Pro Football Hall of Fame: Class of 2019
Pro Football Hall of Fame: Class of 2019
The 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductees are as followed:
When I was discussing who I would vote to this years class of Pro Football’s Hall of Fame, I knew that I’d be happy to see some names and sad to not see others. I was not expecting some of the names that did appear and didn’t consider those who were long overdue. The freshness and the young age of the finalists overshadowed other aspects I should’ve taken into consideration. No matter, the class was announced and I’m content with it.
First, allow me to discuss those who I overlooked at first. I mean no disrespect to any of these people but I did not expect some of you to get into the Hall of Fame this year, although I should’ve. Reason being that some of the accomplishments some of these inductees achieved should’ve put them into the Hall long ago.
“This one’s for John”
1984 is when Pat Bowlen purchased the Denver Broncos from Edgar Kaiser. Since that time, the team has been to seven Super Bowls and has walked away victorious three of those times. Is it any coincidence that the Broncos hold the best winning percentage in the NFL since Bowlen took over? That’s right, they’ve won 61.2 percent of their games since he’s taken over.
While he’s also the owner of the Colorado Crush and the Denver Outlaws, there’s no doubt that the Broncos are the main focus of Bowlen. It’s sad to see his health deteriorating the way it is. John Elway’s had to handle much of the day to day operations since Bowlen’s been diagnosed but in since Elway was inducted in 2004, the Hall sought fit to put Bowlen in this year. They say all great franchises start at the top and you won’t find many franchises with more class than the Denver Broncos.
They even let fans smoke weed in the parking lot.
America’s Team was the nickname bestowed upon the Dallas Cowboys. While Tex Schramm and Tom Landry get plenty of credit, it’s nice to see Gil Brandt getting some recognition. After all, this is the one man who holds the largest responsibility for practices that are commonplace today. It’s the least the NFL could do after Jerry Jones unceremoniously axed him 30 years ago. Two Super Bowl rings and five NFC championships is nice but…business is business.
Gil Brandt can be thanked for the way scouting is done in the NFL today. He was the first executive to look outside of the NFL for talent, bringing in names such as Bullet Bob Hayes, who was known more for his sprinting than Football abilities. On top of looking outside of the NFL, Brandt also was one of the first to look outside of the United States for talent. This is how All Pro Kicker Toni Fritsch was found.
Brandt was also known as a risk-taker, choosing players based on his perception of their ability and potential, even if there were no guarantees. An example of this is the selection of Roger Staubach, when many wondered if Staubach would even join the NFL. Brandt also went after undrafted Free Agents and small College Footballers. He enhanced the scouting combine, centralizing it for all incoming NFL Rookies and gave psychological tests to see which players would be the best fit for the Cowboys.
In a nutshell, he should’ve been inducted ages ago.
“Speaking of people who should’ve been inducted ages ago…”
When I look at the career of some inductees, I wonder what took them so long to get it. Such is the case with Johnny Robinson, who if he’d played in the NFL as opposed to the AFL, would’ve been in already. To his “grave misfortune”, he played for the Dallas Texans, who would move to Kansas City entering his fourth season. He was also drafted third overall by the Lions, which leads me to ponder as to how things would be different had he joined Detroit instead of KC.
With Kansas City, Johnny Robinson would win Super Bowl IV against the heavily favored Vikings. He even picked off a pass in that game, wonder why that’s missing from the Hank Stram highlights. Robinson finished with 57 interceptions in eleven seasons, about five a year. Five interceptions a year is Hall of Fame worthy. Having a career like Johnny Robinson’s should’ve put him in long before this. I digress.
Congratulations old man, I hope you enjoy this long overdue honor.
It’s interesting to me how Ed Reed and Johnny Robinson had similar careers but Reed’s in the Hall of Fame in his first year. Typically, the Hall of Fame has a snobby attitude toward Safeties. Make no mistake. I have no beef with Ed Reed’s selection at all. In fact, Reed’s the best candidate this year by a country mile. No one else on this list possessed the ability Ed Reed did. He could become the invisible man on the field.
His style was about flying like an owl and baiting his prey into mistakes. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady both have called Ed Reed their toughest opponent. Bill Belichick has called Ed Reed the best safety he’s ever seen. He and Ray Lewis might’ve won more together had things gone their way, no matter. Ed Reed was a man who turned your offense into his offense once that ball was his. 100 plus yards away from the end zone meant nothing to him.
In fact, his fear factor is on par with LT’s in my opinion.
Bailey is the second of the three locks for this year’s class. Like another lock, he never played in the Super Bowl but that has little to do with him. He holds the record for most Pro Bowl visits by a Cornerback and also holds the record for the most deflected passes with 203. Dan Snyder and the Redskins are kicking themselves to this day for allowing Champ Bailey to slip away to the Broncos.
While with the Broncos, he set a record for the longest interception return without a touchdown. Somehow, Ben Watson was able to catch Champ Bailey just before he crossed the goal line. In many ways, this play signifies Champ Bailey’s career. He got so close to the Super Bowl a couple of times but was stopped just before he crossed the goal line.
Bailey from 2005-06 might’ve been the most dominant cornerback of all time. That 2006 season saw Receivers catch just four balls all season long. Not a single player scored a touchdown on him during that span. Despite this, the Defensive Player of the Year award evaded him much like a much-deserved Super Bowl ring. I hope the Hall of Fame can be some sort of solace for Bailey, I’m sure it is.
He’s also the first Defensive player from the Broncos to be inducted, making some history.
Where as Champ Bailey never got to play in as much as one Super Bowl, Ty Law went to four. Had the Patriots kept Law for a few more years, Law may have contributed to a few more Super Bowl winning titles. Would the Patriots completed the perfect season with Law on their roster? Possibly. Instead, it was the Jets, Chiefs and Broncos to whom Law gave his defensive specialties.
Law missed 35 games throughout his illustrious 14-year career, just about two whole seasons. Even with this time missed, Law still accumulated 53 Interceptions. If one takes away two seasons, that equals out to about 4.4 interceptions a season for Law. This is not including his tackling ability, to which both he and Champ Bailey were among the league’s best, or his deflected passes (169). He also added 7 defensive touchdowns.
Law was a huge part of those great Patriot defenses in the early 2000s and his Hall of Fame induction seems a little overdue. It makes me fear as to what other players with this type of career will have to wait for. Will there be love for Darrelle Revis when it’s his time for the ballot or will they pull the same kind of crap with him?
Honestly, what goes through the minds of these voters?
When I first heard that Kevin Mawae had been selected to the Hall of Fame, I was flabbergasted. How in god’s name did he make it over Steve Atwater or Richard Seymour? Those guys won multiple Super Bowls and terrorized the league for a decade. Kevin Mawae never made it to a Super Bowl!
First and foremost, Mawae’s not making it to a Super Bowl has very little to do with him. The best chance he got was in 1998 when he and his Jets thought they had a chance against the Broncos at Mile High. They didn’t. So while Mawae doesn’t have the ring, he made it because he was the best center in Football for about a decade. Does being the best at your position for a decade make you a Hall of Famer? Absolutely.
Mawae can go to his grave knowing he anchored some of the best lines in NFL history. He helped pave the way for Curtis Martin’s historic 1998 season. He played on a line that allowed just 20 sacks one year and even paved the way for LenDale White’s thousand-yard season. To be named a First Team All Pro with two different teams is incredible but to do it ten years apart…well, that makes Kevin Mawae arguably the best center of all time.
Grudge-match: Kevin Mawae vs. Mike Webster.
As of right now, Tony Gonzalez is the best Tight End of all time. Some will disagree with that statement in favor of Kellen Winslow, John Mackey, Shannon Sharpe or Rob Gronkowski. If I can be transparent, I personally believe that Gronk is the greatest Tight End of All Time but most give it to Gonzalez for the sustained success over a long period of time.
Allow us to look at his career stat-line:
1,325 receptions-15,127 yards-111 touchdowns-14 Pro Bowls.
What more needs to be said? Well, I think the most amazing part of Tony Gonzalez’s career if the fact that he missed just two games in seventeen seasons. His first season with the Chiefs saw the team go 13-3 but it also gave Gonzalez a taste of what would follow him his entire career, playoff disappointments. None of this can be put on Gonzalez as his production would be heralded around the league, even if the rest of the Chief offense underperformed. By the time his Chief’s career was over, he held all major categories for Tight Ends.
With the Falcons, Gonzalez continued to blaze trails and play games with father time. At the age of 36, Gonzalez outdid himself. He was once again the best Tight End in the game and led the 13-3 Falcons to the NFC Championship Game. Despite leading 21-0, Gonzalez could only watch as his team squandered that lead and his best chance to play in Super Bowl 47.
While this year’s class isn’t as stacked as last years, it’s a very strong class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This is a defense heavy Hall of Fame class. I can’t remember another class weighing so heavily toward one side of the ball. It’s nice to see the defense getting some love for we all know the Hall of Fame tends to gush over offensive players more. My congratulations again to everyone, can’t wait to see who makes it next year.
-By: Thomas P. Braun Jr.