Thinking Out Loud: Terrell Owens and the Hall of Fame

Thinking Out Loud: Terrell Owens and the Hall of Fame

Controversy has covered Terrell Owens better than most defensive backs ever managed. This week’s Hall of Fame induction stir and his refusal to attend line up perfectly with T.O.’s playing days. If reports are true, T.O. chose to skip the induction ceremony likely because of feeling slighted by writers over his career, with the cherry on top being waiting too long to induct him into the Hall of Fame. His decision is sad for two reasons. First, Owens is missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is his one chance to be welcomed as an equal peer by every Hall of Famer in attendance. All the respect he could ever need will be there in Canton, Ohio. Unfortunately for him, he’s choosing not to attend. I have never met Terrell Owens and don’t know his background outside of football, but my guess is that over the years this decision will end up being one of the biggest regrets of his life. Secondly, […]

Thinking Out Loud: The 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class

SENIOR NOMINEES The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced two senior nominees for its 2016 induction class. The Seniors Committee, comprised of nine members on a rotating basis, selects the senior nominees. Nominees must be retired for at least 25 years. We’ve discussed My recent post countered Peter King of Sports Illustrated, declaring Stabler as more than worthy. King, however, has an actual vote in the process, and it will be interesting to see whom the rest of the voters agree with. Who else has three of the most iconic plays in history – the “Sea of Hands” game, the “Ghost to the Post,” and the “Holy Roller” – to his quarterbacking credit? Stabler also almost nearly won the “Immaculate Reception” game with a 30-yard scramble to put the Raiders ahead 7-6 in the fourth quarter. Most arguments against Stabler tend to be statistically based. Here’s a statistic to mull over: of the quarterbacks who rank in the Top 50 […]

Thinking Out Loud: Ken Stabler and the Pro Football Hall of Fame

My first NFL memories involve during Super Bowl 11 and explained the meaning of the NFL’s biggest day while Stabler led the Raiders to ultimate victory. The Holy Roller play remains a cherished memory, and one of the first epic plays I witnessed live on television. Stabler helped characterize the 1970s NFL. His bearded face symbolizes Raider football. The Hall of Fame has yet to induct “The Snake,” a position defended by Sports Illustrated writer and Hall of Fame voter Peter King. Many fans, however, disagree. Count me in that group. King argues that statistics and career consistency don’t land in Stabler’s favor. I get that, and statistics play a huge part. Being great for 5 years is much different than being great for 10 or 15. Yet we call it the “Hall of Fame.” The moniker implies the word “famous,” and nobody can deny #12’s fame throughout his career. Similar to the old E.F. Hutton commercials, when Stabler played, […]

A Brief History of — The NFL Draft

Enormous media coverage surrounds today’s NFL draft. It wasn’t always that way. Bob Griese told us he didn’t know the draft had taken place – even though he was the fourth-overall pick. Players from The Game before the Money era often learned their pro football destinations through newspapers, college coaches, and friends. It apparently wasn’t until the 1970s that teams called players during the draft. YEARS BEFORE THE DRAFT Chaos often surrounded acquiring talent before the draft existed. Don Hutson signed with both the Green Bay Packers and the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers after his college career at Alabama ended. NFL President Joe Carr awarded Hutson to the Packers since the Packers mailed their contract just a few minutes before the Dodgers. Hutson helped lead the Packers to 3 NFL titles and still holds NFL receiving records 8 decades later. Photo of: Don Hutson. The Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers both highly desired Minnesota All-American Stan Kostka in 1935. […]

Thinking Out Loud: My 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class

The Pro Football Hall of Fame represents the highest level of personal achievement a player can reach. Fans can submit votes for the 2015 class online here. You can select up to five players, plus the Senior Nominee. Below is whom I voted for, and why. Mick Tingelhoff (Senior Nominee). Mick started at center for the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie in 1962. He played every single game for the Vikings through 1978. 240 consecutive games, plus playoffs and Super Bowls. An epic career. Really one of those guys who should have been in the Hall years ago. You can read Mick’s story in The Game Before the Money: Voices of the Men Who Built the NFL, available from Amazon here. Tim Brown. Brown didn’t lead the NFL in many receiving categories, leading in receptions only one season. Still, he had nine consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards. The tenth year of that stretch he had over 900. Also […]

Legendary Insights — Carl Eller on Jim Marshall’s Wrong Way Run, 50 Years Later

Fifty years ago this week, on October 25, 1964, Jim Marshall of the Minnesota Vikings pulled one of the NFL’s ultimate blunders. He recovered a fumble, rumbled downfield, and crossed the goal line – for a safety. Many remember the play a farce at Marshall’s expense. But how justified is the amusement? I discussed the play with Marshall’s Hall of Fame teammate, Carl Eller. I first, however, asked about a seldom known fact: Carl returned a fumble earlier that quarter for a touchdown. A surprised Eller said, “Most people remember the wrong way run by Jim Marshall during my rookie year, and a lot of people only remember that. What people don’t remember is that I returned a fumble for a touchdown right before that….John Brodie was the (49ers) quarterback. I think Jim (Marshall) hit him and the ball snapped out. I picked up the ball and ran for a 45-yard touchdown in Gale Sayers–like fashion. [Laughs.]” Eller then recalled the […]

An Appreciation: Tom Landry

Phil Simms named his Top 5 Coaching Innovators during last week’s CBS Thursday Night Football broadcast. Being a Wisconsin native, I happily concurred with Vince Lombardi finishing number one. While I understand the difficulty of compiling such lists, the glaring omission of Tom Landry surprised me. To right that wrong in my little corner of the blogging universe, I humbly spotlight Coach Landry’s valuable contributions to the game. THE ROAD TO COACHING Landry attended the University of Texas. He played fullback and defensive back for the Longhorns. Like so many others playing college ball in the 1940s, World War II interrupted his NCAA career. He flew over two dozen difficult combat missions before returning home. Landry later stated that surviving the war built his confidence. He broke into professional football with the New York Yankees of the All-American Football Conference, playing one season with the team before the league folded. The New York Giants picked up Landry, employing him mostly […]

Legendary Insights — Eric Hipple: Depression affects many after NFL career ends

My father-in-law and I recently heard former Detroit Lions quarterback Eric Hipple speak. Hipple, who quarterbacked the Lions to the 1983 NFC Central Division title, reviewed his career and shared about his current work at the University of Michigan Depression Center. He noted that 50% of NFL players battle depression after retirement. ALMOST DIDN’T SURVIVE ACCIDENT BEFORE COLLEGE Hipple accepted a scholarship to play at Utah State. A serious dune buggy accident nearly ended everything for him about six weeks before leaving for Logan. His vehicle flipped, and Eric suffered a fractured skull and separated shoulder. His doctor told him he’d never play football again. Eric’s father promptly fired that doctor, and Hipple began recovering under another doctor’s supervision. Hipple recovered well enough that he led the Aggies to conference championships his junior and senior years. He placed sixth in the NCAA for passing his senior year. The Detroit Lions drafted him as the first pick of the fourth round […]

BACK TO TOP