The NFL announced its latest Hall of Fame class last week. The new members are Brett Favre, Kenny Stabler, Marvin Harrison, Kevin Greene, Orlando Pace, Dick Stanfel, Eddie DeBartolo Jr, and Tony Dungy.
The first five seem obviously to belong. Favre retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in completions, yards, and touchdowns. He’s a three-time MVP.
Stabler led his Raiders to the AFC title game each season from 1973-77 and led them to victory in Super Bowl XI. When he retired, he had the second highest completion percentage in league history (59.85 percent, which would be mediocre in today’s pass-friendly environment). He won two MVPs.
Harrison ranks third in all-time pass receptions. He had eight straight years with 1,000-plus yards receiving and 10 or more touchdowns. In 2002, he caught 143 passes to shatter the NFL single-season record.
Greene’s selection surprised me. It shouldn’t have. He’s third on the all-time sacks list (they started keeping track of sacks in the early 1980s, I think). Twice, he was first-team All-Pro.
Pace was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a five-time All-Pro. He was the star of offensive lines that made it to two Super Bowls (with one win). His selection is a no-brainer.
Stanfel, a guard, is an old-timer. I remember him with the Washington Redskins, but he made his name with the Detroit Lions, where he anchored their back-to-back NFL championship O-line. A five-time All-Pro and all-decade player in the 1950s, he retired early (at age 31 to coach). Unfortunately, he died last year, before finally being elected to the Hall of Fame.
DeBartolo owned the San Francisco 49ers. I think owners should be in a separate wing from players and coaches. But there’s little doubt, given the 49ers success, that DeBartolo is worthy of enshrinement in one corridor or another.
Dungy’s win-lose percentage of .668 suggests that he’s a proper Hall of Famer. But he won only one Super Bowl (the only one he led a team to). He seems borderline to me.
George Allen has a significantly better winning percentage and also made it to one Super Bowl (which he lost). Allen was also much more of an innovator than Dungy. He made winners of two laughingstock franchises (Los Angeles and Washington); Dungy just one (Tampa Bay).
I think Allen is a better HoF candidate than Dungy, but maybe that’s just my Redskins bias showing.
Speaking of the Redskins, lineman Joe Jacoby made it to the final round of HoF consideration for the first time this year, before falling short. Jacoby was selected to four consecutive Pro-Bowls as an overpowering left tackle for the Hogs, one of the great offensive lines of all time. Twice he was first team All-Pro.
Jacoby played on three Super Bowl winners, twice as left tackle and once as right tackle. Each of these teams had a different quarterback and different running backs. The Hogs were the constant.
The accomplishments of offensive linemen are difficult to quantify. However, Jacoby’s are quite comparable to fellow “Hog” Russ Grimm, who is in the Hall of Fame. Most Redskins fans probably rate Jacoby as highly as Grimm.
Having now made it to the final round, Jacoby’s HoF prospects seem fairly good. I can argue his case either way, but will be rooting for Jake (one of football’s truly good guys) to make it to Canton.