9 NFL Players Who Aren’t In The Hall Of Fame, But Should Be
Yesterday was the NFL’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and though a few players were crossed off the “snub” list (Michael Strahan and punter Ray Guy, who is pictured in the title slide), there are many left who people feel are entitled for enshrinement. Let’s ignore the guys that were just voted in, and really focus on the negative, shall we? Here are nine guys that deserve to be in the Hall, but aren’t. And some never will be, most likely. On a slightly more positive note, the NFL HOF induction process is notoriously lengthy, so for some of these guys, it’s a question of “when” more than “if.”
Randall may be a long shot, as he never established much success in Philly, and his legacy is more of lore than quantifiable. However, the intangibles tell a remarkably different story than the stats. Randall Cunningham was the best running quarterback of his time, and had a cannon, if imprecise, to match his speed. He kept linebackers keyed into the line and ushered in a new way of playing the position. However, that doesn’t make for the most compelling sound byte, so getting him into the hall might be a tough sell.
9. Randall Cunningham
He’s the best fullback to ever play the game. A good fullback can’t really be bolstered by his own stats, but he did get three rings, and laid out the red carpet for Emmitt Smith, one of the most accomplished rushers in NFL history. Sure, he only got two Pro Bowl nods, but that’s because, later in his career, the NFL CREATED THE FULLBACK POSITION ON THE PRO BOWL FOR HIM. If that doesn’t say something about his success, I don’t know what else to say.
8. Daryl Johnston
Ok. There’s nothing sexy or fun about inducting a commissioner, or any front office employee or exec into the Hall of Fame. But, then again, the Hall of Fame really isn’t that fun or sexy to begin with, so they should just induct Paul Tagliabue. He was able to expand the league (ugh) to Jacksonville and Carolina, and he was able to engineer new teams for Houston and Cleveland after he allowed the original teams to leave. Hmm. That last one doesn’t sound so great. He also put in a salary cap that established a level of balance among the league. If you have to put in a non-player, non-coach, it should be this guy.
7. Paul Tagliabue
Charles Haley has 5 Super Bowl Rings. That’s more than Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, combined. For most of the 1990’s, Charles Haley was on the NFL’s defensive A-list, wreaking havoc for any passing offense unlucky enough to play against Dallas or San Fran. Of course, his transition from 49er to Cowboy came amid acrimony with his coach, George Seifert, and a physical encounter with Steve Young, but players with far worse blemishes have made the cut. He’s made the Cowboys Ring of Honor, but the Hall of Fame doesn’t look good.
6. Charles Haley
It’s hard to usher someone into the Hall under the auspices of “He would have been a legend on a better team.” It’s a weak hypothetical that could be applied to many middling players. But Tim Brown wasn’t middling. The Notre Dame alum was a great receiver and kick returner trapped on a team in steady decline since the mid-1980’s. Voters SEEM to want to give Brown the nod, having made him a finalist both last year and the year before, but it’s not looking like he’ll get the push. However, with a few better receivers ahead of him (Cris Carter, but no longer Andre Reed), it might just be a matter of time.
5. Tim Brown
This is a tougher sell, even though he was perhaps the most impactful and talented player on this list. It’s tougher because TD had about 4 productive seasons in his career, but those 4 seasons, he was among the greatest running backs in the game. From 1995-2002 (skewing earlier) TD had three Pro Bowl appearances and 2 Super Bowls. This was at the twilight of an era when running backs were workhorses, and weren’t platooned to extend longevity, which somewhat explains his short career, but mostly, it was just due to being injury-prone.
4. Terrell Davis
Back in 2008, the NFL Network said Anderson was the 10th best player who still hadn’t been inducted into the hall. The quarterback garnered an MVP and 4 Pro Bowl nods during 16 years with the Bengals. The 16 years is more impressive than his loyalty, as players tended to shift around far less in those days. He did have the misfortune of a high-profile Super Bowl XVI loss against the Niners, which may have been more detrimental than not even making an appearance, but the lack of a ring seems to be the only thing that’s holding this former superstar back.
3. Ken Anderson
Sharpe’s repeated snubbing since his retirement in 1994 (despite a very strong studio presence) may also just be a testament to a relatively brief (1988-1994) career. Although Sharpe didn’t get a ring during his time in Green Bay, you can also draw on the Tim Brown argument that he far outperformed the natural talent of his team. For instance, where’s Terrell Davis had John Elway as a complementary threat, Sharpe had Don Majikowski, who was able, but not extraordinary. Sharpe was able to get a Pro Bowl nod almost every season he played (89-84). A neck injury cut his career woefully short, which doesn't seem like a thing that should keep a player like this out of the Hall.
2. Sterling Sharpe
After a glut of receivers have been inducted in recent years (Carter, Rice, etc.), and a few others are, to be generous, on the bubble for future induction (Moss, Owens), Marvin Harrison looks like the ideal candidate. He was among the most prolific receivers in the history of the league, having found his way to the Pro Bowl eight times. EIGHT TIMES. He sat strong with Peyton Manning as part of a very lethal passing tandem. He won a very iconic Super Bowl with Manning. My hunch is that Harrison shouldn’t sweat it too much, and the Hall is notoriously slow to scoop up talent, especially receivers. I think we’ll see him in soon.