Sports Out West

NFL offseason 2014: Top Five Hall of Fame Snubs!

hall of fame ring

The NFL Hall of Fame has an argument to be the most prestigious Hall of Fame of any of the four major sports.  Professional football has been played for over 85 years and there are less than 300 members inducted thus far. 

Having such prestige means that there may be some omissions from time to time.  Every year there are guys that should be included but are left off for one reason or another. 

Here is the list of the top five players who should someday have their image enshrined in Canton, Ohio. 

1) Sterling Sharpe

Sharpe is overlooked because he was not as flashy as some other more well known wide receivers.  However, compare Sharpe’s numbers to Hall of Fame member Michael Irvin’s from 1989-1994.  Sharpe was the better player.  Add to the fact that in only two of those seasons was Brett Favre his quarterback and it makes his numbers stand out even more. 

A neck injury cut Sharpe’s career short, but he was without question one of the best receivers of his era.  In this year’s class Canton will welcome Andre Reed.  Sharpe’s numbers eclipse Reed’s best years easily, and he was by far the more dominant player. 

2) Tim Brown

Why a player with 100 receiving touchdowns is not in the Hall of Fame is baffling.  Football does not have numbers that make a player a lock to make it like baseball.  In baseball, 3,000 hits or 500 home runs meant that Cooperstown was in a player’s future.  In the NFL, especially for receivers, the numbers are subjective. 

When Art Monk retired he was the All-Time leading receiver in NFL history.  It took him years to get in.  Shannon Sharpe was the best receiving tight end the league had ever seen when he retired.  It took him three tries to get in.  No one knows how long it will take for Brown but with more receivers becoming eligible every season, it could be a long wait. 

3. Kevin Greene

Greene is one of the most high-strung players the league has ever seen.  He was 247 pounds of pure energy.   That energy also was a dominant linebacker.  He piled up 160 sacks during his career.  That puts him third All-Time, behind only Bruce Smith and Reggie White

Many see Greene as a one trick pony, and he wasn’t.  However, if he was, he did his one trick better than almost anyone to ever play.  His play helped the Pittsburgh Steelers get to Super Bowl XXX.  If not for three Neil O’Donnell interceptions, his career would be seen differently. 

4. Charles Haley

If winning is the object of the game, Haley has won more Super Bowls than anyone.  He was not just a guy on those teams but he was a crucial cog.  He logged 120 sacks during his great career.  When Haley was traded from the San Francisco 49ers to the Dallas Cowboys, the balance of power shifted in the NFL.  That kind of impact cannot be ignored. 

5. Roger Craig/ Ricky Watters

Craig and Waters handled their business on the field in different manners, but what they had in common was success. 

Craig was the definition of a multi-purpose back.  His success catching the ball and running it was unmatched during his time.  His style of play led to talented backs like Marshall Faulk and Brian Westbrook.  He is overlooked because the 49ers teams that he was a part of were so stacked with talent.    

Watters is the forgotten back of his era.  He made the All-Decade team of the 1990s.  His numbers are not dissimilar from Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell.  He rushed for over 1,000 yards seven times and was a member of the 1994 Super Bowl Champion 49ers team. His resume is strong, but for some reason most do not consider him worthy of being chosen.   

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

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Keenan Actkins

Keenan Actkins is an Arizona resident living in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He brings a wealth of sports knowledge and passion to the team with his unique insight and strong voice and opinion. He also contributes to Yahoo! Voices and has written for WoodyPaige.com.
  • score1952

    No doubt Derrick Brooks deserves to be in the NFL Hall of Fame. Congratulations on an outstanding NFL career at linebacker.
    In an earlier NFL era of the the NFL which was run oriented in the 12 game NFL regular season era and in much of the 14 game NFL regular season era, this was the era in which LLB Jack Pardee played. After playing 8 NFL seasons including in the run oriented 12 game NFL regular season in the 1950s and the run oriented 14 game NFL regular season era in the early 1960s, LLB Jack Pardee missed all of the 1965 NFL season with cancer surgery. That was the first of 3 bouts with cancer which Pardee had as an adult with the last one finally catching up to him in 2013. After missing the 1965 NFL season, LLB Jack Pardee came back to play 7 more NFL seasons including being named NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1971 at the age of 35 years old. LLB Jack Pardee was possibly the oldest Conference Defensive Player of the Year in NFL history and certainly the first Conference Defensive Player of the Year in NFL history to come back after missing a full NFL season from cancer surgery.
    Jack Pardee as a LLB played primarily strong side linebacker against the TE and to control the line of scrimmage against the run. Pardee set the NFL record in the 1960s for most NFL career interceptions returned for touchdowns in NFL games by a NFL linebacker after his cancer surgery. During this same time, LLB Jack Pardee set records for NFL linebackers in most career NFL touchdowns in NFL games by a NFL linebacker along with most NFL career points scored by a NFL linebacker. Over the NFL career of LLB Jack Pardee, Pardee continued to periodically break his own many NFL linebacker scoring records multiple times in the 1960s. NFL LLB Jack Pardee for the last time broke these, his own, 3 career NFL linebacker scoring records for the last time in the 1971 NFL season. It was in this 1971 NFL season in which the 35 year old LLB Jack Pardee was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year.
    As defensive captain of the Washington Redskins LLB Jack Pardee retired in January, 1973 after playing in the 1973 Super Bowl which was one of the lowest scoring, defensive oriented Super Bowls in NFL history. Linebacker Jack Pardee’s NFL linebacker scoring records (most career NFL INTs returned for TDs by a NFL linebacker, most career NFL TDs by a NFL linebacker, and most NFL points scored by a NFL linebacker all set in the old NFL run oriented 12 game NFL regular season era and the 14 game NFL regular season era) were finally broken by new 2014 Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks in the 2006 NFL regular season which was some 34 years after LLB Jack Pardee retired.
    NFL LLB Jack Pardee in spite of missing an entire season with cancer surgery in the middle of his prime playing days, he, Pardee, retired after the 1973 Super Bowl with the most NFL seasons played by a NFL linebacker (15) in all of NFL history, with the most NFL career games played by a NFL linebacker (196) in all of NFL history, with the most NFL career games played or started at LLB (156) in all of NFL history, with the most NFL career TDs scored by a NFL linebacker, with the most NFL career TDs scored by interception by a NFL linebacker, and with the most NFL career points scored by a NFL linebacker.
    Now 42 years later after retiring from a run oriented NFL and after 85 years of NFL football history, still as of 2014, former NFL linebacker Jack Pardee in all of NFL history for all linebackers who have played in the NFL is #2 all time in NFL history in career NFL games played at LLB (156), #2 all time in NFL history for career NFL TDs scored by a NFL linebacker (6), #2 all time in NFL history for career NFL TDs scored by interception by a NFL linebacker (5), and is #2 all time in NFL history for career NFL points scored by a NFL linebacker (38).
    Former NFL LLB Jack Pardee’s amazing record is the 5 NFL career interceptions returned for NFL TDs by a NFL linebacker both because the NFL was primarily run oriented in Pardee’s playing days and because Pardee’s LLB position of the era was primarily a defensive line of scrimmage position to defend against a blocking TE and to defend against the run.
    Unfortunately for over half of the playing career of LLB Jack Pardee, the NFL did not award All Pro teams by all different linebacking positions as usually mainly only MLBs were named to all of the All Pro teams. The same is true for NFL Pro Bowl games. As the LLB, the strong side linebacker did not rove and drop back on pass defense, relatively little glory went to linebackers who played the LLB position.
    This makes all of LLB Jack Pardee’s still #2 in all time NFL history linebacker scoring records amazing behind only linebacker Derrick Brooks who broke Pardee’s scoring records in 2006.
    In the pregame show before the January, 1973 Super Bowl, NFL Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath said of the 36 year old Jack Pardee that he, Namath, had never played against a defensive player except for Jack Pardee who knew what every offensive play was going to be before the ball was snapped to Namath. That 1972 NFL regular season, led by defensive captain Jack Pardee, the Washington Redskins handed the Joe Namath quarterbacked New York Jets their worst defeat of the year including Namath throwing 3 interceptions. That same year of 1972, QB Joe Namath led the NFL in most passing categories.
    At least one NFL Hall of Fame quarterback knew of the defensive toughness of LLB and defensive captain Jack Pardee. One would think that since all of Jack Pardee’s career NFL linebacker scoring records held up until 2006 when Derrick Brooks finally broke hem that NFL observers would recognize NFL LLB Jack Pardee’s defensive abilities. Prior to 2013, the often neglected LLB position in the 4-3 defense only had one NFL LLB in the NFL Hall of Fame.
    At least for many decades, the NFL Hall of Fame had two punters in Sammy Baugh (one 51.3 yard per punt season and six 48 plus yard per punt seasons) and Yale Larry (including multiple NFL punting titles and at least one 48 plus yard per punt season in the 1960s) before punter Ray Guy was finally admitted as Ray Guy well deserved NFL Hall of Fame status. The NFL LLB position is a similarly neglected NFL position as is the position of NFL punter.
    In fact, LLB Jack Pardee’s combined NFL career interceptions and fumble recoveries of a total of 39 are only exceeded by NFL linebackers who are in the NFL Hall of Fame or who will be in the NFL HOF (Ray Lewis). Jack Pardee’s combined NFL career interceptions and fumble recoveries exceed those of the majority of NFL Hall of Fame linebackers particularly modern day NFL linebackers. No NFL linebacker in NFL history who is not in the NFL Hall of Fame in the 85 year history of the NFL has more career NFL combined interceptions and fumble recoveries than does Jack Pardee.
    In the 16 game NFL regular season era, many linebackers in the history of the NFL have played more career NFL games at linebacker than NFL linebacker Jack Pardee, but only future NFL HOF member MLB Ray Lewis and 3-4 outside linebacker NFL HOF Ted Hendricks have more combined NFL interceptions and fumble recoveries in many more NFL games in the 16 game NFL regular season pass oriented era.
    While NFL LLB Jack Pardee played only in the 12 and 14 game NFL regular season eras, still to this day, Jack Pardee is #2 in career NFL games played at Left Linebacker in all of NFL history exceeded only by a few games in the 16 game NFL regular season era by LLB Seth Joiner.
    Despite missing a full season due to cancer surgery in 1965 and making the long road to recovery while playing a full 1966 NFL schedule, few linebackers in NFL history have been more injury free than LLB Jack Pardee who played over 97% of his teams’ NFL regular season games excluding the 1965 year for cancer surgery. This makes Jack Pardee one of the more durable linebackers in NFL history.
    The only NFL linebackers in all of NFL history who have a higher combined NFL interceptions and fumble recoveries average per game and more combined total career NFL interceptions and fumble recoveries than LLB Jack Pardee are future NFL HOF MLB Ray Lewis, NFL HOF MLB Ray Nitschke, NFL HOF MLB Chuck Bednarik, NFL HOF MLB Sam Huff, NFL HOF MLB Joe Schmidt, NFL HOF MLB Jack Lambert, NFL HOF MLB Dick Butkis, and NFL HOF OLB Jack Ham. A lot of NFL Hall of Fame career Middle Linebackers dominate the NFL career turnover charts with only NFL HOF OLB Jack Ham and LLB Jack Pardee joining the group.
    A NFL historian would never think of run oriented line of scrimmage defender LLB Jack Pardee to be near the tops of the NFL career total NFL interceptions and fumble recoveries for linebackers in all of NFL history, but Pardee is right up there near NFL Hall of Fame Middle Linebackers Lewis, Nitschke, Bednarik, Huff, Schmidt, Lambert, and Butkis.
    And in all of NFL history only NFL HOF OLB Derrick Brooks has scored more NFL TDs, more NFL TDs on interceptions, and more NFL points than LLB Jack Pardee out of all linebackers in NFL history. OLB Brooks scored all of those NFL TDs and NFL points in a pass oriented NFL 16 game NFL regular season era while Pardee did all of his scoring in the run oriented 12 game and 14 game NFL regular season era.
    Again, a NFL historian would never think of run oriented line of scrimmage defender LLB Jack Pardee to be near the top, actually #2, in all of NFL history to the present day, in total NFL TDs scored by a NFL linebacker, total NFL TDs scored by a NFL linebacker from pass interceptions, and in total NFL points scored by a NFL linebacker. But, the only NFL linebacker in all of NFL history to exceed LLB Jack Pardee in all 3 of those linebacker scoring categories is NFL HOF linebacker Derrick Brooks.
    To show the difference between the NFL pass oriented 16 game era in which Derrick Brooks played OLB in a 3-4 defense where Brooks was a drop back pass defender and the NFL run oriented 12 and 14 game era in which Jack Pardee played a strong side line of scrimmage LLB position in front of the TE are Jack Pardee’s 17 career NFL fumble recoveries versus drop back pass defender NFL HOF OLB Derrick Brooks’ 4 career NFL fumble recoveries.
    It is difficult to see how the NFL Hall of Fame can overlook linebacker Jack Pardee’s NFL statistics (#2 in NFL history in career NFL games played at LLB – and may actually be #1 in NFL history due to incomplete position statistics from the 1950s; #2 in NFL history for total NFL linebacker career points scored; and being exceeded only by a handful of NFL HOF linebackers on combined NFL career total interceptions and fumble recoveries) in addition to Pardee being a leader as defensive captain on some of the best NFL team defenses of his era including the Washington Redskins (“the over the hill gang”) and the Los Angeles Rams (of the “fearsome foursome” era) where Jack Pardee was defensive captain on those noteable NFL team defenses.
    Just to be clear, Jack Pardee’s ranking of #2 (or possibly #1) in all of NFL history at games played at LLB takes into consideration the 2 seasons early in Pardee’s NFL career where he played RLB. Pardee played 13 of his 15 NFL years at LLB.
    It is amazing that the only NFL linebackers in all of the history of the NFL to have more total career NFL interceptions and fumble recoveries are all in the NFL Hall of Fame.
    At least NFL Hall of Fame member QB Joe Namath did not overlook NFL linebacker Jack Pardee in Namath’s pregame comments about Pardee’s defensive abilities before the 1973 Super Bowl game in which linebacker Jack Pardee started and played in as defensive captain.

  • score1952

    Great list.
    As you say, the NFL spans 85 years. It is stated that history starts when someone as a child starts to remember events, people, and things.
    Positions change over time. The NFL evolves over time. The 12 game NFL regular season and early 14 game NFL regular season era miss a number of unsung heroes. The old 4-3 defense of the 1950s and 1960s and early 1970s is slightly different from more current 4-3 defenses. The 3-4 defense is totally different from the 4-3 defense and in many respects the more modern 3-4 defense is somewhat similar to the old 5-2 defense of the 1950s.

    Linebackers have different rolls in different defensive schemes in different eras. No doubt Kevin Greene is a great one who came up as a backup DE in the 3-4 defense and ended up as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense.
    Linebackers of the 1950s to early 1970s could play in a 5-2 in the 1950s or a 4-3 in the 1960s and early 1970s when the run was emphasized more than the pass. Linebackers in the 4-3 defense of this era often had the MLB as the rover to cover both the run and to drop back on the pass. Similarly the RLB played both the run and the pass. In the unimaginative NFL offenses of the era, the LLB was often stuck on the defensive line guarding the TE playing both the run primarily as TEs were utilized more as blockers in the run oriented NFL era.
    Also, in the 1950s and early 1960s, All Pro linebackers and Pro Bowl linebackers were chosen from the overall “best” linebackers who almost always were MLBs with the occasional RLB and rarely a LLB. Finally in the mid 1960s in the era of the 4-3, the NFL started to pick MLB, RLB, and LLB players equally for the NFL All Pro teams and for the NFL Pro Bowl rather than picking almost exclusively NFL MLBs for these teams and bowls.
    To compare outside linebackers of the 3-4 era to any 4-3 defense, an outside linebacker in a 3-4 is almost similar to a down lineman. Some outside linebackers in the 3-4 specialize in the pass rush while others drop back to defend the pass similar to the modern day RLB and LLB in a 4-3 while other outside linebackers in the 3-4 can do any of many things such as control the line of scrimmage, rush the passer, or drop back on pass defense.
    Point being is that a linebacker in one era and one defensive set does not equal a linebacker in another era and a similar or different defensive set.
    The word linebacker can describe many things and many varying responsibilities.

  • Jim r

    Kevin Greene belongs in the most

  • Jim r

    If Greene is black, he is in.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    Jerome Bettis.

  • JohnnyOla

    Also, let’s be honest. Some people still hold Watters big mouth against him

  • JohnnyOla

    Perhaps too many better backs played with Watters – Emmitt, Barry, Marshall, Thurman. Curtis Martin was probably better too. Bettis might not have been better but he’s got the rushing yards over Watters. If you let Watters in then you at least have to consider Corey Dillon and Warrick Dunn. Hell, I’d take Tiki Barber over Watters. Now, HE’S forgotten about – 10,000 yards rushing/5000 yards receiving

  • http://thenineminuteprayerproject.yolasite.com The Nine Minute Prayer Project

    Informed, I had no idea Sterling Sharpe or Roger Craig are not it.