receptions in 1995

    Fifth in NFL history with 17 receiving touchdowns in 1995

    If these are not Hall of Fame stats, please come at me with what are. Seriously, this has to be a joke. From 1993 to 2000, Carter had eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He caught double-digit touchdowns six times, had more than 70 receptions in a season 10 times and made the Pro Bowl eight consecutive seasons.

    Carter was a Hall of Fame finalist in each of the last three years, so he should make it in relatively short order. Still, it is a travesty that it has taken this long.

2. Guard Jerry Kramer

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    Honors: Five All-Pro selections

    Teams: Green Bay Packers

    Before I started researching this article, I had absolutely no idea that Jerry Kramer wasn't in the Hall of Fame. Kramer was selected to the NFL's all-time 50th anniversary team and is the only member of that team not inducted into the Hall of Fame.

    Charged with opening up holes for Jim Taylor to run through and protecting Bart Starr, Kramer was nothing short of perfect when it came to both. He won a total of five NFL championships, including two Super Bowls, and earned five All-Pro selections.

    Despite all this, Kramer was often injured and required 22 different surgeries in his 11-year NFL career. He is the type of player you don't see in the NFL anymore. He played through some gruesome injuries and dominated opposing defensive players.

    Adding to his legacy is the fact that Kramer was a part-time placekicker and kicked three field goals in the Packers' 16-10 win over the New York Giants in the 1962 NFL championship game.

1. QB Ken Stabler

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    Career stats: 27,938 passing yards, 194 touchdowns and a 96-49-1 record as a starter

    Honors: Four Pro Bowl selections and one All-Pro selection

    Teams: Oakland Raiders, Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints

    Kenny Stabler went 69-26 as a starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, good enough for the best winning percentage in the history of the NFL at the time (just surpassed by Tom Brady). He led them to 10 winning seasons in as many years and the Super Bowl XI title over the Minnesota Vikings.

    In short, all Stabler did as a member of the Raiders was win football games.

    His statistics aren't great, but that isn't the entire point. Despite only throwing 20 touchdowns three times in his career, Stabler was extremely prolific in leading a talented Raiders offense in both the regular season and postseason. He threw for over 2,800 yards and 19 touchdowns in 13 postseason games, going a combined 8-5.

    In the 1976 playoffs, Stabler had a combined 107.3 quarterback rating and threw four touchdowns compared to zero interceptions. This cemented his legacy in the history of the Raiders franchise.

    For this, he is No. 1 on the list of the most glaring Pro Football Hall of Fame omissions in history.