Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith is not happy with supporters of Tony Boselli pinpointing the offensive tackle’s dominating performance against Smith in a playoff game as one of the reasons that Boselli has been elected into the Hall.
The NFL’s all-time sack leader took to Instagram to add that Boselli doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame because of the length of his career and the fact that Boselli played with a left-handed quarterback and didn’t have to protect the blind side.
“A large part of the campaign to promote Tony Boselli into the Hall of Fame seems to hyper focus on a single successful performance he had against me in a 1996 playoff game,” Smith wrote. “On the one hand, I’m quite flattered to be considered the gold standard by which another player’s game can be measured to determine his qualification into the HOF. But on a more serious level, I and other HOFers believe it sets a horrible precedent to negatively zero in on a standing member of the Hall’s play in order to validate the candidacy of a nominee.
“The HOF is an exclusive fraternity that follows a tacit code of conduct which fosters respect and brotherhood between its members. Given the opportunity, any Hall of Famer could use his credentials to boast about his dominance over another member, but such behavior is deemed inappropriate because of the friction and discord it could create within the group. Maintaining harmony and goodwill in the HOF is paramount, and it is precisely why player campaigns have historically been presented respectfully and thoughtfully, allowing the candidate’s stats and complete body of work to speak resoundingly for itself.”
Smith then went on to say that all the campaigning that was done for Boselli “undermines the integrity” of the Hall of Fame’s election process.
“Resorting to underhanded tactics, like targeting a Hoffer and hyping a one game matchup to bolster a nominee’s merit as some of Tony’s supporters have done, undermines the integrity of the Hall’s election process. It also invites otherwise unnecessary commentary and scrutiny around that candidate’s worthiness of becoming a member of the HOF.”
Boselli went to five Pro Bowls, was named first-team All-Pro three times, was a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and allowed only 15.5 sacks in 91 career games.
Boselli will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 6 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
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