Every year the Pro Football Hall of Fame selects up to five new members to be inducted into their Hall of Fame. While there has been minimal turnover in recent years, there are still many legends who have waited a few years too long to be enshrined. Here are some of the most curious omissions from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a shrine for all those who love the game of football. It is a place where legends are made and clubs are kept. Even though it includes only those players who have played during the Super Bowl era, the Hall of Fame still has several players who are not even in the Hall of Fame for their accomplishments in the National Football League (NFL) – many of whom still have a few years of active pro football ahead of them.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has always had a few curious omissions. This year, the list of players eligible for induction was trimmed down from ten to seven, after Doug Plank, Jerry Kramer, and Donovan McNabb were not chosen. All three of these men have had their share of controversy, and their omission is one of the most controversial yet. So, who is missing?
Now that Steve Atwater and Harold Carmichael have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, it’s time for them to address other glaring omissions. Realistically, at least 15 NFL players have been eligible for enshrinement at Canton, Ohio, for years but have failed to garner sufficient support.
The absence of these five is especially vexing:
Defensive lineman Richard Seymour
Richard Seymour was selected sixth overall in the 2001 NFL Draft by New England. The former University of Georgia standout instantly contributed to the Patriots winning three Super Bowls in four years, cementing his Pro Football Hall of Fame credentials. | Michael Valeri/Getty Images
This weekend, the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted the classes of 2020 and 21. Only one of the 28 guys inducted was a defensive lineman. Only one more defensive lineman has been added in the previous four years.
Richard Seymour is an excellent place to start if you want to improve the situation. In his first four seasons in the NFL, he played for the New England Patriots and helped the club win three Super Bowls. Seymour was named first-team All-Pro three times during his 12-year career with the Oakland Raiders, and he was in the Pro Bowl seven times.
Seymour never had more than eight sacks in a season, but he was a master at tying up several blocks and allowing linebackers and tackles to make plays.
Wide receiver Cliff Branch
Cliff Branch of the Oakland Raiders was the ideal receiver for the Raiders’ aggressive approach of testing secondaries by throwing deep down the field. He was named to three straight All-Pro teams, which should be enough for Pro Football Hall of Fame voters to give him significant consideration. | Getty Images/Focus on Sport
Cliff Branch was the ultimate stretch-the-field wideout during his 14-year career with the Raiders, which began in 1972. Branch averaged 17.3 yards per grab and scored 67 touchdowns while catching just 501 passes and never leading the league in catches.
Branch’s corpus of work is at least comparable to Carmichael’s, with three Super Bowl rings and additional 73 receptions and five touchdowns in 22 postseason games as a favorite target of Ken Stabler and Jim Plunkett.
Some opponents argue that Fred Biletnikoff was the team’s most dominating wide receiver throughout the period. However, considering the length of time it took the voters to recognize Stabler, it’s reasonable to ask whether the three-time first-team All-Pro is the victim of an anti-Al Davis prejudice.
Offensive tackle Tony Boselli
Tony Boselli was the first player chosen by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Until injuries cut short his NFL career, the great offensive tackle repaid their trust with spectacular performance. | Getty Images
The Gale Sayers exception must be used in this case. Tony Boselli’s career was cut short after 91 games due to injuries from 1995 to 2001, but the Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle accomplished all one could ask for at his position.
Boselli’s three consecutive first-team All-Pro choices are among the best ever for a lineman who isn’t Anthony Munoz. His presence sheds light on how an expansion team might make the playoffs four times in its first five seasons.
Every year, Boselli’s name appears in the discussion for induction. It’s past time for the writers to recognize his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Quarterback Ken Anderson
Ken Anderson led the Cincinnati Bengals to a Super Bowl trip against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 16. Anderson’s work served as proof of concept for Bill Walsh’s success with Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana at the helm of the 49ers’ West Coast system. | Getty Images/Focus on Sport
He is deserving of praise on his own merits. But one neglected point in Ken Anderson’s favor is that if Bill Walsh hadn’t beta-tested his West Coast system with the Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Montana would never have become the icon that he is today.
Anderson served as the prototype quarterback for the system, topping the league in completion % three times and yards twice when Walsh was teaching receivers and quarterbacks. Anderson does not own Stabler’s Super Bowl ring. However, his 197 touchdown passes to 160 interceptions ratio from 1971 to 1986 appears appropriate for the period and much better than that of Stabler or Joe Namath.
Anderson should be the exception to the rule that a quarterback must win a championship ring to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Tackle Joe Jacoby was one of the legendary ‘Hogs’ that helped coach Joe Gibbs lead the Washington Redskins to three Super Bowl victories. | Getty Images/Focus on Sport
Coach Joe Gibbs has been lauded for winning championships in Washington with three different starting quarterbacks. Guard Russ Grimm has already been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and the other half of the left side of the line that held those quarterbacks upright is long overdue.
Joe Jacoby was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time first-team All-Pro. Jacoby should be proud of his Super Bowl rings for a club that went 16-5 in the playoffs during his career.
It’s hard to believe that players like Randy Cross and Ralph Neely, who anchored the right side of their lines, will ever get the highest football award until the critics eventually acknowledge Boselli and Jacoby. Due to a plethora of more current NFL players, voters have forgotten about their accomplishments.
But, like Atwater and Carmichael, they all deserved to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame from the minute they hung up their cleats for the last time. Until voters rectify these errors, they will remain strange omissions.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
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The Pro Football Hall of Fame was founded in 1951 and is the most exclusive club in sports. It is only open to players who were retired for at least five seasons and were nominated by 80 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, the sport of football is still plagued by a lack of inclusion and diversity with regards to who is chosen, so we will examine the criteria used by this elite club members to determine who made the cut. After all, isn’t it interesting that there are nine members of the Hall of Fame who have never been elected to a Pro Bowl, and five of them have never been voted All Pro?. Read more about nfl hof and let us know what you think.
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